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.

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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.

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Clark’s Birth Story

No better way to kick off new birth stories than to share one from a mom who’s already shared a previous birth story! Heather is a dear friend and recently had her second baby last spring. You can read her first birth story of her daughter Julie HERE. This is an amazing display of natural, hospital birth where mom and dad maintain control, while also allowing their midwife and staff to care for them. Also, this is the definition of a precipitous birth! Heather, you nearly had a baby at home, my love! 😉

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Clark’s Birth Story

I started losing my plug at 35 weeks and 2 days. That combined with the fact that my first baby arrived at 38 weeks and 2 days had me convinced this one would be early too. I was a little worried because my husband was best man at a wedding in Texas (we live in Colorado) that fell right on my 38 week mark. So, while I was very ready for the baby to come, I was hoping he/she hold out so that Dad could be there too. As it turned out, there was no need to worry.

Despite wind storms, snow storms, and lots of false starts, May 10 came and went. Although I knew it’s not physically possible to be pregnant forever, it was sure starting to feel like I would be! I made my appointments for non-stress tests and ultrasounds and my induction date was set for May 24. My husband and I agreed that we wanted to leave no stone unturned before then in terms of getting things moving without medication. We continued walking everyday, I ramped up squats and started drinking more raspberry leaf tea. I went to the chiropractor and she suggested acupuncture, which we ultimately decided was worth a try.

Monday, May 12, I went to work as usual. As I was expecting to be gone by this point, there wasn’t much for me to do. I tinkered around with some things and then left a little early and headed to the chiropractor for my acupuncture session. I left feeling no different and with a follow up appointment scheduled for the next day. About 4:30 or so on Tuesday morning, I woke up with a useful feeling contraction, but after so many false starts that petered out after an hour or so, I refused to get my hopes up. I went to the bathroom and lie back down knowing that my daughter would be up soon.

Contractions continued, strong enough that I had to concentrate on them, but still nothing I hadn’t felt before.  Like clockwork, my daughter got up at 5 and I went in to get her, thinking I’d let my husband sleep in a bit since I was already up. I had another contraction in the middle of our good morning conversation and I actually had to stop talking and brace myself. That’s when I knew the baby was coming for real. I went in to tell my husband that I was pretty sure it was the day, but I wanted to eat something and see how things played out before we alerted everyone (my in-laws were staying with us to watch our daughter while we were in the hospital). I texted our doula, around 5:30 or 5:45 just to let her know I’d had a few pretty serious contractions and that I was planning to eat breakfast and keep her posted.

My husband made my daughter breakfast and I started making some cream of wheat for myself, but the contractions were strong enough that I really wanted to be in a quiet area so I headed back upstairs. By the time my husband came up with my abandoned cream of wheat, I was starting to need help during my contractions. I had set up the heating pad on my back and was riding through contractions as best as I could on my hands and knees.  My husband called our doula and the midwife’s office a little after 6. The midwife on call asked if we’d like to meet her at the office for a check before going over to the hospital or if we’d like to stay home a bit longer. My husband told her we were going to stay home; I was convinced I wasn’t very far along.

My contractions were strong but coming at very irregular intervals. I’d have a long one and then right after it ended, I’d have a shorter but just as strong piggy back contraction and then get a break (my midwife later told me she believes that this is because the baby was too big for my uterus to tighten all the way around him in a single contraction). My husband suggested that I get into the shower because he needed to load the car and get things ready and he knew from my first labor that I should be able to labor in the shower alone. I turned the hot water all the way up on my back and leaned my head on the cool tile and braced myself on the shower door handle. I was still having strong but irregular contractions when my husband got back. I told him I needed our doula and I couldn’t do it alone anymore. She arrived around 7:20 and I was on my hands and knees laboring in the way that worked best with my first labor. My arms were so tired though, so my doula brought up the exercise ball for me to rest my upper body on. My husband was squeezing my hips during contractions and my doula was rubbing my back and hips and legs between. The between-contraction massaging was so nice, because it kept me in the moment and didn’t let me dwell on the upcoming contraction and get scared. I was still sure I wasn’t far along because of how irregular the contractions were and the fact I had not had any show.

By 8, I was ready to go to the hospital no matter how far along I was because I really wanted to sit in a Jacuzzi bath. My husband called the midwife’s office and told them we were on our way. Meanwhile, I was starting to feel pushy during my contractions and my doula was worried we might have waited too long to leave. I kept repeating that I hadn’t had any show and she said that doesn’t matter. As she and my husband were helping me into the car, she started coaching him on when to pull over if things kept progressing. I knelt in the front seat facing backwards. My husband had kindly put a Tupperware back there in case I got sick. My doula had put a portable heating pad on my back before we left the house. I was still feeling pushy with every contraction and my poor husband was trying to drive as quickly and safely as possible while coaching me to breathe through the contractions and not push.

We arrived at the hospital and my husband asked if I wanted to go through emergency or if I wanted to park and walk and I chose to walk. It felt so good to be outside and the cool morning air gave me a second wind. My doula and my husband walked on either side of me and we made it in without having to deal with any contractions. I wanted to walk up to the labor and delivery floor but my doula talked me into using a wheelchair. I didn’t want to sit, so she helped position me kneeling backwards with my head resting on my husband’s chest. We made it to the hospital room around 9 and they hooked me up to the fetal heart rate monitors while the midwife checked my progress. To my total shock (and relief!), I was already 10 cm dilated. The midwife gave me the ok to push if I wanted to.

I started out on all fours with the back of the bed raised, the same way I pushed with my first. The nurse wanted to give me a hep-lock (which is something we said we were fine with in the birth plan), but in the moment I really didn’t want to have to mess with that. Plus I was holding pillows during contractions and I was paranoid that I wouldn’t be able to do that with a needle (or whatever) in my arm. My husband had to refuse a couple of times because the nurse was harping on the fact that if I needed a blood transfusion, this refusal would cost us precious time. My husband confirmed that that was alright. Meanwhile, pushing was getting me nowhere and the midwife said if I couldn’t make some good progress moving you down with the next few contractions that she wanted to go ahead and break my water. The baby was still at a -1 station and she thought that breaking the water would help move things along. She also suggested waiting to push until the contraction built some momentum so that I’d have that to help me.

After a couple more useless-feeling contractions, Someone (I have no idea who…it might even have been me!) decided it might help to squat and they got me a squat bar and everyone helped me change positions. The midwife said this would be a good time to break my water and stepped away to get her tool—just in time because my water broke on its own just then and would have covered her if she was still in the splash zone! It was like a movie, spurting several feet across the room! The baby didn’t like the new squatting position and both of our oxygen levels were too low for comfort so I got an oxygen mask and LOTS of reminders to breathe deeply between contractions. The baby’s heart rate was still dropping too low during contractions so the birth team helped me to get onto my left side first (no change) and then my right, which the baby seemed to like, but I was convinced would be a terrible position to push in. My birth team helped me to kind of squat on my side though, which seemed to help.

With everyone coaching me, I started to push with everything I had during every contraction. I could finally start to feel the baby sloooowly moving down. For sure it was the hardest thing I’ve done, physically. The baby started crowning a little after 10am and my midwife told me he/she was very big and I’d need to keep pushing hard to get the shoulders and the rest of the body out.  A few more difficult contractions later, my son was born and my husband told me “It’s a boy!”. Everyone in the room marveled at his size as he was moved to my chest. He had some fuzzy hair and very large hands with long fingers and big feet—his footprints were bigger than the box on his chart! My midwife was also was shocked by the size of his placenta. I guess a big boy needs a big support system!

My midwife was concerned that I had a very bad tear, but the doctor that came in to consult deemed it only a 2nd degree, same as with my first despite 2 lbs difference in their sizes. While my midwife stitched me up, I held my son (he was completely uninterested in breastfeeding right away) and chatted with my husband and doula, and the nurses. My doula helped me order some food and brought some for my husband and then left to attend another birth and said she’d be back later to check on us. I got a shot of pitocin and cytotec to help shrink my uterus and curb the bleeding and had some blood drawn to determine my iron levels while my son was weighed and measured. He came in at 9 lbs, 7 oz, and 21.5”. I couldn’t believe it! All of the nurses we had that day kept commenting on it too. Around noon we finally moved to the maternity ward and enjoyed our first few quiet moments of the day.

my thoughts on home births

I have thought long and hard about writing a post like this. It’s a touchy subject, especially in the natural childbirth (NCB) arena and I’m still having a hard time finding my words but I’ll try.

When I was pregnant with Logan, I had no desire to ever enter the medical field other than working in administration. When I was 28 weeks, we watched The Business of Being Born and I thought my world was turned upside down. I cannot explain how one documentary on childbirth, home birth, and how OBs are only surgeons, changed my mind in 90 minutes and made me question every decision we had made up until that point about our care. We were with an OB office and had a decent, uncomplicated experience so far. We had started going to natural Bradley Method childbirth classes and learning more about the birthing process. But as I reflect on that time almost 5 years ago, I am dumbfounded how easily influenced I was, and how I tried to manipulate my  husband into thinking that a home birth was the only way and that hospitals were just a place where they wanted to perform all these interventions so they could get more money.

Um….crazy thoughts, right??

Even still, we checked into our insurance options and switching providers and to a home birth was not something our insurance would cover. Good thing since our son had a spontaneous pneumothorax at birth. When I shared this with a local home birth midwife recently, she said it must have happened when they tried to suction him since he had meconium in the waters and she had never seen a spontaneous pneumo in her 30 years of doing home births. Not so. I have a video of Logan laying on my chest immediately after birth and you can tell he is really struggling to breathe and cry. And he didn’t actually aspirate any meconium. Had we been at home, it would have taken at least an hour to transfer to the hospital if the midwife attending was able to quickly determine that there was something wrong. By the time Logan was an hour old, he had been treated with an oxygen hood, chest xray, and diagnosed with the pneumo. It was, by far, one of the scariest nights of my life, but I am so incredibly grateful that we delivered in a hospital with a level 3 NICU.

After his birth, I found my passion. It took many months for me to accept it, but I knew pretty quickly that my career path was about to change. I toyed with the idea of what kind of midwife I wanted to be. I even considered home birth at one point but I never felt comfortable with the liabilities and risks. Even as I type this, I feel a lump in  my throat. My husband also expressed his concerns and thoughts and we have always had a deep understanding with each other that if one of us felt strongly about something, that we would respect each other’s thoughts and feelings on the subject. He’s a very easy-going guy and for him to feel strongly about my career path means the world to me.

Since then, I have busted my butt to really figure out what kind of midwife I want to be and what I believe. I know that there are good CPMs out there, just like I know there are good OBs and CNMs as well. This is not a post where I am going to knock CPMs and talk about how terrible they are and how home births should be outlawed. I’m not that close-minded or disrespectful. What I will say, though, is that I do not agree with the safety of home birth and how it is portrayed in the NCB. I think it feels like brainwashing and I can say that as I was one of those new mamas feeling the pull to make a rash decision without any education behind my choice to have a home birth (or not). I can say that I felt brainwashed into thinking that OBs were just surgeons looking for the big bucks and that they have no invested interest in their patients. In general, this is not true! I know and work with some incredible OBs, both male and female (not that that matters). I also know some OBs who I would not want to be under their knife, but isn’t that the case about any thing? You can have good lawyers and bad lawyers, good engineers and bad engineers, good OBs and bad OBs. 

There is a huge part of me that wants this to sound like I am a devil’s advocate, comfortable with either side of the debate of home birth vs hospital birth but the truth is, and what I believe, is that there IS a difference and that there are countless statistics showing how much safer hospital births are than home births. I am not going to list those here because most of us know how to use Google and other people have already gone the distance to do all that work. This blog is one of them. And here is another.

Long story short, I am not a fan of home births. I respect you if you’ve had one and if you are planning on having one, I hope you’re doing everything you can to learn about risks and complications for both mom and baby. Post partum hemorrhage, nuchal cord (around the neck), shoulder dystocia, meconium aspiration…just a few to name as complications that can happen even to a low risk healthy mom. Some of these become even greater risks if mom has other identifying factors, but they can still happen. I had a mom come in recently who had been laboring most of the day. She came in to be checked, was a 3, contractions kind of all over the place so she was sent home. She came in later that night when I was on and was a 6, but complaining of terrible pain in her stomach and baby heart tones were pretty low, despite position changes and even after contractions ended. Baby was not recovering and something was wrong.  We rushed her to the OR and it turns out her placenta was abrupting. Had we waited much longer both of them could have been in a world of trouble and had she been at home…I don’t even want to think about how badly that could have turned out.

I am constantly learning. The more I learn, the more I realize that home birth really is not a safe choice. It wasn’t for me, and for so many others it has ended in absolute tragedy. I have worked in the hospital for over 3 years and in that time, no babies or mothers have died due to something we were able to treat them for. Yes there have been hemorrhaging and codes and even an amniotic embolus in which both mom and baby survived!!

In closing, I would like to officially join the #notburiedtwice movement. I’m not going to go into detail about it here as I’d like to encourage you, dear readers, to find out for yourself. I am a firm believer in self-education and this is an opportunity for you to do just that.

Thank you for reading and allowing me the space to express these tough feelings. All I ask is that if you choose to comment, be respectful.