(originally pushlied on Mrs. Southern Bride...)
I often wondered what my birth story would be like. It was something I thought about from the very beginning. Truth is, nothing went according to what I thought or what Josh thought it might happen. I believe it happened the way God intended it, and that's that. Truthfully, every minute was laced with trusting God to grace us with His mercies throughout her birth.
It started on Tuesday, when I was scheduled for a routine 36 week check up at my doctor's office. I had decided that writing a birth plan wasn't for me, and the only thing I wanted was an epidural. I had chosen my doctor (and her office) after much research and believed they would do whatever it took to keep us both safe. So, when I explained a minor concern that had happened the previous week, they decided to double check just to be on the safe side. My doctor announced that not only had I dilated, but was between 3 and 4. On one hand, I could sit dilated for weeks, or I could be in pre-term labor. They hooked me up to monitors and spent the next two hours figuring out a game plane. Baby girl was healthy and was showing no signs of distress. The concern was that I was showing pretty big contractions, but I was NOT feeling them at all. I was put on medication to see if that would calm the contractions. It did, so I was sent home to rest and keep careful watch should any changes occur. I drove home in a daze. It was a bit scary thinking she could come early.
The minute I set foot in the door, the nesting instinct kicked into overdrive. I cleaned the house like a mad woman, then sat down and didn't move until Josh got home. I didn't have any contractions during that time frame, so I figured it was okay to head out for dinner with friends as we'd previously planned. The rest of the evening went by without incident. We went home and did a few things around the house. Josh had just climbed into bed, and I was getting ready to join him when it started. This time, I was confident that this was the real thing. I laid down for a while and timed my contractions. When I reached my sixth contraction for that hour, we got dressed, loaded up our car and headed to the hospital.
By the time I got checked into triage, I had dilated to a 6, so they wheeled us into our Labor and Delivery suite. At that point, my nerves kicked in and I was shaking uncontrollably. We contacted our parents, and settled in for what would be a very long night. It was about midnight when they administered my epidural. Sweet relief! The next few hours were uneventful, and I was able to catch a quick cat nap. I woke up around 4 am to a lot of pressure. The doctor arrived and checked me. I hadn't made much progress, so she left to check on other patients. My nurse told me to call if I felt more pressure or pain. So we laid back and waited it out. About 30 minutes later, I started feeling severe pains shooting up my sides. So we asked for the nurse again, and they decided to administer another round to relieve the pain. Again, sweet relief! I was able to calm down, only to realize the pressure had come back with even more gusto!
The doctor checked me again, and announced I had already moved to an 8! It was game time, and I had never felt more terrified in my life. The next few minutes were just a blur. Before we knew it, I was fully dilated and ready to push.
The next few hours were the most difficult in my life. I really don't want to share this part of the story because it is too personal. But as easy as my labor had been, my actual delivery was the absolute opposite. I prayed a lot. I held Josh's hand and just focused my energy on the charge nurse. She was counting and reminding me to breathe. Josh never left my side and coached me the entire time. I was so thankful for his calming presence. After roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes of pushing, she was finally out! Right away, I remember being in shock. My body was exhausted, and in my heart I knew something wasn't quite right. At that moment, I knew I had a choice...give into fear or just trust God completely. We both chose the latter. Looking back, I'm surprised at how calm Josh was...he knew more of what was going on than I did. After what felt like an eternity, we finally heard that tiny newborn cry! We would later learn that she was not breathing when she was born, due to the chord being wrapped around her neck. As horrifying as that was, her tiny little voice was a beautiful sound.
I remember thinking to myself that there were so many things to consider due to her early birth. Would she need to stay for extra days? Would she have to be transported to a different hospital? Would she be behind in development?
Thankfully, Evelynn was completely healthy. She took to the bottle immediately, wet/dirtied her diapers, and showed no signs of premature birth. The pediatric doctor was impressed with her size (6lb 3 ounces). and because of that they did not consider her a true preemie, just an early bird. They wondered if my due date had been off a tad. Perhaps. But, I believe that God was with her every single moment. He chose to grace us with mercies yet again. His timing is always perfect. We are so thankful for our sweet baby girl. She's our miracle!