THE FIRST MOMENTS

Today is ONE WEEK since Alessandra Pearl was born and I was trying to decide when I would want to share my birth story. I know some women need to process it for awhile but I realized that I wanted to share while it’s still fresh in my mind! Especially when I look back and may forget the tiny details; it will all be right here for me!

I also realized that it was really important to me to share the first moments, unedited and raw. Exactly as they were.

So, let me introduce our little girl. Alessandra Pearl Karcha (Ale for short, pronounced Allie). Born on Friday, November 19th at 5:46 AM, 7 pounds on the dot! And let me tell you, God over delivered. I was so worried about being over due (pregnancy was NOT for me, lol) I convinced myself I would be. Well, not only did she come 3 days early but she was a SHE. Ben wanted a girl so bad and even though the ultrasound technician told me she was a girl (and even showed me) I couldn’t let myself fully believe it. I think I was secretly leaning that way myself, I didn’t want to put myself in the position of feeling any kind of disappointment if we had a boy.

EARLY LABOUR

Last Thursday at 7:30 AM in the morning my water broke. I had been cramping all night and had seen my doctor the day before for a membrane sweep (boy, did that ever work btw)! It wasn’t a typical big gush like you might think with water breaking…more like ‘leaking’ and I would leak with every contraction. Since you’re told to go the hospital if your water breaks, Ben and I started packing up and I called ahead. The maternity ward told me that I needed to come in to be evaluated so we jumped in the car, a little bit in shock, haha and made our way! Once we were at the hospital, they confirmed that my water indeed had broken, admitted us and set us up in our room. I admit, I wasn’t positive we would be staying and if my water had not broken I know I would not have went to the hospital as soon as we did but that’s how it played out for us.

We spent the whole day in early labour! One thing that was absolutely amazing is that they didn’t even mention inducing me. They wanted my labour to proceed as naturally as possible so I was encouraged to walk around a lot and even try and rest some as it could be a long haul. Early labour was pretty much what I thought it would be. My contractions were all over the place. Some 3 to 5 minutes apart. Some 10. And they felt like mild to moderate period cramps. Definitely manageable. It wasn’t until about 6 pm that things started to ramp up. My contractions went from period pain combined with a hot searing pain and the pressure was getting more intense.

ACTIVE LABOUR

One thing to note is that I didn’t go in to labour with a plan. I just wanted to keep my options open so I asked that I could have the option of a epidural and thankfully my sister in law who works in the medical profession had told me all about pain management options. Once the contractions got stronger I requested the jet tub (which is a nice feature the hospital had) and after that a shot of morphine. By that point, I was being moved into labour and delivery, 11 pm. Contractions were getting worse so my nurse suggested fentanyl. Thankfully as bad as the contractions were starting to feel the fentanyl really took the edge off and I was even able to briefly relax in between.

Up to this point I would probably say I was trying to be brave but as the pain intensified, I started to cry a lot. I never wanted to be the loud woman in labour but a piece of advice? Don’t worry about any of that and do what you need to do to get through! It helped so much when I would let myself cry and Ben held me a lot during my contractions which was extremely comforting. I found that standing while he was holding me and letting myself cry (that along with fentanyl) was the best way to ride out the pain. As it was getting closer to me having to push, I also learned the laughing gas which really helped with my breathing.

THE BIRTH

I think I went in with the notion that pushing would come as some sort of relief but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Pushing was downright the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! The drugs had worn off, my contraction pain was so bad and pushing was equally as painful. And the worst part!? I pushed for 2 hours and 15 minutes until Alessandra came out. By the 2 hour mark I honestly felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. It felt like I was making zero progress and if Ben wouldn’t have been there I think I would have given up. I ended up having to have an episiotomy and I can’t tell you how thankful I am that my doctor made that call. It was pure relief when she came out and mom’s I don’t know about you but the moment she arrived I didn’t feel anything. Not the placenta coming out, not the stiches. Nothing. I just remember Alessandra on my chest, asking if she was a girl and the shakes, haha. By that point I was so loopy but I remember odd details. The first feed and them rolling me into the nursery on a wheelchair. Alessandra was evaluated (the pictures are the moments from the nursery) and looking at Ben and our baby and back to Ben again. I think I was in complete shock for the first few hours.

We ended up being at the hospital (from start to finish) for 3 and a half days. Considering my labour was almost 24 hours and that Alessandra had a bit of jaundice, I can’t really complain. BUT, when we finally got home, that was the first moment everything felt “right”. Ben and I are both ‘hate hospitals, feel faint just having a conversation about medical things’ type of people. Looking back a person isn’t even sure how we did it, I just know in the moment you do what you have to do. And like I said earlier, God over delivered. We have our healthy baby girl and I am recovering (every day I feel a little bit better).

Alessandra completes our family and the first week of her life has simultaneously been the hardest and best week of my life. We are so grateful she is here and I am relieved to be on the other side, adjusting to motherhood and allowing my body to heal. My mom will be here on the weekend to help me even more with the transition. My heart indeed is full, xoxo, Emmarie.

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