I held his hand as we walked from the parking garage to the hospital entrance. It was 5:29 a.m. on your birthday. I dropped his hand and stopped walking. He looked back at me, his expression silently asking if I was okay. “We are having this baby today,” I said to him with conviction. “We are doing this today.” Jimmy smiled and laughing said, “We’re going to have her by noon so then we don’t have to miss lunch.” He picked my hand back up, I gave him the most exaggerated eye roll possible and then we made our way to the birthing center.
We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 5:30 and typical of us, we arrived right on the dot (or a few minutes after). Nana Debbie was there with us too. We were all pretty sleepy and had spent the last three days in a marathon rush to finish the upstairs renovation, assemble furniture, move into the nursery, clean the house and take care of all last minute chores that needed completed before baby arrived. We even squeezed in a family Christmas party. Despite our tiredness, there was an energy between us. We had all been praying so hard for Evelyn and for this day. Today we would finally meet the little girl who stole our hearts many months ago. Today I would meet the little miracle baby that I worked so diligently for during my pregnancy. Today, I would finally become a momma.
Checking in, hooking into the IV and starting the pitocin all happened pretty fast. I was still 75% effaced and 2-3 cm dilated — same as I was at the doctors office Monday. I started working on a knit hat that I planned to have made for baby to wear home from the hospital. Jimmy and Debbie went to the cafeteria for breakfast and the nurses gave me a timeline for the day. Before I knew it, 8 a.m. arrived and the doctor came in to check me and break my water. I had been on pitocin for an hour and just started to feel contractions when Dr. Lovins broke my water. It felt like I peed all over myself. It was a wonderful feeling, as you can imagine.
The nurses kept increasing my pitocin drip and then my contractions started to get more frequent and pretty intense — quickly. My aunt Lesa came to the hospital to see us and my best friend Laura came to cheer me on for a while during labor. She brought this beautiful vision board that she created and used during her labor.
The doctor, nurses and my “birthing team,” as I called Jimmy, Debbie and Laura, knew my plan to have a natural childbirth. I didn’t want the baby to experience any of the narcotics nor did I want an epidural. I was open to any of those options if it meant that the birth experience would be smoother and less stressful. Above all, I wanted the entrance into this world to be calm and filled with love.
By 9:30, the contractions were piggybacking. Mine hit, then the pitocin contraction, then my contractions were trying to play catchup to the induced ones. I started to be able to recognize when one was starting, then close my eyes and breathe through it. The back labor started not long after. Luckily, the way the baby was positioned only caused pain on one side of my back. One of my sweet nurses showed Jimmy how to massage that area to help during my contractions.
By 10:30 another nurse had been into check me and I was almost complete. A call was put into my doctor to make her way back to the hospital. I went through transition before I even knew I had started it. I thought the intense pain I was feeling was still pre-transition and I would be experiencing them for several more hours. Little did I know by the time I even thought that maybe I couldn’t do it without pain medication, I was almost to the finish line! The nurses helped me to change positions pretty frequently to get me to 10 cm and ready to push. I had just a half cm to go and I wasn’t progressing.
This is NORMAL.
Don’t make fists.
This IS normal.
Relax your face.
THIS is normal.
And anytime I to opened my eyes, they were met with a loving gaze from Jimmy’s blue eyes. Always inches from mine.
The doctor arrived and started to help me during my contractions to have the last little lip of cervix be pushed over the baby’s head so we could start pushing. After telling the nurse and doctor several times during the height of contractions that I really needed to push, they finally let me slide down to the bottom of the bed and start pushing. It was such a relief during the pain of the contractions to finally act on the natural feelings I was having. After a few contractions of pushing, the doctor told me to look at the mirror that they placed at the bottom of the bed and I’ll never forget seeing the face of our sweet daughter. It was the motivation that I needed to give one last big push to bring her into the world.
“You’re here. I can’t believe you’re finally here,” I said over and over with her in my arms. “I did it, Jimmy. We did it,” I said looking up at Jimmy who had just cut the cord. I pulled my gown down and put her on my chest for the most intimate, loving start to her life. We spent what felt like hours with her on my chest and nursing before the nurses took her for her evaluations and to get cleaned up. The next few hours were a blur of doctors, nurses a few visitors and watching Jimmy fall in love. I was running a fever and shaking pretty bad, but couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that I JUST PUSHED A BABY OUT OF MY BODY.
Our little girl entered the world at 11:56 a.m. (just in time for her poppa to go get lunch!) weighing 7 lbs. 9 oz. and measuring 21″ long. She had a full head of hair, long fingers and monkey toes.
It’s been a whirlwind ever since we left the hospital — a quiet first Christmas at home, Jimmy going back to work and me adjusting to being a full time mom to the most beautiful little lady, ever. I’m so grateful for the trio of people who helped coach me through this amazing experience. And especially to my best friend, Laura, who captured almost all of these photos for me. You are so loved my dear!