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On March 23rd, 2022 at 18:51 my world changed forever. Isla James Williams came into the world with a BANG.
I’ve waited to share Isla’s birth story for a little while because quite honestly, it was scary and emotional for me. After one year to fully process everything, I feel ready to share her story in a way that brings beauty in the darkness of the first few hours of our sweet baby girl’s life.
So let’s jump straight in shall we? Picture this… 39 weeks pregnant barley 1cm dilated, READY to have our baby girl. I went into my second to last doctors appointment on the Monday before Isla was due. They told me I didn’t make much progress and I could schedule an induction if I wanted to. Naturally, I was READY for our girl to be here, so I agreed and scheduled her induction for her due date just two days later. I went to my final doctor appointment the next day to check and see if I dilated anymore – NOTHING. Still barley 1cm. The plan was to go in that night to get a foley balloon and start the dilation process overnight. I went in at 4pm and as I was sitting in the waiting room I was SO excited, I was feeling braxton hicks but I had felt them for weeks at this point so I didn’t think anything of it. I finally got to my room where they hooked me up to allllll the things. Turns out those braxton hicks were not braxton hicks, they were contractions and I was contracting every five minutes and I was also dilated 3cm! I was in labor! I was SO excited that baby girl decided she was going to come on her own. I labored overnight at the hospital and around 8am I got an epidural which was suggested due to the multiple c-sections that was happening. I did notttt want to have to wait on an anesthesiologist to get done so I went ahead and pulled the trigger. Once I got the epidural, my blood pressure dropped, I ended up needing ephedrine to bring it up, once they gave it to me I literally felt like I got kicked by a horse. It was the strangest feeling! Another thing that will forever be engrained in my brain is when Isla’s heart rate started to drop. One minute I was laying in the bed and the next a nurse ran into my room, turned me on my side, stared at the monitor, and grabbed the oxygen nasal cannula. Being a nurse, I knew that meant something wasn’t right so I immediately started crying. She then told me what was happening and that everything was going to be okay and that she was just trying to get her heart rate back up. After that, it was smooth sailing until it wasn’t….around 3pm the nurse checked me and I was FINALLY 7cm, I told her I could feel my left foot so she ended up giving me a bolus of the epidural. It did not help, and the pain started to get intense on the left side. I remember screaming in pain (I have no idea how women have babies naturally – you are the real MVP!!). Finally, a nurse came to check me again and told me I was fully dilated, at this point I was in so much pain I was just ready for it to be over. My nurse was busy with her other patient but the nurse that checked me told me she was going to update her on how i’ve progressed. A full hour went by and I looked at my husband and said “if we don’t get someone in here this baby is going to fall out of me.” I called the nurses station and told them I needed someone in our room NOW. The charge nurse came in, I remember looking at the clock and it was 18:31. The charge nurse checked me and anxiously said “okay, it’s time, let’s start pushing. Austin, grab her leg.” I was SHOCKED, nervous, excited, and scared. I started pushing…it was finally time to meet my baby girl! I was ready for her to be placed on my chest, ready to kiss her sweet face. I pushed twice and the nurse started calling for other people to help, she placed me on my side again, at this point I knew that meant that Isla’s heart rate was dropping. I pushed once on my side and then she put me back on my back. Next thing I knew my doctor was in the room. Austin looked at me right after my second to last push and said “Em, that was such a good push, she’s almost here.” In that moment, I’ve never loved him more. I pushed one more time and she was out!!! 21 minutes later and I brought our baby girl earthside. The first thing my doctor said when she came out was, “okay, let’s go ahead and clamp, we are going to just wake this little one up.” those words are something I’ll never forget. The dream of her being placed on my chest was just that… a dream that I’ll never get to experience. My baby girl was fighting for her life, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, body, and legs. She didn’t cry when she came out. I was staring at the nursery team in the corner working on my baby girl. She was purple and limp. I was terrified. Her initial APGAR score was 3. The next thing I knew she was in an incubator and they told me she needed CPAP, being a nurse I felt relieved that she wasn’t being intubated. I told Austin to follow our girl and he did. Then, all of a sudden I was alone. No one was in the room with me. I sat in the room crying begging God to make sure my baby girl was okay. Austin sent me a picture of her as soon as they got to the NICU and updated me. She was doing well, she was on bubble CPAP, they just put in an IV, and they were putting in an NG tube. My phone died moments later. It wasn’t until around 22:00 until I was able to go see my girl. I remember sitting in the wheel chair staring at her in disbelief. I had barely eaten, so I looked at Austin and asked him to take me back to the room. I didn’t eat for 32 hours! Once I got something in my stomach, I went back to the NICU to touch my baby girl, It wasn’t until the next day that I was able to hold her. Thankfully she only needed CPAP for a few hours so once I got to hold her, she was on room air, thank God!
Isla’s birthday will forever be one of the best and scariest days of my entire life. Some days I look at her in disbelief, that the once purple little girl in the corner is my happy and healthy girl. She is my greatest blessing. Growing her, carrying her, and delivering her will always be my greatest accomplishment. Motherhood is a gift and I’ve never loved someone so deeply in my entire life. It is truly crazy how fast time flies once you have a child.
Here are some of my favorite photos from sessions this last year.