Two weeks later and probably nobody’s really interested, but here are the details of Evelyn’s birth. I realize not everyone thinks birth stories are cool, so I posted my favorite non-birth bit first. Here’s the picture:
How many bracelets does one hospital need on a patient? The big bulky one that says “kisses” was really kind of cool. It was “bonded” to a bracelet around Evelyn’s ankle so that anytime she came near me my bracelet made a chiming sound to tell us that she was my baby. If I got too close to any other baby apparently it had an alarm. It was kind of fun to hear a chime every time they gave me my baby. So there you go. Feel free to ignore the rest of this post if you want.
I have a friend in Budapest who told me that with one of her six girls she went into labor and denial at the same time. She said she was running around the house all day in labor and totally denied it. I don’t know what finally got her to the hospital, but my water breaking did it for me. I was in labor for nearly a day before my water broke and I swore it was false labor. Maybe it was because I was two weeks before my due date or because I REALLY didn’t want to be in labor before Ivan got here, but I really thought I was in false labor. I even posted on facebook about 15 minutes before my water broke “Rachel Andrus thinks she might cry. False labor sucks.” Famous last words right?
In my defense, my labor followed all the signs of false labor. The contractions got stronger and weaker and they didn’t seem to be getting any more regular. They started in my lower abdomen rather than in my back, and I’d known people who had had bad false labor for several days or a week before actually having a baby. On top of that I have contractions all throughout my pregnancies. With Avery I remember wondering if contractions were her moving because I had small contractions before I even felt her move. But usually those contractions aren’t uncomfortable. I kind of like them. These contractions were a little painful.
So, from the beginning: I started having small painless contractions Thursday night. I had just finished my taxes (I think I have grounds for a suit against the government. I’m pretty sure taxes put me into early labor) and I was having all these contractions, which isn’t unusual, except that there were a lot of them. That night I had three or four contractions that were kind of painful. They were uncomfortable enough to wake me up in the middle of the night a few times. This had also happened a week or two before, so I didn’t think much of it until they didn’t go away all the next day.
Friday I had contractions all day and some of them were painful and some of them weren’t. I probably had one really good hard one every hour or two and the rest of them hurt a little, but not too badly. Like I said, they really seemed like false labor to me. The only thing was that I was pretty sure I was dilating because I was losing a lot of mucus and that seems to happen when I dilate. I figured I was going to be like my mom who dilated to 7 cm two weeks before she delivered with all her babies.
So I went to the store and helped my mom make strawberry jam. I did my chores early so that I could help lay wood flooring on Saturday (haha). I talked to Ivan online and chased Avery around, all while being in labor and not realizing it.
About 11:00 I ate an ice cream and decided it was time to go to bed. I got into bed and I remember saying my prayers and asking to please be able to sleep well that night. It had been a few nights since I’d slept well and with the contractions I was afraid I wasn’t going to get any sleep. So I asked Heavenly Father to let me sleep that night and rolled over onto my side and tried to relax. I was just thinking I hadn’t had a contraction in a little bit and I might actually sleep when I heard/felt a “pop” and felt a gush. Apparently I jumped out of bed pretty quickly because my mom went to check the bed before we left for the hospital and it was dry, very unlike my pajama pants.
My mom had just gone to bed, too, so I knocked on her door and made her get dressed while I rinsed off in the shower and grabbed the bag I had hastily packed that night. I wrote Ivan a quick email (poor Ivan) telling him what had happened and where I would be and that I would have my cell phone and my mom’s and off we went.
We got to the hospital about 11:30. I hadn’t preregistered. I hadn’t toured the hospital. I had no idea where labor and delivery was. So we asked at the ER. I felt a little silly because after my water broke it took 45 minutes or so for contractions to start again, so here I was walking around signing papers and feeling just fine while telling people I was in labor. I was pretty sure my water had broken though.
They put me in a room and asked me a bunch of questions. Registration called and I answered more questions. They asked if I wanted an epidural and I said I wanted to try without it. They checked and told me my water had definitely broken and I was 6 cm dilated, 7 during a contraction. Then I started having contractions again. I kind of breathed through them. Some of them were pretty intense and some weren’t so bad. After a while they checked again and I was 8 cm dilated and they called out to the desk to call the doctor. They told me to tell them if anything felt different and especially to tell them if I felt like I needed to push.
My mom was there rubbing my head and reminding me to breathe and I asked “I’ll know the need to push, right?” and the nurse and my mom both said “oh yes…” Then I started having really hard contractions. They asked me how many times I pushed with Avery and I told them twice. I think they got a little nervous at that point. The contractions changed at about 8 cm to really intense burning like pain. It’s hard to explain, but they were different and I felt like I could feel her pushing and rubbing against my bones. I only had about two contractions like that though, because at the end of the second I felt like pushing. Then things really got exciting.
I told them I felt like pushing, but the doctor wasn’t there yet. There was an on-call doctor and they called him, but it took him a minute to get there and I was needing to push. Pretty soon there were three or four nurses in my room telling me to pant and not push. I tried really hard, I swear I did, but it felt like when you throw up. You know how when you throw up you can’t just say “no, I’m not going to throw up” your body just does it and you feel like everything inside of you is coming back out? That’s what it felt like. I tried pretty hard not to push, but my body did it anyway.
The first pushing contraction I tried not to push and tried not to push, but by the end of it Evelyn was crowning anyway. The nurse put her hand on Evelyn’s head trying to keep her from being born while the doctor finished robing and gloving. The second pushing contraction delivered her head and then I had to stop pushing AGAIN because she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. They got that untangled and the rest of her kind of just slipped out. They told me that the cord was also wrapped around her arm and her leg, but didn’t cause any complications at all. She was born at 1:29, was 6 pounds and 10 ounces and she was healthy.
My doctor made it there just in time to stitch me up where I tore a little. She had tried to get there faster, but had been unlucky in that she managed to get herself in front of a cop most of the way there. She could have sped anyway, but explaining the situation after being stopped would have taken more time that just going the speed limit, so she got there just seconds too late. The on call doctor almost didn’t make it either. I think next time I’ll tell them to call the doctor when I’m about 5 cm.
The nurse asked me afterward if, since I’d had an epidural with my first baby and then had this baby all naturally, I’d do an epidural next time. I told her I thought probably I’d have an epidural next time, but since then I’ve really kind of liked having the memory of feeling Evelyn being born. I can’t really explain it. It’s not really anything like I’ve read where people say how amazing they felt or powerful or that it was this spiritual experience. It was just a nice feeling of… connection, maybe? It’s nice now to have that memory of that experience of her birth.
On the other hand, I really liked having an epidural too, because I felt more present right after Avery was born. I felt more aware and less frenetic I guess. And the epidural felt really really good. So, I guess it’s really amazing to me how very different the births of my two kids were, but I liked both experiences. Evelyn’s was easier, but Avery’s was probably more comfortable. If I’m like my mom, I may not have the choice of an epidural in the future, as all her labors went very very quickly and this one was only 2 hours from check in at the hospital to crying baby. For that reason (and others) I’m glad I had an epidural the first time around.
One thing I do think I’ll do next time is ask for an episiotomy if the doctor thinks I’m going to tear. I really feel like I healed more quickly last time and the doctor said the tear was a little harder to stitch up.