At 3:40 on Wednesday afternoon I got a call.She had been calling every 30 minutes so seeing her name pop up on my cell phone did not alarm me. She said the contractions were getting closer and closer. I told her I'd be right there.
I handed off what I was doing at work to a friend, grabbed my keys, and jogged towards the door like I had imagined doing so many times before. I knew that it was go time.
Early that morning we had gone to the Doctor for her last appointment and he said she was a good 4cm already, so we knew that we were starting out with a lot of progress already made.
When I walked in the door at about 4:00, she was sitting in the big chair in the living room having contractions 5 - 7 minutes apart. Cora, our Doula (like a birth coach/partner) was sitting calmly on the couch offering soothing words and thoughts. I felt like I had to do something but quickly realized that Micaiah and Cora had everything under control. I sat close by, held her hand, and played with her hair.
For the next four hours or so, the contractions picked up in intensity as we moved from the bed, to the exercise ball, to the floor, the couch, standing, squatting, everything. At about 8:15 we decided that Cora ought to check her cervix to assess the progress (we hadn't checked since that morning). Cora slid her fingers in about 3 inches, looked up, and her face immediately changed.
"Uhh, yeah. We need to go." was all she said.
Within minutes we were in the truck, Cora following behind and I couldn't help thinking that we were much closer than we thought. The contractions were about 2 - 3 minutes apart now and we were on the way. Cora hadn't told us how dilated we were.
Pulling into the Baptist parking deck I had to take it very slow going over each speed bump, I didn't want anything moving that wasn't supposed to be. I couldn't help noticing the night sky and parking lot lights and the buildings. I wanted to remember everything exactly as it happened.
It was 8:30pm on the dot.
I pulled the truck into one of three open parking spaced that said "RESERVED FOR MATERNITY PATIENTS IN LABOR". I had dreamed about that too.
We got out and walked slowly across the foot bridge, and turned down the hallway towards the elevators. We had to stop on the way and get through a contraction as Cora applied pressure on her hips. A nurse walking down the hall stopped and asked if we needed a wheelchair - Micaiah looked at her calmly and said "No thanks, I think we've got it."
At this point I think it's important to note that Micaiah was handling everything like a champ. She looked like an earthy hippie chick that was happily and peacefully communing with all things natural. I was astounded and amazed. I had full confidence in her to see this thing through exactly as we had planned.
We took the elevator to the 2nd floor, and walked down the hall towards the Labor & Delivery Ward. Cora had already called ahead and I had talked to the Doctor on the way. Our room was ready and waiting for us when we arrived.
Micaiah stripped down and put on the hospital gown backwards (intentionally).
We got her in bed and the nurses went to work checking her in and getting all the paperwork signed. They put heart rate and contraction monitors on her belly and left us alone as she quietly continued contracting.
The Doctor came in and checked her cervix. He said that all she had left was an "anterior lip" which meant that she was about 99% ready. This baby was coming very soon. The Doc said he had just enough time to go take care of another patient before ours would arrive. That was at 9pm.
After that everything slowed down. She was contracting every few minutes but not quite as intensely as before. For the next two hours everything moved slow. It was as if God was giving her a little rest before the storm.
At 11:00 she was ready to push and the winds started howling. She got in every position imaginable and the contractions picked back up - much more intense than ever. Every 2 minutes or so every muscle in her body would tense up and she would drop her chin and give it everything she had. Her water still hadn't broken and she wasn't making much progress to get it popped.
The Doc came in to check her again and as soon as he did, her water popped and squirted all over his legs and arms. He was still just wearing his scrubs and said "Ok, I think I'm gonna go change my underwear".
The night pressed on and midnight came and went.
At 12:30am we could barely see her little head and the Doc said that if she isn't crowning in the next 30 minutes he would try to reposition her. We really wanted her to come out exactly like she wanted to so we knew that we needed to make some serious progress. By this time Micaiah was holding my hand and almost clawing into my skin with each push. Cora was putting pressure on her lower back and the nurses were doing everything they could to make everything perfect and comfortable.
The pushes got crazy hard and Micaiah was seriously running out of steam. She wasn't sure she could go much longer but all she needed was a little confirmation and assurance that she could and would do it just right. The Doc came back at 1:00 and little Emmy's head was getting very close.
All of a sudden Emmy's heart rate started to drop very fast and the room went from relatively calm in between pushes to TV worthy drama. The nurses were moving fast, checking vitals and monitors, the Doc was barking orders for IVs and Oxygen, clips and scissors. Micaiah started to freak a little bit and my whole life was gone in an instant. My entire existence was nothing but a hand to squeeze and a voice in her ear.
It turned into a moment of LIFE AND DEATH. I had no idea how serious it was but it seemed to me (and Micaiah) that if this kid did not come out NOW, she was going to die.
The Doctor looked into Micaiah's face and yelled "GET THIS BABY OUT NOW."
I said into her ear "Babe. You've got the strength. It's right now or never. DO IT. NOW."
She gave it one more insane, incredible, mind blowing push and the head came out.
The cord was wrapped around her neck and the Doc quickly clipped it and kept going.
One more serious push and out came Emmy amidst a whirlwind of hands, towels, clips, suction bulbs, rags, thermometers, and stethoscopes. In two seconds she was clean, ready, and laying on Micaiah's sweaty chest.
Her hair was a mess, her face was red, and her arms were spent. All she could do was say
"Hi, Emmy. You made it!"
The Doc and nurses said she was perfect and perfectly fine.
My heart broke and I found myself standing on the surface of the moon.
Glory glory hallelujah.
My baby made it home.
It was 1:09am, Thursday, April 24th, 2008.
May I present - Emma Kaye Slaton.
it's nice to finally meet her.