Giving birth. What a crazy, beautiful and exciting experience! I told myself so many times up to the day that I was prepared. When the day came, I suppose I was as prepared as any first time mom can be. I had a birth plan (which I never printed out and clearly didn’t follow), I had read several books and dozens of blogs and articles, I even watched a youtube video.My plan was to go all natural, use walking and a hot shower for the pain but of course, every woman’s experience is different and you can never fully prepare yourself for the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and love the moment they place that slimy, beautiful, tiny human on your chest.
My husband and I moved to Florida when I was 7 months pregnant so I had to be quick in choosing my OB and hospital. I would have loved to an all natural home birth but my husband wasn’t on board with that idea. I planned from the beginning to have my Mom and Husband in the room with me so when I started having really consistent Braxton Hicks a week prior to giving birth, I let my mom know it might be soon and to be prepared. That Thursday I had my 37 week check up and I was 4 cm dilated and she was already slowly making her way down. The OB said he didn’t think it would be long and I sure didn’t think so either so I called my mom and told her she should start heading down. My oldest sister helped her drive so she could make it straight through the night and they got there Friday morning. After they took a nap, we decided to make a trip to the store for last minute items and just so I could get some walking and movement going. It wore me out pretty good so we went back to the apartment and were just relaxing when Tyler got home from work. My sister had a flight back up to Indiana for Saturday late morning and was really hoping Evelyn would be born before then. While we were out, we picked up some castor oil which I had used before I was pregnant and it had done its job then so I figured it would do the trick for labor too. My second oldest sister had used it for labor before too and had luck so I figured it was worth a shot. I took a tablespoon or two in some orange juice (not sure exactly how much since my sister mixed it up) at about 4 or 5 pm. After a couple of hours it started working. Until that point I was just having constant braxton hicks and tons of pressure but at 7, my water broke. I remember leaning on the counter right before getting in the car and saying to my mom, “well labor isn’t that hard yet.” I think I jinxed myself because then pretty much as soon as I got in the car, the real deal started. We had a 25 minute drive to the FL Orlando hospital and it was just one contraction after another. My poor husband kept trying to ask questions and and I couldn’t do anything but breathe. The contractions started out being about 3 minutes apart and kept getting closer and closer.
By the time we arrived at the hospital, the castor oil was doing its original job and I had to stop in a bathroom on the way to the delivery unit. I was in there for probably 10 minutes and thought I was going to give birth on the toilet. I finally was able to get myself together(ish) and we made it down to check-in. It took a while getting in there but as soon as we got to the ckeck-in room where they check you to see if it’s real labor, I had to go to the bathroom again. The nurse came in to check me and I could not get off the toilet. After a long time in the bathroom I made it out to the bed where she checked me and discovered I was still only 4 cm but admitted me because clearly it was the real deal. Everyone kept saying, “Oh it’s your first, it’ll take a while” boy were they wrong! By this time there was only a few seconds between contractions. My face was starting to tingle and go numb and there was no way I was saying to words to anyone. I think that was the point I decided I wanted an epidural. My mom and husband encouraged me to keep going natural just as they recited but I had pretty well made up my mind. I had to be hooked up to an IV anyway for penicillin so my plan was already crap. In the labor room they asked me all the typical questions which Tyler had to answer. Shortly after that the doctor came in and gave me the epidural. Oh. My. Word. It was like night and day! Haha I went from completely froze up in one constant contraction to eating a Popsicle the nurse offered me and laughing about it. All the while having HUGE contractions. About a half hour later (?) I was feeling a lot of pressure and an urge to push. I asked the nurse in the room to check me and she said I was still only about 8 cm and said it would probably take another couple of hours. Well, apparently Evelyn had different plans because about another 20 minutes later I called the head nurse of the team in to check because I was fighting back the urge to push, as in, my body was shaking and super ready. She checked me and sure enough, 10 cm and ready to rock and roll! My epidural was not in full force anymore but I resisted the urge to push the button again.
After a while there was a team of like 100 people in there..ok maybe not 100 but there were probably at least 7 people in the room including my peeps. The doctor delivering did an amazing job ensuring I didn’t tear and after about 10 pushes and some wonderful coaching, Evelyn had arrived into the world! The best words I can use to describe that moment are; relief, accomplishment, and so much love! She came out at 5lbs 11 oz. and had a good loud cry. One of the first things I noticed was her tiny shmooshed over nose. She came out facing sideways so it got a little smashed during her exit. She didn’t want to nurse right away but Tyler and I were content just holding and cuddling our sweet little girl.
Bringing a baby into the world, no matter how it is done, is no small feat. Motherhood is such an incredible gift and I am so blessed to be part of that team.