Since my little baby is turning 1 today (sniff sniff), I thought I’d share her birth story.
I feel a bit guilty that I was able to “choose” when I would have my daughter. When I was pregnant with my boys I asked to have my membranes stripped, and incredibly, it worked both times. For some back story, I have asthma, which generally never gives me any problem. Even if it does act up just one or two puffs of my fast acting inhaler will clear it right up. Not so with this pregnancy. I had issues all during this pregnancy, culminating in being admitted to the hospital for a few days when I was 37 weeks pregnant just to get it under control. Praise God our little girl was just fine inside still, and considering my blood-oxygen level, that’s somewhat of a miracle. So when my family started getting sick again when I was 2 days away from my due date (sickness is a trigger for my asthma) I decided to have my midwife strip my membranes to hopefully avoid another pregnancy-exacerbated asthma issue (and possible hospital admission/birth). I immediately went from 2 to 4 cm after the stripping. We went to Target to walk around and then drove the hour back home. I was occasionally feeling contractions, but nothing overwhelming. After being home for 2 hours, I ceased feeling any contractions at all. My doula, Tanya, encouraged me to take a nap and just relax. I decided that a woman who has pushed out 7 of her own children probably should be listened to (just maybe…).
So after a rather pleasant two hour nap, I realized that I needed to make dinner. I was in the middle of grating some Parmesan for the turkey meatballs for the soup I was making when I felt a contraction. And this wasn’t just a “hmmm, what was that?” type thing… no, it was “HEY, I’M HERE AND I MEAN BUSINESS” contraction. I called my midwife about 30 minutes into these somewhat regular contractions that were around 7-10 minutes apart because, unlike with my second son, I did not want to spend transition in the car and give birth 15 minutes after I arrived! We decided to meet at the birth center at around 9:30pm. I called Tanya and gave her a heads up that I might be in labor. She laughed because she knew I was in labor, no “might” about it! I was very much still in denial, which by the way, is a great birth tool! My husband called his parents to start coming on down to watch the kids. I finished making and serving the soup at 7:15 (it would have been earlier if I didn’t have to keep stopping and belly dancing through those contractions!). I tried to sit and eat my dinner, but it just wasn’t happening. I didn’t want to sit, and I couldn’t really eat. Every time I sat down, I’d stand back up and start pacing the hall like a caged tiger. At 7:30, I realized we had to go. I did not feel like waiting another minute. We called our back-up babysitters who would fill in the gap until my husband’s parents would arrive, and we got into the van at around 8pm (we had to wait for our back-ups to arrive, and my husband’s parents live over an hour away). We also called the midwife somewhere in there to let her know we would be there as soon as we could, probably around 9 pm. I also repeatedly asked (begged, whatever) that she have the birth pool filled up when I got there.
After about 3 minutes in the car, I needed to start toning through the contractions. This is a distinctly “transition” activity for me. We were an hour away from the birth center! The strange thing about this labor was how aware I was through it. I never really drifted into laborland, because I wasn’t really in a tremendous amount of pain. It was quite the opposite, I felt good through all of my contractions even though I was very aware of the intensity of them. In between the contractions, which were coming around 1-2 minutes apart, my husband and I carried on normal conversation. I talked about getting an iced mocha latte from Dunkin Donuts afterward, the name we chose, and the fact that we both really hoped it was a girl otherwise a boy was going to be wearing a lot of pink. We were about 25 minutes away when the pressure started building to the point where I was feeling a bit “pushy”. When I mentioned the need to push to Jesse (my husband), he drove just a bit faster! We arrived at the birth center at 9:02 pm, and Tanya arrived at 9:03 and both she and Jesse helped me into the birth room.
I stood over the bed and toned through the contractions for a few minutes. They were some serious pressure filled contractions! Tanya put a hot rice pack on my back that was completely heavenand I immediately wished she was with me when I was laboring at home. I decided then that I wanted to get into the birth pool, but after walking 4 feet to use the potty before getting in the pool, my water broke! I was so disappointed to not have been in the water for that! I don’t enjoy the feeling of being soaked from the waist down! With the next contraction I felt very pushy so I bore down. All I can say about that moment is ‘woah’. I immediately decided that I no longer wanted to be in labor or birth a baby. I wanted to go back home and forget this whole having a baby business. Since that was not an option, I held onto the edge of the birth pool that I somehow managed to get into for dear life. For how easily managed the rest of labor was, the remainder was the 3 most intense minutes of my life.
She descended nearly immediately and I could feel her stuck on my bones. All I could think about was “Oh my goodness, if this baby gets stuck I will lose my mind!”. Since I tore with my last two births everyone was instructed to remind me to push gentle and to blow the baby out. Even though I couldn’t say it (too busy screeching and pushing out a mini-human), I thought “yeah right people!”. I was locked into one contraction from the moment I started pushing, there was no break in between. It was just one mega-massive-intense contraction. With a particularly mighty roar I pushed out her head, and immediately got busy pushing the rest of her out. Finally the rest of her followed, after an eternity of 10 seconds. She came out a bit shocky and floppy due to her extremely fast descent, but before the midwife could even reach for her resus bag, she was breathing fine and pinking up nicely. She was born at 9:29 pm weighing 8 lbs 13 oz and 21 inches long, when we finally got around to measurements. She burst a blood vessel in her left eye and also bruised the left side of her tongue, probably where I felt her get caught up on my bone. But was she beautiful!! I was so thankful to be holding this little miracle that God gave us, our very first daughter. We got out of the water after a few minutes and got settled into bed. I was repaired, the cord was cut eventually, and we enjoyed watching as Evangeline nursed for the first time.
Today I still enjoy watching my little Evangeline snuggle and nurse. She holds my thumb while nursing as she’s done since just a few weeks old. She’s a sweet, gentle, and easygoing little one. She twirls her feet when she’s excited, which is pretty much anytime she sees her Daddy. Her big brothers are even more in love with her now, and they were in love with her when she first appeared in their lives! We love our Evangeline Grace.