Saturday, January 10, 2015

Evelyn Faith is Here (and has been for over 3 months)!

Evelyn Faith joined our family on October 9 at 6:22 pm.  She weighed in at 7 pounds, 12.5 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Here's the super short version of her birth story:
Early labor at school for a few hours.
Active labor at home for 4 hours.
Walked into triage already complete.
Born 13 minutes after entering triage!

And here's the detailed version (told by Mommy, because it's easier that way):

Evelyn's due date was October 3, but we were praying and hoping that she would come about a week late.  That extra week would give me more time to get my kinder babies ready for a sub.  More importantly, it would tack a free week onto my maternity leave (in the form of Thanksgiving break)!

Given those prayers and hopes, I was stoked to have made it all the way to my just-in-case OB appointment on October 9.  Over the previous weeks I had been slowly dilating and effacing, but there were no signs that labor was imminent.  I was getting a bit antsy, as I didn't want to get near induction territory.  Dr. Moore and I discussed just about every possible scenario (she was willing to let me go 2 weeks over my due date) and decided that stripping my membranes would more than likely result in a baby that day.  I was all for that!

My membranes were also stripped with Katelyn and Elliot, so I was really not looking forward to this moment. It turned out that there was already some natural separation this time, making it my least painful membrane-stripping experience!

Knowing labor was now set in motion, I headed on over to my school to get in what I hoped would be one last day of work.  The early morning played out just like every other morning, but by the time lunch rolled around I could tell something was different.  Braxton Hicks contractions had been my companions since I was 18 weeks pregnant.  They had progressed to real contractions over the previous weeks, but there was no pattern to them.  About halfway through my lunch duty, though, I noticed that they were becoming more intense and were about 7 minutes apart. They weren't anything I had to focus on, though, so I kept going about my business.

By the time my students were headed to PE an hour and a half later, the contractions were coming every 5 minutes.  At that point, I seriously considered plugging away until the end of the school day.  A little pep talk from my administrators, counselor, and instructional coach was just what I needed to convince myself that it was time to get rolling.

I tidied up my classroom, made some last minute notes for my sub, pulled Katelyn out of theatre class to let her know what was going on (I didn't want her to hear the news from my students!), packed up my personal belongings, hopped in my car, and called Jer to let him know it was go time.

The "commute" from my school to our home is only 5 minutes, but on the drive I noted that it had been a while since I'd had a contraction.  I chalked it up to the break a woman's body often takes during labor when she has to move from one location to another.

Sure enough, almost as soon as I got settled at home the contractions began coming just 3 minutes apart.  I sent a text to my doula, Holly, and she headed over to our place.  Then I finished packing my hospital bag and the kid's overnight bags.  When Holly rang our doorbell, I was just finishing up my first attention-demanding contraction.

Jeremy, Holly, and I settled down in our living room and began the waiting game.  We chatted and perused our iPads in between contractions.  (I let this post sit for two months and picked it back up here.  My memory of this day is less detailed now...which I'm sure you'll be grateful for, if you're still reading at this point.) I was still checking and sending work related emails when I had a contraction break, as they had slowed back down to about 5 minutes apart.  Each contraction required my attention, but I didn't really have to get into any special positions to get through them.

After about an hour, I grabbed my exercise ball and sat on it to help move things along.  The intensity of each contraction was picking up at this point, and the ball made the contractions a little more pleasant.  Holly had brought along a rebozo, which I was super excited about using.  It's basically a long, strong scarf that has multiple uses during labor and delivery.  I was most interested in having it tied tightly around my hips to provide counter pressure during contractions.  Jeremy was excited about using it for the same purpose, as it would likely save him from the days of muscle aches he experienced after squeezing my hips during Elliot's birth.

Even after using the rebozo in several different ways, though, I didn't find it as helpful as I thought I would.  What did work well, though, was simply kneeling on the ground and leaning my upper body over the exercise ball.  In this position, I was able to handle each contraction really well.  Maybe a little too well, though, because none of us had any idea how far along I was!

The three of us were about to go on a walk around the block when I decided to take one more trip to the restroom.  It was there that I felt myself get really hot, really quickly and began to feel my body trying to push.  Transition!  I told Jer and Holly I thought it was time to head out to the hospital, so we loaded up the car and got moving.

During my pregnancy, when people asked me how I hoped my labor and delivery would go, I always answered that it was my hope to labor at home for as long as possible, show up at the hospital dilated to a 10, and start pushing as soon as I entered a birthing room.  On the car ride to the hospital, though, I realized that the reality of that scenario was a whole lot scarier than I'd envisioned!

About halfway into the 25 minute car ride, I was pretty certain I could feel Evelyn's tiny baby head trying to exit my body. I didn't say anything to Jeremy, though, until we were a few minutes away from the hospital.  "Why don't you call and let them know we're coming in?  I'm pretty sure I can feel her crowning," and "When we get there, just pull up to the doors. Don't worry about getting anything but my water," were the words that came out of my mouth.  The words in my head, though, were "Oh, God, please don't let me have my baby in this car. Oh, God, please don't let me have my baby in this car."

We pulled up into the hospital's drive and headed inside (Jeremy did remember to turn the car off). Unfortunately, we didn't remember which floor L&D was on and initially went to the wrong floor.  Jeremy asked a hospital staff member where we needed to be. She started to give us directions, but then got a good look at me and decided she'd better escort us herself!  She took us to another bank of elevators, where my water broke just as the elevator doors were opening.

When we entered triage, the first nurse to greet us bombarded me with multiple questions about insurance, my date of birth, whether I had preregistered, etc.  The only answer I could muster was "She's coming right now."  Thankfully, another nurse took over and helped Jeremy get me onto a bed so she could check me.  I was already at a 10 (no surprise to me at this point), so they immediately began rolling the bed down the hall and into a birthing room.

My eyes were closed through about 90% of everything that happened at the hospital before Evelyn's arrival, but I do know that the birthing room was a flurry of human activity.  Nurses were coming in and out quickly, trying to get as much of the pre-birth routine completed as possible.  I was already pushing before they transferred me from the gurney to the birthing bed, though, so some things just had to wait!

Thirteen minutes after I stepped into triage, Little Miss Evelyn made her precipitous entrance into the world.  She was healthy, beautiful, and absolutely perfect.  She was so fast that she beat the on call doctor.  He didn't make it in time to deliver her, but did come later to deliver the placenta and stitch me up a bit.

Three months have now passed since this exciting birthday, and I know that it will always be one of my absolute favorite days of my life.  Natural labor and delivery are so intense, but there is nothing in the world that makes me feel more physically powerful.


Jessica Miller Kelley said...

I love it! I think I want to try to have our (yet to be conceived) third baby naturally. Wit our second, I'd said I wanted to labor longer at home, but then contractions were only a few minutes apart so quickly, we went, and had a few hours at the hospital before birth.

Welcome Evelyn! Thanks for sharing her birth story, Rachel!

Anonymous said...

I love your story and the beautiful miracle - precious Evelyn Faith. Awesome job!
Love you,