Evelyn's Birth Story

Here it is. The Birth Story. Disclaimer: it is super long and pretty detailed (aka not for the faint of heart), but I wanted to share my amazing birth experience...to share it with others and for posterity's sake, as well!

Evelyn's due date was August 9, and beginning around 36 weeks into the pregnancy, I was getting antsy to meet my Little One and to NOT be pregnant anymore. I was so worried she would be late and I would lose some of my precious weeks off with her, as they were pre-scheduled to start right on her due date! But lucky for me, on Friday, August 1, Evelyn decided to make her appearance.

For the few days leading up to August 1, I was feeling like things were progressing. I was 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced on July 31 at my prenatal appointment. I felt like she was sitting lower and lower in my belly. My swelling was getting worse. And my braxton hicks contractions were getting more frequent and a little bit stronger. However, I wasn't yet in labor, so I was still going into the hospital for my hematopathology rotation. I had a half mile walk from the parking lot to the hospital every day, and then I spent a lot of time walking around the hospital once I was there. However, my work on this rotation was sitting in a scope room, looking at slides of blood smears and bone marrow biopsies under a microscope. Over lunch, I walked to the library on campus to lead a suturing workshop for the third year medical students on their Ob/Gyn rotation. The suturing workshop went great...just like every other one we'd done. And then, I headed back to the scope room to finish off my work day.  I was a little late back to the room, but I had warned the resident that this might be the case. When I walked into the room, the residents and attending physician looked up and starting joking about worrying that I had gone into labor when I didn't show back up on time. We all laughed, and then I am pretty sure I got the funniest look on my face because, as I was laughing, I felt a little gush of fluid. With wide open eyes, I told the doctors, "No. I wasn't in labor, but I'm pretty sure my water just broke. I'll be right back." And I took off to the bathroom down the hall.

I called Mikey, then my mom, and then the birthing center from the bathroom. Every time I stood up, more amniotic fluid started leaking out, so I sat on the toilet for about twenty minutes. The resident brought me my bag, some paper towels to use as pads (and luckily I was wearing a black dress!) and offered to take me to MUSC's labor and delivery floor. When I told her I was delivering in N Charleston and not at MUSC, she offered to walk me downstairs and wait with me for my mom to pick me up. The plan was for Mikey to meet us at the birthing center and for my mom to pick me up from MUSC, as she was much closer to downtown Charleston. When we got to the birthing center, I was still only having weak Braxton Hicks contractions. I was given the option of waiting it out on my own or drinking a castor oil concoction to help me start contracting. I chose the nasty cocktail, as I was more than ready to get this show on the road. Mikey drove me home, where I drank about half of the cocktail, and about two hours later, I started having contractions.  They were instantly strong and 3-4 minutes apart. After 2 hours, I called the midwife, but I decided to wait another hour at home before heading into the birthing center.

When we arrived, the midwife, Laurie, checked me, and I was 5 cm dilated. I labored in the bed, on a birthing ball, and in the shower. After a few hours, I had the most painful contraction I could imagine and started vomiting uncontrollably. After a couple of minutes of straight pain and severe vomiting, the contraction finally eased off. But after this, all of the contractions were much stronger than previously. I'm fairly certain this is when I entered the "transition" period of labor. I'd been nauseous and vomited some before this...likely thanks to the castor oil and my generally weak stomach when stressed. I kept inhaling the peppermint oil they put in a little container for me. After that terrible contraction, I decided to sit in the shower, but kept my little container handy. Throughout all of this, Mikey was the most amazing birth partner. He held my hand, rubbed or pressed on my back, got me whatever I needed, and was absolutely present and exactly what I needed.

Mikey told me after Evelyn was born that during transition, when I started screaming during contractions, vomiting, and generally feeling like I must be dying, he had started to send my mom a text. We'd planned ahead that she would be on standby in case Mikey couldn't handle the labor process. However, before he got the text sent to her (in which he was saying that he was starting to feel a little lightheaded and uneasy due to my intense and obvious pain), I told him that I felt like I might need to push. He immediately informed the midwife. When she checked me, I was about 9 cm.

I transferred into the birthing tub. I started out leaning on the edge of the tub, stomach down, but this was not comfortable to me, so I switched to leaning back into Mikey, with my arms draped over his legs. Every contraction, I would squeeze down on his legs so hard that he was sore for a few days after the delivery! For a number of contractions, I really felt like I needed to push, but I didn't know how. I couldn't mentally make myself push with all of the pain I was feeling. I was somewhat frozen...in fear, in pain, in denial that this baby was coming out one way or another. It was at this point that I asked Laurie what pain control options I had. The birthing center we used had three options: a TENS unit, sterile water injections, and self-administered nitrous oxide. I asked for the nitrous. We discussed the utility of it...Laurie thought it might not be worth it for me since I was so close to delivery, but after another painful contraction, I told her I definitely wanted it. It took a few tries to get used to inhaling through the mask during contractions, but once I did, it made a huge difference! It didn't really take away the pain, but it helped me to get out of my head enough to push through the pain. I got in the zone. I stopped talking, closed my eyes, and just listened to my body and to the instructions Laurie was giving me. After the birth, I learned I had pushed for forty-five minutes. I had absolutely no concept of time during the entire labor process, but especially during pushing. It was such a relief to have some purpose to the pain, something to put my effort into. The last ten to fifteen contractions, Evelyn was a little stubborn about making her appearance. She was almost here, but I couldn't quite get her out. Finally, her head came, and after one more contraction, the rest of her followed. Laurie took her out of the water and placed her on my chest immediately. I hugged my baby girl, in absolute awe of her existence and of what my body had just done. It was the most amazing feeling in the world.

After the birth, we transferred back to the bed, and Mikey, Evelyn, and I all laid in the bed together. I got to just enjoy my beautiful little family. I felt exhausted and elated and amazed at the miracle of childbirth. I am so thankful for my birth experience. It was life changing to go through such an incredible process. I'm not sure what I will choose to do for our future child(ren), but I would not change Evelyn's birth story at all! I feel like it gave me an amazing perspective on childbirth, especially as a future Ob/Gyn.

I am incredibly thankful for my healthy baby girl, for my speedy recovery from a very smooth labor, for the Charleston Birth Place for providing such an amazing experience, and for the most wonderful and supportive husband known to man!


a new beginning

Meet Evelyn.

The most perfect, precious, beautiful little girl I have ever laid eyes on.

She is smart and adorable. She is nursing like a champ. She is great at taking good long naps, although most of those are in the arms of someone who loves her dearly. She makes the funniest little serious faces and loves to look at and learn about the world around her. She prefers keeping her hands by her face, so she normally has them curled up in a ball or is sucking on her thumb. Her yawns are the cutest.

I could go on...but I'll just give you her stats real quick so I can get back to snuggling with my precious little girl.

Born on: August 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm (at 38 weeks and 6 days)
Weighing: 7 lbs 2 oz
Measuring: 19.5 inches
Labor: 9 hours
Pushing: 45 minutes

She is happy and healthy as can be, and we are so incredibly blessed and happy to have her in our lives! Every day, nearly every second, I pray for her to be healthy and safe and to know how loved and cherished she is. Now I better get back to showing her...