They say that labor and delivery of a second (and then third, etc) baby goes quicker than the first. For most moms, this is true but WHOA was it ever for Lauren and new Baby Emmett!
I’m on-call during the two weeks leading up to a due date and I encourage daily communication between the momma and myself. I had been checking in with Lauren to see how she was feeling and, although she felt like her actual due date (November 1st) was much sooner than what her OB said it was (November 8th), she wasn’t feeling much of anything going on. By Halloween Lauren had been experiencing cramping and pain in her lower back for a couple days but was pretty sure she had the “bloody show” that morning. She started feeling better knowing that was a sign of impending labor but hoped to make in a couple more days for when her doctor would be back in town. We all prayed for Monday.
Sunday, November 1st came and no progress had been felt so I checked back in with her a little after noon on Monday.
Lauren reported that she’d been hurting since 10:45am but wasn’t sure if it was more intense than what she’d been feeling all weekend. If they were true contractions, they weren’t regular or predictable yet. She went on a walk and spent time on her birthing ball to encourage progress. When she followed that text with “I kind of think maybe (this) is it”, I headed home to load my stuff into my car and take a shower.
Lauren’s birth plan for Baby Emmett was to labor at home as long as she could, then transfer to the hospital where she would labor naturally and pain-med-free for as long as she could handle it. Sometimes births go as planned, other times they don’t. Lauren was well aware, especially since her first birth didn’t go well. Again, we all prayed.
4:00pm: Lauren text to say that she was having contractions but was still able to walk and talk through them so she wasn’t ready to head to the hospital quite yet. I asked her to text me when she was loading into the car. She kept apologizing ahead of time if it were a false alarm. Looking back now, I think we would both laugh!
4:30pm: “Heading to hospital, will let you know what they say.”
5:35pm: “Dilated to 3. Ugh. I will keep you posted.”
Then I waited. Although it only takes me 10 minutes to drive to the hospital, I like to be notified when the mother dilates to 5cm (active labor) so that I’m there and documenting a little before transition and pushing. A little after 7pm, requested an update.
7:30pm: “Still at 3cm. They will check again a little after 8pm.”
I decided to head to bed early since it looked like I might be spending most of the night and early morning at the hospital. I instructed Lauren (or her husband) to call me when she got to 5cm no matter what time of night it was. Of course sleep wouldn’t come so I laid in bed and checked Facebook and shopped on Zulily.
9:16pm: “This is her husband. At 4. Water just broke.”
I jumped out of bed. I knew things would start moving quickly. I was getting into my car when the next text rolled in…
9:37pm: “6” !!!!
I replied that I was already on my way.
I ran, actually RAN, through the parking garage and hospital, up stairs, and passed Lauren’s family members in attempts to get there for the beginning of transition. Forget the beginning of transition – Baby Emmett’s head was already out when I got there! I later found out that Lauren’s OB entered her birthing room only seconds before I ran through the door. I quickly got to her bedside, Lauren looked up at me as if to say “Are you here?? Is this really happening???” and I reassured her, I’m here, I’m here! Let’s do this! And I got to work. After one and a half pushes, Baby Emmet was earth-side!
The next morning I photographed Lauren’s firstborn Oliver meeting his new baby brother for the first time. Possibly the sweetest meeting of brothers ever.
I am so honored to have had the pleasure to capture Baby Emmett’s birth. Lauren & Chris, thank you so much for trusting me with this most precious time!