Evelyn’s Birth Story

In honor of Evelyn’s 2nd birthday, I am re-posting the story of her birth. I always get so nostalgic around my baby’s births. I relive every minute leading up to their arrival and am filled with so much joy recalling their special day. Evelyn’s birth was incredible. I hope you enjoy reading it as much I enjoy sharing it.

****

  
The first baby I ever caught….

…was my own. This is the birth story of Evelyn Taylor who made her way Earth side on Monday, May 20th at 5:39pm weighing 6 pounds & 14 ounces and stretching out to 18 and 3/4 inches. Her story begins on Sunday, May 19th…

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling tired, which was nothing new, but I could barely keep my eyes open. B headed to work and it was just me and Logan for the day. However, I knew I had to get some help with Logan so I called my parents and they gladly took him for several hours so I could sleep some more. As I was getting Logan ready I noticed contractions coming and going. This was nothing new as I had been in prodormal labor for weeks at this point. Of course I secretly hoped “today is the day” but all the false labor did not have me convinced.

I came home, ate some lunch and slept for a few hours through some mild contractions. Around 1:30 I woke up, feeling a lot more cramps in my low back. Again, I had been feeling these pains on and off for several days, but noticed they started off very close together, 2-3 minutes apart and rather uncomfortable. I updated my parents and B and tried to see if I could get labor going. I was still not sure if this was the real deal, but I figured walking and bouncing on the ball would help if it was.

  
After a few hours, I called B to come home a little early. I was beginning to think this was going to be the night and we had to get some things together. My parents had to drop Logan back off with us for a few hours before we left. I wanted to try and labor at home as long as possible. As of the previous Friday, I was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced with a very posterior cervix. So I labored away, contractions coming a little stronger and still every 2-3 minutes apart. Logan and I walked around our cul de sac as it was a beautiful night. The dogs ran around the circle with us and I knew this would be the last thing I would be doing with Logan before he became a big brother. Somehow, I held my emotions together most of the evening until it was time for us to leave for the hospital.

  
I was bouncing on the ball watching Bruno Mars open up the Billboard Music Awards. I had already called the triage nurse and was instructed it was time to come in. I called the hospital and everyone was ready for us. So I took Logan into my arms and told him his sister was going to be coming today, that he was going to be a big brother. I told him we were going back to Lolly and Pop Pop’s so he could have a sleep over with Pop Pop and then tomorrow, Grandma Mac would come and play with him after school. He seemed to understand everything, repeating what I told him. My eyes filled and I gave him a huge hug and kiss. Logan hates seeing me cry so I choked back the tears and off we went.

  
We dropped Logan off with my dad and picked my mom up. She and B were going to be my birth partners, taking turns helping me through this birthing process. We had a 30 minute drive to the hospital. Contractions stayed regular. Everything everyone else says about labor in a car is true–it sucks!! I could not wait to get to the hospital!

We arrived at the hospital just after 8pm. I was still 2cm and 50% so I got into the tub to see if that would help relax me. It worked! After 2 hours I was nearly 4cm and was admitted. The first attempt to get a hep lock in blew my vein but the 2nd one was done beautifully. The best part was that I did not need to be hooked up to anything. I was drinking plenty of water on my own and it was “just in case” and hospital policy.

I love the midwife, Lani, who was there when I walked in but she was off at 7am Monday morning. At this point, I’m very vague as to the timing of certain checks, but I would guess that between 10pm and 2am we walked the halls, I got back into the tub, and prayed for progress. Labor pains were still manageable but strong enough for me to stop and breathe. I was no longer able to talk through them. Around 5am I was checked again and made a little more progress, nearly 5cm with a bulging bag of waters. Up until this point, though I had been admitted, I had been laboring for over 12 hours and was making very slow progress. Both the nurses and my midwife talked about letting us go home to labor on our own, but I knew that was a bad idea. I knew my anxiety would shoot through the roof. I’d have no idea when it would be time for us to come back and that was another hour round trip in the car going through much harder labor than hours before. So when we found I was 5cm with a bulging bag, we all agreed that breaking my water was the best choice. At this point, I had been awake for over 24 hours and was really starting to feel exhausted.

After my water broke, we kept walking the halls. SIX hours later and I had made NO progress. I was so upset. At this point, I wasn’t going home because my water was broken so we decided that if by 1pm I was still 6cm we would start some pitocin. I labored on some more, contractions getting much stronger. We all really thought this meant I was progressing and baby was coming down more.

  
Around 1:30pm, Cassie, my midwife, came and checked me again. NOTHING. Maybe some more effacement around 75%, so it was time for some pitocin. My body was in labor, but taking it’s sweet time. Problem was I was so terribly tired I could barely keep my eyes open and I needed a break. Pitocin does not offer breaks! As they hooked me up to the pitocin, my nurse started things off nice and slow and I was given some fentenyl to take the edge off and help me rest. I laid in bed for about an hour. Contractions kind of went all over the place for a bit, but once the pitocin was flowing the contractions became really strong and very regular, about 2 minutes apart. Around 4:30pm I started begging for an epidural. My mom kept asking me if I was sure and I kept yelling yes! A true sign of transition. ;)

Some fluids were hooked up and I was given another dose of fentenyl as there was someone in front of me for the epidural. I was starting to lose it. Everything was an absolute blur. I could not move in bed. I just sat up and grabbed both sides of the bed, shaking my legs back and forth during contractions that were now nearly on top of each other. I was breathing hard and fast which made me feel light headed between contractions but I almost think that was a good thing. It was almost euphoric for a few seconds. This is where I realize now that the pains were not going to get any worse. With Logan’s birth, I was saying “no, no, no!” over and over again. It was only moments before Evie was born that I started to say things like “no!” and “where is my effing epidural?!”

My nurse Marilyn was amazing. She was so calm and supportive the entire time I labored. At one point she suggested she better check me because 2nd babies come faster. I was 8cm and fully effaced. She set everything up. Cassie came in to check on me and said she’d be in the OR training but as soon as I needed her she would be there. Moments later the anesthesiologist walked in. I said, “Thank you Jesus!!” I wonder how many women say that to him. ;) He started to work very quickly. There were no breaks for me anymore and I was certain I was dying. Obviously, I wasn’t…it was just only a few moments before baby would come. He had me sit up and lean over a table. The change in position must have been all baby needed to really come down because I was suddenly pushing and could feel her head right there! The anesthesiologist had placed the cath and administered a small dose, but there was no relief and before I knew it I was screaming that I couldn’t stop pushing. I leaned over, almost on top of all the needles and things needed for the epidural.

Nurses filled the room and Cassie was still not there. Another doctor showed up, ready to deliver the baby and I yelled for someone to go get Cassie (which I know someone already had). She was really the only one I wanted to catch my baby. Then, she was there. She sat on the side of the bed. She made me look at her and she coached me through 3 of the most intense pushes and pain I have ever experienced in my entire life. I even remember yelling “I feel everything!!” and she said that was how it was going to be. As baby crowned she had me breathe her head out. I felt the ring of fire and remember telling myself it was for just a few seconds. Baby’s head would be out and the fire would go away. One more push and baby slid right into my hands. Cassie helped her head out and I reached down and caught my baby! I pulled her up onto my chest. She had a short cord so she laid mostly on my stomach. I spread the legs apart, B standing just to my right and together we saw she was a girl! We exclaimed with joy that baby was a girl and we all started to cry and laugh! I knew she was a girl and Logan especially knew he was going to have a sister.

  
Evie was covered in vernix. She had it in her ears and all over her little body. She was slow to pink up so she had some O2 placed over her face. She was so calm, barely cried. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before B cut it. Evie pinked up quickly and the O2 was removed. She stayed on my chest for an entire hour while I delivered the placenta. I recall thinking, “oh yeah that thing has to come out too…” and it did easily. Cassie fixed a small tear with a few stitches and soon enough I was cleaned up and just enjoying my baby girl. Logan and B’s mom came by. Logan was a little overwhelmed by all the lights and instruments around the room, but he did take a few moments to say hi to me and his new sister. He gave me a “Mama” necklace and Evie a pink monkey. Their visit was short but just what I needed to get through the rest of the night without my first born.

  
It was a few hours before we were moved over to women’s care. I was able to get up and go to the bathroom on my own, something which I had not been able to do for several hours after Logan was born due to the epidural.

Putting this birth into words is hard. Yes, I wrote out as much as I could but to capture how truly incredible it was feels impossible. I’m still in awe that I gave birth naturally, without an epidural and so quickly. We figure my labor was just under 20 hours and less than 5 minutes of pushing. As far as a 2nd birth goes, the only part that seemed typical was how quickly she was born and I am so grateful that when she was ready, she came.

semester is over!

I am so happy to announce that the spring semester is over! I have to admit that this was not the easiest, but it did end up well and I learned a lot. My final grade in Human Sexuality was an A and in A&P II was a B…I am super happy with both grades! I feel so relieved, especially getting everything done and finding the time for classes between work and personal life.

I will be posting a pretty awesome research paper that I wrote for my Human Sexuality class on how to have a home birth in a hospital. Maybe even later today! While I had a lot of technical errors (it’s been SEVEN years since I last wrote a research paper!!), I feel really good about the content and that is what matters.

Have a lovely Hump Day!

~ Sarah

I Love my Fat Body by Katie Dornan

Friends, I am honored to share this beautiful woman with you today. Katie is a fellow coworker and friend of mine. She works nights; I work days. We say good morning and good night to each other as our shifts change. A few days ago, she wrote this beautiful post about body confidence and, after wiping away the tears from my smiling face, I asked her if I could share her words here. I was struck with so much love and joy I couldn’t help but cry. Katie eloquently expresses the beauty that is her body and the love she has for herself. Every woman, girl, child–needs to possess this kind of self-love. Many years ago, someone wise told me that you cannot love someone else if you don’t love yourself first. I found this to be true just before I met and fell in love with my now husband. Please share this story and message with every woman you know. Share it with your mother, your daughter, your sister.

***

11206849_10150493977714986_8485177058235161267_o

I love my fat body.

And why wouldn’t I? My fat body carries me through 12+ hour nursing shifts, allowing me the privilege of taking care of people when their bodies and minds are vulnerable. My fat body takes me on adventures, exploring new treasures that this world has to offer. My fat body allows for me to feel the pleasure of my senses. My fat body includes a brain that has developed who I am, a mind whose delicate dance of neurotransmitters and electrical impulses enables me to feel love, sadness, anger, and joy.

So what’s so wrong with my fat body? After more than a decade spent in and out of therapist’s and nutritionist’s offices, I have finally come to an answer: nothing.

Few people seem to be aware of this, though. Last year I went to my health care provider for a yearly exam, without any health concerns. The office visit went through its normal paces, and as we were wrapping up, she said, “Katie, you know there’s one more thing to talk about: your weight.” I nodded my head in agreement, knowing that I had gained weight. She proceeded to tell me the ways in which I could lose weight (eat less meat, exercise more, eat more fruits and veggies) and rattled off the risks of being “overweight.” Again, my head nodded in agreement. I was holding back tears the whole time, feeling shameful and defeated. This was all stuff I knew, and she knew it.

I got to my car and burst into tears. I cried the whole way home, and then started getting angry. I was angry because, now removed from the moment, I was able to see that I had just been a victim of body(fat)-shaming and fat-phobia. As I ran the conversation through my head, I realized that outside of weight gain, there were no indications that I wasn’t doing any of those things she had suggested, that I was unhealthy. At the time, I was about a month away from calling myself an official vegetarian, but was only eating meat about 2-3 times per month (eat less meat: already done). Between my job and personal activities, I was moving my body enough to not be considered sedentary (exercise more: partially there – I admit I could respect my body with more frequent purposeful movement). And as a near-vegetarian, and now as a full-vegetarian, I’m sure you can guess what I fill my diet with (eat more fruits and veggies: check). What made me angry was the assumption that I was unhealthy and the implication that fat people cannot be healthy, no exceptions. I wasn’t even asked about my level of exercise, my diet, or ways that I keep healthy. Never mind that my blood pressures consistently run 110’s/70’s. Never mind the fact that my body can run and jump and bend and lift. Never mind the fact that I didn’t come in with any health concerns, much less any which would specifically indicate a weigh-related diagnoses. Never mind the fact that I’m healthier now as a fat person than at any other time in my life. The number on the scale superseded all of the other data.

Needless to say, I have since stopped going to that care provider.

It has taken me a long time to learn how to love and accept my fat body (and it wasn’t without support from a phenomenal partner, dear friends, and loving parents). And it certainly wasn’t without the privilege of healthcare—an excellent nutritionist and skilled therapists—and the privilege of education. I have finally gotten to a place where I love my body for no other reason than that it is mine, all mine. I have one life to live and this is the body I have, so I had better treat it right (which includes loving it unconditionally and celebrating it in all of its fat glory).

I have wasted entirely too much time, too much of my short existence, hating my body for how it looks, while never appreciating it for what it does (note: even one second spent hating one’s body is too much time). No more. While it’s difficult to break free of our cultural indoctrination of body shaming self and others, and I still catch myself doing things that are not kind to my body (sucking in my belly when trying on clothes, taking pictures in a way that my body looks most “acceptable”, etc.), I am making a conscious decision to love my body every day no matter how it looks.

I can’t even begin to explain the freedom that has come with this. My entire life I have been self-conscious of my tummy, no matter what state it’s in. Last week I broke through that lifetime of trying to hide it and wore fatkinis all over Cozumel, Mexico, flaunting my back rolls, stretch marks, and belly. And it felt so. god. damn. good. It was unbelievably freeing to wear the adorable retro swimsuits I have been eyeing for years but never bought because I was “too fat.” Rather than wearing the prescribed fat woman swim dress that covers as much as possible (not that there’s anything wrong with that; if someone is most comfortable in it, more power to them! I, however, would not be true to myself and my style if I wore one), I wore a nautical, high-waisted bikini bottom with a bright red bikini top. I accessorized the shit out of it, because I’m a grown-up who still likes to play dress up. And I felt more confident than I ever have in any swimsuit.

As I continue on my journey of health, I look forward to loving and respecting my body more and more every day. I’m excited to provide it with more movement, give it the nourishment it needs to continue to carry me through this life, and share with others the joy I have found in body appreciation.

Making Home Birth Safer

I never sign these things. I am not one to get all up in arms about petitions and change and such–unless I feel strongly about it. And maybe there just hasn’t been a petition out there that has stirred me so much, until now. The Coalition for Safer Home Birth was started on Change.org to encourage our legislatures to recognize the safety standards that are lacking in home birth. The coalition does a wonderful job summarizing exactly where the issues in home birth safety rest which largely is in the hands of the home birth midwife who is lacking a certain level of education. I feel that it is best for me to leave you to read what the coalition has written as I could not have said it any better so I won’t even try.

And maybe, if you feel moved enough, if you want to see change, sign the petition.

Protect Mother’s and Babies: The Coalition for Safer Home Birth

What’s up?

It’s been awhile since I actually wrote something with decent substance and I am not promising that this will have any of that, but I’ll certainly try.

A few weeks ago I floated to another hospital and was able to witness an amazing, unmediated, beautiful birth led by a midwife I had not yet seen deliver a baby. My mind was blown. Mom was trying to push on her side and baby was unhappy. The midwife gently suggested she adjust her positioning and just like that baby was happy again. The mom let her body do all the work. She pushed when she felt like it and rested when she needed to. Then, she realized her body could not stop pushing and less than a minute later the baby’s head was born with a nucal cord x1. A few seconds later baby was out and up on mom’s chest. I took over the camera so dad could cut the cord and I caught it on film for him. Every time I see a birth, my heart literally explodes with joy and excitement. I know birth is not always like that, but it is BECAUSE of births like this that my passion is fueled and I am reminded once more that yes, Sarah, this is where you belong.

My mom is doing ok. She is on a new chemo med that is not nearly as hard on her body. She still gets really tired but has had a lot more energy to spend time with the kids and work in the classroom. This is all so encouraging. Looking back to when this all began on October 24th, it’s hard to believe almost 5 months have passed since the diagnosis.

School is going alright. I don’t feel like this semester is better than last semester, which is strange because the load is not harder. I have been struggling with one of the professors but I *think* we are finally on the same page. I always wish I was doing better grade-wise, which is me just being too hard on myself. I am doing FINE. As and Bs are great! I just want more As than Bs and sometimes it’s just not in the cards. I’m learning not to be so hard on myself, especially with the load I have while in school between work and family.

My son, Logan, turned 5 a month ago. We got him registered and accepted into the school of our choice for kindergarten which is pretty crazy and exciting! Evelyn is a ball of fire as usual. She still doesn’t sleep through the night and is starting to show her girliness more with more diva and sass. You can follow me on instagram if you want more current, daily updates.

Have a great weekend!

The Politics of the Pelvic Exam: Practicing Applied Feminism

Sarah:

This is a great post about doing pelvic exams. I’m saving this for later and sharing the most important quote from the entire piece:

“A few months ago I was conducting a pelvic exam on a teenager, and it was her first exam. I absolutely love doing women’s first exams because studies show, unsurprisingly, that a woman’s first experience with a GYN health provider is likely to color her opinion of pelvics for the rest of her life, significantly impacting her follow-up and continued screening in the years to com.”

Originally posted on Sage Femme:

Pelvic exams are really hard for a lot of people.

That statement should be self -evident, but I have had enough pelvics, and certainly conducted enough with other providers to know that not every midwife or physician truly understands this. Not just pays lip service to it, but truly understands how traumatizing and re-traumatizing the pelvic exam can be. For those of you with limited exposure to pelvics, or those of you who don’t have a vagina, I’ll provide you with the basics of what we do:

1) The external exam. Examine the external genitalia, make not of any sores, irritations or cysts. 

2) The internal exam, conducted with either a plastic or a metal speculum. This is how we look at the vaginal walls, look at discharge, and look at the cervix and take any samples we might need to take (i.e.: pap smear, wet prep, or STD testing…

View original 834 more words

Spring semester is here!

I am officially up and running in two new classes this semester. Human Sexuality and Anatomy and Physiology II, both of which are online, have started out smoothly.

In other news…my mom is doing great with chemo. It’s certainly not fun and sucking every ounce of energy out of her, but I am so glad to hear that she is still working when she’s able and generally doing alright.

Lastly, I got my first ever schlac mani the other day and I love it! I probably will never go without one now! lol

Happy Thursday all!