Evangeline’s Birth Story.
I didn’t want to write this out, it is hard to bring myself back and to accept everything that happened. But I wanted it written out for you baby girl, so here it is, this is our story of how you came into the world.
(this blog is written from the perspective of my thoughts.)
9pm: I sit in my bed watching Fixer Upper and eating popcorn. We had just spent the night with a bunch of Jr high kids learning how to swing dance and celebrating Valentines day. I started to have uncomfortable Braxton hicks on the drive home. I’m 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant with you baby girl… and I’m not ready.
10:30 pm: Another surge comes, they are sharp like lightning across my lower uterus, could this be it? These don’t feel like just Braxton hicks, they usually go away after a bath and some rest time. I’ll try not to think about them and maybe they’ll go away… I’m not ready.
11pm: Okay, so not thinking about them isn’t working. Maybe this is false labor, Malachi didn’t come until 41 weeks. They are still 12 minutes apart, if they continue like this for another half hour then I’ll wash the clothes I wanted to put in the baby bag… I’m not ready.
11:40pm: Alright, that load is in. Just remain calm and get all the other stuff ready for the hospital bag. I think that list is in the small box in the garage. Man I hope they can get the floors and counter tops back in before we get home from the hospital. The house is such a mess from that water damage at Christmas time, the house isn’t ready… I’m not ready.
12 am: The clothes are in the dryer now. I’ll listen to some of those hypno birthing things while I take a bath. That should help me focus. “every surge brings me closer to my baby.” “my body and my baby are working together to enter the world.” “my baby is in the perfect position…” “I remain calm during a contraction to allow my body to work.”… I’m not ready.
1-2 am: Hospital bag is packed. Did the surges really jump to 6-8 minutes apart? Breathing through the pain, its burning in my hips. I wake daddy and tell him I think this is real labor, pack your stuff. Could he rub my back while I lay here in bed? I’m going to try to sleep a little in-between surges. I text Marme and tell her this is it, but I’m going to rest. I’ll let her know when I’m up again and need her help… I’m not ready.
4am: Sleeping is a horrible idea. I wake up in the middle of every surge and it’s really hard to get on top of the pain. I get out of bed, put on some praise music and sit on the birthing ball, this is better, I can feel the surges coming on now and get on top of it. Lord, you are in control of my body. Baby girl you are coming today… even if I’m not ready.
4:30am: Called the hospital to let them know I’d be coming in at some point today, they told me to wait until they are 3-5 minutes apart. They are slowing down to 8-10 minutes apart, so I have time. Wondering if daddy should go into work for a half day since they are slowing down. This could be a long day but my sweet girl you are coming… I’m getting ready.
5:30am: Daddy says he is not going to risk it and do a half day, he is staying with me. Good, that was a stupid idea I had anyway, I need him here. I text Marme and ask her to come down stairs with the rebozo, I need some counter pressure on my hips. They are burning even between surges… I’m getting ready.
6am: Marme comes and gets me on my hands and knees on the bed. She provides counter pressure on my hips as I breath through each surge, I’m starting to moan through them. I ask daddy how far a part they are now, 3-4 minutes. Marme says we can go in anytime, I just say when. I breath through another few surges and oh, that last one is different, I feel so much pressure on my pelvic floor. I think I need to push, let’s go in, I can do this…. I’m just about ready.
6:30am: Daddy calls Aunty Valerie to come watch brother, Aunty Sharon to meet us at the hospital and Marme grabs her bag from up stairs. I kiss brother goodbye while he is sleeping and I stare at him and think of what a fun night we had with him at the dance, that was a good fun last day as an only child for him. I stare at him and know I can do this with you because I did it with him. My body knows what it is doing, we are working together baby girl. I get up and start to walk to the car but stop in the bathroom to brush my teeth, funny how that is important for me to do in-between surges, but its something I don’t want to have to think about for awhile…I’m almost ready.
6:40am: The drive to the hospital is short less than 3 minutes, but I definitely feel the need to push. I sit on my knees facing the back on the car as daddy drives there. I hold Marme’s hand and tell her I want to push! She tells me to breathe through it, we need to make sure I’m fully dilated before I can push, we’re almost at the hospital… I think I’m ready.
6:45am: We are at the hospital, they wheel me in and take me to registration, registration!? Hello, I’m telling you I feel like I need to push! I pre-registered, just look me up and wheel me upstairs! No, I don’t have my ID, I left it in the car. Fine I’ll sign those papers, Daddy holds the papers under my hand as I breath through the surges so I can scribble my “signature” and get upstairs faster. I am not about to push you out in the hospital lobby… I’m ready!
6:50am and onward: Why did they go so slow through the hall ways! Don’t they know I’m ready? I’m on the hospital bed in my comfy black dress, I took my undies off as I climbed in so they could check me right away. They put the hospital gown on the bed so I can change into it, Marme goes to tell them I am not going to change and that they need to check me because I want to push.
“What baby number is it?”
“Her second baby…”
That seems to do the trick, they realize I know what it feels like to need to push and a nurse comes to check me. She doesn’t say anything. Great, I’m probably not even at 10cm and only a 5 or 6. She doesn’t want to disappoint me. Well if this isn’t it then I need to take a huge dump cause there is definitely a lot of pressure happening down there.
They change me out of my dress and put me in a gown as a nurse searches for your heartbeat, why is she having such a hard time finding it? Dear Lord, please let her find it! Let baby girl be alright. The surges keep coming and I do my best not to push. Okay there’s your heartbeat up by my rib cage, don’t scare me like that sweetie! A doctor is coming in to check me, I don’t know why, two nurses already have.
He checks, and says he feels one of your feet and your bum. Great, the nurses start wiping me down with sterile wipes and ask daddy to sign some papers. “What are you signing? Don’t sign yet.” Apparently this is just in case, the Dr wants to do a quick ultrasound to see what your head position is, if it’s in the correct position they will let me deliver you breech! Please be correct.
You are looking up, why baby girl? We were going to get to deliver breech! Now they won’t let us because you aren’t chin down. Okay, we are doing an emergency c-section. I can do this, I remain calm so I can be awake when you are born. Surgery scares me so much, a spinal tap scares me so much! Needle in spine? No thank you… But I will brave them both for you.
The spinal tap guy is here, medical history? No prior surgeries, no allergies, medically I’m super boring… the only thing I have to tell them is that I had some bleeding issues after I gave birth to your brother. I ask if Marme can come into the OR too, no. Can daddy be in while I’m getting the spinal at least, it really scares me! They are sorry but no. Okay, I have to brave the spinal tap alone. I can do this, Lord please keep me calm.
His peace surrounds me as I accept what is happening. We are not getting the birth I had hoped we would get together. But that is okay. I kiss daddy and he tells me he will be there as soon as they let him. They start to wheel me out, wait stop! I need prayer! I ask Marme, Aunty Sharon and Daddy to pray for me to have peace. Then they wheel me out of the room and down the hallway.
I am focused, I have no choice but to breath through the surges. Resisting for the last hour not to push has been really hard, I develop a chant “don’t push, don’t push, don’t push.” as each surge comes and they get me hooked up to an iv. I ask the nurse who is giving me the IV if I can hold her hand through the spinal. “Of course” she says, we decide I will squeeze her hand once when a surge starts and then twice when it is over so she can tell the doctor when I’m ready for the spinal. She doesn’t know it but I’m so thankful she is there to hold my hand, I wish I knew her name.
The spinal tap was uncomfortable but not as bad as I had feared it would be. I had to curl into the fetal position so they could get it in. I envision myself protecting you in my body one last time. We are going to meet soon, we’re almost there sweetie.
The urge to push starts to subside and I feel like I’m in a haze. This is so foreign, it wasn’t in the plan to welcome you this way. The lights are to harsh, there is no music playing and I am not getting to push. I was so excited to push you here, it was my favorite part with your brother. I wanted to touch your head as you came out like we did with him. I breath and refocus, this is how it’s happening now, Lord keep me calm. He does.
The anesthesiologist comes and pokes my body in different places with a needle, making sure that I am fully numbed so I don’t scream out in pain when they start. He asks me if he needs to worry about daddy.
“Is he going to faint on us?”
” No,” is my reply, “he’s my rock.”
Daddy comes in and sits beside me, they put up the curtain and finish off whatever else they need to finish before they start. Daddy kisses me and says:
“Yes.” We had finally decided your first name the night before on the drive over to the dance.
“Charis…. if I’m getting cut open she gets my middle name.”
Daddy chuckles, “Okay, Evangeline Charis it is.”
The Doctor announces that he is going to start, I’ll feel some weird pressure. Then he starts, it feels odd. I feel all the pressure like he said but none of the pain. I try not to think about my body being cut and pulled open, it makes me squeamish. I feel a ton of pressure, like he’s pushing hard down on my body. I wonder if he is pulling you out, I feel rough tugging sensations, but he doesn’t say you are here so Daddy and I continue staring at each other and talking about you. We wonder what color your hair and eyes will be. What will you be like?
There is a lot of background noise going on behind daddy. At first I assume it is all the nurses getting things ready for you. But as the minutes drag on I start to worry. I keep asking daddy if you are back there. He half glances, not wanting to know, and says he doesn’t think so.
We continue talking, my chin is chattering so bad. There is something off in this room, and things start to pile up in my head; why hasn’t the doctor said you’re here yet? I’ve never had a c-section before but surely enough time has passed for you to be here. And if you are here why haven’t we heard your sweet cry? Why haven’t I seen you yet? Why are there so many people around that table behind daddy?
All of these thoughts build, taking up so much room inside of me that it is hard to breath, until I finally say;
“Eli, I think she’s over there. You need to look! Turn and look!”
He does, and as he turns back to me his eyes are already full with tears as he shakes his head in confirmation of what we have both been fearing.
Oh, sweet baby girl, I most definitely wasn’t ready for this.
To be continued…