How ironic that this post comes immediately after Abbi-girl's birth story, perhaps I should rename my blog "The Birth Blog", haha.
To fill you in a bit on what's happened between my last post and now...we bought a house and within a month after that we were blessed to discover that we had a new little blessing on the way. Add to that family walks, game and movie nights, a lot of home education, fellowshipping with friends, singing together, reading together, family worship, laundry, cooking, cleaning, finding a church that we love, and just basically living a good life and you're pretty well caught up.
The night before Emmi's birth I was having regular contractions, about 15 minutes apart. At this point I was not in the least convinced that "this was it", this had become a regular nightly ritual so I was just sure it *wasn't* it. I did wonder just a little bit when I woke up in the morning still having regular contractions. To this point I had been going to bed with contractions and waking up without them. They were still only 15 minutes apart though so I didn't waste too much brain power on it.
I was 2 weeks and 4 days past my expected due date at this point. I felt very blessed to have a doctor who would look at my situation and give me that extra week without suggesting inducing since we were both doing well, especially since you can't legally homebirth in SC after the 42nd week without a doctor signing off on it. I was very worried that even my wonderfully understanding family practitioner may not sign off on waiting yet another week though and I was doing everything I could to bring on labor, from eating gobs of pineapple to walking 8 miles in a day! Aside from worrying about whether my doctor would give me more time or not, I certainly didn't care to have to wait another week! While we were doing well health wise I was definitely ready to be done with the soreness, sleeplessness and exhaustion of the 10th month of pregnancy.
When the contractions were still coming regularly by 10'o'clock that morning I became really hopeful and the nesting instinct kicked into high gear. It is amazing what a 42 weeks pregnant, sore and tired mommy can accomplish when they are preparing their nest for a new nestling. When Lee called and I told him what was going on, and everything we were getting done. That convinced him this was it, though he didn't tell me that at the time, and started working on getting things arranged at work so he could leave early. I was so glad to see him when he came in the door. I was really pretty sure at this point that I was going to have a baby that night, but it did cross my mind how embarrassing it was going to be if he had to go back to work the next day and tell everyone it was a false alarm. It wasn't long after that we had accomplished pretty much everything that I felt absolutely needed to be done and Lee told me to go rest and reserve some energy for the hard work ahead while he finished getting the children fed and ready for bed.
At this point I was really pretty sure that this was it, but still in that nagging state of doubt. Late that evening the contractions had never stopped and had been coming about every 10 minutes apart for a while so I called my midwife to put her on alert. She called back a couple of hours later and by this time my contractions were coming every 6-8 minutes apart but they were only very uncomfortably tight, not too bad. Hearing about my progress she decided that she and one of her assistants would spend the night at a friends house near us. Lee put the children to bed and I was so relieved to realize that I would be able to labor at night while they slept. We have very good friends who had offered to be there for the children and were prepared to be there at the drop of a hat if we needed to transfer, but I didn't want to take them away from their families unless it was an emergency and I wanted the children to be at home so they could see the baby as soon as possible. I prefer to labor at night anyway, it is easier for me to relax and concentrate in the calm and quiet and I had prayed often that it would work out that way.
Right after the children were in bed labor unmistakably kicked in. Lee kept telling me I needed to call Jami (my midwife), but I kept putting him off. Finally there was no more putting him off, haha :). I called Jami about midnight with contractions 6 minutes apart and *very* strong. By the time she got there just 30 minutes later they were 3 minutes apart and I was having a very had time with them. As soon as Jami was through checking my and Emmi's heartbeats I got into the tub. It did certainly help, not quite as well as it had during my labor with Abbi, but I was happy that it took the edge off. The atmosphere was soothing, the only light was a candle burning on the counter and I could hear Jami and her two assistants, Jessica and Brooke (who had also assisted at Abbi's birth) whispering among themselves as they prepared the room for a birth...my baby's birth. That was a very exciting thought!
By about 5 that morning I was getting pretty discouraged. I had been in labor for so long before active labor kicked in that I had been hopeful it would be a quick delivery once it picked up. My contractions were only about 2 minutes apart now and lasting a minute to a minute and a half each time! Emmi kept moving and eventually she was so posterior that Jami was having a hard time even finding her heart beat. The fact that Emmi was posterior explained the longer, harder labor and Jami started helping me try some different positions to get her to turn. Lee was so wonderful and supportive and tried so hard to make the different positions comfortable for me, but in the end any position that took my back out of the water was excruciating and I decided I would rather deliver a posterior baby than deal with the pain of those positions, haha.
Around 6 I finally felt pushy enough to want to get out and I moved to the bed. By this point with Abbi it was very quickly over...not so much this time. Jessica was given the job of keeping an ear on Emmi's heartbeat. Between Emmi's position, my position and the fact that she had to keep a pretty constant ear on her because her heart rate had dropped just enough to need watching (though not enough to worry). I'm sure it was quite a job! Finally Jami told me Baby was crowning! About the same time Jami's other assistant starting saying, "That's a girl" over and over and it confused me because I was *hearing*, "It's a girl" over and over and I thought, "Oh no, she must be breech!". After a minute I remembered that I had made that exact same mistake during Abbi's birth, haha. Next time maybe I'll remember Brooke has a habit of saying, "That's a girl" and I have a habit of hearing "It's a girl" during delivery! Haha :).
Finally I had simply had enough and wanted it over, I didn't even care if I tore so you know I was seriously done. With the next few contractions I really pushed, with one I actually heard and felt a pop as I tore. Jami helped me pace myself so it didn't get any worse and with another few pushes Emmi entered the world outside. Such relief, joy and love as I saw my little girl! Everyone just laughed with pure joy when we discovered we had another little girl! Jami gave her to me right away and she nursed wonderfully. I was reluctant to give her up even after a nice good snuggle, but I was also anxious to have Jami look her over and weigh her. Initially Jami guessed 8 pounds, but later during her exam she had Emmi laying on her tummy as she checked her spine and she just giggled and said, "Look at this fat, this is a big baby!" as she pointed at the back of her neck, haha :). Emmi was 9 Lbs. 2 oz., our biggest baby yet. Her placenta was perfectly healthy, though it showed signs of age. Jami showed the placenta to Bri and Tori later and explained the different parts and how it worked, talk about a home school moment! I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the tear sounded much worse than it actually was and would heal on its own, no stitches, yay!!!
Lee told the children the baby had been born but he was going to save the gender surprise for later, alas for him he kinda slipped up a little and then Jami kinda let the cat out of the bag with Bri and Tori when she congratulated them at breakfast, oops! Haha :). After baby and I were comfortable we introduced the children to their new little sister, one of my very favorite things to do. Abbi was so excited that the baby had a nose just like she did! When we told Andrew is was a baby girl he gave a Charlie Brown style, AAAAAA!", it was hilarious! He didn't really mind in the least, he was just being goofy :).
Over the next couple of days Emmi was too sleepy to really nurse well so I fed her as much as I could and then I pumped and fed her what I pumped with a dropper. Ironically, after having a low heart rate during labor she ended up with a high heart rate for a couple of days afterward that we kept an eye on, but she was perfectly fine and squishy and absolutely beautiful. After the first few days Emmi started nursing better so I could stop pumping and start getting some sleep. I barely slept for those first three days.
Bri told me recently that one of the most exciting things after a birth is when Daddy asks them to get mommy something because they will often get to hold the baby when they bring it. She also said the biggest disappointments are the times when Daddy meets them at the door and they don't even make it in the room, haha :).
I often wondered if I loved my home birth with Abbi just because her's was simply an easy birth. Well, I can now put those suspicions to rest ;). Because of her position, Emmi's birth tied with Andrew's which had been my second hardest, and yet still it was a beautiful birth and circumstances being the same I wouldn't change anything...except maybe get more sleep the day before ;). I am very glad I wasn't in the hospital. During labor I kept thinking of all of the likely interventions an average OB would be pushing at different times.
We named Emmi the next day. I have always loved the name Emily, in fact I had a doll named Emily when I was little (the girls have that doll now). We used the spelling Emilee so we could spell Emmi with an i and it would fit with Bri, Tori, Bethi and Abbi. We chose Alyssa after Lee's grandmother on his dad's side. Her name was actually Alice, but when we ran the name by Lee's dad he told us he wanted us to modernize it a bit. So, out of respect for his wishes we chose Alyssa which is a derivative of Alice. Joy came because it fit so perfectly. So, Emilee Alyssa Joy she became, and she truly is a joy to all of us. Her name means "Industrious, Noble and full of the joy of the Lord ", the perfect Proverbs 31 woman, so I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that the verse we chose for her is Proverbs 31:25, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.".
I can't believe that already she has teeth, she's taking steps and trying to say words. Time just flies and I cherish each day the Lord gives me with my little ones while they are here. I know all too soon they will be grown and starting families of their own. I am looking forward to being a grandma someday but I will miss these days of baby kisses, fingerprints on the window and the giggles of my little ones. I am so grateful for these little ones God has graciously given me and I pray fervently that I would bring Him glory as I mother my little ones knowing they are really His. Perhaps the Lord has more surprises for us, I certainly hope so :).