Rhett’s Birth Story Pt 1

April 7, 2021

I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.
EPP serves women and families by offering Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography in the Portland, Oregon Metro Area. Our photography produces personal, relationship focused, film and film-like images.

1 in 10 babies are born prematurely, but no one really “plans” to have this happen. To all the expecting mamas out there, know the signs and advocate for your care. You know your body best, and you matter. Your baby and your story matter. This is my premature labor story.

A cramp here, a twinge there. Some aches and pains, sporadic contracting, and a LOT of pressure in my pelvis. But, with every spasm, I would tell myself “I’m only 30 weeks along, so it must all be Braxton Hicks. I’m too early for anything else.” I was so, so wrong.

Monday, November 28th, 2016. Blissfully unaware that I’d be in active premature labor just one week later!

While washing my hands after the one hundredth bathroom break of the day, I noticed a small wet spot on my shirt–on my chest area. I thought I must have flicked water up from the sink and didn’t think any more of it. But at the 101st bathroom break, I looked in the mirror and noticed the wet spot was still there, and had grown to several inches. What on earth, I thought? Apparently a pregnant woman can have premature breast leaks, a common sign of premature or soon to come labor, but I didn’t know that. Colostrum had leaked through my bra, my tank, and completely soaked half of my shirt. At work, in an office of over 200 people. Lovely. It was Wednesday, November 30th, 2016. The very next day, I lost my mucus plug. I googled like crazy, but everything I read said “as long as there isn’t any blood in the plug, you’re ok”, and I hadn’t seen blood. However, losing your mucus plug is a sign that labor is progressing. I talked to my doctor (my midwife was on vacation) about it and she was not concerned. If this happens to you and you’re before 37 weeks gestation, please advocate for yourself until you’re satisfied.

Monday, December 5th, started out like a normal Monday. Tired, but manageable. It did not end that way. By the early afternoon, my back and pelvis were in so much pain, I could hardly sit at my desk. It felt like there was so much pressure, aches and pains, all pushing my pelvis apart. I put a chair wedge pad into my Amazon cart–because Lord knows my pregnant bum wasn’t sitting in that uncomfortable office chair for 8 more weeks–and then decided to just head home from work early. I absolutely could not sit anymore and the only thing that sounded good was soaking in the bath. Note: this pain was from baby moving down into the birthing canal. His head was engaged in my pelvis.

I have MODY Diabetes (then misdiagnosed as gestational) and had been playing phone tag with my midwife that day to give her my weekend blood sugar numbers and get her advice for medication dosage changes for the week. Her assistant called me back while I was on my way home. I had told her that everything was great except that I was in some pain and tired, and a little crampy (classic Enneagram 8 move, no biggie-just push through it!). She advised me to drink plenty of water, sleep, and absolutely no sex. In my mind, I was headed straight for the bathtub and then my bed.

My midwife called back up a few hours later to check in on me. By that time I felt like my cramps were maybe more than just cramps.

“You are way too early to have this baby, we must get you farther along. If those contractions…” (UGH, did she really just call them contractions?! And HAVE THE BABY?? Not happening) “…get to be about 15 minutes apart, you need to get yourself to the birthing center.”

I told my husband what was going on, and spent most of the evening in and out of the tub. The water was soothing, but as soon as I would step out, I was back in pain. I managed to make dinner, but had no appetite. I was tired, but couldn’t sleep. The contractions weren’t the stop-you-mid-sentence kind yet, but they were noticeable. Laying down was not comfortable. Pacing. Laying on the couch. Sitting. Pacing. Nothing helped, I was restless. My dogs were following me around everywhere I moved. I decided to download a contraction timer app, finally giving in that these were actually contractions. 20 minutes apart. 12 minutes. 18. 10, 20, 8. Preterm labor contractions are inconsistent. But they are real contractions, not just Braxton Hicks. And I would soon find out that they were very productive.

The contractions just wouldn’t stop. Late at night, I decided we needed to get help. “Honey, I’m sorry to wake you, but I think we need to go to the hospital. This isn’t good.” At 11pm on December 5th we made our way to our local hospital. I called my mom on the short drive and explained what was happening but reassured her saying it would probably just be a late night and we’d be back home soon, and I don’t think she believed me. Comically, my mother birthed 5 children and is quite familiar with the onset of labor. I had birthed none. I suppose I was really just trying to assure myself that this wasn’t really labor. Little did I know, I wouldn’t be back to my house again for quite some time, and in fact, I would never be back home as that same person who anxiously left, ever again…

We checked into the hospital and they immediately hooked me up to monitors and started asking me questions. “Did you have sex? Most people don’t listen to us and then they end up here! Are you drinking enough water? You’re probably dehydrated, we’ll get you on fluids and sent back home in no time.” I was not dehydrated. The contraction monitor barely fit around my 32 week belly, they had to jury-rig it just to get it to fit and pick up the contractions. I had to also push a button every time I felt one, which was quite often by this point. After an hour or so of IV fluids and no slowing of the contractions, the staff decided to start me on medications. No slow down. A stronger medication was next. Still no signs of slowing, and the contractions were starting to be really painful. “Okay,” the staff said, “we are going to blast your system with this medicine: a strong dose every 30 minutes for a few hours. This almost always stops the contractions.” Those hours came and went without any slowing, contractions only intensified as each one passed.

It was about 3am when the head nurse decided that it was time to check my cervix for dilation. Doctors do not like to check the cervix during pre-term labor because any irritation to the cervix can cause more contracting and further labor, but at some point they need to know what is going on and if the contractions are productive. Checking my dilation, the nurse said, “Oh damn! I can feel his head! This baby is coming!”

That phrase is burned in my mind for eternity. Que my first and only true panic attack. The room swirled and I nearly blacked out. My husband was by my side, but I don’t remember anything specific. I hyperventilated. The nurse, realizing that her shock and surprise (had they not been listening to me this whole time?), sent me into a panic, firmly grabbed my arm and looked me straight in the eyes, her face 6 inches from mine, and said “Emilie, you listen to me, this is going to be ok. He is going to be fine. We don’t want him to come, but he does. We will take care of him, and we will take care of you.”

I was 5cm dilated, about 80% effaced, and my son’s head was well into my birthing canal. There was no going back now. There was no stopping labor, only slowing it, if we’re lucky.

Part 2, continued here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


browse by category






welcome to my blog!

I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.

Learn more



The Clover club Wedding guide

Dolor mixtape food truck Austin, assumenda Odd Future Carles ani Echo Park cillum.