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Disclaimer: This is a birth story. Although I kept it as un-TMI as humanly possible, if birth freaks you out, I’d stop reading right about now.
It was the morning of my sister’s birthday, July 18, and I woke up around 5 a.m., frustrated with the on-and-off-again contractions that had kept me awake during the night. I was afraid to start timing them, though, because every time I did that they would taper off after a good hour or two and leave me discouraged that Evelyn was NEVER going to come.
But at 8 a.m., I started tracking, saying I’d call the doctor at 9 a.m. since I had an ultrasound scheduled for that afternoon anyway. The contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and when I called, the nurse said since I was a week past my due date I needed to go to the hospital, even though the same kind of contractions had sent me there two weeks earlier and proved unproductive.
At The Hospital
I was less-than-hopeful as we packed the car. I consoled myself, figuring at least we’d be in Weymouth where our ultrasound was scheduled, and I had no other plans that day than to wait for baby.
We arrived around 10:30 a.m. and the examination process began. After monitoring us both, they found that my blood pressure was concernedly high, but everything else seemed great. Unfortunately, I was only 1 measly centimeter dilated. They took blood work, had us eat lunch and walk the halls, and then rescheduled my ultrasound for in the hospital.
The ultrasound looked good, but the doctor said I shouldn’t go home, overdue, if both mom and baby weren’t “perfect.”
Not Going Home
At around 2:30 p.m, we were sent back to the birthing unit and told that — HUZZAH! — they were keeping me.
Miraculously, as soon as we got admitted, my blood pressure started calming down, haha! Casey and I were sent again to walk the halls: My contractions were getting more intense, and I was really hopeful we were making progress. Here’s me drinking water from my “Pregnancy Pineapple Cup” and walking with Casey.
We labored until 8:30 p.m., with a mix of hall-walking, lunges and sitting on the birthing ball. I ate tons of ice chips because #1 I was craving them and #2 the hospital had the best ice chips ever:
When the midwife came back to check my cervix, I was tired, the contractions were painful, and I was eager to hear how much I’d progressed. The report? Nothing. I was a “loose 1 cm” at best, and my mom had just hopped in the car to come to the hospital.
As you can imagine, I was extremely discouraged.
That’s when the midwife gave us some options: Walk more and try to get labor going on it’s own, take Nubane which might “melt the cervix” and if not, would at least let me sleep a little, or try Pitocin. She recommended the Nubane, saying that even if I needed Pitocin later to really get things going, I’d have gotten some rest.
The Nubane Works
I didn’t want to go to sleep because I was impatient and I felt bad that my mom arrived only to see me drifting off, but I took the midwife’s recommendation. The Nubane made me groggy enough to let me lay down through the contractions, but as the night kept going, I started to feel them really ramping up. Soon enough I woke up from the Nubane with terrible back labor.
If any part of the process was “excruciating,” it was those contractions in my lower back. Soon after those began, I told the nurse I felt tons of pressure — pushing was imminent. I was exaggerating, of course, but the midwife did find at 1:20 a.m. that I was 7 cm dilated!
The Final Three Hours: A Blur
Evelyn Erica Fernanda McKee was born at 4 a.m. — on the dot — after 2.5 hours of a blur of back labor and pushing. I remember hearing the nurse say that it was 4 a.m. and thinking, “What!? Last I remember it was 1:20!”
Casey caught her and the nurses quickly transferred her to my chest where I was in awe of her tiny body.
Talk about surreal! I tried to be strong for her for a little longer so she could stay skin to skin with me, but the after-birth stitching took over an hour and I needed nitrous oxide to get through that slightly-traumatizing aftermath. Since the baby couldn’t be near the gas, Casey took her to keep her warm.
It wasn’t until the sewing was all done that I at last broke down and cried. Every ounce of me had been drained, but here she was: Our little miracle. She was born at 4 a.m., weighing 7 lbs. oz. and was 20 inches long. Thank the Lord, she was healthy in every way.
Five Days Later…
Here I am, five days later, with our little Evelyn cuddled up on my chest. I can’t even describe how much I love her, how worth it every moment of the last 41 weeks and 4 days now is, how I missed her in the hospital when she went for just an hour of testing in the nursery, how I’m smitten by her every facial expression and enamored even by her cries.
I’ve spent the last five days spontaneously bursting into tears: Yes, sometimes because I’m in pain and I’m exhausted, but usually because I’m just overcome by how grateful I am, how perfect she is, and how incapable I feel.
This has been, in many ways, the absolute hardest week of my life: From being overdue, to enduring the pain of childbirth (and the pain of postpartum recovery), to never wanting or needing sleep more, but not being able to get more than a couple hours here and there. But wow — I have never been happier or more thankful.
There’s so much more to say, and I’m sure in the future I’ll say some of it, but for tonight all I can utter is “Praise the Lord.”