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The Birth Story of Etta Lee <3

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How can I feel like I missed out on so much when I'm holding everything right here???

I’m writing my birth story fresh from reading yet another beautifully written, tear inducing story, of a woman’s strength and her transition into motherhood. I’m writing this while rocking my perfect child to sleep {to be honest she’s been asleep for a while but this is when I get my extra snuggles.}

I’m writing my birth story and I feel sick because I’ve come to really dislike it, and I’m hoping this will help me remember the beauty of that day.

I wanted a movie delivery; I wanted the rushed drive to the hospital with my nervous husband at the wheel honking at everyone to get out of his way!

I wanted sweat on my furrowed brow, Leslie Odom Jr. singing Forever Young (our song for our entire time as one), I wanted to PUSH!

I didn’t get any of that and it should all be okay because I got Etta anyway. But it’s not always okay, frequently it’s the biggest case of FOMO I have ever experienced.

It’s March 16th and we’re sitting at my weekly doctors appointment, I’m 39 weeks pregnant and nothing is happening. I’ve gone to the hospital for a gallbladder attack and for fainting but no signs of labor, this baby is comfy and cozy, nothing suggests she’s moving out in the immediate future.

Our midwife says we’ll schedule an induction for Wednesday, the 21st and then the tears start, not mine, but my husbands.

You see he works as a tug boat captain and when it’s time for him to go, he has to go, and March 21st is the day he had to go. Our midwife sees the disappointment in both of our faces, gives us the sweetest “let’s see what we can do” and less than 3 hours later, as I’m at home doing the Miles Circuit to help get baby girl in primo labor position, I get a call that we’re being induced the next day!

WHOOOOMAHGOD, is what my husband felt!

He went into a cleaning frenzy and would not sit down. I was strangely calm and just wanted to lay down and watch TV - okay not strange, that’s the most relaxing thing I like to do. My bags had been packed, I called who we needed to call, texted my doulas for the millionth time and chilled.

The next morning we got up, got dressed making sure to wear green since it was St. Patty’s day, and headed to the hospital!

I had asked my doula to meet us there to get checked in (I’m the most extra person ever. It made me feel better but it was very extra.) We got checked in, had insomnia cookies delivered for the hospital staff, and it was 2 hours before anything else happened as far as the induction.

I had a birth plan, but that was already out the window as I never “planned” on being induced. So here we are, my IV fluids going and cervidil to get my cervix ready. Then comes the artificial oxytocin, pitocin.

Even with pitocin started the feel in the room was relaxed and fun. It was basically a sleepover. We watched and quoted movies, laughed, and listened to a bit of music. Black Panther had come out a month prior and the quotes were flying fiercely. Everyone watched the monitor as contractions started like it was a video game, trying to predict which ones hurt the most.

Some time had passed...

My mood was no longer in the laugh and joke neighborhood, I was hyper aware of what was going on inside of my body and omg things were definitely going on. I was hit with nausea and needed to be in water. We were first placed in a room with only a shower, could NOTHING in my birth plan go right, I wanted a tub so badly! But then the fantastic staff at NHRMC managed to get me to a room with a tub and I spent the rest of my time getting in and out of that bad boy.

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Hours passed... I’m not sure how many. The room with a tub was good and all but for safety reasons the water couldn’t get HOT like I wanted it and we didn’t have an actual window, just shutters that looked like a window. It made it really hard to tell how much time was passing. I was given a foley catheter to help me dilate and that’s an experience that I can’t imagine ever forgetting...

For a while, my amazing family who came to support me, went home to sleep They let the dog out and just took a break. It was calm in the room with just me, my husband, a catheter pushing on my cervix, and my contractions.

It wasn’t until around 2am on the 18th when stuff really started moving. I had dilated enough for the foley catheter to come out on it’s own, my mucus plug had come out, my midwife had broken my water, and my contractions were NOT stopping.

Everything suggested a baby was going to be born VERY soon!

My husband called our doula Hali without me asking him to, he was nervous and knew our doula was there as much for me as she was for him. My family got the call to come back and I went back to the tub.

Hali arrived and I remember trying to focus in on her. I had told Chris to stop asking me questions as I was not in the head space to answer them, and a nurse came in.

When we checked in we were met with the kindest nurse staff, but this lady was not one of them. She had started her shift by telling me that "making a lot of noise during delivery wasn’t necessary and she couldn’t stand it when mothers behaved that way"... cue eye roll. Well that lady comes in, checks my cervix while I’m in the tub, and says “oh you’re almost ready to go!”

Side note: F**K THAT LADY!

I was in pain, a new kind of pain that I hadn’t felt before, but one that I knew was going to bring me closer to our perfect little girl.

In the background the opinion sharing nurse is quickly shuffling around getting everything ready to welcome Etta, our photographer Leanne had been called to come back, and I felt like it was my bodies time to push out a baby!

I focused in on Hali and one of the affirmation cards I had been given by my circle of supportive sisters at my blessing way, and tried to hold my baby in until proper photos could be taken.

Ann, my amazing midwife came in also thinking that we were about to have a baby, so she goes to double check my cervix. She is a petite woman and reaching over the tub to check wasn’t working so she had me get out. It took a village to move me around by that point thanks to monitors, wires, and IVs but after a short bit I was back in the bed.....

…..being told that I was still only 5cm dilated!!! WHAT!!?!

So I’m not about to push?

The baby isn’t half out already?

But she said I was basically ready!

Yep all of that was felt or said and the mood in the room, at the very least my mood, dropped substantially.

I had been up for so many hours, was in a good deal of pain, and now I wasn’t even about to deliver. What the actual hell??? At this point I was tired mentally and physically, Ann saw it too, and decided to give me something that would help me sleep. She specifically told us it wouldn’t delay labor any as it would only be a small dose, just enough to help me sleep.

Well doctors and midwives give the orders and nurses see them through. Our nurse, yea the same one, verbally said she was going to do something different previously when it came to the pitocin so who knows what she actually did. All I know is I went from active labor to not knowing what else happened for the next 6 hours except for what I’ve seen in photos.

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This last part won’t be as long.

I finally come to, unaware of how long I’ve been out, it’s still the 18th and still no baby. I haven’t dilated any further. I’m stuck at 5cm. Etta is doing fine, I’m doing fine, but labor is not progressing.

We have a decision to make; we can either crank the pitocin back up, wait for who knows how long and hope that I can deliver as naturally as possible at this point OR we can get in line for a c-section. A c-section means I wouldn’t have my midwife and I would have to have an epidural, I’d be having major surgery, but I’d also have my daughter in my arms sooner.

Having her sooner spoke to our impatient nature and we opted for a c-section. Off of the pitocin my contractions came to a stop, and we just waited until it was my turn. We were bumped a few times, other mamas and babies were in need, and all I needed was lunch. FYI you can’t eat before a c-section and I was STARVING.

The cute anesthesiologist came in (yea I’m talking about you Ron 😉) made me drink a shot of some gross medicinal concoction, and then I was on my way.

At 7:44pm on March 18th, 2018 Etta Lee Murphy was born weighing 9lb 5oz at 21inches long. <3

There was a bet going for how much she would weigh, Hali guessed her weight exactly. Her head had a peak that was 5cm wide, showing where she had gotten stuck, and she made the most perfect sound I had ever heard.

The moment she was pulled, removed, separated, I don’t know the best word to use... the moment we became 2 instead of 1, I heard her cry 3 perfect baby cries, and I exclaimed “that’s my baby!”

Water works started and Ron dabbed away my tears, that sweet angel of a man 😂

Chris went to go symbolically cut the cord, take photos, and introduce himself to who we had been waiting 9+ months to meet.

She was here, and that’s what mattered. That’s what matters most. I also know that having and appreciating the biggest blessing I’ve ever received does not negate the fact that I wanted an “I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR” birth, it just means that I have gained perspective.

Don’t regret anything, for it was once exactly what you wanted.

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