I’ve debated for some time now whether or not to share my birth story. It is so deeply personal that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it on the internet. But I thought about how much I love when bloggers & friends are open and transparent, and so I decided to go ahead and share the story of how little Eveleigh came into this world.
Let me first say that if you are pregnant with your first, maybe it’s best not to read… Because I believe it’s best to stay optimistic and not worry yourself with all of the things that can go wrong. And if you’ve never had kids… I would go through all of this again and again and again because our little angel is so worth it all.
Our Birth Story
It’s no secret that our little Eveleigh was late to the party. She was comfy & cozy in my womb and wasn’t ready to come out and play. I was eager to meet her, but was ok with waiting and did not want to induce. We planned for an all natural birth, hoping for no pain medications and few interventions. I knew that an induction would need to be scheduled if we went two weeks overdue, so we did everything in our power to start labor. Unfortunately, nothing worked. We went in for our 41 week appointment on a Monday, and everything was looking good. They were going to have me come back on Tuesday morning though for a non-stress test and ultrasound to check my water level. We had this done at the 40 week mark as well, and everything was fine. So we didn’t think much of it. But the ultrasound revealed that my water level dropped too low, and I would need to be induced that night. I was nervous about the induction, about whether I could handle the pain as I know Pitocin makes labor a lot stronger/harder. But I stayed positive and trusted that I would push through.
They put in a foley bulb on Tuesday afternoon, which helps you to dilate before beginning Pitocin. I prayed the foley bulb would kickstart labor naturally, and we walked the hospital halls all night trying to no avail. I had strong contractions, but they were inconsistent. Wednesday morning at 5:45 a.m. they came in and began the Pitocin, but nothing happened. We walked and walked, trying to move things along. Still nothing. The doctor came in around 7:30 a.m. and asked to break my water. We were hoping not to have to do this, but considered it as just a part of the induction, and hoped it would help speed things along. I was hoping to have that baby out by mid afternoon! (Haha, how delusional and painfully optimistic). I was in good spirits all day, despite no sleep the previous night. I was giddy, I thought “today’s the day! I’m finally going to meet my little girl!” I was cracking jokes all morning & afternoon, even in the midst of my painful contractions. The nurses had a good laugh. I think they were making bets on how long I would go before begging for an epidural, and I desperately hoped to prove them wrong.
My labor throughout the day was beautiful. It was just Ryan, my doula Tonya, and me. Oh, and can’t forget about my sister-in-love Lindsey on FaceTime (she stayed with us throughout the entire day. Love her.) They took such good care of me, massaging my back, rubbing my head, and encouraging me. I definitely would not have survived without them there. As the contractions grew stronger, it was getting harder to stay relaxed. By this time I was almost 8 cm dilated. I thought, “Anytime now! We’re getting so close!” though the labor just kept on going. And Going. And Going. Ryan put on some worship music to help create a peaceful atmosphere in the room. And it really helped. I began singing through my contractions, and it helped me to stay calm and focused. This was when things got very emotional, Ryan and I both holding each other dearly and crying. We shared so many beautiful moments, and had such an incredibly deep connection. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. I love that man so much. Anyways, I digress.
Hours passed, and I still wasn’t fully dilated. Complications began. The baby was not in the right position, she was “sunny-side up” and we could not get her to turn. This caused me excruciating back labor, which got progressively worse, until it felt like someone had doused me in gasoline and lit me on fire. The pain was so strong, I began to hyperventilate. I tried desperately to relax and breathe, but I couldn’t. There was also a “lip” in my cervix, where one side was not dilating fully. So even though I was almost fully dilated, I couldn’t begin pushing until the lip was gone. But I had to be able to relax in order to help get rid of the lip… I tried to relax and change positions. But it was just too much. I was exhausted from being in labor for two days. Not to mention I was weak because they do not let you eat. How, I ask, am I supposed to have the energy to survive two days of painful labor with no food?
So my condition got worse: I couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t breathe, which was affecting the baby. So they had to stop my contractions to calm me down. It was already around midnight, and at this time I knew it would still be hours until I had my baby, even though I was dilated to a 9. I was completely wrecked, and didn’t know how much more I could take. I asked the doctor about an epidural, and she recommended that I get one in order to help me calm down and regain my strength before pushing. They called in the anesthesiologist. I had so many questions and concerns. I have a crooked spine, and so I was very concerned that the needle would not go into the right spot, and I would end up paralyzed or something (I can be a bit dramatic, but still). This is one (among many) of the reasons I was planning a natural birth to begin with. The anesthesiologist assured me it would be fine, and my spine would not be an issue. Your spine isn’t crooked! Your spine is fine, this will be NO problem at all! Well, he was wrong. He couldn’t get the needle into the right spot, and ended up sticking me five times. He finally conceded and agreed that my spine, was, in fact, very crooked. Thanks doc!
He finally got the epidural to work, and I waited for the relief that was promised, but none came. Instead, I began itching, uncontrollably, everywhere. I got the epidural to help me rest, but I couldn’t rest because I was so uncomfortable and itchy. Ryan was devastated at this point. He was so furious with the anesthesiologist, who had no bedside manner, and made promises he couldn’t keep. It was so hard for Ryan to see me in so much pain. He thought the epidural would be our saving grace and that I would immediately feel great. So when this didn’t happen, it just became too much. He wept. I wept. And then finally… we both slept (can’t resist a good rhyme!).
An hour or two passed by (I’m really not too sure how long as I was a little delirious), and I awoke to the worried sounds and discussion of the doctors & nurses all standing in front of the fetal heart rate monitor. Little Eveleigh was having a lot of heart decelerations, and the doctor was getting concerned. I was fully dilated by this point, but with the baby’s heart rate dropping so low, she didn’t think it would be safe to push. The baby wasn’t handling the stress of labor well, and it would most likely be a few hours of pushing since this was my first. She regretfully told us we would need to move forward with a c-section. She knew we hoped for a vaginal birth, and really tried to make it happen for us, but, of course, wanted to do what was best for the baby’s health.
After hearing that Eveleigh wasn’t doing well and hearing I would need a c-section, I began to have a panic attack. I struggled with the news, not because things weren’t going as planned, but because I was worried about my sweet girl. Why is her heart rate dropping? Will she be ok? Is she healthy? Is she going to make it? A million thoughts and concerns flooded my mind. I just wanted her to be here and be healthy. Ryan held my hand and told me it would be ok. That the c-section would be quick and we would be holding our baby girl so soon. His words comforted me, but I was still panicking. Crying. Gasping for air. They prepped for surgery and wheeled me to the operating room. As they wheeled me there, all I could do was look at the ceiling, and think of all the movies and TV shows that showed this exact moment.
Once they began operating, my panic worsened, as I could still feel my legs and could feel the doctors inside me. I thought I would be completely numb, but I felt more then I expected, and it was terrifying. After a few minutes, at 4:39 a.m. on Thursday morning, little Eveleigh was out! They pulled the curtain back and let me see her. She was so beautiful, and it was hard to believe that this little human had just come out of my belly!
Meanwhile, I was still shaking and couldn’t calm down. They tried to give me an anti-anxiety pill, but I vehemently refused. I have a strong distaste for mood altering medicine (and most medicine for that matter). The awesome (sarcasm) anesthesiologist tried to convince me, and almost gave it to me despite my wishes. I told him I would try to calm down and slow my breathing on my own. I wasn’t doing a good job. Finally, Ryan (who was there with me the whole time), suggested bringing Eveleigh over to me to calm me down. They came over and held her up close to my face. I saw her. I saw that she was ok. I saw that she was healthy. And finally, my heart rate slowed, and I began to relax.
After surgery we went back to my hospital room, where I was allowed to recover with Ryan and with Eveleigh (some hospitals have separate recovery rooms, so I was so thankful we got to stay together). I held my baby for the first time and was able to nurse her for the first time. I was so in love and so grateful and so amazed at God’s creation.
I struggled for several weeks with how everything went. I really thought I would have an easy, natural labor & delivery. I felt like I did everything right: I exercised, I ate healthy, took birthing classes, practiced my birthing exercises, practiced relaxation & breathing techniques, etc. I prayed and prayed for an easy, intervention free birth. And I never thought it would go this way, so the shock of it all stayed with me. I was so happy that she was here & healthy, and though I knew that was all that mattered, I couldn’t help but feel emotional about it.
I’m at peace with it all now, and am just so grateful to even get to experience birth and being a mom. I love my sweet girl so much and would go through it all a million times over if it meant having her here with us.