My Evelyn's birth was, by far, the most dramatic of all our children's births.
I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant at my Friday afternoon appointment. Earlier that day I posted a semi-snarky status on facebook about people NOT asking me if I have "had that baby yet" because clearly, I was still pregnant and there wasn't photos of a cute, newborn baby blowing up their newsfeeds.
My OB had told me the week before that, unlike Ella (who I carried 42 weeks 2 (3?) days), he wouldn't be in favor of letting me go much past 41 weeks gestation because of my gestational diabetes. I blew his comment off at my 39 week appointment because my OB is very laid back about due dates and birth and very much in favor of letting a woman's body gestate for as long as is healthy for the mother and baby.
However, when my blood pressure showed to be up just a little bit, he began talking inductions. Abigail is the ONLY baby I have not be induced with. And she came 5 days before her due date in a glorious, pitocin free labor and birth. Remember?
Anyway, my OB, who is a pretty laid back kind of guy started strongly suggesting that I get induced THAT AFTERNOON. I just sat and looked at him, stone faced. Certain that if I said nothing he'd send me on my merry way and I'd have another natural labor and birth. Right? He wasn't catching my drift. "I get the feeling you aren't a fan of being induced," he said. I explained to him my loathing of pitocin and how I'm sure it's extracted from the veins of the devil before it's placed into the IV's of large, desperate, pregnant women who just want to meet their babies already. Ahem.
My OB typed some things onto his computer and said, "Well, let's check your cervix and see what our options are." I was 3cm dilated.
I tried to coax my OB into letting me wait a little longer but at the end of our appointment he had convinced me that inducing was our best option with the elevated blood pressure and all. He is really very kind and very much takes into account the desires of his patients. So when he didn't back down about the induction, I knew he was serious.
I immediately began feeling anxiety well up within me. This would be my 4th induction. I knew what pitocin did to my body and I really wanted to try to avoid an epidural again. I texted a few friends asking them to pray for my anxious heart and I drove myself to the chiropractor for one more adjustment before calling labor and delivery to see what time they wanted me to show up.
I'd been having contractions on and off for about a week but they were never consistent and they weren't terribly painful. More of a nuisance, really. Especially when I was trying to sleep or lay down. I called L&D and they told me to show up about 4:00-4:30pm. I called Luke to come home from work and went home to tell the kids.
I got to the hospital and checked into L&D by 5:30pm. They did all my paperwork, started a saline lock IV, asked me a bazillion questions. Then, the midwife came in for us to talk about our induction options. (The OB went off-call at 5:00pm and the midwife was on call for the weekend.) I had discussed with the OB having the midwife just break my water and try to start labor that way. But after talking with the midwife, and Luke (who knows my laboring body almost as well as I do) we decided that the lowest, slowest IV of pitocin would be the best approach. So at 7:00pm we began the drip of pitocin. It immediately made my sporadic contractions consistent, even though the intensity and pain of them didn't increase much. We bumped up the pitocin every hour (compared to every half hour for a normal induction).
The nursed checked me at about 1:30am and I was 5-6cm dilated. We bumped up the pitocin one final time and that's when the intense contractions began. I was finally in transition! Luke and I have a "dance" we do when I'm in transition. I simply CANNOT sit or lay down during transition contractions because the pain is just too intense. He knows, once my hands go from low to up around his neck, it's serious.
For about an hour, from 1:45am until 2:45am my contractions were hard, consistent and every 3 or so minutes apart. My disposition changed and I told Amanda, who was in the room with us, along with my Mom and Dad, to text a couple friends and tell them that I was certainly in transition, because I knew they'd know how to pray me through. Luke and I did our "dance" that full hour. The contractions got harder, but I knew that they were bringing forth our daughter. And y'all, Luke is an AMAZING laboring partner. He knows when to hold me up, when to whisper encouragements, when to pray over me, when to get me water and when to be my advocate. I don't know how I'd make it through childbirth without him by my side. He's my prophet, provider, protector and priest in every sense of the word during those hours.
I don't think I'll ever forget opening the door to the bathroom (after changing into that sexy hospital gown and before all the induction business got started) and seeing my husband, kneeling on the labor room floor, his hands outstretched to cover the hospital bed, and him praying over it. That is why it's so easy to submit to him and why it's so easy to be his wife.
Anyway, back to birth. At 2:45am the nurse called the midwife. I labored those last 15 minutes literally hanging from Luke's neck. I'm pretty sure the last 3 contractions I had standing up, he was literally holding me up. The pressure was so intense, I just knew that the midwife would come in and simply catch our baby. I was that close to delivery. Or so I thought.
The midwife came in about 3:00am. She checked me to see how dilated I was. I was 6 cm. SIX CENTIMETERS. I felt defeated. And confused. I looked at Luke and the look on his face was exactly how I felt. It simply wasn't possible I was only 6cm because we'd just done our transition dance for the last hour. I think we were both completely thrown off our game. I remember telling Luke and the midwife that it was time to call for an epidural because I knew I could not make it another hour (my usual transition from 6-7cm to fully dilated) with the pain I was in. For whatever reason, it was decided that I wouldn't get an epidural but instead they'd give me some stadol and turn off the pitocin. I remember asking the midwife if I could push because I felt so much pressure. She told me I could not and that if I did, I would risk tearing my cervix. She did say that if it helped with the pain, I could bear down.
So here I am, in the bed, laying on my side and the contractions are not getting any easier to manage. It was the most intense, painful thing I've ever felt in my life. It felt nothing like my labor with Abigail, where it just felt like my pelvis would snap in half. It was an all consuming pain. My entire body hurt with each contraction. It was horrible. I began begging and pleading with Luke to find the midwife (who had left the room at that point) and to demand for her to call the anesthesiologist. I begged and pleaded and told him that it was just too painful and I simply could not bear it. It was too much. This went on for I think 3 or so contractions (remember - 3 or so minutes apart - so by now it's 3:09ish). The nurse put on another sterile glove to check me since I was obviously in major pain. Then, the next contraction came. I remembered what the midwife had said about bearing down. I knew I had to do something to help with the pain because, y'all, I HAVE NEVER.
So, I just decided to bear down a teeny, tiny bit. Apparently that was the only cue my body needed. Natural instinct took over and my body began to all out push. I was still laying on my side and I said, out loud, "She's coming now!" The nurse pulled back the cover and apparently got the clue that I was NOT at 6cm any longer. She walked to the door to get the midwife and I remember my Mom saying, "Her head is out!"
The nurse walked back around the foot of the bed just as my body pushed one last time. She caught Evelyn with one hand, the one that had the glove, thankfully. I have photos of her holding Evelyn with one hand trying to pull up my gown for skin to skin while the midwife is still putting on her gloves. I'd post one here but this is a co-ed blog (I think?) and while it doesn't show any "areas" of me (because the bed wasn't broken down and I wasn't even in stirrups!) it is a little, um, special. But if you know me in real life and come over, I'll show you.
At 3:12am our Evelyn Love was born. (At about 3:00am I was still 6cm. It was crazy fast.)
My poor husband y'all. I remember about the time this picture was taken. I was looking at my baby and something was dripping on my arm. IT WAS MY HUSBAND'S TEARS. Later, he told me that he's never seen me in that much pain and it was torture to know that he could do nothing about it.
Look at his hand on my face. I can't even look at these without tearing up. In that top photo, he hasn't even looked at his daughter yet. He was so concerned for me.
I nursed her for that first hour and she latched on like a champ. Also, THE STADOL FINALLY KICKED IN and my husband, my parents and Amanda were laughing at me hysterically. Apparently, I was slurring my speech and totally blitzed, as is evidenced by the photo below. I didn't feel loopy but I do remember thinking that it was really hard to blink.
Once our Love had finished nursing, Luke escorted her to the newborn nursery. And I did what any drunk person who hasn't eaten in 12 hours would do, I sent my dad to IHOP. No longer a diabetic, I wanted the LARGEST stack of pancakes he could carry back to the hospital. With syrup. An IV of syrup, please. And some juice.
Our girl weighed in as the biggest baby we've ever had. A whopping 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 21 inches long. The cheeks. I'm sure there's a pound of baby in each one.
The next morning (read: 5 hours later) our kids came to the hospital to meet their newest sibling.
They were all SO excited. Elizabeth was so thrilled that she couldn't contain her tears of joy. (Take a hard look at that photo above.) I was so worried that she was upset. But when she finally made it over to the bed all she could tell me was, "I'm just so, so happy she's here!"
Elizabeth has been the first to hold every baby in our family, as is expected since she's the oldest. But Ashlee is, in fact, a baby addict. I think she gets high off baby head sniffs. Luke and I decided that this time, Ashlee would be the first to hold the baby. Her face when I put Evelyn in her arms was priceless.
Even Abigail was smitten and totally thrilled with her new sister.
Our first family of TEN photo. Please ignore the face of Lucas. He hadn't held Evelyn yet and wasn't too happy about it.
The entire experience was unlike any other birth I've experienced. Which is true for our precious, baby girl - she's her own person. She's a delight to us all. We all take turns kissing her big, chubby cheeks and doting on her. I have a feeling she will be spoiled by all 9 of us. Just you wait.