Evelyn's Birth Story

When I was expecting I was obsessed with birth stories, so I knew I had to write my own when the time came. Originally this story was told in installments - you can still read it that way using the links below. Or, you can read it all as one {long} story. Enjoy!
{Part Four}
{Part Five}
{Part Six}


Let's start this story where I left off on the blog, Thursday July 7th. I woke up that morning 41 weeks pregnant and ready to head into my appointments. That day I had a general midwife appointment in addition to a non-stress test and an ultrasound.

I showed up to work that morning to the general stares and questioning of my coworkers...along with a few jokers who felt the need to comment every.morning on the fact that I was still there. I tried to just smile and explain that baby was on their own schedule. I will admit I was a bit tired of answering to everyone though. I still felt fine, but the constant answering to everyone was starting to get to me.

I headed off to my super long appointment(s) and found that everything was a-ok. The ultrasound tech said everything looked awesome, fluid levels were good, etc. She was surprised when I said that I did not want to know the estimated weight of the baby, but when I explained my mindset she totally got it. *Thank goodness for women in medical practice* The non-stress test was uneventful, other than a great discussion on engagement rings with the nurse - she had a beautiful blue sapphire one.

Then I went in to chat with the midwife. I had Beth that day, whom I love with my whole heart and soul. She is just so stinkin' nice. Anywho, on the advice of some other friends we chatted about stripping my membranes. After she checked me, I was 3 cm dilated and still very effaced, just like the last few times. She was happy with the progress, and thought stripping my membranes would be a good option.

When I explained that A was on the ship on duty that night, however, she said, "Why don't we go ahead and schedule you to have this done tomorrow morning?" Stripping of membranes typically does not result in immediately going into labor, but she felt like we probably shouldn't tempt fate since A was stuck on the ship. So, we scheduled an appointment for 10am the next morning to have that done and told me she would be surprised if we didn't have a baby by the end of the weekend - eek! Yay! Just in case though, we also did have to schedule an induction. Boo. So, we scheduled another NST for Monday morning and the induction for 7am on Tuesday. She gave me a hug and said, "I hope this doesn't seem mean, but I really want to see you in labor!" and sent me on my way.

That afternoon I ran to the grocery store with my sister and had my first stop-me-in-my-tracks contraction, right in the Harris Teeter parking lot. Because that's safe. 9 month pregnant lady standing in the middle of a busy parking lot, under construction, with a shocked look on her face. I did have a moment where I thought, "Maybe I won't need that appointment after all!" but then I didn't have another contraction all day. Boo. Let me tell you though, now I knew what I was looking for because that contraction felt totally different than the other prelabor ones.

The next morning I called in to work and took a medical day, explaining the situation. I thought it was sort of silly to turn around and go back in if there was a possibility of me going into labor or just generally feeling icky, since a few people had told me that stripping your membranes was super painful. What happens is that the person performing the procedure inserts their finger or fingers into your open cervix and runs their fingers around the inside of your cervix separating your bag of waters from your cervix and releasing natural prostaglandins to hopefully help things get going.

A actually had a super early day that say and got home about 9am, so he was able to go to the appointment with me. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but Blair was there and explained the procedure to me. She checked me and I was at 4cm! Yay! A whole centimeter overnight. She then proceeded to do the deed, which was uncomfortable, but not all that bad in general. Blair remarked to A that I would be a great laborer because I barely blinked during the whole thing. Ha! Talk about a confidence boost!

She essentially told us to go home and get to doing what put us into this predicament in the first place to get some other natural prostaglandins stewing in there. Actually she said, "We could give you some here that are made in a lab and will cost you a whole lot, but I bet he would be willing to give you some for free, babies are expensive - take the free option." Have I mentioned how much I love the midwives?

We went home, had some lunch and got about the business of trying to get baby here...ran down the list again, breast pumping, walking, birth ball, snuggling and relaxing. He also put me on a mandated Facebook/internet/blogging hiatus. In a nice way, not in a "I am man, and will mandate things for you little wife" kind of way. Late Friday night I had my "bloody show" (again - can we not think of better terms for all of this labor stuff? membranes, bloody show, mucous plug. gag.) and I was pretty stoked, because I was sure labor was coming soon!

Well, you know how the story goes.

Saturday came and went.

Sunday came, A went back to the ship, and I ran to Target, and had a great pep talk with Baby on the way. I explained that this was a team effort and I promised that I would do everything that I could to bring him or her safely into this world, even though it was probably a scary unknown place. I told him or her that so many people already loved them and were so excited for their arrival so that they could hold and cuddle and love on them. And that ultimately I was going to make the best choices for them and me to both be safe through the birthing process, but it would probably be a better first step if we could do this on our own before Tuesday morning. But, that whatever path we were in for, it would be alright in the end because we would finally get to meet each other.

Night time came again and nothing. I emailed in to work to let them know that I would be in for work in the morning, but that I would need to leave for a NST in the afternoon, and that I had an induction scheduled for Tuesday morning. My sister and her boyfriend brought me a chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard and I inhaled it while bouncing on the birth ball one last time.

It was about 10pm and I headed to bed, feeling a bit disappointed that Beth's prediction of a baby by the weekend had been wrong, but knowing that whatever was in store, I needed my rest.

A short two hours later, at midnight on the dot, I sat straight up in bed, awoken by what could only be considered a "real" contraction.


At midnight (on the dot) of Monday July 11th I sat straight up in bed as I was awoken by my second "real" contraction. (The first had happened three days earlier in the parking lot of Harris Teeter. Awesome.) In my heart I knew immediately that this was a real contraction, but I had gotten excited and let down so many times thinking that labor was starting, I refused to let myself get excited.

I got up, went to the bathroom, and thought, "Maybe that chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard was a bad idea right before bed...or in general. I haven't had one in years. Hm." 

My sister called out from her bedroom, having still been awake watching TV, "Everything ok?" 

"Yup," I replied, "just had to go to the bathroom."

I settled back down into bed, snuggled up to the puppy, since my husband was on.the.ship (predictable) and drifted back off to sleep.

At the strike of one o'clock my eyes popped right back open again. Another contraction.

Still I thought, "Hm. Every hour? That's not real. No one ever says, 'My contractions started every hour on the hour.' "

And I went back to sleep.

Another came at two. Then at three. Then at four.

In between each contraction, I went back off to sleep, my ridiculously half awake/half asleep self thinking, "Well, if this is the real thing, I am going to need my rest and I might as well chill out. Plus, if it is for real, it's certainly not going to stop anytime soon."

After the 4am contractions, another came at 4:30, then one at 4:50.

Finally at 5am I padded over to my sister's room and woke her up. "Will you come lay in my bed and time some contractions for me? You can sleep in between, and you just have to push a button on my phone. I'm not sure if this is the real thing or not."

"Sure," she sleepily replied and staggered down the hall to my room behind me. She crawled into A's spot and curled up with the dog and my phone. I laid beside her and waited. Eyes wide open. Waiting.

"Will it come?" I thought. "Have I jinxed it by speaking these thoughts out loud to another person?"

Sure enough, another one came, and then another and another. I tried to call A and his cell phone was off. I knew I had some time, so I didn't call the Quarterdeck right away. (Quarterdeck = where you enter and exit the ship there is a little podium check on station thing where people stand watches, etc.) I texted my sister in law and said, "How do you feel about a 3 day weekend?" (Spoiler: She was totally game.)

Contractions were coming every ten minutes like clockwork, and they were about one minute long. I was able to slowly breathe through them and stay relaxed, as I reflected how weird it was that in between contractions I felt totally normal. Soon enough, though, I couldn't just stay lying down in bed. I needed to move around. I sat on the birth ball, stood and leaned on my dresser as contractions came, and just walked around swaying my hips.

Pretty quickly the contractions jumped to one minute long and six minutes apart. After a few more unsuccessful attempts to contact my hubby on his cell, I finally broke down and called the Quarterdeck at 6:30am. Of course, he had warned everyone on the ship the last few weeks, that if his wife called, it was because we were having.a.baby. like, right then.

So, I called in. The conversation went like this:

Me "Hi, I am looking for LTJG A? ASUPPO? This is his wife."
Poor kid "Oh. Oh! Just a second ma'am I will have somebody get him right away!!"
Me ::cover my mouth while I softly giggle::
Poor kid "Ma'am, he is doing turnover right now, but he will be right up, just as soon as he can."
Me "Ok, thanks!"

-a short second later-

A "Babe?! Babe?! Are you there?!"
Me "Yup. Um, I think you had better head home...I am pretty sure this is the real thing."
A "Seriously?! We are having a baby?! Today?!"
Me "I think so."
A "Alright!!!!" ::fist pump:: "I am so excited! I will leave right now. Be there as soon as I can! Love you!"
Me "Love you too...Oh babe, would you mind picking up some..."
A ::as he is already hanging up the phone, he says out loud to the guys standing around him:: "WOO HOO! I'm having a BABY!"
Me ::to Ashley who is still chilling on my bed with me:: "He just screamed out 'woo hoo!' "

And with that, I felt a super silly, excited grin creep onto my face.

It was suddenly real - we were meeting our baby...today!
Oh, and I was going to ask A to pick up bread, because we were out and I really wanted a peanut butter sandwich. Alas, I would not have one that day.

By the time A got home at 7am, things had progressed. Contractions were jumping between 6 minutes apart, 4 minutes apart and even a few 3 minute apart ones. He ran up the stairs to our bedroom, grinned at me and came to give me a kiss on the head. Soon, a contraction came upon me and he got a look on his face that clearly showed he realized this was different than the false labor I had been experiencing all week.

I told him to get changed out of his uniform and gather his stuff for the hospital. As he was doing that, I felt the urge to go to the bathroom again. Having had a bladder of steel through most of my pregnancy, I was significantly annoyed at the amount of times I was feeling the urge to make my way to the bathroom. Especially since the easiest way for me to get through contractions was to lean over my bedroom dresser - the perfect height to lean and sway my hips as I breathed through them. 

After taking care of business in there, I was leaning on the sink as both my sister and A ran around calling everyone who needed to be called. My sister in law decided to call and cancel her doctor's appointment that morning so that she could jump in the car and get on her way. As I was leaning on the sink and looking up at my own reflection in the mirror, thinking "This is it! This is really happening right now...I am a woman in labor," I suddenly got the overwhelming urge to throw up. Gah. I hate throwing up, but there it went. I immediately grabbed my toothbrush to try and clean myself up. "Totally normal for a woman in labor," I thought to myself.

By 7:30 am contractions had decided to stay at 1 minute long, every 3 minutes. This was when we were supposed to call the midwife! Well, after they had been every 3 minutes for an hour. But, we were on the cusp. I decided it was time to put my makeup on. {It had always been part of my plan to apply light makeup when I went into labor. I wanted to look my best for my baby. Was I surprised it was actually still important to me while I was in real labor? Yup.}

At slightly after 8, we decided it was time to call the midwives. Contractions were starting to move towards less than 3 minutes apart, so we needed to know when to come in. A called in, left a message and within a few minutes Beth called back. A explained where we were in the process and Beth asked to speak with me. 

After speaking with me briefly, and hearing me breather through a contraction, she said, "Well, you still seem pretty comfortable in between contractions, and you will inevitably be more comfortable laboring at home, so why don't we shoot for you coming in in about an hour?"

"Sounds like a plan," I replied.

The next hour passed in much of the same. Me standing and breathing through contractions. Either A or my sister rubbing my back or holding my hand as I breathed through them. In between contractions I felt great - excited and pretty calm. We essentially quit timing them at this point. They sure as heck weren't going to stop. A grabbed his left over sandwich from our brunch the day before and inhaled it. While he was eating it though, I couldn't stand the smell, so I made him go away and brush his teeth before coming back to help. 

I remember feeling like there was such a flurry of activity going on around me, but sort of already being in the "labor zone". It's like in those movies where they show the main character sitting still and everyone moving at warp speed around them. Packing bags in the car, calling parents, coordinating efforts.

By 9 am I was downstairs, getting ready to head to the car. One last stop in the bathroom, just enough time to throw up one more time. Huzzah! My SIL was just coming through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel {she made killer time - even after a small accident with a branch, more on that later} and decided to meet us at the hospital. Suddenly, something clicked for me, and it was time to go. And into the car we went. I totally meant to have someone take one last "weekly" photo before we left, but that went by the wayside when I decided it was time.to.go. We said good-bye to the pup, and left the house for the last time with baby inside.

Luckily, we only live a mile and a half from the hospital, because laboring in the car s-u-c-k-e-d. Sitting was so uncomfortable for me, and BONUS, they were also repaving all the roads between our house and the hospital, so we had detours and really rumbly roads to deal with. Fun!

We pulled into the hospital parking lot and I saw my SIL standing on the sidewalk all decked out in her photography gear. We pulled into an "Expectant Mother" spot {I finally got to use it!} and started unloading.

Just as a contraction hit.

The contractions were coming way closer together than every three minutes at this point. Things were accelerating at a good pace. From the car to the birthing center, I had to stop a few more times to breathe through the sensations.

Originally, having my sister in the birthing room with me was not part of either of our plans for the day, but I am so glad that she stuck it out with me.

A added a few items to the packing list while I was otherwise occupied.

In between contractions, we got as far as we could before needing to stop again.  I remember that between contractions I felt the need to smile and desperately try to not freak out every one that I passed in the hospital. I waved at the front desk guy that always greeted me so nicely over the last 20 weeks. I also remember reflecting that of all the times I had come and go from this hospital, I had never crossed paths with a woman in active labor...and now I was that story for all these other people.

Waiting on the elevator. 
I was so glad that no one else wanted to come in the same one as us.

I was very thankful that I had two people to lean on. Literally.

We were really moving that fast in between contractions.

Finally, we made it to the birthing center. I was so relieved and happy to see that homey space and all those baby feet on the wall. Again, I had another "this is really happening. right now" moments when I saw those little feet. Soon, my baby's feet would be on that wall with all the others.

As A wandered around to find the midwife, my SIL grabbed this photo of the clock and I reflected on how much I had already accomplished that morning, and how much more I would accomplish before the day was out.

As A found the midwife on call, and came around the corner with her, imagine my surprise to see Blair and not Beth, whom I had spoken to on the phone. Apparently they had been in the middle of switching shifts. Blair looked equally surprised to see me in what clearly was labor. 

"Beth said you were coming in for a labor check...but you are definitely in labor!"

"Yup, pretty sure I am."

She set about getting the nurses to ready my laboring room, which I was stoked to see was the same room I had been picturing in my head since my tour. While they were getting the room ready, A and I headed into the small exam room with Blair to check my progress. If having cervical checks was uncomfortable for you before you were in labor (they weren't for me), just wait until you are in labor getting checked. So weird. 

But, we had good news! I was 5 cm and completely effaced! Yay! We had some not so good news too. As Blair felt around she could feel knees, which meant that baby was face up. We strategized on using some different positions to encourage baby to turn, and with that, I was officially in.  

We meandered into the room where we would meet our daughter...

And everyone settled in for an exciting day.

Though the birthing center doesn't make you stay on fetal monitors during labor, you do have to be monitored upon first entering. Before getting strapped up, the nurses took me into the bathroom to take care of that - where I ended up throwing up again. Awesome. Labor is so glamorous! After getting cleaned up and finding me a barf bag, just in case, they strapped me to the machines and took a look at how baby was handling contractions. 

Since midwifery patients don't stay strapped to the machines for very long, no one bothered to really explain the print out, and how to monitor the onset of contractions, etc. I remember being vaguely interested and thought about asking, but then got distracted by the fact that, oh yeah, I was in labor. Who cared what the read out said? So long as I was hearing that reassuring little heartbeat, I could definitely tell when the contractions were there.

I distinctly remember being annoyed that the gel and monitors were itchy on my belly, and thanking my lucky stars I didn't have to stick with those things all day. They also let me continue to labor standing up with them, and even had brakes on the machine so that I could brace myself against it while I waited.

After all was deemed well with baby and I, I lumbered up onto the bed to labor on the birth ball for a while in an attempt to get baby to turn. 

After not too long, I decided that that position was not my favorite. So, Blair suggested lying on my side with my right leg sort of crossed over my left to encourage baby to turn. Contractions continued to get more intense, but they were still really manageable for the next hour or so. It was definitely uncomfortable, but I was still able to stay relaxed and breathe through them. 

About an hour after arriving, at 10:30, Blair checked progress again - baby had turned a bit and I was 6 centimeters! I was so happy that we were making measurable progress, and figured that the pace was set. About a centimeter an hour? Awesome. I could do this! 

I planned on a gradual increase in intensity and meeting our baby by sometime that evening. Plus, I could get in the tub once I hit 8 centimeters. Something to shoot for, short of actually pushing. I was ready, motivated and thought the plan and path had been laid for me.

A was such a great birth partner. I was told time and time again that there would come a moment where I would hate him or want him to go away. But, that moment never happened for me. More than anything, I just felt the need to stare into his eyes, hold his hand and just have his presence near me. The things he said or did were good or not so good in the moment, but those are not the things I remember. The things I remember are his encouraging smiles, caresses and looks of concern, and the celebratory attitude of how amazed he was at what I was doing. Oh, and his tears. But that part comes a bit later.

You know what they say about the best laid plans...

Shortly after getting checked, things started getting really intense. I got cold, and used the hospital gown as a blanket. (The only thing I actually used the hospital gown for...) Suddenly, there were no longer breaks in between contractions. They kept coming and coming and coming. 

At first I was able to keep my cool and stay relaxed, but I was definitely vocalizing through them, something that I did not think I would do before being in that moment. It wasn't even something I chose to do - it just happened. And I was loud. Like loud, loud.

As contractions kept coming, with no break, I was officially in my own world. It was so strange, because I was having a completely clear and logical conversation with myself in my head, but I could not communicate those thoughts to anyone else. They just heard me groaning and murmuring "Breathe", "Soft", "Relax". 

I also had time to reflect, and even comment to A how "weird" it was that the rest of my body felt totally fine, and that the pain was so localized. I guess I have never had pain long enough before to reflect on that...but it seemed really important to tell him at the time that my hands and legs felt "totally fine."

Between the contractions coming so close together, and the fact that the baby was still rotating in my pelvis, I suddenly understood what all the "marathon" fuss was about. The pains were relentless. There is just no other word to describe the experience. You know they aren't going to stop until they do their ultimate job and get that baby out of there. 

Strangely, though I could feel the contractions and I could actually feel the baby's head turning in my pelvis - the combination of which was crazy - going for the epidural didn't enter my mind as an option. I definitely understood why other people did it, or why a person would want it, but it just never seemed like an option for me at the time.

In my head, I was trying so hard to stay relaxed, and was able to keep my jaw relaxed through most of the contractions, but my shoulders kept tensing. A few times, I totally lost my mental fortitude and fought the pain, rather than just giving myself over to it. The contractions were right on top of one another and in my head I marveled at them. 

"The whole point of natural child birth is that contractions are supposed to have a natural break! What the heck is this?! HOW am I ever going to make it through transition if I can't even handle 6 to 7 cm?! This is craziness." 

I started moaning that I needed a break, and by 11:20, about 50 minutes after Blair had last checked me, she decided to check again. 

"Well, no wonder you feel that you need a break - you are 9 centimeters."

As my team erupted into grins and cheers and congratulations, and in my head I said, "Holy Shit, no wonder that was so hard!" the only thing I could mutter {read: plead} aloud was...

"Does that mean I can get in the tub?"

As Blair answered my question, everyone in the room sort of laughed at my visible relief about finally being able to slide into that tub that had been filling and warming since we arrived. For a second I doubted my ability to sit up and actually make my way to the tub, but I shook my head and gritted my teeth and said to myself, I am getting.in.that.tub...now.

I waddled my way over to the tub and slid into the warm water, and there it was...sweet relief. Ahhhhh. The tub was so awesome. It was around 11:35 when I entered the tub, and it was amazing. My whole body was able to relax and then, all of a sudden, there was a break in between contractions again.

They were still pretty intense, but the break made all the difference in the world. My sister helped me to put on a black bikini top that I had brought along. Originally I thought I would change into it before getting into the tub, but when Blair waved the green flag for entry, I had gotten in the tub with all my clothes on.

I kept the skirt on with the bikini top because I didn't relish the thought of juist being straight up naked in front of whoever walked in the room, and had even brought a second black skirt so that I could change into a dry one once I climbed back out (of course that no longer mattered to me after a while).

I was really concerned, in between my vocalizations, about the woman who had come in about an hour after me being able to hear me, because I couldn't hear her. Or, if the people in the hallway could hear me for that matter. I don't know why it mattered to me in that moment, but I was desperate to know that I wasn't the crazy woman in labor scaring other women.

Everyone assured me that I was not.

After laboring in the tub for 45 minutes or so, all of a sudden I felt a "pop". I looked up at Blair and A and said, "My water just broke." Completely calm.
"Are you sure?"
"Well, it feels like a balloon just popped inside of me."
"Yup, that's it."

Shortly after that I felt the need to push. Blair gave me the go ahead to start pushing to see what would happen, and it sort of freaked me out that she hadn't checked to see if I was at 10 centimeters (not that there is a good way to check in the water). All these thoughts and questions flooded my brain, "What if I still have a lip? What if I push before ten and swell my cervix? This has gone by so fast! I expected this to take so much longer!"

With that, I began a sort of half hearted pushing attempt. To tell the truth, everything had gone so fast, and I was so unsure of how to go about pushing that, I knew, even as I was trying those first pushing attempts in the water, that they weren't going to do much. Plus, I didn't want to give birth in the water! What if I was like some rockstar pusher and the baby just flew out?! (Oh, the lack of logic in the labor process) But, I sort of felt my way through it and pushed for a little while in the tub.

It wasn't long before Blair realized that I wasn't very comfortable pushing in the water. She suggested getting out, and though I loved the pain relief the water brough, I was relieved that we could get on to the type of pushing I had visualized.

Blair was about to have me do some preliminary pushes on my back, so she could see how I was doing, but quickly she had to run next door to check on the other woman in labor at the midwifery. Luckily, Nell, one of the other midwives, had come over (in her nice clothes) from the main office to check on things. I loved Nell, so I was so happy to see her! She came right in, pulled on some gloves and had me try some pushes while Blair helped my neighbor.

She saw right away that pushing on my back was maybe not the best, and suggested that I turn on my side. She had me do the whole "Push my fingers out," routine, just to see how I would do. After one push she raised her eyebrows and said, "Well alright, I think we have found your position!"

She patted me on the thigh and said,
"Push away, you are going to be great."

Once Nell gave me the go ahead to push, I found a new energy - this was it! I was going to meet my baby! And soon, if I had anything to say about it.

I began pushing sort of feeling out how to push, more than anything else. A lot of people say that pushing sort of feels like having to go to the bathroom, but I don't think so. It felt, well, for lack of a better explanation, like pushing something through your vagina.

Sounds simple enough, eh? Ha. Nevermind that that something is the size of a small human. Because, it is.

But, all in all, I liked pushing much better than the rest of labor. I finally felt like I was able to do something with the contractions and the pain, rather than just let them wash over me. I knew going into it that some women felt the exact same way, but I wasn't sure how I would feel.

Blair gave me the simplest of instructions - "Push toward that pressure that you feel in your bottom." Well, that made sense. And there it was. I was pushing. 

The other thing that I liked about pushing, was that there were again noticeable breaks in between contractions. In between, I was able to sort of rest, and even joke with my labor team. Especially once I knew that I was making progress.

During my entire pregnancy (and well before whenever we talked about having kids) A was certain he would be staying up beside my head during labor. The funny thing was, once things got started he was totally into it. He even traded places with my sister to get a better view of all that was happening. In fact, he got a little overzealous at one point and was holding my leg even higher than was needed so that he could see everything a little better.

Thankfully, a midwife's gentle hand patted his and he got the hint to lower my leg a bit.


Blair gave me such great support throughout all of labor, but especially during the actual delivery. She was completley encouraging and kept complimenting my pushing (and holding - as in I was able to keep a lot of the progress I was making) abilities.

You sure know how to get results from a Type A people pleaser, ma'am.

At one point, right before crowning, the pressure got so intense that I said, "I seriously feel like my butt is going to explode!" {Everyone is so eloquent during labor} That pressure is right.there on your perineum and it is intense.

Well, my whole team got a good chuckle from that one, and Blair just said, "I know sweetie, and someday when we all get to Heaven, we are going to call a meeting with God and make him explain what the heck that was all about."

I love midwives.

My husband, sister and sister-in-law were really the most supportive people to have had in that room. They were cheerleaders through the whole process, but especially at the end. They were all totally into all that was going on, and kept me aprised and energized through pushing. It was hard not to feed off their energy. Especially once they could see things happening.

I had pushed for a while without them being able to see progress, but after the first time that they saw the baby's head, it felt like everything happened so quickly. There was such a rush of raw emotion in that room, it was overwhelming.

They kept telling me what they could see, which was a little hard for me, since I couldn't see what they were seeing. I knew if I wanted to see my baby, I just needed to be in the zone and get this thing done. I focused in and pushed for all I was worth.

To tell you the truth I don't even remember the "ring of fire" all that well. I noted it when I felt it, and slowed down my pushing as we had been instructed and as I had run through in my head in childbirth classes. We had done the in and out and in and out of the head originally crowning and Blair told me exactly when to slow down with the ears of the baby emerging.

And then, like that, her head was out! Everyone got so excited, but I just kept breathing and waited for the next contraction. I didn't feel like I could let myself get excited just yet. I knew that the baby's head would turn for the delivery of the shoulders and then I would need to push again, so when A exclaimed, "The head is turning!" I knew I needed to be ready. I was so in the zone, that I just had a sort of visual checklist in my mind. Head? Check. Rotating? Check. Next are the shoulders, ease them out slowly so as not to tear.

Well, I certainly tried to push slowly. I began to push lightly and breathe the shoulders out, just the way that we were taught in class, but my body had other ideas. Blair even said, "Ok Courtney, stop pushing!" and all I could say was, "That isn't me!" The contractions were pushing her out all on their own with no effort from me.

And then, all of a sudden at 1:18 pm, she was here.

They lifted her toward me and I was the first to see that she was, in fact, a she. I tearfully and laughingly said, "It's a girl!" at the same time as my husband and sister. I cannot even explain the rush of emotions in that instant. It really was as if the entire world was standing still.

Those moments still bring tears to my eyes. I remember hearing that little wail, and Blair lying her on my chest and thinking, "It was real! There really was a little person inside of me! I can't believe I did it!" I held her to me and laughed and cried and said, "Hello, Evelyn".

We both laughed and cried and checked her over. She was perfect.

As the nurses strapped A's bracelet on to match ours, I just kept laughing and crying. I was so overcome by emotions and hormones and the post birth high that I couldn't contain my joy. We said a thousand "I love you's" to each other and to our new daughter, and life had never been sweeter.

Shortly after Evelyn was delivered and we were cuddling with her, my sister in law went out to notify the parents!

During this time I got to do some fun other things like deliver the placenta, get a tiny stitch for my tiny tear (Yup I tore a little bit thanks to those dang shoulders coming out on their own), and chat with the nurses about bleeding, etc. 

When she got back in the room she was able to take some photos of our private time with our new precious bundle. One of the greatest things about the midwifery is their practice of leaving you alone for an hour post birth, to just bond with your baby.

Most of this time was spent breastfeeding...that's right! We were already breastfeeding! I was really unsure and uncertain of how well breastfeeding was going to go. I knew I desperately wanted it to go well, but that newborns are all over the place on their ability to latch right away, etc. 

So far, Evelyn and I have been REALLY lucky on that journey. She was over a week late of course, so it helped that she had a nice big mouth to get a full latch right off the bat. I will post more about our breastfeeding journey a while later.

We were so lucky to spend some of her really alert time all together as a family with no interruptions or distractions!

In seemingly no time at all the nurses were back to weigh and measure the babe, and to check on me. While her daddy took her to do some fun stuff, I got to experience the joy of "fundal massage" aka where the older nurse punches me in the gut.

I was bleeding more than they wanted me to be, even after my little baby was doing such a great job of contracting my uterus via breastfeeding. Somewhere in the discussion (I wasn't paying attention as I was too distracted by how much my baby weighed, etc.) it was decided that Blair should come back in to make sure all the placenta had come out after all, etc. It all sounded very serious, but I was on a post birth high and could have cared less. Until Blair had to do a rough internal exam that is. Then I cared a whole lot, because that shizz hurt worse than birthing the baby just had. Youch. 

After that, they let me breastfeed some more and ultimately decided to get me on a pitocin drip to help with the bleeding. Since Evelyn was already here, I wasn't worried about drugs at that point. Eventually, the bleeding subsided, and in the mean time I got to cuddle my baby some more and enjoy the genius idea of vaginal ice packs. They were AWESOME. I thought it would be weird and uncomfortable when they brought me the first one - but it was amazing. Best invention ever.

Since I was taking a little longer than originally anticipated to be done with all that, the nurse kept A distracted by helping him give Evelyn her first bath.

She was pretty fed up after that and was ready to come back to cuddle.

Soon after they had done all the measuring, etc. My mother in law came in to meet her new grand baby! She has been a nurse for many years, and so she did her own exam to make sure Evelyn was a-ok.

We then let the aunties have some cuddle time too, while my MIL and A ran off to grab us some sandwiches - I was starving.

After we ate the worst (but tasted the best ever) subs in the world, it was nap time for baby.

...and for daddy.

Hey, he had a long day too, right? This was the time that they told me I should go ahead and nap too, but I was way too amped still. I just laid there and cuddled with my family and felt like the luckiest person on the face of the planet.

While they took me off to go to the bathroom... (who knew that they would be so concerned about your ability to go to the bathroom after giving birth? Not me. Quick side story - I just didn't have to go. I dunno why, but I didn't. So, when the nurses asked I just said nope don't have to - 6 hours later one of them finally told me they would have to catheterize me if I didn't go. I jumped up and went right then and there - no one told me there was a timeline!) ... Daddy took the opportunity to get some skin to skin contact in with the babe.

After another hour or two of quiet cuddle time, they came in to do the footprints.

Shortly after, my sister and sister-in-law left us to our new little bundle. We had some other friends come to visit and bring us dinner (sushi! Yes!) and we drifted off for our first night with baby. We left the hospital the next afternoon and started the new chapter of our lives.

We've never been happier.


  1. This is a wonderful story! I am pleased to tears for your family, your happiness and love!

  2. Beautifully written and photographed birth story. It really captures the heart and emotion of your daughter's birth. Thanks for sharing!