Finally got baby #8 here, and we're all so glad.
It was super fast.
At 5:40 am, I woke up because Jack said something beside me in bed. I noticed I was having tiny contractions and thought I should time them.
At 6:00 am, I realized the contractions were 3-7 minutes apart and thought maybe I should get up.
At 6:15 I realized I had to get up because I had started bleeding.
At 6:30 I woke up Tim. I got Jack distracted, Tim showered, I collected the stuff we needed and asked Anda to get up and watch Jack (as we had planned).
At 7:00 am, we walked into the hospital and I was very, very uncomfortable.
It just so happened that it was shift change time right then, so I had two teams of nurses at my disposal. As a result, they got everything done double quick, and by 7:30 am I was comfortable with an epidural/spinal combo (best kind--numbs the belly and not much else!). Phew. So glad that worked out fast fast fast. Too bad the labor moved so fast that within half an hour I was uncomfortable with contractions that were so strong I could feel them through the epidural--but at least the edge was off. I can't imagine surviving those without the epidural. Yikes!
At 8:21 am, Emmeline was born. That fast. She weighed 8 lbs 2 oz, just like Caleb did.
We had a little laugh that our 8th baby came at 8:21 am on the 8th weighing 8 lb 2 oz. Lotsa 8s!
She was gorgeous. I was relieved. Nurses all came and went and said she was so healthy...soo healthy they didn't even really NEED the doctor to look at her, everyone knew he would sign it all off.
By 9:30 am, Tim was back home with the other kids, feeding and diapering them and telling them the baby came and then having a nap. Now that I write that, it seems kind of unheard of that we'd leave to have a baby and 2 1/2 hours later, Daddy was back home with the other kids because we were totally, totally done and ready to nap.
8 hours later, after Tim had napped (he'd been up all the night before suspecting I was in labor and waiting for me to get up and tell him that, so he'd slept about an hour when I woke him up) and I had napped (childbirth, even the good times, is exhausting) and Emmeline had napped, the kids showed up to visit us at the hospital. I was so happy to see them.
The kids doted on Emmeline and loved her and held her and talked to her and sat on the hospital bed (endlessly fascinating) and pushed the buttons on the bed (I wasn't so happy about that).
Just as they were getting ready to leave, we put the baby down and someone said, "What's wrong with Emmeline?" I turned and saw she was choking on spit up--clear, thick liquid was coming out her mouth and both nostrils. I sat her up and suctioned her out and she started turning blue and was still choking, so I called the nurse, who rushed in and tried everything I had just tried and then ran her out the door, shouting, "Open the door to the nursery!" Just so happened that our own baby nurse was standing at the door to the nursery and got it open quickly, and the whole rest of the family just stood there in shock in my room.
When we had arrived at the hospital, we got the last room available--almost directly across from the nursery--and then hiccups kept them leaving us in there even though we were supposed to move to a different room much farther from the nursery. I now consider those hiccups to be miracles. Every single second when your baby isn't breathing is a terrifying eternity. Trust me. It's horrible. So the fact that a nurse was at the door of the nursery, that we were directly across from the nurses station and the nursery, that a nurse was available to step in instantly when we needed help (often they just can't come that fast)...all of it was a miraculous combination of circumstances that saved our baby.
To distract the kids, we turned on cartoon and Tim went to check on the baby. The nurses did their jobs well, and Emmeline was fine. They had to use some special suction equipment and essentially vacuum her breathing passages, throat, stomach...and then she needed some pressurized oxygen and a whole bunch of wires and sensors and we all agreed she should stay in the nursery for a while. Reassured that all was well, Tim took the kids home.
I had multiple nurses pop in over the next hour and say, "Good job working fast." "Good thing you were alert to that." "Nice work moving so quickly, Momma!" I wanted to say the same thing to them. Nobody said it out loud, but we all knew that perfectly healthy, gorgeous baby had been a real risk of brain damage or death.
She was barely pink again 2 hours later when it happened again! I was in my room, but the Nurse Practitioner said it took them by surprise because Emmeline was absolutely silent, and had the alarms not gone off, the nurses wouldn't have noticed even that she was choking. They saved her life again, and a couple hours later baby was ready to nurse but so sleepy from all the trauma.
So we all agreed she should stay in the nursery overnight because what if that happened while I was sleeping? She made nary a peep and would have died.
Overnight, though, she improved and soon could spit up and spit it out without choking. They got all the mucous and gunk out. Apparently slow birthing processes squeeze all that junk out of the baby's airways, and quick births like we had get them swallowing even more gunk and not squeezing any of it out. Most of my other kids who had quick births just vomited it all up and it was okay, but Emmeline's gunk was too thick, and she tries to swallow it instead of spitting it, so she was in serious danger.
She was good enough by today, though, that she got to come home with us. Didn't have to stay the extra day we anticipated (thank goodness!), and we all have watched her take care of spit appropriately.
But it was very scary for me.
And, even though I longed for a home birth for my last baby or two, I am so glad we went to the hospital for this one. Even if we'd had a qualified, properly equipped midwife for the birth at home, we still would have lost this baby because the issues showed up 8 hours later, after baby had been so perfectly, gorgeously healthy that no midwife would still have been around with pressurized oxygen and vacuums for airways. Even if she had survived, the time it would have taken for an ambulance to get here would have probably left her brain damaged.
So now I understand why all the nurses I know say, "Just have your baby at the hospital. You never know what will happen."
As much as I craved the peace and serenity of a good home birth, and as much as I despise the trauma and hurry and stress and needles and being subject to everyone else's systems and lack of privacy and discomfort of the hospital way of giving birth....
I can't deny it saved my baby's life.
It's worth it.