Tuesday, April 19, 2011
E is for Evie ... or Epidural
I used to get mad at people who had babies and didn't immediately share their tender birth stories as their child was exiting the womb. I mean seriously? As a faithful reader of blogs A-Z, I always figured it was my right to know what was going down on the other side of the blog page. But, now that I have experienced my own version of child birth, I guess I will cut some of you people some slack if you cut me some. Sure I've been up consistently throughout the past couple nights of Evie's life, but I now realize that being "awake" does not necessarily ensue consciousness. That said, here is Snickerdoodle's birth story.
On Friday, Patti and my Mom scheduled me a pregnancy massage to combat the edema in my feet and ankles. I went in to the spa and the woman told me that she could definitely help me relax, get rid of the swelling in my feet, AND possibly induce labor by applying pressure to certain parts of my ankle and thumb. The massage was amazing and I left feeling relaxed and looking less swollen. That night I was slightly crampy (I had been for over a week since I was dilated 1-2 and effaced 50%) but I thought nothing special would unravel save my bi-hourly dates with TUMS and the toilet.
At three AM I started feeling contractions, but refused to believe they were real. So I did not tell my husband. That was the first stupid thing I did that day. Finally at a little after five, my contractions were very regular and I was in a lot of pain. What's a girl to do? Take a shower of course. I tried to quietly slip into the bathroom, turn on the rushing water, and bathe my rotund figure without disrupting my husband. Before I could even get in, Nick was behind me looking stern and slightly concerned that his wife was either in labor or secretly hoping to turn the shower into a natural habitat for endangered whales.
I'm the worst liar ever, so my scam about the whole whale habitat thing was brutally rebuffed. Anyway, Nick like the prepared Daddy-to-be he is, busted out his watch and began timing my contractions. Me, like the Mom-of-the-Year I'm destined to become, grabbed my laptop, assumed the fetal position in bed, and popped in Country Strong, since I'd been dying to see it for weeks. Before the movie was even over I knew that I would be making some type of trip to the hospital that day. I called my mom (who was in Portland, helping my sister with the kiddos) and told her she should probably come home soon. However, the battery conveniently died on her car and she was forced to desperately try and find an open Lexus dealership so that she could get it fixed and come help me. Finally at a little after 10:00 in the morning I called my mom asking her if I should go to the hospital. My contractions were strong, lasting a good minute or more, but they were quite irregular. Some every two minutes, some every five, some every seven or so. My mom suggested we go to the hospital, so by 10:30 we were out the door and on our way.
By the time we got to the front desk, I could not even talk during contractions and I think the lady feared for her life when she asked me for my name, birthday, insurance card, etc. I refused a wheelchair (I really thought I had plenty of time before our Snickerdoodle arrived) and we walked to the elevator and all around the 4th floor until they could get me in an exam room. The nurse got me on the table and began to say that they send about 50% of people home because they come to the hospital too early.
If this lady tried to tell me to go home, I probably would have strangled her. Disturbing, but true. Well she examined me, gave Nick a weird look and said, "Honey, you are definitely not going home tonight - your cervix is an eight. We need to get you in a delivery room as soon as possible."
Wait, can I go home now? I'm not ready to have a baby! I was seriously thinking all of those things when the biggest contraction yet hit and the sweet nurse told me it was still possible to have an epidural as long as the anesthesiologist could get there in time. At this point, we'd only been at the hospital for about forty minutes and I thought it would still be hours until Snickerdoodle would make her grand entrance.
Less than an hour after my epidural, I was told to push.
*I think this is where I should insert a blurb about my hubby. What a coach! We planned on him just holding my hand and viewing Evie's first seconds of life from the same angle as me. But when the doctor asked Nick to grab my leg and help with the delivery, he rose to the challenge. It was actually refreshing to see a familiar face among the nurses, doctor, and observing medical student. (TRUE STORY: A medical student asked to observe the birth of our daughter for part of his in hospital training. Since he asked me mid-contraction when I was dilated to a 9, waiting for my epidural to kick in, I said yes. He actually turned out to be a nice guy and a pretty good assistant coach). Anyway, Nick was incredible, as he always is with the all the difficult things we've experienced together. He just knows how to handle the Kardashian in me and he's probably the only person in the world willing to accept my drama as an important part of his daily life.
Back to the story, which for such a quick delivery, has turned into an extremely long blog post.
After 15-20 minutes of pushing and less than four hours at the hospital, Evelyn Kate was here!
The world's first perfect Snickerdoodle!
I won't share too many of my deep personal thoughts, but I will say this. I feel so incredibly blessed that we have healthy child. Since Keith has been diagnosed with cancer, I have witnessed the strength that it takes to face the challenges of having a sick child and I am amazed more than ever that my sister and her husband do it all. Evelyn sneezes and I have get up in her face and make sure that everything is okay. How do you deal with the worry and stress for all your life? Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep because I know I won't be able to listen to her breathe. It is humbling to know that God gave me someone so perfect to look after knowing that I would make a thousand mistakes while doing so. That said, I don't know how you could ever witness or experience birth and not believe that God exists. I feel so grateful to have experienced something so special with Nick.
I also want to share this. I haven't told my mom this, but right before Evie was born. Literally, like ten seconds before she came out, I felt an unbelievable sense of gratitude for my mom. I felt like I actually understood her in a way that I have never understood her before. You really don't know, until you know, kind of thing I guess. And I kept thinking how Evelyn won't know, until she knows. It was just a strange feeling for me to be thinking so much about my own mom when I became a mother a myself.
(I think a Grandma She-She/Evelyn photo is a must here.)
So that's Evie's story. If you can't tell, I'm truly obsessed with her. She is the world's best snuggle buddy, her skin feels like butter, and her smell is intoxicating - my new top three things to look for in a best friend. Nick and I feel blessed to just be in her presence on a daily basis. I mean that. Its currently 6:18 AM and I haven't slept all night and Evie has gotten up to eat every hour and even though she won't sleep at night unless Nick or I hold her, I feel like the luckiest gal in the world. Which is pretty impressive since Evie is in my left arm and Nick is cuddling up to me on my right arm and the two of them are having a Daddy-Daughter Snore War. (Nick is winning but I have a feeling Ev's a fourth quarter kind of girl, and the night is not yet over!)
Okay to prove my proclaimed obsession, here is an overload of pics:
Me, looking fabulously swollen.
Aunt Darel decorated for Ev's homecoming.
High fashion. Cheetah is always in style.
World's best dad.
First smile captured on camera.
My snuggle buddy.