The Story of Emerson’s Birth

As most of you know, my plan was to have a completely natural birth. I switched early in my pregnancy from a highly-respected OB/GYN group to a birthing center with midwives after much research. Call me a hippie or a masochist, but I really wanted to experience the birth of my child sans medication, surgery and in as natural yet safe of a setting as possible.

My sister’s boss once told her that every woman he knew who wanted a natural birth ended up getting the opposite; those who scheduled c-sections and desired epidurals upon admittance often came early… too early for meds. Murphy’s Law. Well Murphy’s Law surely hit me with this birth!

Emerson’s due date was switched to January 2nd from December 28th after her 20-week sonogram. I was happy because I really wanted her to “cook” as long as she desired and not be forced to induce. January 2nd came and went, and the Monday after, due to high blood pressure the last couple of weeks, I was asked to take a NST and get a biophysical/sonogram to see how the baby was doing. The NST was great, but the sonogram showed less than 5 centimeters of amniotic fluid – a number that concerned the doctor enough to call the midwives and tell them he strongly suggested induction… that very day.

I went home to get my bag (was in my husband’s car but he didn’t take me to the appointment) and to do last-minute things around the house. Due to needing an induction, I was admitted not to the birthing center, but to the hospital that was associated with it. I have never been in the hospital before – never a broken bone, stitches or surgery. By 1pm I had a saline lock on my arm, a wristband with my stats and a very uncomfortable hospital bed.

They started me off with a dose of gel that was supposed to open and ripen my cervix. When the midwife (the midwives from the birthing center attended to me even though I was in the hospital) checked me upon admittance, she said I was “only a nub” and they obviously needed more dilation before they tried to progress the birth.

By 8pm I was maybe 2 centimeters dilated at most. They said they could do another dose of gel, but it probably wouldn’t do enough. They recommended a low dose of pitocin overnight to begin mild contractions, hoping it would open up things. I really didn’t want pitocin, but there wasn’t much else of an option. The low dose wasn’t bad – they monitored it very carefully so I always felt in control and relatively comfortable.

Tuesday, they checked my cervix and it was not even 3 centimeters. Argh! They took me off the pit so I could eat and shower, but stuck me on it again and at higher doses. Due to being on the pitocin, I had to be on a constant fetal and contraction monitor, which tied me to the bed (another thing I was very against). One nice nurse found a telemetry unit which would let me walk laps around L&D; we tried it out and the baby’s stats rose and couldn’t always be checked (she moved a LOT when I walked) so I had to get back in bed. They got me a birthing ball and rocking chair for some variety and relief. My contractions were one on top of another, sometimes not even with five seconds between them. I was handling them well and using Hypnobirthing and yoga methods to breathe through them and focus, but they were worried that the speed of them and lack of dilation would cause too much stress to me and the baby.

Tuesday night, they decided to try a different route – a pill that is actually for ulcers but has been shown to cause contractions. I agreed to try it out – 24 hours of contractions and no dilation was utter torture. I got off the IV (hooray!) and swallowed the pill.

I knew the pill didn’t work when I realized I slept for six hours straight. They checked me Wednesday morning and I was still three centimeters, though supposedly “paper thin.” They decided to go with pitocin again, but really carefully monitor and adjust the dosage. I started at 8am; by 8:30 I was feeling pretty strong contractions. They were like the day prior, but with more build-up and time between… the nurses, the midwife and I all felt confident these were more “productive” contractions that would get the job done. Two midwives said “your baby will be born today!” I was so excited…

Until around 1pm… when the contractions got stronger. Stronger as in horrific, painful, unable to think, to breathe, to control. They were in my lower abdomen and my lower back. I couldn’t stand because the darn monitors would fall off my belly; bending over helped the back but hurt the stomach, I was in too much pain to be able to handle the birthing ball any longer, and the rocking chair decided to get some horrible loud squeaking noise every time I glided it back and forth. I tried to breathe, to moan, to flow but it wasn’t helping. I never clenched or strained, but it went to the point where I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t control my body and I just knew something wasn’t going well. I started crying, I felt like such a failure. I became that woman who screams for Jesus and makes everyone in the lobby roll their eyes. My birth plan said to not offer me an epidural – if I needed one my husband or I would state it. Speaking of which, my husband was the most phenomenal birthing partner – I didn’t have to say a word and he seemed to KNOW when to press on my back, when to play with my hair, when to offer light massage, when to back off. He got the iPod going with my labor playlist, and even seemed to know when I needed it turned up to drown out machines and myself.

So anyway, he looked at me, without me saying it, and said, “I am so impressed and proud of you, and think you would still be very brave if you had an epidural.” It was what I was thinking, in my head I was begging and pleading for one but I didn’t say it out loud because I felt like a wimp and failure. But with his support… I asked for one. By now it was around 4pm.

An epidural is so terrifying, even when it’s taking place. It hurts, your body is shaking, the room is overflowing with medical professionals and it’s a horrible experience. My husband held my hands and supported my body as I leaned over the side of the bed to get it inserted in my spine. I was grateful, yet also hated how things had turned out. Pitocin, bed ridden, hospital, and now an epidural. Way things were going, next thing I knew I was going to end up with a caesarean.

The epidural kicked in and it was a very weird experience – my right hip to toe was so numb it was as though it disappeared; my left leg felt more the way one does when a limb falls asleep. I still felt contractions, but more a slight wave in my crotch and hardening of the top of my belly. They decided to check to see how far my cervix had progressed…. Now I was almost four centimeters… almost. After all those hours of extreme pain I didn’t even get a full centimeter of dilation. They tried breaking my water but couldn’t do it – either not enough water or weird positioning of the baby’s head. I was so exhausted and frustrated with my body. Luckily, through all this the baby was completely strong, happy and healthy.

They gave me some time to rest while I had almost unknown contractions. My husband started looking a bit worse for wear – sweaty, red eyes, pale. He had been with me since admittance, only leaving once to shower and change clothes. He said he was feeling a bit weird and went to the bathroom, and didn’t emerge for over an hour. He asked if it was okay to use the shower, thinking it would make him feel better. It didn’t. By 8pm he had chills, aches and couldn’t keep anything in his system. He internal reflexes were in overdrive, and he was dry heaving and puking bile after his stomach had emptied.

The midwives come in around 10pm and say they think the baby won’t come until the next day. My husband goes home to medicate himself, rest up so he can see the birth. My sister and mom come to sit with me. They check me and decide after my husband has left that a few pushes may help the cervix get going.

We push for about three hours and things are going far better. They can see the baby’s head and say she has hair. My water broke. I started dilating and next thing was around eight centimeters. They try different pushing positions, but keep me on my back because the baby’s head was behind my pelvic bone and they needed her to move toward my back. So I was in the typical position I never wanted to be in – legs in stirrups, back on the bed, pushing for all life’s worth. Between pushes I visualized her head descending but they said after each push which would descend the head, a relaxation would cause her to slip back up behind the bone.

They brought in an obstetrician, who said they could try forceps or vacuum, but she didn’t think it would work and most likely would need a cesarean. My husband wasn’t there, my sister called him and he was in such bad shape he was on the bathroom floor unable to move. This is a man who does 100K hikes for fun, gets sick maybe once a year, dealt with cancer and chemo without a tear. For him to be crying in the fetal position at home while I was in labor… we ALL knew it was really really bad.

So I keep pushing and I start getting the feeling back in my right leg. They say this is normal due to gravity and body positioning. I push and can feel when contractions come and how my pushing affects things. They say this is good and I feel productive, yet so sad and frustrated my husband isn’t there. I start to cry, they tell me the baby could possibly come with any push if it is a good enough one. My sister is holding one leg. My mom is helping me curl up into pushes, the nurse and midwife are both so supportive but my husband isn’t there.

Now I am feeling contractions, and ask my mom to press the while button on the epidural drip. She does, the nurse says it will take 15 minutes for it to kick in. The contractions are so strong now, and with each contraction I can feel the catheter ballooning inside me which is utter torture. I cling to the side of the hospital bed and watch the clock tick down. The time is up and I have no relief… in fact it feels even stronger. My mom looks at the machine, and sees a cord on the ground. Somehow the epidural drip disconnected from my back. No wonder! They call in the anesthesiologist to reattach it. Takes ten minutes for him to arrive, and then another fifteen minutes after reattachment for it to kick in. Two minutes after he finishes reattaching, the obstetrician arrives saying we’re going to try forceps, and try right then and there.

The catheter feels like some archaic torture device, the contractions feel like the last scene of Braveheart, and now they are putting what looks like metal car fenders in me and asking me to push like I never pushed before. My husband is not there.

In the middle of the first push, I feel the warmth of the epidural kick in and I feel as though it is a sign that it’s now, it’s this way, and I need to block out all the pain and frustration and do it. Three rounds of pushes, and I feel enough to feel her head, and then her shoulders come out. Omigod, that seemed so… quick! 5:35 AM, Thursday January 8th. She isn’t crying, she is coated in meconium so they whisk her to the other side of the room to clean and suction her. I am up in stirrups, slid down to the bottom of the bed, unable to move in any way. They tell me I have a fourth degree tear and have to sew it up. The obstetrician and my midwife get to work, I am at such an angle that I can’t really see the warming table where Emerson is located. There seems to be a dozen medical professionals in the room scurrying about, my mom is holding my hand, my sister is checking on Emerson. Finally we hear a cry… and it seems as though it’s from another room, another person’s baby. I ask my sister to cut the umbilical cord. I feel sad… my husband missed it, and really I missed it too. I feel so detached and deflated and wrong.

Finally I am stitched up and Emerson is clean and healthy. They bundle her up and place her on my chest; I still am numb almost in my entire body and have my legs propped up, but I am able to hold her up to my face and look in her eyes. And I think she looked in mine and she looked like me, and like my sister and like my husband in the brows and my mom’s side of the family and so… beautiful. Not alien, not like a wrinkled old man, but even with all the red stripes of forcep marks, just so delicate and feminine and beautiful and I started to feel connected.

She got a 3 on her first APGAR, but a 9 on the second one. She got healthy very quickly and we were finally left to hang out with one another. I asked to have her exclusively breastfed, so we got the chance to bond over her first meal. I needed a nurse’s assistance but it was nice that it was the nurse who was with me through the whole evening.

Around 11am on Thursday they move me to a different room on a different floor. This room has a far more comfortable bed (not one that morphs into a birthing chair) and a whole different staff and a good energy. It doesn’t even smell like a hospital as the L&D room did.

This is where Emerson and I resided until Saturday afternoon. The hospital was amazing – the techs were so helpful and sweet, the nurses were total saints. I was visited by five different lactation consultants who showed me all sorts of techniques and holds. One day I was so exhausted, a nurse came and swaddled Emerson tight, and took her to hang with the nurses for a bit and at that time, I could sleep for two hours and even a massage therapist came by for a complimentary back rub. The OB and my midwives came by to say hi, meet Emerson, congratulate me on being such a trooper. The only thing that sucked was that my husband still hadn’t healed. He had a high fever so he couldn’t come see Emerson. He didn’t want to see pictures because he wanted his first view to be her in person. But he called several times a day so I could let him hear her and tell him what she did and how we were doing.

I have never been a baby person – as a teen I preferred sitting toddlers and when friends have had children I may coo and play with a little foot but I never like to hold or cuddle with infants. I don’t know what to do with them, and I always find them a bit weird and slightly scary. I feared parenthood – gosh I didn’t even know how to hold a baby and had never changed and diaper. No need to worry, it seemed like instinct. The nurses taught me basics, but really it was as though I delivered the baby, the placenta, and then Service Pack B for my brain to know what to do with a baby. Also, once her skin touched mine, it was instant passionate love between us two – totally surreal and awesome experience.

Saturday, my husband arrived around 9am and instantly fell in love with Emerson. Nothing more wonderful than to see our baby with him, them getting to know one another.

Since then, I have been very tired… my body has gone through quite a lot with the healing from the tear as well as other things (TMI, but I think trying to poop after pregnancy and stitches is scarier than having to push a baby out). But it has been awesome – my husband doesn’t have to work right now so we’re working together to take care of Emerson. My mom and sister have been AMAZING – last night was my mom’s birthday so they made dinner and brought it over and we had cake and watched the Golden Globes together. While at the hospital they came to the house to prepare the place for Emerson – setting up the Pack & Play in our bedroom, washing laundry and dishes, etc. Right now I am in bed with my husband and a very gassy Emerson, chilling after a marathon feeding. Ruckus is on the floor and we’re a tired, overwhelmed but happy family. It wasn’t the birth I had envisioned, but it doesn’t really matter because of the final product.

As for fashion… well due to the stitches I am far more comfortable in dresses. The summer dresses from New York & Company, the gray jersey Old Navy dress and even my black matte jersey Old Navy dress that I wore to my friend’s wedding are awesome. All have surplice necklines that work with breastfeeding, are soft fabrics and are a length where I am covered but not twisted up. I have a navy jersey robe from Lands End that I can throw over it for comfort. Due to not being a perfect size anything before the baby and still not one, I have yet to find a nursing tank that is comfortable, fits and flatters. I do own one from Bravissimo, it gets the job done but due to the weight and size of my breasts it cannot be worn outside the house without getting arrested for indecent exposure. As for nursing bras, I got an underwire one from Nordstrom that is awesome… but I haven’t tried it now that my milk is coming in. I have tried several others and they weren’t working pre-milk so I fear they won’t now. So anyone who had large breasts and some curves pre-pregnancy and then found a bra or tank that actually worked and didn’t leave everything hanging out, hanging down, or smooshed do let me know. Preferably online… don’t think I’ll be getting to a mall any time soon!

For those who want to know additional pregnancy and motherhood related details – where I went, what birthing center I used, reviews of products, natural remedies I am trying for PPD, healing, and what I tried to naturally ready myself for labor (and they said actually did help in the long run) feel free to email me. I do not want this blog to become a baby blog, and my views are naturally not going to be the same as all those who read here.

I respect everyone’s decisions on how they want their pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood to go. No one knows what is best for you and your baby more than you. Don’t think my views here are saying I am anti any other birth plan – in fact this experience helped me respect more plans and methods alternate to my views before giving birth. To all those who have sent well wishes, we thank you so much! The blogging community is amazing and I am glad to know all of you through it! For those who are expecting, I wish you much health, luck and happiness with this journey!!!

And for those who want some baby pics… we have baby during and after her first bath at home (with proud Daddy who did the honor), what I like to call “Dr. Evil Emerson,” and “Emerson in Pink.” Due to her size, no chi chi outfits of yet… pretty much rocking the tee and diaper look with a blanket or gown. But do know when she gets some weight on her and some regularity, I will be showing her decked out in her baby duds. 🙂

UPDATES:
My sister (and best friend and fabulous birthing partner!) read this and saw I missed a few details or got them wrong. Love her! Here's her view (more accurate since she wasn't drugged or crying out for mercy ;P )

* your water broke at some point before 8pm, possibly while [husband] and I were out for dinner or a little before that
* [Husband] left around 10:30pm – or at least that’s when you called me
* you pushed for 4 hours before Mommy realized the epidural was unattached. I first called [husband] at 11:10 to tell him you were about to push and it was only 5 minutes later that you did. The nurse and midwife told the OB at one point and said you had only been pushing for 30 minutes when really it was about an hour, hour and a half. I don’t know if they were confused or if they did it on purpose to prevent the OB from talking c-section too soon.
* you fell asleep once the epidural was working again and were asleep for about an hour. Then around 5am, they came back in and it was only at that point that they decided to use forceps. Before it was only vacuum and threat of c-section.
* it was Mommy who got them to use forceps by telling her birth story with you to the OB.

Thanks sister! 😀

71 Comments

  1. April 23, 2009 / 3:13 am

    I love your story, and your daughter and hubby are adorable! (I don’t see you anywhere on this page, but I’ll tool around some more). I found you because I was looking for mentions of our site, One Hot Mama, and saw what MDMom wrote. We are still here, after 11 years, 4 kids and lots of hard work. I have had many funny birth plans. I’ve had life plans, too. Like the one where we had 3 kids. But the last pregnancy turned out to be identical twins. God’s pretty funny that way. Come visit any time you need nursing duds. Or when you feel pregnant again. Oh, and the post-partum poop? Not TMI — it would have been nice to know that would be the thing that scared me more than anything in the world. 🙂 Happy Mothers Day (next month)

  2. Anonymous
    February 6, 2009 / 4:29 am

    Allie,

    Thank you so much for your refreshingly real and beautiful birth story. I am a midwife and am impressed with your bravery, your family, your care providers, and your partner. You have a wonderful attitude about it all. And thanks so much for all the “unmentionables”, like pooping after a fourth degree laceration (yikes!) and not really feeling maternal before you had your daughter. More women than you know will benefit from your honesty and touchingly open heart. Congratulations! Here’s wishing you and your family the very best.

  3. January 28, 2009 / 6:51 am

    Congratulations to the three of you! Your birth story really resonated with me – a mum of three- my last labour was 4 days, and I have been induced twice. Neither induction worked particularly well, needing waters broken to progress at all. 2 ventouse (vacuum) deliveries after basically failed inductions. Worst was the first – I had useless midwife who failed to advocate for me, and who allowed my epidural to wear off too much. Third was fairly terrifying when resident stuffed up the epidural – hearing my husband say “there’s not supposed to be blood in the line!” was not great! But excellent midwife that time round who supported me through – and I finally got to push out one of my babies with no assistance! Was the best feeling ever! Great to share stories – and don’t apologize for talking babies on a fashion blog – I read to hear your unique voice, since we dress very differently 😉

  4. Anonymous
    January 27, 2009 / 5:51 am

    wow! glad she’s here 🙂 my mom twice gave birth with very little fluid 2 weeks late. both were dangerous but she managed to have them with no problems. the cord was around the baby’s neck one of those times. brother is okay 🙂 mom has had 11 kids. she hears every time someone say the same thing, that they feel guilty for not going natural. she tells them it’s okay because we live like kings, we aren’t farming and doing real work that keeps us super healthy, we eat “kings food” as the bible would put it. we often need some help.

  5. Anonymous
    January 24, 2009 / 3:13 am

    Congrats and thanks for sharing your experience. I agree that the final product (beautiful!) is what matters. Having had one C-sec and one “natural” birth, I can tell you I preferred the C-section personally. You are so fortunate to have such supportive relatives and friends.
    (I was astounded and annoyed at the couple of “anonymous” people who felt the need to spread their toxic comments here. Let them click somewhere else.)

  6. Anonymous
    January 21, 2009 / 11:35 pm

    all babies look alike…don’t kid yourself about the “beauty” of that wrinkled pooping lump, she’ll grow up to hate you for giving “her” such a butch name.

  7. Anonymous
    January 21, 2009 / 11:04 pm

    Allie,

    Congratulations to you and your husband. Emerson is beautiful!

    Sometimes the birthing process is unpredictable. It doesn’t happen the way we expect or want it (I ended up with c-sections with my two kids). Hope all is going well. Enjoy your time with Emerson… the first year will fly by so quickly.

  8. Allison
    January 20, 2009 / 9:39 pm

    WOWZA Allie! That’s quite a story. Hope you are all well and hope your healing continues.

    Emerson is just lovely! And babies look good on your hubby too! (and I’m sure you as well!)

    All the best to you as you start the best job on earth – being mommy!

  9. Rebecca Hoogstraten
    January 17, 2009 / 4:41 pm

    Dear Mother,
    I think you were wonderful. I had a very unwanted HBAC turned CBAC on Nov. 15- It also included everything
    I would never have wanted. Despite everything I am *so* glad you didn’t have a cesarean.
    warmly,
    Rebecca

  10. January 16, 2009 / 6:56 pm

    Wowza. I feel nauseous and exhausted just reading this! I commend you 100 times over and agree with your hubby: epidural and all, you were still incredibly brave and woman-warrior. It’s amazing what our bodies will do when we need them!

    Btw, your explanation of the way your body felt with and without the epidural was so fascinating. I’ve always wondered what it felt like.

  11. January 16, 2009 / 4:48 pm

    Allie so glad that you hung in there and fought to have natural childbirth! Kudos to you!! Emerson is all that! She fought to make her debut into the world and everybody is here, healthy and happy! God is good!

  12. Anonymous
    January 15, 2009 / 5:51 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now. Like you, I’ve never been a “baby person” (I’m an only child and don’t have much experience with babies/kids), but I’d love to have children one day–however, I’m really scared to give birth! I try to embrace a healthful lifestyle and have considered natural childbirth (if I am lucky enough to get pregnant). I appreciate that you’ve shared this experience–it has made me less anxious about the future. You’re so brave! Emerson is lucky to have such a wonderful mother.

  13. January 15, 2009 / 10:30 am

    Congratulations on such a beautiful baby. And thanks for sharing the story of the birth – I do not want children and reading all of that has just reaffirmed that decision!
    🙂

  14. Melanie
    January 15, 2009 / 4:23 am

    Congrats she is gorgeous!! With the birth of my 6th child my breasts were a 44dd , In Montana we are a tad bit limited on great shops, but I actually found a great underwire nursing bra that was extemely comfortable… @ Target! Anyway I wish you the best.. and in all honesty I would rather face having all 6 of my kids with no meds and a pitocin induced contractions then face the pooping after baby.. OUCH!!!

    Rest when she is resting and make sure that you are taking care of you too. Congrats Allie, Mr. Allie and lil’ Emerson!

  15. Anonymous
    January 15, 2009 / 2:19 am

    yaaaaay allie! enjoy this super special time. how strong you are!

    – Kay

  16. Anonymous
    January 15, 2009 / 2:07 am

    I have been a reader for several months now and have really enjoyed your blog. Emerson’s birth story has me in awe. I can’t even imagine all the emotions, feelings and thoughts that were going through your head during the entire ordeal. You are obviously a very strong woman (!) and as you said, the most important thing was the end result – your gorgeous and healthy baby. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story!!

    Lisa

  17. January 14, 2009 / 7:03 pm

    Congratulations, and she is beautiful! Don’t dare feel guilty for not following your natural birth plan…your daughter is healthy and safe, and that is all that matters. I know from experience that induced labor from pitocin is about 10 times worse than normal, naturally progressing labor! And to have to go through it all without your husband there!
    With my daughter (now 3 years old), I intended to deliver in a hospital, but with no epidural or pain meds. I wound up with a c-section and being put completely to sleep after nine hours of induced labor, 2 failed epidurals, and a failed spinal block. But it was all worth it.
    We’re expecting our second child in July, and I’m planning to schedule a section this time…but who knows what will happen? It’s true that childbirth is the worst pain you’ll ever experience in your life, but it is the easiest to forget!

  18. January 14, 2009 / 5:23 pm

    girl, you are so right- you cannot plan a perfect labor- you are a total trooper- i wanted the epidural from day one, i dont like pain! i had a 4th degree tear with justin- not fun! with jacob (my 2nd ) was a planned c-section. the recovery everyone told me was not too bad- seriously- like 9 out of 11 of my friends told me that- so i beileved the majority- but for me, the recovery was HORRIBLE, SO MUCH PAIN, hurt to cough, hurt to laugh, hurt to get in and out of bed, miserable. i am glad i am done having babies!

    also, the first few weeks for me were rough! due to lack of sleep in the hospital during/before the birth- and lack of sleep after the birth- and hormones and life! but it DOES get better! i am not one who cries much, but i cried alot the first few weeks with both kids- i don’t do well without sleep!

    ps- she is beautiful!

  19. January 14, 2009 / 4:50 pm

    i look back on the birth plan i wrote for my first birth and all i can do is laugh! nothing, and i mean nothing went according to that plan… i was so naive. i think having one helps with the the unknown, because ultimately, we really have no control in the process. for my subsequesnt births i just went with the flow.

    when i was nursing i found a really cool website called “one hot mama” — i don’t know if it’s still around — where i found a double camisole that covered me nicely while i nursed, not even cleavage showed, including my sides and icky ripply stomach. it has a very pretty boatneck and it was perfect under open button-down shirts. i don’t ever go sleeveless, but if you do, it can go that way also.

    and btw, emerson is absolutely gorgeous. really, good job, you two!

  20. Monique
    January 14, 2009 / 4:36 pm

    Allie thank you for being brave enough to share your full story. I don’t have any kids yet, and fankly after that story I’m not sure I’m looking forward to it :-), but I am extremely proud of you and again congratulte you and your hubby on your little blessing. Where DID the name Emerson come from if you don’t mind sharing?

  21. January 14, 2009 / 1:53 pm

    I am so glad everything worked out – you have a beautiful daughter!!! 🙂 Congrats!

  22. January 14, 2009 / 2:27 am

    She is so pretty with the most adorable nose I have every seen. Your hubby is so cute, bursting with pride. Congrats!

    Check out Birthandbaby.com for bras

  23. Emily A.
    January 14, 2009 / 2:07 am

    Congratulations Allie! Emerson looks absolutely perfect. And soon to be a fashionista, too! I can’t wait for outfit pics! Thank you for taking the time to share the birth story, I hope you are healing and resting well.

  24. mo
    January 14, 2009 / 2:01 am

    Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you are able to take some time to settle in with Mr. Allie and Emerson. I can’t wait to see what sort of wardrobe you have for your sweet baby girl!
    Remember to sleep when the baby sleeps and be good to yourself. You deserve it!

  25. January 14, 2009 / 1:14 am

    Oh Allie! What a beautiful little peanut! You’re so right, she doesn’t look crazy or old man wrinkly! You can see her oozing personality already.

    When I had my first child, through crazy circumstances I had to be put to sleep (and subsequently ended up in a coma because they over medicated me–but that’s a whole ‘nuther story!) I always regretted not having that bonding time with her. When my second was born I had to have another c-section but got to be awake for it and I’ll never ever forget seeing my son for the first time. He was screaming and crying and as soon as they brought him over to me he stopped and we just stared at each other. I could have stared at him forever. It’s funny how you can so easily forget the details of the most important day of your life because in the end, they don’t matter, only your baby matters.

    Poor Mr. Allie! Mruphy’s Law all the way around for you, huh?

  26. Anonymous
    January 14, 2009 / 12:06 am

    First of all, congratulations on your beautiful girl. I just had my first in November via c-section, but that day already seems like years ago.

    You asked about nursing bras … I am large-busted, especially since I produce massive amounts of milk. The best supportive bra I’ve found, and I’ve tried a lot, is the Medela underwire. The Bravado just didn’t work for me. The Medela one comes in large sizes, has comfy wide straps, and stretches when you are full. Has to be underwire though, the others don’t support and gave me really bad back pain. You can get them online. Gap has them, or just google Medela Underwire Nursing Bra. Hope this helps!

    Dana

  27. January 13, 2009 / 10:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. Emerson is beautiful (and I absolutely adore that name!). You and your husband are truly blessed.

    Congratulations!

  28. January 13, 2009 / 10:06 pm

    Welcome to beautiful baby Emerson – you are right, she really does look like such a feminine little thing – but I couldn’t imagine you with a non-girly girl!

    Thank you so much for sharing your birth story. None of the women I know who’ve had babies (including my sister) have shared this much info, sometimes it seems like a conspiracy of silence! So it’s really honest and generous of you to share this.

  29. Argelia
    January 13, 2009 / 9:28 pm

    Incredible story, Allie! And one you will be able to proudly tell Em when she grows up. BE SUPER PROUD, MAMA. You accomplished the most amazing thing humanly possible — you gave life.

  30. Anonymous
    January 13, 2009 / 9:11 pm

    Gross. Bet you’ll think twice before getting knocked up again. All the little girls with little girls’ names will be making fun of “emerson” – ugh. dumb name.

  31. Marie
    January 13, 2009 / 8:57 pm

    Holy toledo! You deserve an award, medal or something for going through such an ordeal! My hat’s off to you, I could never have done it. Your baby is adorable! I’m glad you are ok. Your blogging was missed!

    Hey, this is 100% proof that women are NOT the weaker sex.

    CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND YOUR HUBBY!!!!

  32. January 13, 2009 / 8:34 pm

    I’m really happy for you. This is wonderful news and you have a perfect baby. She and I have the same middle name!

  33. January 13, 2009 / 7:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Babies come when and how they want. You know the saying, the war plan always changes on contact with the enemy? I think the birth plan changes with the onset of labor. The most important thing is that you, your husband and the baby are fine.

  34. January 13, 2009 / 7:07 pm

    Oh Allie she is so beautiful.

  35. chicamericaine
    January 13, 2009 / 7:02 pm

    I’m nominating you for woman of the year. You really demonstrated how strong you are, and that is a strength that you will impart to beautiful little Emerson her whole life. You go girl!

    My earliest lesson in parenthood was about the best laid plans. A scheduled c-section at 38 weeks for a large baby in a bad breech position with the cord wrapped around her neck was not my plan. A baby that NEVER slept (10-minute cat naps, up every 1.5 hours for months) was not what I had envisioned. She was 2 1/2 before she regularly slept through the night. Before I had her I thought I would have more control over things. Giving up the illusion of control (over the birth process, over her personality and habits, etc.) was a revelation.

    I also never imagined that I would breastfeed for 3 years (I didn’t think I would survive my second week, quite frankly; cold cabbage leaves inserted into the nursing bra got me through). I’m really not at all the earth mother type. During those same 3 years I finished my last year of law school, was editor-in-chief of the law review, studied for and passed the bar and went to work for a huge law firm. Breastfeeding helped us maintain our bond through all of that craziness. Not driving myself insane with trying to do it “perfectly” was also key. I supplemented with formula as needed. Mind you, I’m not recommending the way I did it, I’m just saying that remaining flexible made it possible for me.

    Do your best to tune out people who make you feel like you somehow failed in your childbirth experience. I got so annoyed by people who would tell me, “don’t worry, you can have a natural childbirth next time.” As it turned out, my baby girl is my one and only. And she is the joy of my life. The way she came into the world? Who cares? She arrived healthy. She’s 15 1/2, an age when many mothers and daughters are completely at odds, and we are so close. I am completely blessed.

    I’m so happy that you have the right perspective on things. Enjoy the journey. The fact that you can’t plan it out in advance actually makes it better.

    Sending big bisous to the whole family from Paris,

    Karen

  36. January 13, 2009 / 6:26 pm

    Wow, you sure went through a lot! I hope you are able to relax and heal up after all that. The baby is beautiful and you are blessed!

  37. January 13, 2009 / 6:15 pm

    My goodness Allie – that was quite an ordeal. Well, now you know you can survive anything! The fluid measurement thing is somewhat controversial……

    Emerson is just beautiful!!!!!! Take it easy and let people wait on your for a few weeks. Enjoy!!!!

  38. January 13, 2009 / 6:07 pm

    I think they should tell all expectant mothers to make a birth plan and then hold it really loosely in their minds, ready to let it go (toss it away) at any moment. I often wonder if a birth “plan” is just something we have come up with to give ourselves a sense of control when reality is that this miracle of life is bigger than anything anyone can wrap their mind around. You were incredibly brave and had strength you probably never knew you had! And if someone told you beforehand what you would experience I’ll bet you would have said “no way”. It’s amazing how God reveals the best parts of us in moments like this. I am excited for you as you nurture your baby and grow in ways unimagined!
    Cheers to you and your husband!

  39. Anonymous
    January 13, 2009 / 5:01 pm

    Allie,
    You are exacty right about Murphy’s law. I had a doula lined up, the hypnobirthing in place, arigid birth plan etc etc and ended up being induced with cytotek (two rounds) the pitocin, long story short ended up with c-section.
    It is a sad, sad fact that so many women treat birth like an olympic event where it is judged on your performance. And often we are the harshest to ourselves.

    I’ve since had baby 2 and can say that what you said about the birth being a blip in a lifetime with this child is spot on!

    I hope you heal quickly and perfectly. Breastfeeding hurt like hell for firt three weeks with my first; with my second it only hurt bout a week…and then it is such a wonderful experience after that!

    BEst of luck,
    Beatiful baby!
    -Grace

  40. Tina
    January 13, 2009 / 4:41 pm

    Is nothing private anymore?

  41. January 13, 2009 / 4:12 pm

    Congratulations on your beautiful family!

    Any way that your baby is delivered safely is a-ok in my book. There is no “failure” on your part or anyone else’s. Really, just forget about all of your expectations and hopes for the labor and delivery, and just focus on the end result.

    Or think of it this way: without the intervention of modern medicine, you may have DIED during childbirth, or perhaps your daughter would have. You are both alive and healthy. That’s all that matters.

    My best to you in the new year!

    Amities,
    Marsi

  42. Candy Heiress
    January 13, 2009 / 4:04 pm

    You are my hero! I am so proud of you.

    And you are not kidding about that pooping thing. I almost lied to them and told them I did just so they would feed me.

  43. LT
    January 13, 2009 / 3:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing Emerson’s birth with us Allie. I look forward to many more stories to come.

  44. Anonymous
    January 13, 2009 / 2:23 pm

    Daddy looks happy.

  45. January 13, 2009 / 1:52 pm

    You’re so right, the process is negligible when you consider the end result. I had a perineal tear with my first child too and like you was afraid of post suture BM. Just be sure to use a squirt perineal bottle to keep everything clean and hydrated.

    As for nursing fashion, I had huge success with taking old tees or tanks and cutting vertical slits over each breast. Top that with a cardigan, sweater, or whathaveyou and your belly will stay warm and modest when you lift up the overshirt.

    Congrats on your beautiful baby. She’s completely adorable. Love the pic of your husband holding her post bath. I think she’s got him wrapped already.

    Do whatever you can to keep your nursing relationship intact. It’s the best investment in her future you can give her.

  46. January 13, 2009 / 1:12 pm

    Thanks everyone!

    I wrote Bravissimo, thinking of the UK company that makes items for larger busted women, but I mean Bravado. Lack of sleep and all that 🙂

    Breastfeeding isn’t going too bad 0- I really love the bonding with her and feel so accomplished and feminine to be able to do it. We have had some rough spots (yesterday wasn’t the best) but in general we are getting the hang of it together 🙂

    My husband and I both feel that the actual birth is a blip in the amazing lifetime we will have with Emerson. Ever since she has arrived, life has been… crisper and more… right for the two of us.

    Well off for another feeding! 😀

  47. Anonymous
    January 13, 2009 / 10:47 am

    hi there and congrats – she is very cute.

    My daughter is a midwifery sister in the U.K.I hear her say a LOT that shorter stature women have the odds stacked against them.Are you on the petite side?

    Unfortunateley (and fortunately) once you are in an established labour in hospital, the evidence base follows a strict protocol. e.g. the baby has to be on its way once a c.section has been decided for example – knife to skin and then delivery.

    As you say, you had the best outcome and yes, you will heal.

    Take care.

  48. January 13, 2009 / 6:36 am

    What a tough, strong mama you are! Congratulations on your journey and focus on her and your healing. Sounds like you are doing great.

    (I experienced the same – ahem – injuries you did and recovered great.)

  49. January 13, 2009 / 6:22 am

    You’re right on the money by saying no one’s birth story ever follows their birth plan! I was induced because my son was over two weeks late, and frankly, as a young and scared 20yo, it didn’t even cross my mind to say I didn’t want an induction and wanted to wait a bit longer so long as the baby was healthy. So, similar story as yours; gel followed by pitocin and being strapped to the bed. Finally giving up and asking for an epi because I couldn’t move to try and work through the pain.

    So many things I would do differently if I ever have another baby (which I desperately want, but my husband says that one kid is more than enough *sigh*). It definitely is the end result that matters, and your body will truly forget the trauma that it went through.

    Good luck with breastfeeding. Weeks two and three are the worst in terms of pain, but once you get through the chapped nipples and the bleeding, it becomes a truly meditative and relaxing activity. I was on a budget and used Playtex nursing bras because they had my gigantic size (36F), but they weren’t very supportive. Herroom.com has a pretty decent selection of top quality brands and gives you 60 days to return.
    http://www.herroom.com/Maternity,Nursing-bras,220,001,10.html

    Best of luck with your new family!

  50. January 13, 2009 / 5:55 am

    HOLY MOLY! You went through so much! And despite the journey not taking the exact route you’d hoped for, you are still such a strong woman!

    Congrats again to you and your beautiful family!

  51. Tara Incognita
    January 13, 2009 / 5:23 am

    My instinct is to say, “You poor thing!” but I know that you don’t want pity, that you just wanted those of us who were curious to hear the story. Your sounds so similar to mine, but mine ended in a c because I had a fever and my little dude was going into distress. To this day I still feel like I failed somehow because I spent all of my pregnancy visualizing my cervix opening (nope, hardly at all) and him coming out the regular way (unh-unh.) You have exactly the right idea, though, in focusing on that precious little angel. And tell Mr. Allie that all that matters is his being her papa. I think I never appreciated, until thinking back now, how hard it is for a man who loves the woman who is bearing his child, to have to go through it as a total bystander. No way to help, just have to support. And yet, it’s so personal for them, too, obviously. I hope the nursing is going well. That was what brought me back from the edge of insanity after my labor, because I felt so empowered by the experience. I honestly think that on my deathbed I will be grateful for having nursed my son (but that is just me, and I can be dramatic about that kind of thing.)

  52. January 13, 2009 / 4:51 am

    You did great and Emerson is gorgeous. I had high risk pregnancies and difficult births with both of my children but as you have discovered, the important thing is the safe delivery of a healthy child. Enjoy her!

  53. January 13, 2009 / 4:31 am

    Thank you for sharing your birthing story! Your daughter is just gorgeous, and I really like the picture of your husband holding her, and she is looking up at him – that one is awesome. She’s a daddy’s girl for sure!
    Kathy F.

  54. January 13, 2009 / 3:28 am

    Congratulations on beautiful Emerson! She is adorable. And if you find yourself regretting parts of her birth experience, or dwelling on it too much, talk to someone about it. Watch out for PPD in these first few weeks and get help if you need it. You did perfectly. She’s gorgeous.

    Bravado bras for this big-busted woman! Good luck!

  55. kh
    January 13, 2009 / 3:22 am

    Congrats on your beautiful baby. Give yourself time to heal from the birth. It’s been 8 weeks since my last birth and I’m just now starting to feel back to normal, and I’m *not* in my regular clothes yet. 😉
    Check out Bravado for bras and tanks. They have larger sizes. As for nursing clothes Expressiva has nice clothes.

    Congratulations again

  56. January 13, 2009 / 2:29 am

    Oh Ali! You poor dear, what an ordeal. And all without the mister! I hope you are on your feet soon and you and K enjoy your little girl and all she brings. xoxo D

  57. January 13, 2009 / 1:33 am

    You rock girl! Congratulations dear. You have an unusually pretty little girl. You have discovered strengths you never knew you had. You haven’t even lost your sense of self – I laughed out loud when your 29th paragraph began with a fashion report. Dear Allie, you are great!

    P.S. My first birth was much like yours, but ended in a c-section. My second baby was born vaginally, all 10 pounds 4 ounces of him. Each one is different.

  58. January 13, 2009 / 1:11 am

    Wow Ali, I’ve been enjoying your blog for the last 18 months, and was getting nervous that there was so much time between your “no baby yet” post and the next one. I’m sorry you didn’t have the experience you wanted and that your hubby was so sick he had to miss it, but I’m really impressed that you made it through and now have an adorable baby girl. Congrats!

  59. Anonymous
    January 13, 2009 / 12:59 am

    Blessings—-a beautiful little girl. I remember after my 4th degree laceration so afraid to have a bowel movement. But i found that by applying a clean wash cloth to the epis site; when bearing down i would apply pressure up—felt great support. Hope that helps, pam

  60. January 13, 2009 / 12:29 am

    Your birth story sounds very similar to my last delivery (#4! Kids 1-3 were easy compared to the last one): sorta labor, low fluid, baby not wanting to come out, pitocin drip….not what anyone plans. Happily, the end result is what matters. She is adorable. Glad to hear that all of you are home and doing well!

  61. January 13, 2009 / 12:27 am

    You are so right when you say that the end result is worth whatever labor you have! I had tears with both my babies (2nd or 3rd degrees I think…hard to remember now!), and both times, they healed up beautifully! The thing that helped me best was sitz baths (water in the bath just above your hips) with some herbs in them (can’t remember which ones…comfrey, maybe?)…oh, I remember those feeling SO good! I’m sure your midwife will know what to put in them. Just wanted to let you know that you will heal and you will be able to poop again (I so remember that feeling, too!).

    About nursing, I was a 40F when nursing, and I used Bravado bras. Really, you can use sports bras, as long as you can hike them up…I found the ones with the flaps to be more trouble than they were worth. As for nursing tops, why not try just a regular camisole or tank underneath a regular shirt? That way, you have two layers and can just pull the tank up while keep the regular shirt down (does that make sense?). You will get to be a pro at nursing soon enough, and this will probably be easier for you to do. Eventually, I simply pulled up whatever shirt I had on and let the baby cover my middle…really, nothing shows that way (I nursed my kids in public until they were around a year old, and never had anyone complain!).

    Emerson is beautiful and so lucky to have you and Mr. Allie for parents! Looking forward to seeing her wardrobe once she gets bigger!

  62. January 12, 2009 / 11:47 pm

    I just want to clarify thatnot getting an epidural was and still is my biggest regret ever! You were so brave and smart to ask for one!

  63. January 12, 2009 / 11:47 pm

    Congrats again, she is lovely! and you’re a trooper! I’m glad your hubby feels better, now spend as much time with her as you can, it feels like I had birth last week but it was 2 years ago, time flies.

  64. January 12, 2009 / 11:26 pm

    Thank you so much for your story. It is true that there is not one right way to have a baby, just as there is no one right way to be a parent. I had an epidural with my first child, and a completely natural birth with my second. To be honest, my second child was born in a bathroom is an academic hall! I was trying to make it through one last class because I knew I’d be out of school for a while after he was born, and my Sam did not want to wait! I was so proud of myself for going through that ordeal, but people said some really awful things to me–that I was “selfish” for trying to attend that class, that my priorities were not in the right place, all that stuff. But then I had a professor who looked at me and said, “Well, you have the evidence in your arms that you did the right thing, because he’s perfect.” And it’s true–he is. All women should know that you can be a wonderful mother even if things don’t go as planned, which they never do.

    Again, thank you for your story. Best of luck with your beautiful girl, and if you need any support or have a question (Lord, I have a ton of questions, and my kid is 5!), feel free to email me. I can’t guarantee I’ll know the answer, but I’ll do my best!

  65. cindy lou
    January 12, 2009 / 10:55 pm

    Hi Allie,

    I have been reading your blog for about 3 months now and have been waiting anxiously for news of the birth. I am so sorry things did not go as planned. Please do not think it was anything you did or did not due that caused your difficulties. With the first baby, especially, you have no idea how your body is going to respond to the process of giving birth. And there is so much about giving birth that no one tells you could possibly happen, depending on this scenario or that. I too hated epidurals, so much so that I opted not to have one with my third, I just had a pain medicine in my IV. However, he was only 6 lbs. If I had not had an epidural with my second baby who weighed almost 9 lbs, with the tearing that happened to me, I don’t know if I could have handled it. Regarding nursing bras, it has been so long for me that I can’t recommend any current suppliers, but I will say make sure it is super supportive. I was an E cup during nursing, and if your bra is not supportive enough the weight of your full breasts will be very painful. You were so stylish during your pregnancy, and having only seen you then, I can’t wait to see your style after you get your own body back (remember that it will not be your “old” body — body after baby will be new!)Emerson is simply beautiful and I wish you and your husband health and joy as you embark on the journey into parenthood!

  66. January 12, 2009 / 8:31 pm

    That was one hell of a birth lady!
    Hoping you all have a more calm and peaceful few weeks settling in together.
    Emerson is absolutely lovely

  67. January 12, 2009 / 8:31 pm

    She is stunning! Sounds like quite a delivery. Congratulations, we look forward to not only your cute outfits but Emerson’s as well.

  68. January 12, 2009 / 8:29 pm

    Congratulations! She is so beautiful!

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m expecting a baby in July and planning for a natural birth as well but your honesty has really opened my eyes to different possibilities.

    I would like to talk to you more about what you did to prepare for the birth so I will send an e-mail.

    Congratulations again on your beautiful new baby!

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