Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Evelyn June's Birth Story

Sorry if this is a little long and disjointed. It was all such a blur and I've been writing it in spurts. This is my initial take. I'm sure I'll find myself going back and editing and adding things as I recall more, but I wanted to share anyway. Also, my doula is writing her version for me and I'm anxious to read that!

Wow, I can't even fathom where to start. I had a feeling Evelyn would make her appearance very close to her due date when I started experiencing contractions about 10 minutes apart on Monday, June 27. They were not painful at all, just a tightening that was uncomfortable. This lasted for the next two days on and off. I was starting to get antsy, so on my due date I thought I'd see if we could get things going by practicing with my breast pump. Worked like a charm! I only used it for about 20 minutes and already was experiencing contractions less than 10 minutes, so I stopped. The contractions waned, so I got my pump out one more time before I went to bed and had the same results. I woke up to consistent contractions on June 30 at about 3:30 am. They were tolerable for sure, but definitely real. I knew we were in labor! I labored at home the rest of the morning and they were slowly getting closer together and I was having to breathe through them, though I could still walk and talk through them. I had an appointment with my OB at 9:40 that morning, so I thought I keep that and see what she recommended from there.

The car ride wasn't too bad, but definitely uncomfortable and I was talking to Rob about what he thought we should do about going to the hospital right away or not. I was a little afraid to go to the hospital too early when I could labor elsewhere. I got to my OB and she checked me and said I was at 3.5 to 4 cm. Woo-hoo! I had been at 2 cm and 80% effaced at my appointment the week before so I was happy that we made some progress and I wasn't experiencing the contractions for nothing. She said we could go to the hospital then if we wanted or go to the mall or a park and walk around to pass some time. We decided it was too hot outside to walk in a park and the contractions were uncomfortable enough that I didn't want to be "watched" at the mall so we headed to the hospital. It was about 11am.

I'm going to insert my little rave about Barnes Jewish St. Peters. They were AMAZING. Super supportive and not at all pushy. I got there and immediately got my room. They gave me the quick rundown of things and I signed papers and they put me on the monitor (20 min or monitoring is required every hour) and let me be for a while. During this time my mom and my doula arrived and we just managed contractions which were about 3 min apart by now. The nurse came back in and saw how well the baby was tolerating contractions and took the monitor off. She didn't come back for monitoring for another 2 hours, which I am so grateful for. It was hard to stay in a position that kept the monitor happy and me somewhat comfortable. I was also able to eat and drink as I pleased (although I vomited any food back up) and the nurses never once questioned it. 

I walked the halls a bit and then I hopped in the jacuzzi tub (I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the tub!!!) and labored there for a little while until my doula suggested I get out and move around a little more - I think it was about 3 or 4 pm at this point. Honestly, I had no concept of time at all during labor. I was amazed at how focused my body was and keeping my mind on working through the contractions which were definitely getting intense. I labored by leaning on Rob while my doula and mom took turns putting pressure on my back (I had back labor). The nurse came in and I asked to be checked. I wanted some idea of if I was making progress.Thankfully, I was at 7-8 cm! I then hopped back in the tub with some hope of getting a little relief. I was getting some "coupling" in my contractions (this is what my doula called them) and was really questioning myself at this point as I was lacking the much needed breaks between. I realized that I was hitting transition and that meant I was in the home stretch. The tub was, again, amazing. I just sat in it with the jets going and breathed through contractions while Rob just sat next to me. He was amazing. Just amazing. He seemed to know exactly what to do/say, exactly when to say it. 

At about 6:00 I was beginning to feel pressure and knew I needed to get out of the tub to get things going some more. I wanted gravity on my side, so I was back to leaning on Rob. I would sit on the edge of the bed between and rest and eventually I just laid down on my left side and worked through them some more. I knew we were getting close as the pressure intensified, but I didn't feel like I hit that point where pushing felt "right." Again, I was so in awe of my body. I remember literally falling asleep between contractions. I would go from full-on focus and determination to complete rest and relaxation in a matter of seconds. 

Finally, at about 6:30, the urge to push was making it's appearance. I had rolled over on my other side by now and started a couple of "practice" pushes. I had no idea if I was complete or not and no idea if I was even pushing correctly, but the nurses had fetched my OB and she was letting me go on my own. (BTW, if anyone is looking for a natural-friendly Dr. I would recommend my OB to anyone!!) I remember everyone just letting me do my thing. No one touched me except to give me a hand to hold or a cold washcloth on my face. About 15 minutes into pushing, my water broke (I should say exploded everywhere) and my OB said she'd be back in a few (I think she got a shower...). I was a little discouraged, but kept at it. Finally, the nurses said to fetch her again. When she returned I asked her if I was making progress and she looked at me with great encouragement and said yes, she could see a head of brown hair! I continued pushing and Rob just whispered in my ear that I was doing great and he was so proud. He was telling me that he could see more and more of her head with every push (I can't believe he looked!) and my OB encouraged me some more. Eventually, I started to feel the ring of fire and knew I had made it to the end. There was no question. I had to get her out (lol, I remember asking my OB if it would stop when she was out... she smiled at me and nodded). Finally, at 7:27 pm, She arrived and was laid directly on my chest. Rob told me that she was a girl and we all laughed because we'd been calling her a "he" for so long. 

We spent the next hour bonding, attempting to nurse and just staring at our little girl. I finally realized that the nurses and never weighed her as they had just let us be while they cleaned up the mess (which apparently was a pretty big one as I ended up delivering "caddy-wompus" off the side of the bed, as my mom put it) and my OB took care of me. I had some blood loss and clotting and tore a bit (not sure how bad yet) and I honestly thought the massaging of my uterus and all of the "messing around down there" was more irritating that any bit of labor and delivery. The nurses finished and came to ask if I was ready for them to take her and check her out (they did all of this in the room) and I said yes. She was a perfect 8 lbs 2 oz, and 19.5 inches long. She had the most perfect round head and was just the most beautiful little miracle. 

I couldn't believe it was over. I couldn't believe she was finally here and that I had done what I set out to do. We had finally reached the end of the road and could start our lives as a perfect little family. I couldn't have asked for anything more.