Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Emmeline has arrived!

Dave, Edie and I welcomed Emmeline Ashley to the world in the wee hours of May 2.

Before her arrival, I attempted to blog twice to kvetch about being overdue. But that's pretty boring.  And I wasn't even that bored or overdue, so I scrapped my drafts and decided to hold out for a post about Emmeline's birth story. I believe all pregnant ladies and new mamas love birth stories. Maybe some new dads do, too.

Dave and I picked her name around Christmas. We were driving up I-5 in Seattle, tossing around ideas to complement Edie's name and to honor family. We veer towards vintage, and there's a cutie at Edie's day care named Emaline. It means 'industrious' and we chose the French spelling (for those wondering, Emmeline rhymes with Caroline). People ask if we plan to shorten it to a nickname, as with Edie's, but we don't. We just love the full name, and picked Ashley to honor my little sister, whom I adore. 

We were asked throughout pregnancy all the way into the delivery room if we'd settled on a name. Our lips were sealed! We didn't even tell the midwife or nurse until she was born. Everyone has an opinion, and many feel compelled to share it with expectant moms. We liked having our little secret.

My Saturday due date came and went without so much as a cramp. I stayed busy baking with Edie, napping, and making my "Emmeline: Get Born" mix in the days that followed. On Wednesday, Dave took the day off to attend my post-due date appointment, where they checked amniotic fluid, did a fetal non-stress test, and swept membranes. Sweeping the membranes is a non-invasive form of induction. It starts cramping that ideally triggers contractions, which ideally progress to labor. It's strange but when you're in late pregnancy, you want to be in pain. It means the baby is on its way... and pregnancy is soon over. Hooray!

Around 4pm, we picked up Edie from day care and Dave started playing housekeeping with the class, when I felt some contraction pain. I was like, "Dave, take off that kiddie bandanna, I want to go home". We walked to the park to play and to keep contractions coming. After dinner and Edie's bedtime, they were definitely increasing. We packed up our bags and called my mom to come spend the night with our girl. I kept sitting down, standing up, and swaying through the contractions, then reading my magazine or watching 'Modern Family' in the time in between.

Around 10:30 I called my midwife, Kira. She instructed me to labor on and call when contractions "bring a tear to your eye". An hour later, small talk was painful and reading impossible. I was heavily focused on breathing and not vomiting at the smell of Dave's late-night chicken nugget snack. Kira gave us the green light to go to the hospital.

Admittal to the delivery room was stressful. The lights were on full blast, many people were in the room, the nurse kept missing my veins to get the IV in, and you know, those damn contractions kept crashing down like a wave. Lastly, it is impossible to feel dignified in a hospital johnny. Ugh. Labor may be less painful if I didn't have to wear that open-backed gown.

I was 6 cm dialated when we arrived at midnight, and ready for the epidural. My blood pressure had spiked, but subsided once the epidural took hold, they turned lights down, and everyone but Dave, Kira, and Emily the nurse left the room. We hooked up my Get Born mix and were able to relax a bit. At one point, Dave was sleeping while Kira, Emily, and I discussed eHarmony like we were three friends at a bar. I was tired and wanted to sleep, then developed a fever that they treated with antibiotics.

I got stressed out all over again and decided that labor is the absolute worst, even though I barely felt pain. There are so many twists and turns...you just want it to progress with ease. But then, it wouldn't be called 'labor'.

The baby's position and my cervix weren't ready until my water broke and the nurse drained a liter (a liter!!) of urine, around 3:45 am. After that, labor came on like gangbusters. In an hour, I was ready to push, and did so through about two contractions. She was born at 5:02 am, and it's just amazing to hear that newborn cry and have a squishy, warm new baby placed on your chest and look up at you.

And that's how Emmeline arrived in this world.


Margaret Mannix said...

Love reading this - beautiful! Edie and Emmeline are lucky babes.

Shawna said...

Aw, thanks Margie!

Ashley said...

Awe...that brought a tear to my eye...not of pain, but of happiness and love! Thank you Shawna. I'm totally honored.

Jen Stewart said...

Great story! Congratulations! Hope you're getting some rest now! :)