Everleigh is now 7 weeks old and don’t ask me how that happened already. Truthfully I feel like we just found out I was pregnant. The whole pregnancy went by so quickly. The last month of pregnancy was when I really took the whole “I’m gonna have to give birth” thing seriously and started scouring those sections of the many pregnancy books I read. Up until this point I was actually pretty terrified of the thought of giving birth. Like, majorly terrified. But about a week before my due date, I had a moment of “I’m not afraid anymore” a la Kevin McCallister on Home Alone. I had my birth plan all figured out. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t handing out laminated copies or anything. I jotted down a few notes on my phone to remember when the time came so I wouldn’t forget anything. Delayed cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin, lights down low, and no epidural….unless I change my mind because I’ve never pushed a baby out and admittedly don’t tolerate pain well. I’m not against epidurals or drugs, or was trying to be a hero. This is what my issue was; I have scoliosis. My spine is “S” shaped and it twists around as well. The thought of a huge needle entering my spinal area on a regular, healthy spine is terrifying to me, let alone a spine that is curvy and twisty. I was convinced I’d end up paralyzed or something would go wrong and I wouldn’t be numb properly or evenly. Honestly I had a lot of anxiety thinking about the possibility of needing one. I was pretty sure that because my fear was so intense, I’d be able to make it without one. Our private birthing room had a bathroom with a tub so I could labour in the water, walk around, get some gas, etc. Basically all the learning I did was about natural labour, breathing techniques for a natural delivery etc. I skipped RIGHT over the c-section portions of the reading materials, because that didn’t apply to me…
My Due Date
If you watch my stories on IG, you know I was doing ALL the things to try to induce labour naturally. I replaced all sitting surfaces with a labour ball, diligently drank Red Raspberry Leaf tea (I know this one isn’t to induce labour per se), ate my weight in dates, pineapple, yoga poses, walking, eating spicy food, etc. G was on top of my ball bouncing and spicy food eating like a coach preparing for the big game. It was the cutest. Yet, at each Dr appointment, she would deliver the disappointing news that my cervix was still firmly closed. As soon as I hit my due date, she gave me the low down on how the induction process would play out. My due date was Feb. 08 and they’d allow me to go 10 days past that date before starting Cervidil. She checked my cervix again, and I had SO MUCH hope for just a teensy bit of progress. None. I left the office frustrated and discouraged, but kept on doing all the things to bring on the contractions.
2 Days Before Everleigh Was Born
I spent the last 10 days convincing myself that every little twinge, pain, or irregular feeling, was a sign of impending labour. Well, it never came so it was time to head in to the hospital and start the induction process. If you’re not familiar, Cervidil is inserted up at the cervix and releases a hormone to soften the cervix which will hopefully start contractions. She checked my cervix first and surprise surprise….still shut like a steel trap. I did not expect it to hurt so much going in. OMG. Once the Cervidil was in, we stayed for monitoring to make sure neither baby nor I were going to have any negative reactions to it.
Baby girl finally calmed down after 2 hours of play time in my uterus so they let us go home. I didn’t feel anything until we climbed into bed around midnight. I felt a contraction. Hallelujah!! And then a few more until I fell asleep (they were clearly not very painful yet).
1 Day Before Everleigh Was Born
I woke up still feeling contractions consistently so I started tracking them using the Full Term app. They were coming every 4-5 minutes lasting 1 minute long. I was SO happy. It’s working! Contractions continued and were getting slightly more painful. All day I looked forward to my impending appointment at the hospital to check on my progress and if needed, remove the Cervidil and insert a new one. Around 3pm we decided to go for a drive and satisfy a Blizzard craving (lol mine obvs). About 3 minutes into the drive the contractions started getting SUPER painful and each one brought me to tears. G, while driving extra gently over speed bumps, reminded me the nurse last night said I can have a hot bath if the pain is getting worse. I tried to keep calm the rest of the drive and let me tell you that was the best bath ever! Skor Blizzard. In the bath. Watching The Office (duh). Except about 20 mins in, I realized why I felt so good … my contractions had stopped. I got out of the tub and had a quick nap while G ordered food for dinner.
When we got to the hospital, I explained to the nurse about my contractions stopping, and she said that baths can do that….okay cool cool cool. Information I could have used! They went ahead and checked my progress, and I was pretty sure all those contractions had made some serious headway (lol). NOPE! Less than 1cm. It was enough for her to do a TINY membrane sweep and in went a new Cervidil. We stayed for monitoring, and again baby girl was having a dance party and they couldn’t let us go until she quieted down. 2 hours went by and one of the nurses felt bad we had to be there for so long, so she asked the head nurse if we could just go, as this activity is normal for baby at this time of night. The head nurse said give it a few more minutes, then send them on their way. Awesome! We’re going to go home, and get a good night’s sleep since we’re exhausted.
Not even 5 minutes later, the machine started beeping, and the nurse monitoring it ran over and hit an alarm that rang so loudly throughout the floor. All of the sudden 7 nurses and doctors were surrounding me, I heard the nurse say “baby’s heart rate dropped way down and is not recovering”. This was the single most terrifying moment of my life. G and I looked at each other and I could tell he felt as helpless and scared as I did. They flipped me over, tore my bottoms off, and removed the Cervidil, explaining that it could be baby was having a bad reaction to it. One of the nurses shouted that my water had broken. She tested for meconium and no surprise it was present since I was so overdue. The last 5 minutes of stress and chaos stopped suddenly as we all watched the monitor intensely and saw her heart rate slowly recover. G and I looked at each other like … what is happening? A nurse said “Well, you’re not going home, and you’re having your baby tonight.” Those words were such a shock. We weren’t prepared, I didn’t have anything with me other than my purse, the dogs were at home. I started shaking.
The second longest wait of my life was waiting for the on-call OB to arrive. It was strangely calm in the room until the machine started beeping again, and the nurse ran over to the machine. Her heart rate had dropped AGAIN. Luckily it recovered more quickly this time except it started to accelerate instead indicating that baby girl was stressed.
Everleigh’s Birth Day
The OB arrived at close to midnight and he explained to us that baby needs to come out. She’s stressed, and because my placenta is not at it’s strongest as I’m so overdue, it would not be a good support to her if we tried to labour with Oxytocin since I’m starting from 0% dilation.
He recommended Emergency C-Section.
Those words were the second shock to me. I was not remotely prepared for a C-Section. Mentally or otherwise. It never once occurred to me in 9+ months that this would be how my labour story would end. Remember how I’m terrified of a needle in my spine and wanted to do without any medication or needles if possible? Yeah, I’m about to get the full meal deal of meds, needles in the spine, and cut right open. I was fully convinced that I wouldn’t walk again. I started shaking harder and looked at everyone in the room who was looking back at me, waiting for my answer. As if I had a choice, there was no way I could risk baby girl’s health over my own fear of surgery. I started crying and could hardly choke out the words asking him what the chances were of me being paralyzed. I’m sure he thought I was crazy. To be honest I don’t remember what his answer was. I felt like I was in a dream. G held my hand and reassured me as they had me sign paperwork and hooked up the IV. Within minutes I was being wheeled downstairs to the OR. They asked G if he wanted to push the head of the bed, and he did. We had a minute outside of the OR as they prepared. G put on scrubs, and called his parents to tell them. Then he called my parents as my mom had been calling this whole time because we didn’t check in after our appointment so she knew something was up. I told her and she was as shocked as I was. She reassured me that everything would be okay and that she’d pray for us, and to call her afterwards, no matter what time it was.
Inside the OR it was so busy. I didn’t expect there to be so many people all working to make everything come together so quickly. It was time for the spinal block/epidural (? not sure what I had). I was shaking so terribly, the sweetest nurse gave me a big pillow to hug and had me lean on her shoulders while she gave me a big hug. I felt the pressure, a pop, and all of the sudden it was in. I laid down as they assembled the surgical table around me. Machines were beeping, the tarp went up, the anesthetist was checking my numbing with a bag of ice, and everyone knew exactly what they were doing, like a well oiled machine and in that moment I felt so thankful that I was going through this in 2019 and not 1909. My shoulders were shaking so badly they were actually lifting off the table no matter how hard I tried to control it. The anesthetist grabbed several warm blankets and laid them across my chest and arms. G sat at my head and held me as the OB made the first incision. This is the strangest sensation ever by the way. Feeling the pressure and tugging, but no pain. G kept my focus on him with words of reassurance, and humor (he’s the best for this). We both kept saying we can’t believe this is happening and how we’re about to meet our daughter. Not even an hour ago we were about to head home for the night.
A nurse said I was going to feel some pressure as they had to move her down out of my rib cage. OMG a bit of pressure? They were rocking and pressing on my ribs so hard over and over I couldn’t breath. They said she was really stuck. In between pushes I got out one word at a time. I….CANT….BREATHE…..I was making involuntary HORRENDOUS noises and I remember thinking that something is wrong and this can’t be normal. G grabbed my head and kept whispering in my ear that everything is okay and to breathe. I concentrated on his voice and before I knew it, the Dr was saying “okay…here she comes…”. I can still remember it so clearly and it felt like an eternity (earlier in triage was the second longest wait of my life, this was the first). I looked at G and I knew our lives were about to be never the same. I stared over the blue curtain and finally she emerged right up into the bright lights. I could see her so perfectly.
She was everything and more than I could dream she would be. I remember letting out the happiest laugh/cry of my life. Tears were streaming down my face as they took her over to be examined while I was getting put back together. Part of me really wishes we had captured a picture the moment the Dr pulled her out, but ultimately I’m happier that G got to be in the moment and not experiencing it through a phone screen. She didn’t cry right away … I full on panicked and asked why she wasn’t crying, to which they said is normal. Then she let out a BIG cry and it was the best sound in the whole world.
I watched them weigh her and measure her, and I watched G cut the umbilical cord (he wasn’t planning to, no matter now many times I asked him. I had a feeling that he’d do it when it came down to it, and he did!) which made me so happy. I just wanted to hold her SO BADLY. To see her sweet face and count her fingers and toes. G counted for us, after snipping the cord. It was torture to watch her naked and crying while they did the initial tests on her. She just came out of this safe, warm and dark world that was familiar and all she’d ever known. I couldn’t comfort or soothe her.
She was happy as soon as she was with dad. They waited for me to finish up. They wheeled me to recovery where I finally got to hold her for the first time. She was heavier than I expected, and she smelled so good. She opened her little eyes and looked right at me as if to say “Hi mom, we were waiting for you.” Her skin was unbelievably soft and warm, and her tiny hands wrapped around our fingers.
She latched on like a pro and finally we got our skin-to-skin time. Can we take a moment and talk about how her birth was the exact opposite of what I’d hoped for? Lights down low? Nope, bright surgical lights. Immediate skin to skin? Nope, testing and stitching me back together. No epidural? Lol nope! Delayed cord clamping? Honestly I have no clue because G couldn’t recall if the cord was still attached to the placenta or not. But none of that mattered because she was here. And she was perfect. And healthy.
The Dr came over to us a few minutes later and said it was such a good decision not to try and labour with the oxytocin. She explained that when my water broke, the umbilical cord had slipped down past baby onto my cervix (Umbilical Cord Prolapse). This is scary for a few reasons. If I had started labouring and pushing, her head would have put immense pressure on the cord. The result would be loss of oxygen to baby and if we didn’t get to surgery fast enough, stillbirth. The thought that things could have turned out so differently still haunts me. One single decision could have caused a horrible outcome. Or the worst outcome.
We made our way into our room and I called my mom to fill her in on everything that happened while G ran home to get our bags and check on the pups. That night I didn’t sleep at all. I was trying to mentally process what had happened. We were supposed to head home, get into bed with a snack and watch Friends (or, more let’s face it, The Office). But I was still in the hospital, I could barely feel my legs, and my daughter wasn’t inside me anymore. She was a separate person. In a bassinet next to me.
The next morning I watched the sun fill the room and light up her sweet face. This is her. It was her all along growing inside me. The feeling was so surreal.
Later that day the nurses helped me walk for the first time, which was a scary first few steps but overall much better than I expected, thanks to the drugs, I’m sure. We had family visit and more family on Facetime. The second night I didn’t sleep AGAIN because Evy was cluster feeding non-stop. I was a zombie, and honestly it was a really hard night. The nurses couldn’t take her because all she wanted to do was nurse. I watched a lot of The Office episodes on the iPad until we both finally fell asleep around 6:30am. Also special shout out to my IG friend Rosie for keeping me sane at like 3am. She just knew to check in on me somehow.
I got about 1 hour of sleep until I woke up to someone asking to do the hearing test on her. Thankfully it didn’t wake her up, but I was awake and so I had breakfast (the overnight oats I pre-made if you caught my IG stories). I got to shower (ahhhh best shower ever) and Evy had her first bath and we dressed her for the first time.
A nurse came in and asked if we wanted to go home today instead of tomorrow, since my recovery was going so well. OMG that was a resounding YES! I was so ready to sleep in my own bed. We waited for the various drs to come in and do their thing and we were on our way early that evening, home in time for dinner.
Thank you for reading all that, and for following along with us in this journey. We are so happy to have our girl finally with us.