Emery Esther Ranem was born on Wednesday, January 6 at 4:41 pm. She weighed 7lbs 4oz and is 20 inches long. She’s perfectly healthy, has light brown hair, and is absolutely gorgeous! She was born 9 days early.
Here is my birth story if you’d like to read it:
On Tuesday, January 5th both Dustin and I were home sick with the flu. We had been unable to keep any kind of food down so we went to bed early. Beginning in the middle of the night and lasting through to Wednesday morning I was having back pains with light cramping. I kept waking up to these and started noticing that they were coming and going fairly consistently. By morning they were worse, but what I was feeling was 90% back pain, so I wasn’t sure if this was true labor. I started timing them around 8-9am and they were about 4-5 minutes apart and lasting 30-40 seconds. In my mind I did not think this was labor yet because it felt basically like extreme back pain and the contractions seemed too close together already for early labor. I decided to take a bath to see if they’d go away or slow down at all. They didn’t.
It was really a blessing that Dustin didn’t have to work until 1:30 that day so he got up and started rubbing my back and keeping track of the timing. We were both confused and started reading through our Bradley book, looking things up online, and both of us were thinking that this was false labor or early first stage. I kept forcing myself to drink water to see if the contractions would go away, but they kept coming. Around 11 am we decided to call the midwife at Woodwinds. She said not to come in unless the contractions lasted more than 45 second, if my water broke, or if I was bleeding a lot. We just kept timing contractions and Dustin would rub and put a hot pack on my back during each contraction. I barely felt any pressure/contractions in my uterus, so I still was not convinced this was the real thing.
The contractions started lasting 45-55 seconds and would be anywhere from 2-4 minutes apart at this point. They were definitely painful and getting stronger. I really felt like a wimp because in between contractions all I wanted to do was keep my eyes closed and sleep or get into a comfortable position, but I had to force myself to get up and move. One of the worst contractions was when I tried lying down on the couch in between and close my eyes for a bit, but just lying on the couch made it so much more painful than I can describe…I couldn’t imagine someone lying on a hospital bed doing this! In between many of the contractions I would throw up because they were so painful and, of course, this only made me feel more miserable. At this point I just wanted to do this labor thing another day, like tomorrow, but not today! I hoped and prayed that the contractions would stop, but that obviously didn’t happen. In the meantime, Dustin was so great at multitasking. He was washing out the puke bucket, heating up the hot pack, rubbing my back, helping distract me, and timing the contractions perfectly.
Contractions were getting much more painful so we called the midwife again at 2 pm and she said the same thing, but said to come in if I didn’t think I’d be comfortable at home or driving in at this point. Since this was our first baby, we (and she) felt that we’d have quite a while before the baby was born. We still felt comfortable at home, so we just decided to stay. I did not want to go in thinking I’d have hours, maybe days of this kind of laboring left. My dad came over to our house to adjust me around 2:30pm and we told him we’d probably go in soon. At about 3pm the contractions started getting really unbearable and I was walking back and forth through our kitchen, but would go limp into Dustin’s arms when I’d have another contraction. He was a great coach!
After more of these contractions (that were lasting 1-1.5 minutes at this point) I suddenly started feeling a ton of pressure in my cervix and no longer had any back pain. I told Dustin I didn’t think I could do this at home any longer and I thought we should go into the hospital. I really wanted to cry, but Dustin walked me through the next contraction. He began running bags out to the car as I stood in the kitchen over the counter. During this time (at about 3:30pm) I told Dustin, “I’m pushing!!! I’m definitely pushing!!!” He helped me into the car and at about 3:45pm we left for Woodwinds. I was in the back seat on all fours with towels and chucks pads underneath me in case my water broke while on the way. Although Dustin took every turn very slowly and carefully, it was a very unpleasant car ride that seemed to last forever as I was pushing every couple minutes.
When we FINALLY got there (a 10 minute drive) Dustin pulled up to the emergency entrance, walked me to the lobby and told the main receptionist I was in labor. He pushed me up in a wheel chair along with a nurse whom I talked to in the elevator and they put me in a room. Dustin was out of the room at the desk filling out some paperwork as I stood over the bed pushing through a contraction until a nurse came in and told me to go pee in a cup. There was no way I was going to pee in a cup at this point but Dustin helped me get to the bathroom anyways. I was on the toilet when I called Dustin in and said, “I think my water is coming out.” They rushed me to the bed and sure enough my water membrane was definitely protruding out. At that point the midwife came in and ruptured my membrane. I asked how far along/dilated I was (thinking maybe 5-8 cm). She said, “I can see your baby!!” I’m not sure why I asked this, though, since I’d been in 2nd stage labor pushing for some time now. I think I was still in shock that we were actually in labor and our baby was almost here! I found out later that my parents and siblings arrived at the hospital 5 minutes after we did, thinking they’d be there for a while. Nope.
We had planned a water birth, but I heard the nurse yell out, “turn off the tub, we won’t have time!” I couldn’t believe I was having a baby!! After one contraction the midwife told me to feel the baby’s head…I couldn’t believe she was right there already!!! It took about 6-7 hard-core contractions on the bed, with one leg up on Dustin and the other on the midwife, and she was out at 4:41 pm!! We were only at the hospital for a total of 31 minutes; it was perfect! Dustin was able to announce that, “it’s a girl!!” and cut the cord (a little earlier than we’d hoped since it was very short and she only reached my belly). We were so thankful that we weren’t at the hospital any longer since the nurse that was working was not very friendly and did not get along with our midwife (who was spectacular, by the way).
Our baby started crying immediately and she was perfectly pink and healthy, so they wiped her off and left us be with her for a couple hours before coming back to check her over. I held our baby girl up to my chest and was able to start nursing her right away. Dustin and I were definitely still in shock that she was in our arms, since we hadn’t even quite convinced ourselves that we were actually in labor!! Dustin even had to text his family that we were at the hospital in between pushes so they would know to come.
Emery Esther Ranem was born without any medications or medical intervention. We labored at home all day and she was “caught” at the hospital. Although this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I am so thankful that we learned how to deal with the worst labor possible, because it made this experience so doable and absolutely empowering!! After doing this all natural, I can’t even imagine doing it another way. I wouldn’t want anyone to take away that experience from Dustin and me.
Emery is lying in my arms now as I rock her in the rocking chair in our living room. She is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!!