Friday, July 22, 2011

Emmett's Arrival

Rebecca and I are overjoyed to announce the birth of our son, Emmett Levi Harris.  He came into the world at 3:59 AM on July 1, 2011, clocking in at 6 lbs 12 oz and 18 3/4 inches.

Rebecca starting laboring around noon on Thursday. We called our midwife, Maria, at around 4.  When she arrived, she checked Rebecca, who was, to our surprise, already dilated to 9 cm.  Expecting a quick birth, we got ready for the delivery.  Once fully dilated, she began pushing.  She was amazing.  With perseverance you had to witness to believe, she pushed for three hours.  But the baby was not descending.  He was just stuck at "station 1," and no amount or walking, pushing, or position changes was moving him along.  At the three-hour mark, we had a frank discussion and all agreed transfer was appropriate.  We made the 5 minute drive to UCSF in Maria's car.  Once we got there, Rebecca made it to the 15th floor, stopping to kneel on hands and knees several times along the way.  The plan was to get her an epidural and some pitocin and hope for some passive descent before pushing again.  After a three hour "rest," Rebecca started pushing again. By this point, the doctors were mentioning c-section as a possible option, and even as a possible outcome.  They were keeping a close eye on Emmett's heart rate, and said it was OK for Rebecca to push as long as she could, so long as the baby was hanging in there.  

It turns out that the problem was one of simple geometry.  Emmett's head was turned to the right, rather than chin to chest.  That meant that his head could not fit through Rebecca's pelvic bone, no matter how hard or how long she pushed.  In other words, this was not going to be a home birth because Emmett had other plans.  

Rebecca pushed for three more hours.  Somehow she managed to get Emmett to station 2, which was far enough along to allow the doctors to offer an assisted delivery using a vacuum device.  They placed the vacuum pump on the baby's head and Rebecca pushed like all hell.  Our baby was delivered vaginally at 3:59am, just before the sun rose over San Francisco. 

This was obviously not the birth plan we had in mind.  But it didn't matter.  We had a dream team of friends supporting Rebecca throughout the night.  Maria was critical to help us through the hospital world, and to keep us focused on our goal: a vaginal birth.  We refused some interventions (like the electrode clip on the baby's head) but decided on the assisted delivery as a last option to avoid a c-section.  After it was all over, the doctor told Rebecca she had never seen a woman push that hard for that long, and said that Rebecca saved herself and our baby from a c-section.  

It was a perfect birth.

Love to all,

Cody, Rebecca, & Emmett

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