Emilio turned 1 on September 2nd, and to commemorate his first birthday, I wanted to share his birth story. 1. Because I LOVE birth stories (feel free to share yours in the comments) and 2. Because I want share my own experience and 3. Encourage all moms, especially pregnant moms, because bringing forth a new person into the world is HARD. So much harder than I ever imagined, but so much more glorious and beautiful than words can really express.
Before I can go into his actual birth story, I need to give a little preface. This is just my story of Emilio's birth, and although we chose with both births to use the Bradley Method, which is a husband-coached birth without medication, I am in NO WAY judging your labor decisions. If you have chosen, for whatever reason, to use medical intervention, be it because you need to have it for medical reasons, or just your preference, I applaud you for doing what is best for YOU! In our case, Bradley Method was AMAZING and if you are even SORT of thinking about using this method, I highly recommend it. I loved my teacher (who I still talk to) and loved having my ROCKSTAR husband help bring our babies into this world. Giving birth is so incredibly amazing, so in whatever way you have done that, please know that I am so proud of you for what you have done for your child. There is no "easy" way to have a baby, we just chose what was best for us and it worked for us, and I know that you did the same.
Ok, so having said that, here we go...
Emilio was actually due on September 16th, and was very much a planned baby, THANK YOU Natural Family Planning! We were so thrilled that he would be so close in age to Oliver, 19 months, and that they would be little best friends for life (fingers crossed). Oliver was born a week early AND my water broke at work (that's another crazy story!) , so I was concerned that Emilio would also be early, and decided that instead of waiting 1 week before his due date to start my maternity leave from work, I started it 2 weeks before his due date. That Friday, September 1st, we had planned a dinner with some beautiful Sisters from a nearby parish where I used to work. So when I got home from work that day, I prepared dinner for our 6 guests and tried to clean up a bit before their arrival. I had some back pain, but I was pretty big, at 38 weeks, and was slowly maneuvering around the kitchen. Walther was on Oliver duty, as cooking was in many ways easier than chasing a toddler. The Sisters joined us for a lovely dinner and left about 8:30pm. I normally hate dirty dishes in the sink but I just could not bring myself to do anything else, my legs felt tired and my back was aching. My husband offered to clean up but I told him to leave it so that we could all rest for the night.
I was awakened from a deep sleep at 2:30 am with an intense contraction that left me mildly breathless and slightly scared, because it had caught me so off guard. I have a contractions timer app on my phone and proceeded to time the contractions, quietly in the dark, because I did not want to wake Walther and Oliver in the middle of the night for Braxton Hicks, which I had been having off and on all that week. I remembered to relax my body and tried to go back to sleep. I reasoned we were 2 weeks out, there was no way that Emilio was going to be born today.
My contractions intensified and were about 7 minutes apart for 30 minutes...and then at 3:00am they were 5 minutes apart. That is when I knew it was time. I just KNEW. Both the intensity and the consistency of the contractions alerted me that this was definitely labor. Once you have had a baby once, I feel like there is this acute awareness when labor starts. I woke up my husband and told him to pack our bags to go to the hospital. He sleepily replied, "Ok, we will go in the morning." I said calmly, "No, honey, we need to go NOW. This baby is coming." There are many great things about my husband, but his ability to be completely calm when things feel a little chaotic or scary, is BY FAR one of my favorite things. He got up and started quickly packing our bags, and I slowly started to get ready. We called our friends, who are more like family, and asked them to come get Oliver. This was not the original plan, as my mom was to arrive the following week just in case I was "a week early". We did not plan for two weeks early. They were alert and driving over before we could even finish packing our bags. I will eternally be grateful for them.
Once Oliver was in the care of our friends, we were in our car and on the way to the hospital, that was about 40 minutes away. My contractions were between 4-5 minutes apart and I felt calm and trying to focus when Walther cracked a joke as we got on the freeway. I was silent as I worked through a contraction and Walther asked quietly, "Did jokes help last time?" To which I responded quietly, "NO." The rest of the car ride was fairly quiet, with Walther driving safely, but fast, and letting me squeeze his hand as each contraction crescendoed and then subsided. I was able to talk in between contractions and we were able to laugh at the fact that my mother was going to be so annoyed that she missed the birth of her grandchild...again.
We got to the hospital at 4:30 am, we walked into the Emergency Room Entrance, just like we had with Oliver, for intake and then to Labor and Delivery. We were greeted by 3 nurses, all of whom looked VERY worried as I slowly hobbled up having to stop several times to breathe through a contraction before getting to their window. Apparently the rules had changed and women could go straight to the Labor and Delivery Floor without having to do their intake through the ER. So, we had to walk to the L&D Floor which was FAR AWAY. Walther offered to pull the car around but I was not about to try to get back INTO a car, so we walked, stopping every few feet so I could breath calmly through my contraction. The contractions were about 3 minutes apart, and walking increased them exponentially. I stopped in the bathroom on the way to pee- side note: in our Bradley Method classes they taught us that having any urine in your bladder may increase the discomfort during contractions, so peeing often helps alleviate the contractions a bit.
I must have been in their a long time because one of the nurses came in, "Hon? You ok in there?" I laughed, "Yeah, just peeing, thank you." That dear nurse walked us all the way to the L&D Floor, she was so concerned I would drop on the floor any minute and push a baby out. Don't worry, I didn't.
Once on the L&D Floor, the nurses had me go to triage to check in and see what was going on. A Nurse, or maybe it was a Doctor, the details can get fuzzy, checked my blood pressure, temperature, and dilation. "Well, you are at a 7, so we are gonna get you in a room asap!" Walther and I gave each other a high five and whooped! "A SEVEN! OVER HALF WAY DONE! WE ARE GONNA HAVE BRUNCH WITH THIS BABY!" When I was in labor with Oliver, everything went SLOW. I dilated slowly, even with the use of Pitocin, which was only administered 24 hours after my water broke and no contractions were happening. Every time they checked me, and the number was 3 or 4 I was so deflated. BUT A SEVEN?! I felt confident that I could handle what was coming for sure.
Once in our room, we did all the things that we knew could help labor along, birth ball, walking, swaying, and I was able to breathe calmly through each contraction. There was a mountain outside my window, and with each contraction I imagined myself walking up one side and down the other. Walther would rub my back, make sure I was drinking water, and taking me to the bathroom every 15 minutes. He was calm, encouraging, and affirming, and kept assuring me we would have brunch with Emilio wrapped in our arms. Everything I needed.
At 8:30 am I was at a solid 9 when the doctor on call came in and said, "Ok, you are doing awesome, we can wait on your water to break, or we can break it. Either way, once that water is broken, that baby is coming fast. Do you want to wait? Or do you want us to break it?" Walther and I exchanged knowing looks, we said in unison, "Break it."
The pushing was extra hard with Emilio, only because I assumed that it would go super fast because my contractions were on top of one another, with no relief. And although most women will say that 25 minutes of pushing IS fast, to my it felt like an eternity. I vaguely remember yelling at the Doctor, "GET HIM OUT OF ME!" Which he promptly did, by gently pulling Emilio out in a cork-screw fashion.
Emilio Augustine was born at 9:34 am on September 2nd, 2017. He was 7lbs 11oz, and 21 inches long, and so chunky and soft and perfect that I could not believe I got to be his mother. Walther was amazing, so supportive and always thinking one step ahead of me, and I love that we will have that memory for only us. No matter how much I recount this story, the only one who really knows the nitty gritty is my wonderful husband and for that I am extremely thankful.
The three of us were able to snuggle and rest together for most of the day, and brunch was delicious.
So to my Milo, my little golden haired, hazel eyed, chunky, snuggle boy, happy happy birthday. The best is yet to come.
Copyright 2018 Diana Cantu. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: Copyright 2018 Alicia Dulaney. All Right Reserved.