Tag Archives: birth

Emmett’s First Days

The first few days with Emmett went by so quickly and at the same time dragged by so slowly. Spending day and night in a hospital is absolutely no fun. I was lucky enough to have decent nurses but you are just not able to relax when you have people constantly poking in and out of your room.

After the first nurse had gotten me settled, Seamus and I had some alone time before they brought Emmett back to us. They had taken him back to the nursery for a few more tests, a bath and to get warmed up. We both kind of just sat there going back and forth; in awe that we were finally parents. We were definitely still in a bit of shock.

When Emmett finally returned, they shared with us that he had been born with low blood sugar and because of that he would need to be checked every couple of hours to verify whether it was continuously rising. They advised me to nurse him as frequently as he was interested, to assist in the escalation of his blood sugar level. It was no problem to try and nurse him constantly because he wanted to either eat or suckle the entire first night we were together.

It was hard work and I really struggled to stick with breastfeeding in the beginning. Emmett had latched pretty well but I still needed help ensuring he was on correctly and not latched to shallowly which can lead to painful or cracked nipples. In the hospital it is impossible to maintain any of your modesty, the nurses come in and grab your breast and tilt the baby’s head to get him latched right and honestly without their help I would have continued to struggle.

As the night wore on, Seamus and I did not get any sleep. I think we were both too wired from the realization that we were new parents but also because we needed to keep waking Emmett to feed him so that his blood sugar would go up. When it came time for his next Blood sugar test, the nurses came and took him to the nursery, when they returned with him they shared the bad news that his blood sugar was still low and that they had called his pediatrician and they were advised to feed him formula since my Colostrum wasn’t doing enough.

I was very hesitant. I even said no. I did not want to feed my baby formula! For me and my family, formula was not an option unless I was completely unable to provide nourishment. Since I knew I was producing colostrum, I knew I was producing what I was supposed to, it was just that his blood sugar wasn’t going up quickly enough for the nurses. They persisted, saying that if his blood sugar didn’t go up, Emmett would possibly need to be admitted to the NICU. After they said that I relented. I was disheartened and depleted but didn’t want my baby away from me, so I gave in. They hooked up a Supplemental Nursing System to me and filled it with some formula. The goal of feeding him the formula this way is that Emmett would still continue to stimulate my milk production and also provide him with the calories he needed. It worked, he ate it and his blood sugar increased but I felt defeated, like I’d failed my boy. Seamus was very supportive telling me that there was nothing I could have done but I still felt like a failure.

When the lactation consultant from the hospital came in for the next day, she stopped in to check on how we were all doing. She asked about us supplementing formula and asked whether we wanted to continue doing this, I shared with her how we were pretty much forced into feeding Emmett the formula and that we had tried to resist but they threatened to place him in the NICU. She was a feisty little thing and said straight out that they should never had done that and that she would ensure they were spoken to. In the meantime she said that if we had no interest in feeding Emmett any more formula we did not need to, that if any of the nurses came in and tried to hassle us to send them to her to deal with.

Throughout the day, we had different visitors who were checking to see how Emmett was doing but his blood sugar continued to remain above 60 mg/dL with just having colostrum. I was thrilled and felt so much better knowing that I was feeding my son and he was getting everything he needed. Little did I know that I was in for a treat that night….

Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 7)

My migraine was gone and I was ready to hold my little boy. It still took the nursery about 15 minutes to bring him to me and I was beyond anxious to just hold and touch him. Remember, up until this point I had not touched my baby because I’d had a c-section.

If you are breastfeeding it is recommended that you allow your baby to feed within 2 hours of his life because studies show that newborns who have early contact with their mothers learn to latch on more efficiently than babies who are separated from their mothers in the hour or two following birth. This is also a time when the baby will be in a state of quiet alertness, the optimal behavior state for interaction with you. Her eyes are wide open, she is attentive and is looking for another set of eyes – and for the breast. (source)

I had decided that I would be breastfeeding Emmett so it was important that he and I be able to have some skin-to-skin contact within that two hour window to allow him to learn to latch. Seamus and I were concerned we’d fall outside of this time frame because of my c-section but the hospital did a fantastic job of ensuring he got to me well within that time.

For any soon-to-be moms out there, I want to recommend that you ask the hospital to hold off on bathing your baby (if you’re planning to breastfeed) until after he’s fed for the first time. Once they’ve done that, they will set him under the heated lamps to bring his body temperature back up, which takes a lot of time, this is time away from you and your breast. This is a critical time and not one that your baby needs to be spending under heated lamps, your skin against his will warm him plenty.

When they brought him into the room and handed him over to me, my breath caught in my throat. It hit me, he was mine and no one else would ever be his mother. It was such a moving experience that just thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.

We immediately had our skin to skin contact and worked on his latching skills. It actually went quite well, I needed assistance but Emmett was still alert and ready to nurse

If you’re breastfeeding, after the baby’s birth, all modesty goes out the window, you have nurses and lactation consultants grabbing your boob, showing you how to hold it and then placing it in the baby’s mouth, there’s just no time to be shy. I’d heard this ahead of time but I still figured I’d be slightly uncomfortable with it but truthfully, I wasn’t. I knew what they were doing was teaching me how to feed my baby the perfect food. And in the end, their advice was all VERY helpful!

After we’d had about a half hour with him, they took him back to the nursery. I was still in the labor and delivery unit and needed to be moved to my private room in the Mothers and Baby Unit. So they took Emmett back to get a bath and a few more tests, one being a blood glucose test. He was born with low blood sugar so they had to test it every few hours to see whether it was increasing.

When we got to our new room, the nurse came in and introduced herself and explained some important information to us. After she’d done all that she took my temperature and blood pressure, helped change the pad on the bed and assisted me in putting a pad on myself. If you’ve never had a baby, let me say that the bleeding you experience after a baby is far worse than any period you can even imagine, it’s gross but necessary.

Eventually they brought our baby back to us, we were “rooming in” with the baby. This is something new that the hospitals are suggesting to parents and I was fully on-board. Instead of the baby staying in the nursery, he stays with you (morning and night) so that you can adjust to sleeping together and so that you’re there to feed him as he needs. I’m very glad we did this, I don’t think I’d have wanted my baby down the hall away from me.

Time started to blur together because I was so exhausted. If you remember I hadn’t slept more than an hour or two combined the previous night and I’d just gone through surgery. I needed to rest but I was still riding on the high of my brand new boy.

In case you missed them; Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 5)

I was getting so excited! I knew that the hospital midwife was going to come and check how dilated I was and I was confident that I would be nearly 10 cms along (this is when it’s time to start pushing). Well, she checked and I was still just barely 4, which I had been since 8 am that morning. It was around 6:30 pm at this point, 7 is when the doctors switch shifts, I’ll explain why this is important shortly.

To give a little background, at my OB’s office there are 4 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners. Throughout your pregnancy you see each of the doctors and NPs randomly because you don’t know who your doctor will be at the time of birth. I of course had my favorites in the office so I was really hoping that I’d be fortunate to have one of them.

As it turned out my very favorite doctor was the doctor on duty all of Monday but she worked the morning shift and was scheduled to get off at 7. The doctor coming in after her was my second favorite (SCORE!) but I didn’t know this quite yet. My doctor came in and explained that I was currently maxed out on Pitocin and that I still wasn’t dilating very quickly. She stated that because I have high blood pressure that I would need to start considering that I may need a c-section. Seamus and I had discussed ahead of time whether we would be alright with a c-section and we agreed that we didn’t care how Emmett joined us, as long as he and I were safe.

The doctor was gone for probably 5 minutes when she and my second fav doc returned. They laid out my two options, 1- They could turn the Pitocin off which could cause my body’s receptors to turn back on and cause me to dilate further. They would check my cervix again at 11:00 pm but with this option there was a chance that I would STILL need a c-section. 2- I just went ahead and had a c-section. Since Seamus and I had decided we were okay with surgery and since there was a chance I may still need it anyway, we went ahead and chose to have a c-section.

From this point on, everything moved so quickly! By the time we had made the decision to go forward with the surgery, it was 6:30, there was an OR open and an anesthesiologist available. The nurse on duty started prepping me for surgery and gave Seamus a set of scrubs to put on for the operating room.

The anesthesiologist who I had for the actual section was different than did my epidural but was just as amazing. He was a soft spoken guy who at first glance you would assume he had no sense of humor but throughout the entire experience he’d crack these really funny underhanded jokes, it was great! He also took the time to explain what was going on and to reassure me, seriously where did my hospital get these guys, they were just fantastic!

I suffer from ocular migraines, so when the anesthesiologist was inserting the medication that I needed for surgery I started to get a blurry aura in my eye, a typical sign of an intense migraine coming. I made sure to tell him and I did start to freak out a bit because I knew the pain from a migraine would be tough to take on top of surgery, he assured me that once surgery was over that I would be given pain meds to alleviate anything I was feeling.

Before I knew it I was being wheeled into the OR and they were getting me all set for what was to come. I realized quickly that my favorite doctor as well as my second favorite were both in the OR. The doctor who was off at 7 had decided to stick around and assist with the surgery, I felt very lucky! At this point they have you move from one bed to another and then start setting the drape up over you. For most, a c-section is an awake surgery, so they put up a screen so that you are unable to see what they are doing to your body.

I may look like I’m asleep but I assure you that I am awake. I had my eyes closed because I was dealing with some intense nausea from the meds they had given me.

Once the drape was up and the meds had taken effect, my doctors poked me and asked whether I could feel what they were doing and whether there was any pain associated with it. With a c-section you feel them pulling and tugging and you feel pressure when the baby comes out but you should feel no pain.

Less than 15 minutes later, the doctor said, “Jillian you’re going to feel a lot of pressure now as we pull the baby out.” It was some pretty intense pressure but certainly nothing I couldn’t handle, especially knowing that at the end of it my baby would be in this world.

In case you missed them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.


Emmett’s Birth Story (Part 3)

Finally after waiting around, twiddling my thumbs, it was time to head to the hospital!

Once we arrived there, things started moving pretty quickly (in the beginning). They had me get changed and into the bed right away and then worked on getting all of my information. Once they had inputted all my demographic information and insurance info, they put the IV line in and got me hooked up to the heart monitor for the baby. The IV is pretty painless but it was different. I’d never had one before and what they do, is take a large needle with a hole in it and put it into your vein so that they can hook the medicine drip up to it. It stung for about 2 minutes but eventually it stopped and I couldn’t feel it other than the contraption being on my hand.

 Around 8 o’clock PM in they inserted the Cervidil and at that point I wasn’t allowed to get up and walk around for two hours. No big deal, right!? Well, of course when you’re told you can’t get up and pee, that’s all you can think to do. Thankfully I had my iPad and there was some good TV on so I was able to distract myself. Plus, I had plenty to talk about with Seamus. We were both very excited!

Around 10:30 they gave me some benadryl to help me sleep but I did not sleep. I was hooked up too the infant heart monitor and Emmett was being a little punk, every time I’d roll over they’d lose his heart beat and the nurse would have to come in and find it again. This led to me trying to lay in one spot and doze off, it didn’t happen! Seamus had to sleep in a reclining chair but I think he got more sleep than I did. Around 8 AM I finally started feeling exhausted and was able to sleep for a short time, just as the nurses were beginning to make their morning rounds. Ugh! I was starting out (almost) motherhood on a depleted sleep bank.

As the morning wore on they started my Pitocin (oxytocin injection) drip, which helps speed up contractions which will hopefully lead to the baby being delivered. They literally start you out with one drip for the first 45 min to an hour and then slowly increase it every hour until you’re at the max amount. This isn’t a quick transition, it took from 8 AM until just before 7 PM before I hit my max.

They also decided to switch from external baby monitoring to internal because they were having such a hard time keeping Emmett’s heart beat on the speaker. This didn’t mean that anything was wrong with Emmett, it was more likely that he just kept moving around. If you are interested in the difference between external and internal fetal monitoring, please read this article. I actually preferred the internal monitoring because it kept track of E’s heart rate on a more steady basis.

Throughout this time the contractions started getting worse and worse but weren’t quite bad enough to cause me to need the epidural yet. They pulled out the birth ball, which is essentially and exercise ball, for me to sit on and hopefully assist in moving Emmett down the birth canal. I felt very fortunate to have Seamus there with me, he was so attentive. Every time a contraction would hit, he would sit there and put pressure on my lower back (like they taught us in birthing class), which helped the pain tremendously.

During the time while I was in Labor and Delivery, every time the nurse would enter the room she would ask my pain scale. Well since I had never had a baby before, I didn’t really have anything to base my pain on so I was telling her I was a level 7 (out of 10) early on, but I very quickly realized that what I had been feeling was more like a 4.

When I finally did reach pain that was definitely at the 7 level, I asked for my epidural.

To Be Continued…

If you missed them, Part 1 and Part 2.

Emmett Birth Story (Part 2)

After our last sonogram, I had my weekly OB appointment the next day. I’m not sure how other doctor’s offices work but with mine, when they call your name they take you back and do your weight, blood pressure and pee test and then take you back to your room. While the nurse was doing my pee test she goes, “So you’re going in soon, huh!?” She kind of threw me off because at this point, I still assumed I was going to 40 weeks. I mean, my doctor and I had discussed going a week early because of my BP but nothing had been set in stone but sure enough, they were planning to induce me at 39 weeks, which fell on Monday 7/23/12.

From our last sonogram

From our last sonogram











 When you are induced you go in the night before hand so that they can insert Cervidil, which will speed up the ripening of your cerivix. Since Seamus and I knew this would be the last day that we would just be a family of two we wanted to mark the occasion with a special lunch/dinner. We decided to go to the Irishman, which is located in Williamsville, NY.

The Irishman isn’t just another restaurant for us! It is is where Seamus and I had our very first date back in 2007 and also where we had dinner the night that he proposed, so it was only fitting that we commemorate our last meal as two, here. After our meal, our waitress asked me when I was due and I shared with her that I was going in that evening to be induced. She congratulated us and remarked that we had chosen their restaurant to have our “last meal,” so we explained why to her. It may not have meant anything to her but it means a lot to us to know that we’ve kept the tradition of our oh so special meals there.

We were scheduled to be admitted into the hospital at 7 PM and so we had several hours to kill before then. We came home and I puttered around the house, ensuring that I had everything ready in my hospital bag and also making sure we had all of the things we’d need for Emmett. I know everyone tells  you that the hospital provides everything for baby but since I’d never had a child before I wasn’t sure so I wanted to be prepared. In the end, everyone was right, they definitely DO provide you with everything you need while you’re there.

Our hospital bags!

Even after spending time a ton of time checking and rechecking our bags, I had so much time to kill before we had to head to the hospital. I was FULL of nervous energy but eventually the clock ticked by and it was twenty after 6 and time to GO!

To be continued…

In case you missed it – Part 1!

Emmett’s Birth (Part 1)

Emmett’s original due date was July 30, 2012 but because I struggled with high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy, I was scheduled to begin induction on July 22, 2012 at 7 pm.

Overall my pregnancy was really easy! The first trimester I was just incredibly tired, sleeping pretty much any time I wasn’t at work and wanting to sleep even when I was at work. When all the books tell you that you’ll be tired during that first trimester, they aren’t lying OR exaggerating.

I remember there was one evening that I got home from work at 5, laid down on the bed and fell immediately asleep. Seamus woke me up around 7 to eat dinner and once I’d eaten, I went directly back to bed until morning. But if I’m being honest, I didn’t hate the first trimester, I LOVE sleep and doing pretty much nothing but sleeping was A-OK in my book.

13 Weeks

The second trimester went by without anything, other than Emmett growing as he was supposed to be, happening. My blood pressure was high but they were just treating it with meds. There would have been more concern over my BP if Emmett was showing a small size during sonograms but he wasn’t, he was right on track. They did not diagnosis me with preeclampsia because they were not finding any protein in my urine but continued to keep a close eye on my BP and Emmett’s growth.

25 Weeks

Once the third trimester rolled around, I was beginning to feel sluggish again. My knees were starting to kill me because of all the added weight of baby but there weren’t any complications. Most individuals only have 3 sonograms throughout their pregnancy but because of my BP I had almost 1 a month from 18 weeks, like I said previously they wanted to ensure Emmett’s growth was on track.

When you have high BP and are pregnant what can happen is that your baby may not get enough blood and oxygen from the placenta. “Preeclampsia seems to start because the placenta doesn’t grow the usual network of blood vessels deep in the wall of the uterus. This leads to poor blood flow in the placenta.”

Emmett and I were fortunate enough that this is not what was occurring for me. I have always had high blood pressure, way before getting pregnant (it runs in my family) so it was probably more the added weight of carrying the baby rather than the placenta not being developed in the usual way that caused my BP to skyrocket.

Every time we’d go in for a sonogram, the sonographer would tell us that he was a BIG baby and at our last one they said he very well may be a 10 lb baby if we go to term, well we went 1 week early…

38 Weeks

(This picture was taken the week before we went into the hospital.)

To Be Continued…

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