Sunday, July 16, 2017

Emily Merritt's Birth Story

This sweet girl is 4 weeks old today!

She was born on Father's Day, June 18th, and will forever be the best Father's Day gift her daddy will every receive.

Unlike her brother and sister who both arrived after their due dates, we thought we would be meeting this sweet girl 10 days before her due date (and 8 days before she actually arrived).

I never experienced false labor with Ryan or Natalie, so when I started having contractions every 2 minutes for over half an hour, we called Matt's parents to ask if they could come stay at our house while we went to the hospital to get things checked out.

We were thankfully able to get the kids down and tell Ryan that we may be meeting his baby sister and not to worry if we weren't home in the morning- Mimi and Papa would be there with him until we returned.

Matt knows me well and suggested we swing through Starbucks, not knowing how long the night would be. Since I wasn't really feeling pain with the contractions and they were spreading out some, our car ride to the hospital felt like a mini date. :)

What we thought would be the last picture of my baby belly! 
This was also the first picture I took of my belly during the whole pregnancy- funny how different things are the 3rd go around.

Thankfully my contractions weren't causing me pain and actually slowed to 7 minutes apart by the time we were in a room. They wanted to keep us overnight, but we asked if we could just return if things picked back up again and they agreed. Ain't nobody wanna stay in a hospital bed if you don't have to, especially when you have two little ones at home!

I tried to not overdue it the next week. We had my parents come stay with us to help out with Ryan and Natalie so that I could make it to June 18th when my personal doctor would be on call at the hospital for a full 24 hours. 

We love Nonna and Papa!

After the less than ideal births that we experienced with Ryan and Natalie (you can read their birth stories here and here), I knew I really wanted my doctor and preferred to have a plan for the date of delivery, rather than waiting for my water to break or my contractions to get so close together again. 

With my false labor with Emily, I was home alone with Natalie while Matt and Ryan were having fun at the PGA Tour Superstore, and for a stretch I honestly thought I might deliver her at the house, by myself, with Natalie! There was NO way I wanted a scenario anywhere close to that again! 

My doctor said third babies tend to fall out or stall out, hah, so having a plan in place for our other two kiddos while we went to the hospital on a set day gave me so much peace of mind.

And that day that my doctor was on call for 24 hours happened to be Father's Day! What a sweet day to welcome a new baby, right?!

Waking up Sunday morning and celebrating Matt (and Papa!) with a breakfast at home and being able to give him the gifts that the kids made him before heading to the hospital to meet our girl was everything I hoped it would be. It was such an exciting morning all around!

As we were pulling out, Ryan said, "Have fun, mommy!" Haha, such a great send-off prior to labor and delivery!

They followed us out to the driveway as we pulled away and I started to tear up as they all waved goodbye. An excited, sweet, all-the-emotions kind of moment.

Second and last baby bump picture before meeting our girl!

What's a birth story without an awkard-angled hospital bed picture, right?!

This labor was by far the BEST of our three. 
My doctor came to talk to us around 10:30 when we were settled in our room, and we talked through what the day would look like. He mentioned again that third babies could come really fast or take their time, but we would monitor and adjust as needed. 

I 100% trusted his decisions and felt so thankful that our girl held out until the 18th so that he could deliver me. Matt and I told him that the one thing we wanted so badly to avoid was having the phone picked up post delivery that calls the emergency team into the room. This happened with both Ryan and Natalie and were the scariest moments for us as parents while we waited for each of our babies to breathe again on their own.

After breaking my water, Dr. Graham calmly and kindly told me that I had meconium in my water (basically means Emily pooped in utero) so the phone would have to be picked up and the team would be called in, but that they would just serve as extra sets of hands while they cleaned her up and she would be given right back to us. He was so calm and reassuring, and knowing that there was meconium in my water made me even more confident in our decision to deliver two days prior to her actual due date.

After breaking my water, they let us have the room to ourselves for the next 5 hours while we waited for Emily to decide when she would arrive. Matt and I talked, we rested, we talked some more. We basically had a really long and great day-date in the hospital room.

I chose to get the lowest dose of pitocin and had that gradually increased every 30-60 minutes by 2 mU/min to make sure there was never any unnecessary stress on Emily or me. 

I should say here that I learned from Ryan's labor (18 hours without any medicine and very strong contractions) and Natalie's labor (5 hours with medicine and mild contractions but complications that required me getting oxygen) to ask a LOT of questions and advocate for myself and our baby before anything was administered or decided. 

I felt very comfortable with the dosage decisions and increments in which they were being increased and feel like the whole labor process went so smoothly because everything was done gradually. 

I decided to get an epidural when I was around 5cm and was able to get in 3 quick naps (yes, THREE!) while the epidural and pitocin did their jobs. Glory, glory.

Around 8:00, I was gearing up for a fourth nap (bless you, epidural) when the nurse checked me again and said I was around 7cm. Soon after she checked me, Dr. Graham came in to see how I was doing and said he would be back in 30 minutes to check again. And then he looked at me closely, asked how I was feeling, and said, "You know I'm going to check you one more time before I go." 

Right at this moment, Matt walked back in the door. He had snuck out to the lobby to eat the dinner that his parents had brought him and accidentally left his phone in our room. I didn't think anything of it because I was feeling fine and was about to nap again.

Well praise the Lord that he got back when he did because in the 10-15 minutes that had passed since my nurse had last checked me, I suddenly started to feel pressure, and when Dr. Graham checked me again, he said, "Yep, I'm staying right here. Let's get a cart, we're ready to push!"

And y'all. I squeeled.

Like, little girl squeeled.

I could have 25 babies to experience the joy and excitement of delivery.

Dr. Graham told me it wasn't going to take much and not to push too hard. 

It won't take much? Don't push hard? What?!

We did a quick refresher on pushing and leg holding (I'll spare you the details), and literally went through two counts of 10 and she was born!!

I got to hold her right away and Matt got to cut the cord this time! Then the team came in and briefly took her to check her airways for meconium and then we got her right back- for an entire hour with no one else in the room. It was everything we pictured it would be.

We spent the hour talking about the day and delivery in between skin-to-skin time and nursing and snuggling our girl. As we were talking, we both realized that Matt nearly missed the birth and laughed about how perfect the timing was of him getting back into the room. I guess our girl did a little bit of both scenarios that Dr. Graham described- she took her time and then came FAST! 

We love Dr. Graham!

After the hour passed, the nurses came back in to give Emily her first bath and take all of her measurements.

That is one good lookin' daddy right there- holding his second sweet girl for the first time!

She looks huge here but she was our tiniest!

7lbs 12oz and 19 3/4 inches long

Matt's parents and my sister came in to meet Emily while the nurses finished up her bath and measurements.

The next morning, my parents brought Ryan and Natalie to see us and meet their baby sister! And Matt's parents, his sister's family, and my sister's family came too, so we basically had a big party in our room, ha!

Love this pic :)

Natalie was super excited about seeing her and was ready to climb right in- hah!
Sweet love
And this big buddy- he was born to be a big brother. :)
Cousin Jackson and Aunt KK getting some snuggles in!
Sweet Riley Roo snuggled her too :)

My sister's boys, Noah and Maddox- it feels like just yesterday that Matt and I were holding THEM in the hospital!
Mimi's turn! This is one loved little girl. :)

Family of 5 picture attempts- hysterical

That night, after all of their kids were down, three of my sweet friends brought dinner and dessert and we ate and talked and watched the Bachelorette like it was a regular girls' night out with Matt. ;) We had the best time! I couldn't be more thankful for these girls!

And we couldn't be more excited about being a family of 5 and having our sweet Emily home with us!

Later this week, I'll be sharing her newborn pictures and one month update. See you then!



  1. Aw, she is just precious! What a beautiful addition to your family. :)

  2. Is there a story behind her name? Such a unique middle name. Someone's last name?