My labor and delivery nurse looked at me wide eyed and said, “I’ve never seen anything like that happen before.”
Rewind to earlier in the week, I went to the doctor for my last ultrasound before our Friday night induction. It was decided that a growth ultrasound needed to be done to determine how big he was before we delivered later in the week. Babies are suppose to gain a pound a week in the 3rd trimester. Emmett’s ultrasound showed that he had only gained ounces in the last three weeks. My amniotic fluid was getting very low and almost to the cut off point where they would have had to deliver him that day. His cord and heart still showed the same signs we were seeing for the past month. The nurse practitioner reassured my decision to induce was wise. We knew that for some reason he wasn’t getting the nutrients he needed. He was starting to show growth restriction and we didn’t know why. This gave me a lot of peace about my choice to deliver him early. It was in this moment I knew without a doubt I had made the right decision.
I took the rest of the week off work and rested as much as I could. It was nice to soak in some quality time with my daughter before the baby came. My mom came over to help me meal prep. As we were cooking, she shared how the Lord spoke to her through a verse in Isaiah. It says, “Yet you Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Verse 64:8) She shared the vision of all sorts of cups. Some small and large; others with or without handles. A picture of Him creating a variety for different purposes. I might question a coffee mug without a handle and wouldn’t have chosen it; but the Lord created it and said it was good. While Emmett was made different, he was made with a purpose. His life was created intentionally. This conversation moved me into such a peaceful place before his birth. I wasn’t afraid or scared of him having Down Syndrome. In fact, my fears were what medical challenges would I have to watch my child face?
Friday came quickly. Since the induction didn’t start until 8pm, I knew I would be up all night. I tried to nap that afternoon but who can sleep when they know they are about to have a baby in a few hours?! I packed up my daughter and took her to my parents house for the night. My husband had taken a Friday afternoon flight from Washington D.C. to Nashville to come home for the delivery. I drove to the airport to pick him up and then we headed downtown to grab some dinner before going to the hospital. Our dinner together was quiet. We both didn’t have much to say. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and I know we were both worried about how this was going to play out. Too many ‘what ifs’ swirled in our head.
Once I was admitted there were four different attempts made to start a peripheral IV on me. I was so anxious about everything my veins completely clamped down. I had bruises for weeks! I was only a HALF centimeter dilated. I received a pill in hopes of getting my body dilated to 3cm or greater so I could start receiving Pitocin (Pit). I had gone into labor at 39 weeks on my own with my daughter. So I became nervous about how strong contractions would be due to receiving Pit. Four hours later, around 1 am, they checked me and said I was 3cm dilated. I started Pitocin at 01:30 am and my water broke at 02:45 am. There was barely any fluid when my water broke which was opposite from my previous experience. When I was checked again around 03:00 am, I was told dilation was a four. My contractions were still manageable. I really wanted to forgo the epidural this time and deliver naturally but around 03:30 am I started getting so tired. My body was shaking because of the pain and being up for almost 24 hours had made me so weak. I asked for the epidural thinking I was still around 4 cm dilated and there would be no way I could continue until I got to a ten. Anesthesia arrived at 03:45am and place my epidural. They finished up and left my room by 04:15 am. My body finally relaxed and I was so excited to hopefully get some rest before the baby came. My nurse went to place my foley catheter around 04:30 am and I noticed she had a look of shock come over her face. She said, “well I’ve never seen something like this happen before. You don’t need this foley because he is here!” What! I had went from 4 cm to 10 cm in a hour and half! I knew second babies came faster but this was an induction. They told me to expect it to be 12-18 hours for him to arrive! It was overwhelming how many people rushed into my room at once. My doctor arrived and said, “are you pushing?” I was a little confused and said, “no?” He told me, “well just give it a little push.” So I pushed once and before I knew it Emmett was placed on my chest the very next second at 04:35 am. As my nurse was wiping him off, she kept smiling and telling him, “happy birth day.” I absolutely loved that she told my son happy birthday in that moment. It is one of my favorite memories about those first few minutes of meeting him.
Dallas and I both looked at Emmett and knew instantly that he had Down Syndrome because of his big almond eyes. But in that moment, it was the first time Down syndrome didn’t matter. Our beautiful baby boy. All I saw was my baby; he was here and safe in my arms now. There was so much relief and love in this moment and I felt like I could finally breath again. My nurse looked at the both of us and asked what we were naming him. When I told her his name was Emmett, she responded, “oh just like the doctor that delivered him.” I looked at the doctor and said, “wow, your name is Emmett too?” He smiled and told me yes but that he went by Will. I told him how crazy that was because we are actually naming him Emmett William.
Dallas and I loved the name Emmett William before we knew that I was pregnant. Once we knew we were expecting a boy, we became unsure of the name. I would constantly list off boy names and we never could find anything that we liked more than Emmett. We decided to go ahead and name him that because there wasn’t another name we could both agree on. I immediately felt like God gave us a sign in this moment and reassurance in the naming of Emmett. I’ve been so thankful for that confidence in our choice.
So many prayers were answered the day my son was born. He didn’t receive any care or resuscitation from the NICU team that came to the delivery. I had prepared mentally that he might struggle to eat. He latched and nursed like a champ right after he was born. The cardiac echo done on his heart showed that he didn’t have coarctation of his aorta like we had thought. He actually had an atrial septal defect which can be monitored. It doesn’t require immediate intervention and actually has the potential to close on its own! His cord issues remained stable he was never oxygen deprived. In fact, Emmett and I both did so great that they discharged us from the hospital after only staying for ONE night! Incredible! We did have some temperature challenges when we got home but thankfully it wasn’t anything a little skin to skin couldn’t cure.
A couple weeks later I received an email through my health portal. The doctors had sent my placenta off to pathology for review and the results were in. I clicked to read the report and noticed they had presented my placenta at one of their case conferences. This raised some flags for me being in the medical field. I knew they didn’t present “normal” items at their conferences. The report stated that my placenta had delayed villous maturation. Research articles state that this is very common in aneuploidy pregnancies. It goes on to state that it’s 70 fold increased risk of still birth close to term at 39-40 weeks. The report also resulted that I had started to show bleeding 24-48 hours before our induction. Whoa. Divine intervention? I absolutely believe it.
I can’t sit here and tell you for sure how things would have played out if we didn’t induce when we did. However, I have never felt more divine intervention than Emmett’s birth. God’s blessings showered us in these days. We felt His hand in all of it. He answered prayers for us we knew we needed to pray for and things we hadn’t even considered.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27