Evan’s Birth Story {or How to Have The Unplanned Drug-Free Birth You Never Wanted}

Thank you all for all of the sweetest messages, comments, and tweets about Evan’s birth!! I am overwhelmed by the love and support and working on replying to all of you :) That said – this post is not for people who don’t want to know about childbirth. I really didn’t hold back on the details, so if you read this and puke – well, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

I’ve obsessed over read a lot of articles, posts, and forums these last few weeks trying to figure out what people feel like before they go into labor. Did they know it was going to happen? Was it sudden or slow? How did they KNOW they were in labor? And the verdict? Ummm… there is no consistency. Here’s what happened to me…

Early Labor

I didn’t go to bed expecting to wake up in labor – and truthfully I didn’t wake up knowing I was either! No, I woke up at 5:30 having to pee, like usual. I sat up and felt a small gush and thought, “WTF was that?” I waited to see if it would followed by anything else, but it didn’t so I went to the bathroom to pee. I checked to see if was pee or blood (it wasn’t) and then looked it up online. The only thing I could think of was that it was my water breaking a little bit and decided to follow the advice I read online — drink a glass of water, lie on my side, and see if gushed more after 20-30 minutes. During this time I noticed that I was definitely having contractions. They were a tiny bit more painful than normal (they felt like really bad cramps). After about 30 minutes I got up to pee again… and nothing. No gushing at least. I did have a lot of pink cervical fluid, which was new.

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My last pregnancy pictures – 40w3d

As the morning progressed, and the kids woke up, I continued to have mild contractions and I started to feel like I was leaking. There was no more gushing, but I felt like something was very slowly trickling out of me all.the.time. It was annoying more than anything and I didn’t know what to do! When Dan got up, I told him I needed him to stay home from work and that at some point we would have to go up to the hospital to check to make sure it wasn’t amniotic fluid. Better safe than sorry!

In the meantime, we got Braeden ready for baseball (where he went with my mother-in-law, who later picked up L as well) and Livie ready for dance pictures (my friend Tracy took her).

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I kept procrastinating on going up to the hospital and spent the morning showering, walking around the neighborhood, and Googling anything and everything that had to do with labor symptoms. It was a very productive morning.

After eating lunch, I FINALLY decided we should go up to the hospital. My contractions continued to be regular, about 8 minutes apart, but still mild. They were lasting about 45 seconds and peaking halfway through. We got to the hospital around 2 and checked into Labor/Delivery. I told the triage nurse, Bonnie, that I didn’t really think she was going to keep me (we left all of our bags in the car) – but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaking amniotic fluid. She agreed it didn’t hurt to check! She hooked me up to the monitors and then used a speculum (so fun /sarcasm) to collect some “stuff” to send to the lab. She didn’t see any fluid – but she said it didn’t mean anything, so we waited. She also checked me and I was 3cm dilated, 50% effaced and -2 station. A big difference from Tuesday when I all sealed up and not effaced at all. This was the moment where I actually thought for the first time, “Woah. I think am really in labor!”

After about 30 minutes, the results came back from the lab as negative. Who knows what I felt gushing in the morning! She did talk to the Dr. on call and he offered to come in induce if wanted and I said, “No thanks!!” She agreed with my decision and told me that she was pretty sure that I would be back later that weekend – and that I was definitely NOT going to make it to my induction.

They discharged me around 4 and on the way home I asked Dan if the kids should say with his step-mom for the night. He agreed (smart thinking!), so we picked them up from his mom’s, hung out with for a little bit, and then Dan dropped them off (and picked up food for dinner). During this time nothing terribly exciting was going on. I was starting to have stronger contractions, but there still 7-8 minutes apart. It was actually frustrating me that they weren’t getting closer together. In fact, between contractions I felt great and kept thinking they were going to fizzle out — until another contraction would hit. The contractions were painful, but so much easier than pitocin induced contractions. I had scheduled an acupressure/acupuncture appointment for noon – but ended up canceling it. At that point I wondered if I should have kept it to move things along! Instead, I just stayed active. I convinced Braeden to go on another walk with me (I’m pretty sure I walked about 3 miles on Saturday!) and while Dan was gone I decided to clean the master bathroom and mop the floors. Hello final nesting!

Finally around 10pm the contractions started getting closer together and I also started experiencing “bloody show.” Hallelujah! I told Dan that if he wanted to get any sleep that he might want to do it then, so he went to bed. I laid on the couch watching TV and “sleeping” between contractions.

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Of course, looking back, this is when I SHOULD left to go to the hospital. They only shifted from 7-8 to 6-7, but things went a lot faster than I expected from this point on!

Active Labor

Around 11 I had some major stomach cramps (not contractions) followed by a fun bout of “I think my intestines are going to explode out of my body.” Active labor had begun and I didn’t even realize it!. At 11:30 I made the executive decision to wake Dan up. He pretty much jumped out of bed. We packed the car (again), and we were off to the hospital by midnight. I was still tracking my contractions and I realized after about 5 minutes in the car that they were now 2 minutes apart and peaking at the 50 second mark. Umm, what? I told Dan to DRIVE FAST and even encouraged him to run red lights onto ongoing traffic. It was not good.

I really don’t remember much of that ride, but I do remember praying that the contractions slow down a little. My body agreed slightly and I had a few 4 minute contractions here and there. The ride to the hospital is about 30 minutes on a good day and we made it in about 20. We did get behind a car in the residential area very close to the hospital going slow (well, he was going 30 in a 25!) and I screamed at Dan to pass him. I’m not sure if Dan REALLY understood the urgency at that point (he was still obeying stop signs!), but he did finally pass him. We probably scared the hell out of that car.

When we pulled up to the hospital, I pretty much jumped out of the car and ran into the ER (Dan went and parked the car). Thankfully, it was NOT busy. Through a contraction, I gave them my details (due date, Dr info, and status of contractions) and one of the nurses in triage grabbed a wheelchair and quickly took me up to Labor and Delivery. Dan arrived as they checked me in – this time he had ALL of our bags!

The triage nurse (who happened to be the nurse that delivered Livie!) was FAST. She could see that I was in serious active labor and had me change into the gown and hooked me up to the monitors for about 2 minutes to get stats. She asked the front desk to call my Dr. and tell him to come in immediately and also told the charge nurse I was going to need a room and a wheelchair. She then checked me and said I was 6cm, fully effaced, and 0 station. I thought at this point this was right where I wanted to be so I was happy about that. She asked if I planned on getting an epidural and I said yes, definitely. Ha.

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I sent this picture to a few of my friends at 12:51 that said “Made it to the hospital and I’m 6cm. I’m ready for my epidural!” About 2 minutes later I was moved to my delivery room and shit.got.real.

Transition/Delivery

The triage nurse got me to the room and told me I should try to pee before they set up my IV because I probably wouldn’t be able to go again. I sat down on the toilet just as I was having a contraction and HOLY SHIT. Not only was the pain unreal, but I suddenly felt this intense pressure like I had to push. At that moment I knew I was NOT getting an epidural and that I was probably in transition.

I recovered and for about 30 seconds thought that maybe it was just because I was sitting on the toilet that I felt that way – so I didn’t say anything to the nurses. Until the next contraction hit and the same thing happened. Oh boy. By the time the third contraction hit I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I shouted to the nurses that I felt the need to push and just started crying through the contraction. Honestly, it wasn’t just the pain that made the feel so horrible, but the pressure and the urgency – and the fact that I just had NO control over my body. It was intense. Of course, this was all happening while the nurse was trying to give me my IV and attempting to give me a round of saline and my antibiotics for GBS. They immediately checked me after my declaration and said, “Oh yeah – she’s complete and the baby’s head is right there.” Note to self: 6cm to 10cm in less than 10 minutes is not enough time to get an epidural.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t TIME to push. The Dr. still hadn’t arrived. Every time I had a contraction (probably 10 total), I would scream (and simultaneously cry), “I needed to push.” and the nurses (there were 3 in the room) would shout back to me that I needed to take a deep breath and blow it out of my mouth and forget about pushing. Yeah, easier said than done. During one of the contractions my water finally broke and I shouted sometime like, “Oh my God – my water broke.” It wasn’t that my water breaking was a BAD thing necessarily, but I remembered that with the other two that once that happened that added extra “cushion” was gone! The nurses cleaned it up right away, flipped me to my right side, and asked for an oxygen mask – I’m guessing to help slow the baby from just pushing himself out. At this point the nurse had a hard time picking up his heartbeat on the monitor (and obviously it was really important for them to make sure he was OK during such an important phase), so she was manually holding the monitoring and moving it around trying to find him. I’m sure it looked like a complete circus.

Some how, some way  I didn’t have the baby without the Dr present! He arrived probably 20-25 minutes after they called him (he said he was prepared to come in for me after sending me home, so I guess my trip to the hospital wasn’t for nothing!) and at first tried to crack jokes to lighten the mood. I seriously was just trying not to shoot the baby across the room, so I don’t really remember what he was saying. I just know for the majority of the time I had my eyes closed and that I was not amused. After what seemed like an an eternity (it was probably less than 5 minutes), he was finally prepped and ready to deliver and asked me the most magical questions in all the land…”Are you ready to push?” Hell. Yes.

For most of my screaming, Dan was sitting the chair next to my bed staying quiet and filling out paperwork. The best one he filled out? The one for my epidural that I never got (Dan thinks the nurses were just amusing me). So when they finally broke down the bed and let me put my feet on the stirrups, he was called to action. I’m sure this was his favorite part! The Dr. told me pull my legs back (with help from Dan and the nurses) and just push as hard I could when I felt my next contraction. Of course, my body picked that exact moment to take a 2 minutes break! I felt like a year passed and then finally – the first push… It hurt like a bitch and took me a few to get a grasp on what I needed to do (doing this before, you’d think I’d remember). Apparently Evan’s head started to crown because everyone was talking about his hair color (and particularly how it wasn’t red – I’m 0 for 3). This is also when everyone in the room discovered that we didn’t know the sex of the baby yet – and they got really excited. The Dr. asked if we had guesses — Dan didn’t, but he said I was definite that it was a boy. The next push was much more efficient and burned like hell. I felt his head pop out, and the pain increase times ten. Everyone started shouting “One more push!” I also heard the Dr. say – “Oh, this isn’t going to be a small baby” and guessed that I was right and it was a boy. Just as the next contraction hit, I started screaming, “I can’t do this!” over and over again. The nurses were trying to calm me, while Dan and the Dr. were all “you’ve already come this far!” So, I dug deep and just pushed as hard as my body would let me through the pain — and within seconds Evan came barreling out. I could see he was a boy before Dan announced it. They laid the baby on me for a few minutes and then I INSISTED that Dan cut the cord (he was trying to get me to do it).

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I have no idea what the Dr. and nurses were doing to me at the point (and I probably don’t WANT to know), but I remember just starting at Evan and thinking, “We did it!” Honestly, it’s still kind of blowing my mind that all of that happened in less than 24 hours!

Postpartum

They then moved the baby to the scale where everyone guessed his weight (nobody guessed below 9lbs!) and it came up on the monitor as 9lbs 4oz. This is the weight I guessed in my baby pool — so I got something right! I knew he wasn’t going to be small. They then warmed Evan up, took his vitals (I think his APGAR scores were both 9), and took his footprints…

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While all of that was going on, the Dr. quickly delivered the placenta (also not fun when you have no drugs, by the way) and I felt that immediate sense of relief. I forgot how great that feeling is! He then cleaned me up and starting prepping for stitches. I got a little novacaine (finally – some drugs!!) first. I’m not sure what kind of tear or how many stitches I have, but I’m definitely NOT surprised that I had to get them. Ha.

Once we were both put back together — we got to “meet” for the first time. Oh, how happy I was to see that face!

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I’ll skip all of the gross parts of MY recovery — but we’ve now moved into Day 3 and I feel pretty great. I have no swelling (which is definitely thanks to the awesome nurses who brought me countless diapers full of ice on demand) and most of the pain/pressure it gone. I’m not planning on riding a bike any time soon, but I’m also not cringing at the thought of sitting down either. The afterbirth pains have been horrible (as expected), but my milk came last night/today and they are slowing down and my uterus is back in place (breastfeeding works wonders for that!). My biggest pain complaint is actually my hips and back. I need to pick up a postpartum band (I know I have one, but I can’t find it) and I know it will help shift things back into place.

Evan is doing fantastic. He is in that newborn sleepy phase, so the verdict is still out on how he will do with nights and days – but so far, so good! He’s nursing like a pro and is pretty mellow. He LOVES his wubbanub – and has been cracking everyone up because he holds on to it like he KNOWS it’s his toy/paci.

"I love my wubbanub." (Thanks to @kwidrick!)

We’ve been calling him Easy E because he’s just so chill (even the 24-hour fussies and all of the blood draws he has done haven’t really bothered him).

Easy E says, "Good morning , yo!"

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The only frustrating part is that we’re still in the hospital! Because I didn’t get my antibiotics AND Livie’s history with GBS, they decided to keep him here to watch his temps, do a CBC blood draw, and 48-hour culture to make sure there no bacteria growth present (which is why my little guy has a hep-lock on this right hand). The CBC came back negative – with nothing showing up and his temps have been stable since Day 1, so now we are just waiting on the culture. They discharged me today (but are letting me keep my room as a border!), but took him down to the NICU for the night (I can’t eat in the NICU, so I’m going to stay up here to sleep/eat — otherwise I can spend as much time with him as I want). *fingers crossed* we will be able go home tomorrow!

So in short (ha ha!): This is NOT the labor and delivery I expected at all, but obviously it was meant to be. I am absolutely THRILLED that I FINALLY went into labor on my own. My body worked and my baby picked his own birthday!

That said, I don’t really know how I feel about having a natural, drug-free birth. On one hand, it’s something I really contemplated doing with Livie. I was pissed when I had to be induced with her. On the other hand, now that I’ve done it with and without an epidural, I don’t necessarily get the allure of going drug free. I’m still gathering my thoughts on this (expect a post!), but all I can say is that I’m very happy this happened with my LAST baby and not my first. What a way to end an “era.”

Regardless of HOW he was born and whatever pain I experienced – it was still one of the best days of my life. Evan was definitely the missing piece of our “puzzle” and I am so blessed to have three beautiful and healthy children — and a husband who loves us (and tolerates my crazy).

We're a motley crew.

Happy Birthday Evan!

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You are so LOVED.