The beginning of the best days of our life....
Emelynn Grace Miller, our daughter and daughter of Christ
Born Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 11:38AM
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Tuesday, May 4; 37 Weeks 3 Days
I measured 50% effaced. Not dilated. My doctor, Dr. Raymond Frink, would now be traveling to the East Coast, taking his first ever 2-week vacation for the first time in over 20 years to see his son graduate college. Awesome. Well at least his vacation was no surprise. Despite Jeremy and I's attempts to convince him, Dr. Frink went on vacation anyways, and assured us we would be well taken care of. He said he expected Emelynn to be one-two weeks early still, just his "gut feeling", but said if that didn't happen, we'd have an appointment with him at 40 weeks, 2 days.
Tuesday, May 11; 38 Weeks 3 Days
Very nervous to see a new doctor, and praying I would be comfortable with her. This was my first time with a new OBGYN Doctor in several years. To my comfort, the doctor was great. Although she did seem more worried than I was about Emelynn's growth. Emelynn was measuring at an estimated 35 weeks long.
I was now 50-60% effaced, and still not dilated. She noticed I had still only gained ten pounds since we conceived, so the new Doc ordered yet another ultrasound. (Emelynn had already had an extra ultrasound to check her growth and my fluids at 32 weeks... she was fine.) The new Doc threw out scary words like "possibly induce" and "she'd do better outside"... the Doctor was nervous that my fluids were low and perhaps that's why Emelynn was not growing as much... that perhpas she would grow better outside my womb. Words like "healthier outside" and "induce" are never words a Mom- much more a first-time Mom, want to hear.
Throughout this entire pregnancy, God gave Jeremy & I such a peace that our little girl was healthy and growing. I had mixed emotions for sure....Despite knowing everything would be okay, I was still a bit nervous that she was so small still. Excited to see our little one again, even if it was in black and white....
The ultrasound came back saying she was fine. The tech, Megan, was actually the same young woman who measured Emelynn at 32 weeks, and she recognized me and remembered Emelynn's name! She comforted me so much, and was so kind. (Thank you Jesus!) Megan commented again on how cute Emelynn's "cute little cheeks!" were several times, and told me that our daughter was doing just fine, she just would be tiny!
Thursday, May 13; 38 Weeks 5 Days
Jeremy & I went to Bryce Jessup's retirement celebration at William Jessup University, my alma matar. We had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones, but left a bit early as my lower back was real sore, and I was yet again experiencing what I had now decided to call my Braxton Hicks contractions, even though everything I had felt up to this point were 100% in my back. It felt like every time I had thrown my back out, when you stand up, or roll over too fast without properly supporting your back or your neck- the pain was excruciating, but brief. The longest pains would last maybe 90 seconds. I asked Jeremy if he was okay leaving early, and he agreed, being so supportive and driving slowly over the speed bumps entering into our neighborhood, and rubbing my back once we were home.
Once we were home, I drank lots of water and the pains went away until about two hours later, when they started up again. In my head I kept convincing myself that "this wasn't it". I had previously had so much pain, these Braxton Hicks, in my lower back for the last two weeks now, and they had never progressed into anything. 'I wonder what a contraction actually feels like... could this be it? Just back labor?' I laid in bed, hoping they would either go away, or progress into full labor quickly and neither happened. I was up for about 3 more hours with these sharp back pains, coming in waves. I used the birth ball and rocked back and forth, leaning my forehead on our bed for support. Jeremy rubbed my back. I did various yoga positions to help stretch my tight muscles, focused on my breathing, kept trying to count through the pain... it was the only thing to keep me focused. I woke up at about 3 in the morning, frustrated that the BH contractions had gone away, and I had faded asleep, and that I was now waking up another day- pregnant.
Friday, May 14; 38 Weeks 6 Days
After some research online and weighing the pros and cons, and a bit bitter that I was still pregnant after last night's back pains, I decided to purchased Evening Primrose Oil and Castor Oil, two substances which are known for helping to speed along effacement and dilation. I figured in the end, she'd come when she was ready so why not help her along if she's close? I heard that Castor Oil could cause nausea and diarrhea, but figured I was already the first and the second would help just clear things "clean" so why not? How bad could it be compared to how uncomfortable I was now?
After coming home from Target I came home, announced to Jeremy that 1- I might be on the toilet for a little bit and not to worry, and 2- we're going into labor tonight (to which he responded "oh really" *with doubt*. To which I responded with slight sarcasm and an extremely high level of hope, "Yep. I'm done being pregnant and I'm ready to meet her!".
To help avoid any possible, and further, nausea, I did as many had suggested and mixed in the Castor Oil into some spaghetti. Despite its supposed "tastelessness", I found it tasted like eating pasta dripping with oil, and only had a small amount off my plate. I also took one of the Evening Primrose vitamin supplements. After about 3 hours, I though, 'Well that was a great waste of a good plate of spaghetti. These supplements are supposed to help contract muscles to cause diarrhea, and hopefully contractions. I don't even have to go to the bathroom.' Jeremy & I went to bed around 9:00, only for me to wake up again at 1:00 to go to the bathroom, and yep- #2 in plenty. Yuck. Immediately after they started.
Saturday, May 15; 39 Weeks
I didn't know if they were contractions still because they honestly were 500% in my lower back- excruciating, debilitating, immobilizing, back pain. I went into the nursery as to not wake up Jeremy, tried rocking on the birth ball and rocked in the rocking chair- tried to drink plenty of water. After an hour, my "gut" told me to wake up Jeremy.... 'he'd want to be awake if I actually was in labor'...
The pain was getting bad now, and I was having a hard time managing. Despite what I thought, I actually don't have that great of a pain tolerance. I think I had equated several previous injuries and experiences (black belt testing, countless knee dislocations, etc.) to having a pain tolerance. Negative. This just means you're active, not that you handle pain well.
So I went into the nursery and sat in the rocking chair. Jeremy came in and sat on the birth ball next to me *we switched later* :)... Jeremy switched from half asleep mode to supportive helpful what can I do to help husband almost immediately after seeing how much pain I was in. Both of us sure prayed this was it. I did as many yoga moves as I could remember, but the most helpful thing was something we had learned in one of our Kaiser birthing classes. I was in the cow position of the cat to cow, and Jeremy would be behind me, pressing my hips together. This was most helpful in alleviating some of the back pressure. Jeremy grabbed my phone and using a contraction timer application on my phone, began timing my contractions. I didn't care that they were all in my back and I didn't feel a single thing in my stomach; these had to be contractions *and I better be in labor*. I just kept imagining our precious baby girl who I couldn't wait to meet.
I ended up throwing up at one point because of the pain, and moments later peeing slightly on the floor. (Looking back on the next few hours to transpire, this was probably my water breaking). I could no longer control any part of my body or how I reacted to the pain. Jeremy kept bringing me back to reality and counting through the contractions with me **this helped immensely***. Focusing on my breathing helped as well; taking deep long breaths. Jeremy did great. I am so grateful he was there.... at some point I remember sitting on the loveseat and saying, "Jeremy I think you should probably start packing the hospital bag". At this point I needed him there with me every contraction, but there wasn't enough time in between them for him to take two steps away. They were coming back to back, with little to no break in-between. Jeremy began putting together our bag, and called my parents who would be watching our dog. I remember telling him - tell my parents that this still MIGHT NOT BE IT. I was terrified myself of this not being it, and was scared of disappointing them, and Jeremy, and being disappointed myself. **Amidst all this pain, who knew I could still be overly emotional! :)***
A bit after 5AM Jeremy and I ventured downstairs and walked about 200 yards. That was as far as I could go. My parents pulled up a few seconds later and gave us hugs and kisses and words of encouragement, and promised to be there as soon as we asked. Jeremy prayed for the three of us in the car on the way there....We checked into Kaiser a bit after 6.
We checked into the Labor & Delivery hospital at Kaiser Roseville, all the while praying that I was at least 3 cen. dilated so they would admit me. There was no way I could go home. I was in the greatest pain I'd ever been in.... They put a monitor on me and baby. I sat sideways on the bed and Jeremy was right in-front of me, counting through the pain, being a constant source of encouragement and support and love. A nurse that wasn't ours came in and said that Doctor was doing her rounds before changing shifts, but she was just down the hall. She looked at the print out of my contractions and said - "wow! You're doing great. Your contractions are really close together. Keep it up, Doctor will be here shortly." It would be an hour later before I would get checked.
I got checked and I was one cen. dilated, to which the nurse happily pipped in to Jeremy, "She's in so much pain. I hear back labor is the worst. Can you believe this is only early stage labor!". I wanted to kill her. A small while laterthis same nurse asked me if I had taken any classes. I again had an urge to hurt her, since Jeremy & I had dragged ourselves to pretty much every prenatal class Kaiser offered, PLUS prenatal yoga (which I loved).
I was absolutely heart-broken I wasn't dilated further. Not totally because I hadn't progressed that much, but because I knew I couldn't get any pain medicine. The Doctor then went into a full dictatorship like character, telling me to get on my side. I calmly explained that my OB had said it was okay to be on my back, as long as I was confortable. If I was lying on that nerve that makes lying on your back dangerous when you're pregnant, I would start to go numb. Otherwise, my Doctor said it was okay. She curtly told me that right now, I need to lie on my side because the baby's heartrate was too low. Once the baby's heartrate is stabilized, I can lie back on my back. Terrified and feeling like a child getting lectured in school, I rolled on my side and waited for things to be explained in more detail. The Doctor turned to the nurses and ordered me to get an IV, and some other medicine, in-case the baby's heartrate dropped even more. I remember asking why I needed an IV or anytihing else, and not getting answered, and teh Doctor just talking over me. I finally said, "Excuse me! I need to know what's going on!" *We were still in triage afterall.* The Doctor explained that Emelynn's heartbeat was dropping with my contractions. "For now," she said, "her heartrate comes back up after your contraction is finished but you're not really getting any break. Your contractions are lasting at least two minutes and are no more than two minutes apart. I'm worried you're dehydrated as well, so we're going to give you some fluids. If the babies heart rate doesn't go up, we might have to induce you. So we're going to keep an eye on you."
I remember freaking at the word "induce". I felt so angry that I wasn't being explained to what was happening to my body, my baby.... later on, Jeremy reminded me that they were doing what was most important and that was taking care of baby and making sure she was okay. It was not most important that I be explained every procedure. I got an IV from the mean nurse, and then prayed that there would be a shift change very soon for both our doctor and nurse. Half an hour, there was. :)
Two hours later, and around 9AM, I was beyond my pain limit *still*, and even though I knew the answer, I asked for pain medicine. To my surprise, they came me fentanyl which is a narcotic that they hoped would "help me feel better" and "take care of that pain". It *assisted* (helped is too strong of a word) slightly, basically allowing me to breath slightly during contractions. I remember the Doctor and nurses talking, watching me, saying "she shouldn't be in this much pain still"...."Did she already get the fentanyl?" ..."Yep, and her babies heart rate is unstable so we can't give her anything else yet".... "Gosh...".... ***thank you Kaiser medical staff. This was very helpful. Even though I am in pain, I can still hear you, and yes- I am still right here.****
Me oblivious to it, time was passing and at 10:30 the Doctor came in and said "she's still in this much pain? Let's go ahead and admit her so we can give her an epidural". ***I like you!*** The nurse asked, "would you like to check her again before you do?". "No, I will check her after she has the epidural and she's more comfortable." Emelynn's heart rate was "stable", but continued to drop during contractions. However, at this point, it was still coming back up. The Doctor said there was still a chance they might have to do an emergency c-section, especially if I wasn't dilated much more, but, "I don't think that's the case. Your contractions are so close together and hitting so hard. But I am a little concerned about her heart rate. I want to get you an epidural to get your pain under control and slow down your contractions a little bit, and let the baby and you get some rest."
At 10:45 they wheeled me back into Labor & Delvery. I remember the lights passing overhead and it being all blurry... the pain had me so out of it. I had never experienced that sort of pain before. The anthestesiologist was about to go into a c-section, and the second was already in one. I remember my nurse saying "she's in a lot of pain and we will have her totally ready for you". Thankfully the anthestesiologist agreed to give me the epidural before he went into surgery. Jeremy stepped out for this part, and my Mom stayed with me. Right before Jeremy stepped outside, I remember telling him, "I think this is it baby." He smiled at me and said, "Yep, we're going to meet our baby today." ***My parents and sisters had been taking turns in triage, even though Jeremy was there most of the time. They were great... thank you!!!*** I remember telling the anthestheolsist that a contraction was coming (they were still every 90 to 120 seconds apart), and he said, "that's okay". He gave me the epidural during a contraction and... it didn't hurt!!! Stung a little, yes, but the IV from the rude nurse in triage was fifty times worse. I was grateful to the point of tears. Finally some relief. Slowly my legs became heavy, and it moved upward, towards my hips. The Doctor came in at 11:00 and wanted to check me, so my Mom stepped outside.
I was 5 1/2 cent. dialated, and she said I was doing great. They were going to go ahead and break my water, but didn't say anything about baby. I was numb down there now, so when she did I couldn't feel naything. She did say, "Oh, well that's not much. Honey I think your water already broke. Hmmm. Yeah, I think so because there's not much there." ... ***At this point I thought, You think! You think!! How can you just think someone's water broke! Don't you know?**** I wasn't the most patient during my labor. She kept looking at the monitors, and I asked if everything was okay. She said she was worried about Emelynn's heart rate (I loved that this Doctor (Doctor Erica Sheridan) knew and called our baby girl by name now...). She stepped out for a few minutes, leaving me with the nurses who kept looking at printouts and pressing buttons on their fancy computers. I was still out of it, exhausted from the pain and not "all there" from the fentanyl. She returned and said that she was going to attach a small probe to Emelynn's head that would let us know a bit more about how she's doing. She started explaining and I remember saying, "It's fine. Just do what you have to do." I had heard about using the fetal pulse oximetry during one of our Kaiser classes, and wasn't worried about it. She attached the probe and left again for a brief moment.
At 11:20, the Doctor came back. It had only been a few minutes. Poor Jeremy was still outside because he thought the epidural would take a bit longer that it did. Last he heard, I was 5 1/2 cent. and doing great. The Doctor came in and said, okay I'm going to put this on Emelynn's head .... I still don't know if she actually ever put it on her head or not because almost immediately after she said, "if it doesn't go up soon, we're going to do have to do an emergency c-section." ... not really talking to me, but more to herself and the other nurses. By this time, those words had been thrown out so much this morning... I was still "blowing them off"... those words, not the Doctor. I just refused to believe that I would need a c-section. After all, it was the only chapter in all those books I hadn't read. Our baby was okay and was going to be fine. I had such a peace.
Yet another nurse came in from outiside my room and asked if she could do anything. The Doctor said no, but why don't you go get Dad. "Kristi, I'm going to go ahead and check you again, but if the baby's heart rate doesn't go up soon, I'm going to take you back for a c-section." She was very calm, as was my body (I had the epidural afterall), but my eyes were watery and I was nervous. As she was checking me she started explaining quickly the process of a c-section. I was in a blur. They had just mentioned it up till now, but now it felt like the Doctor was going to full throttle thrust me into the operating room. It was very tense, and I could feel the pressure in the room. They were really worried about the baby. I knew she would be fine though. She said I was 7 cen. dilated, and as Jeremy was walking in the room, said, "Okay Dad if the baby's heart rate doesn't go up soon we're going to take her back for a c-section, okay? .... 2 seconds go by .... Okay I've had enough, let's go."
Several nurses who were already at my side, began detaching stuff from the wall so I was mobile, and unlocked my bed. Everything was moving so fast. As they were wheeling me out, I reached for Jeremy's hand and looked up at him. He was starting to cry, and I told him everything would be okay; baby and I were going to be just fine. He bent down and hugged me and I remember I could feel his tears and it broke my heart that i couldn't comfort him. He thanked me for being "so brave", and said I love you.
***As we left Jeremy said, "What should I do?" Left standing alone in the L & D room, they threw him a pair of scrubbs on their way out and said, "Throw these on. Someone will be here to get you in a minute."
I remember when they were basically jogging me down the hall, I couldn't feel my legs, and I wasn't in pain from the contractions anymore. It was such a welcome relief.
Jeremy had a nurse come back a few seconds later after we had all left, and led him back into the operating room. While he was still on the way, they had hooked me up to a bunch of machines, and quickly began. Unfortunately, my lower abdomen was not numb yet, and I felt a burning heat slice me. I don't know how much they cut, but they cut, and I could feel it. I said, "OW OW OW OW!" The anesthesiologist said, "You felt that!". "Yes! Yes!". He then asked me "pressure or.." "NO! I feel it! It burns!" (Jeremy walked in now) "Ok Kristianne we're going to give you something that's going to make you fall asleep okay?" I looked over at Jeremy and he looked just like the movies in his blue scrubs. I remember saying in my head *Thank you Jesus that he's here. I don't want to be alone.*
(From Jeremy, said to me)
I walked in the room, and there was a sheet up and a bunch of wires were going from your head area to down beneath the sheet. I reached down and held your hand, and kissed your forehead and told you that I loved you. The Doctor said that you'll feel some tugging and pressure and you told them that you felt it alot and it was stinging. The Doctors then asked you if you felt that, and you said yes, and that it hurts really bad. The Doctor up by your head said "Ok, we're going to give you something so you go to sleep". Then about 15 seconds later, your eyes closed and you were asleep. The Doctors then asked me if I was ready to see it, so I stood up, expecting to see my baby, but only seeing the open incision. They brought me a chair so I could sit down. I just stayed by your side, stroking your head, and kissing your hand. What seemed like just a minute later, they said "11:38". About a minute after that, two doctors brought her to the heating table, and I could see her. I stayed holding your hand, but watching the baby, as the Doctors were trying to get her to cry. It seemed like forever that she just laid there, but she then let out one long scream, but didn't breath back in after she had let out her air. I'd say probably four seconds later, her body starting at her head, turned dark purple, down to her toes. A few seconds after that, she took a deep breath and the pink color immediately returned. The Doctors still wanted her to breathe consistently, and after about thirty seconds of tapping her and flipping her over, she was breathing just fine. The Doctor then gave her the second Apgar score of nine, and the Doctors then said I could let go of your hand because you were okay. So I left your side and walked over to Emelynn and held her hand. They wrapped her up, and let me hold her, and I got to kiss her and bring her to you so you could see her. Your eyes were now open, but you couldn't focus on her. Your eyes were super fluttery, bouncing everywhere. I put her the top of her head to your forehead so you could kiss her. You kept asking where she was, and she was right in front of your face. You couldn't focus on anything. I was holding her right infront of you, but you kept asking, "Is she okay, is she okay, is she okay". And even after telling you "yes, she was okay", you'd ask again.
I don't really remember everything the Doctors did or how long it took, but I was going back and forth between the baby and you, giving you kisses, and telling you how much I love you. I was pretty quiet, because I was kinda crying. It was a really scary time beacuse I heard the doctors say that the cord was wrapped all around her and tying her up, and knowing that you were put asleep and had to go through a c-section. But it was a very nice relaxing thing to see her take that big deep breath.
Eventually the Doctors took me to the recovery room with Emelynn. After sewing you back up, they brought you to the recovery room to be with us. While you were being sewed up, they were weighing her, taking her temperature, giving her two shots in her thighs, cleaning her up, giving her a bath, changing her diaper. They had already put one on.
When you came back to the room, you were still asleep. You were asleep and waking up for about an hour, and we were in the recovery room for about three. At some point, when you could keep your eyes open, relatively speaking, you asked the nurse if you could do "skin to skin", and hold her for the first time. The nurse said of course, and I put her in your arms.
***For me, this was the most amazing feeling as a Mom. Smelling her, feeling her soft baby skin against my body, talking to her in my mumbled voice.... this is one of my favorite memories."
I do remember that the entire time we were in recovery, Emelynn didn't make a sound, even after the shots. However, the baby next "door"/sheet over, was wailing the whole time. You kept asking if that was Emelynn crying because you were still out of it, and I said no, she hasn't cried yet.
At about one thirty, the Doctor brought your Mom back to see if we were okay, and that's when family started coming back to see her. The next three days were visitors, nurses, diaper changes, and very little sleep - on our parts. Emelynn slept like a baby. To Kristi's horror, she later realized that the first night, Emelynn had slept twelve hours straight through. The Nurses and Doctors said to let her. They kept coming in to do stuff to Kristianne, and since Emelynn wasn't crying, they looked after her.
All in all - it was a blur, a blessing, and the best thing that's ever happened- by far. We are blessed to have Emelynn Grace in our lives, and we are so excited for what the future holds. God watched over us in that hospital, without a doubt. And for that, we are eternally grateful.