Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Evelyn's birth story.

It's been a hot minute since I blogged on here. I'm not even sure I knew I was pregnant again the last time I blogged. But I was. And we found out it was a girl. And her name, her lovely, beautiful name is Evelyn Rose Sillivan.

She is now 6 months old and my God, I love her. To say that she adds something to our little family is an understatement. She's literally perfection. Her daddy and I are smitten with her. And like Ty, we fall more and more in love with her every single day. My life has gotten busier. Loads busier. I barely have a moment to myself and I spend my days tending to two perfect little babies that I get the honor and blessing to call mine. I wish I had more time to blog about them. To tell everyone about every little milestone they hit, but I can't pull myself away from them long enough to sit at the computer and transfer my thoughts to text. When a baby wants to be cuddled before naptime and a toddler wants you to read to him, you do those things in lieu of blogging.

But this post isn't necessarily about my obsession with both my children. It's about the day that I met Evelyn for the first time. The day that, once again, my life was twisted and warped into a new reality with another sweet baby.

My pregnancy and labor with Evelyn was completely different than it was with Ty. From about 25 weeks on, I was consumed with immense exhaustion. With Ty, I suffered intense heartburn and nausea but had high energy levels up until the moment I delivered him. With Evelyn, this was not the case. My nausea disappeared after the first trimester and unless I completely engorged myself on spaghetti or something else highly acidic, I rarely had any reflux. But the exhaustion was prominent. I feel as though the pregnancy flew by and dragged at the same time. And perhaps it was the effect of chasing after a toddler that was just beginning to walk, but I could never feel as though I was rested. I'd literally melt into my bed every single night and pray that the next day Ty would let me take a 4 hour nap with him.

At about 37 weeks, I woke up in the middle of the night with an extreme tightening of my abdomen. I first chalked it up to Braxton Hicks contractions (which I experienced frequently with both of my babies) but a few minutes after it subsided and I had fallen back asleep, I experienced another one. And then another one. They were painful and uncomfortable and I quickly came to the realization that I could quite possibly be in labor. I took out my phone and began timing them. Sure enough, every 7-8 minutes, they were arriving, hard and strong.

I'd be lying if I said that I was really recognizing the pain. I was more excited and nervous to really focus on the uncomfortableness. But I woke Brandon up after making the decision that we at least needed to head to the hospital to see what was up. He was the ultimate cliche daddy-to-be... running all over he house, running into furniture, and stumbling as he tried to grab things to keep Ty entertained while we were at the hospital and stuffing them into our hospital bag. I gently woke up Ty, who was not thrilled to be awoken at 4 a.m. and we headed to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and I was 6 cm dilated! We called both Brandon's parents as well as mine and both headed our way. My mom arrived like a Fairy Godmother almost immediately to help keep Ty happy and busy (since pulling wires out of various, important hospital machines seemed to be a favorite game of his) and Brandon's family began the drive down from Arkansas. I was certain it was 'baby time!' but after being hooked up on the monitors, I received the news that my contractions weren't close enough just yet to be admitted. We stayed there until noon hooked up to the monitors. My contractions were indeed regular and intense but there was no forward progress. So they sent me home with some pain pills "to help take the edge off" and told me to get some rest. And thus began my 7 days of labor.

Painful contractions 7-9 minutes apart for that amount of time can do a number on ya. There was not much sleeping, a lot of breathing, a lot of trying to relax, and lots of walking. I pretty much forced Brandon's mom and dad to walk with me everywhere in Baton Rouge. Sometimes I would lay down but when you're body is working and twisting and contracting that hard, it was the worst sort of torture. I did my best not to complain about it. Or even show how horribly uncomfortable it was since there was not much that any one could do and everyone was doing their best to make me as comfortable as possible already. But there was more than a few times where I'd go to the bathroom privately just to let a few tears out in frustration and pain. It felt good to move my hips, though, so I'd spend hours a day walking. And walking. And walking.

At one point, Brandon and I were driving and a contraction hit and I just broke down. I cried that I couldn't do it anymore. That I didn't want to be strong anymore. That I wanted this baby the heck outta me. That I was sure I was going to die by contractions. He held my hand and told me that I could do it. That he wished he could take the pain away. And that he loved me. I told him we were adopting our next child.

Exactly one week from the day we initially went to the hospital, I woke up again with contractions. The previous night, I had been woken from my sleep by intense pain, but to be fair, it wasn't anything new so I completely tried to ignore them. I got out of bed, and jumped in the shower, something that seemed to help when the pain was too much. But in the shower, I realized that it wasn't helping. The contractions were actually taking the breath out of my lungs and my whole body was being affected. After 3 or 4 of these I called to Brandon from the shower to ask him to time them for me. In his still half-asleep daze, he did and we quickly realized that they were coming 4-5 minutes apart. And hard. I was having to grab something to hold onto to keep myself upright. Again, we loaded up and called our parents. Brandon's parents had actually left early that morning to head back to Arkansas and were just getting through Shreveport when we called. They decided to drop off the motorhome before turning back around.

When we checked into the hospital this time I was exhausted. Mentally and physically. I could barely wrap my head around any thought of meeting Evelyn. It seemed as though I was never really going to deliver her. But, sure enough, once I was hooked up to the monitors and checked for dilation, we had progress and I was admitted for delivery!

Initially, I wanted to deliver Evelyn the same way I delivered Ty with no pain medication. But, after a few intense contractions, I quickly realized that I just wasn't as mentally strong this time around. Birthing without medication is just as much a mental battle as it is a physical one and I just couldn't get the mindset I needed to climb the mountain that each labor contraction presented. So after getting some reassurance from my mom, I told the nurses that I wanted to get an epidural.

No one ever tells you that actually getting the epidural might be worse than just enduring the rest of labor. After going over the risks of, ya know, being paralyzed or even dying, the anesthesiologist came in and essentially said to me, "Here, now bend your hugely pregnant body waaaay over, touch your nose to your knees and hold completely still through 5 horrible contractions while I shoot a 6 inch needle up your back". My nurse bravely let me squeeze her hands until I'm sure she thought her fingers were going to fall off. But, let me tell you, it was worth it. After the anesthesiologist left I could feel the contractions but I wasn't consumed by the pain. And for the first time in a week, I could actually rest! I became calm and my body felt rejuvenated. I finally wrapped my head around the fact that before this day was over, I was going to meet my daughter! And I spent the next few hours laughing and joking with the family members that trickled in and out of our room.

Around 7 p.m. my angel of a nurse came in to check me for dilation and progression. I was 10 cm dilated and fully effaced! She suggested we give a few practice pushes just to see and sure enough, Evelyn started moving downward through the birth canal with no problem! My midwife came in, and we started pushing. I could see her head full of hair in the mirror! Just as she started crowning, my midwife told me to reach down and grab her. I did and, in the strangest combination of burning fire and rushing warmth, I held my perfect Evelyn Rose in my arms.

From the moment I first laid eyes on her, I began to cry. Tears of pure joy. My heart seemed to climb up into my throat and I felt like I couldn't swallow. She was pink and chubby and my God, she was beautiful. This was her! The little baby I had felt grow and move in my belly for the past 9 months! Who I had labored so long for. She was finally here and she was worth every second of the pain. I'd do it all over again. A million more times if I had to. I knew instantly that I loved her so deeply and unconditionally and I didn't want to let her go. In fact, I don't think I did for the first 2 hours. The nurse had to pry her from my fingers to get her vitals and we discovered that her body temperature was a little low. So under the heat lamp she went as our family came in and met Miss Evelyn for the first time. GranNan and Grandma introduced Ty to his new little sister and Brandon never stepped more than an arms length away from her.

That first night she slept soundly only waking when I had to feed her. She cried minimally and was surprisingly alert for being less than 24 hours old. I don't remember much over the next two days aside from my complete amazement at her beauty, the way she smelled, and the way Brandon looked at her when he held her. Maybe it was the fact that he was more "seasoned" in fatherhood by the time Evelyn came around, or maybe it was because this was his little girl and he instantly was wrapped around her little fingers, but that man picked her up and burped her and changed her diapers like a pro. The second Evelyn whimpered he was there, at her beckon call, whispering little sweet words to her that I could barely hear.

I woke up on the day we were being discharged from the hospital with the sudden realization that I had two children. Two beautiful, sweet, perfect babies. I remember looking at Brandon, holding our daughter, while he gently explained to Ty that this was his new sister and that she would be coming home with us and they would one day be best friends. I remember crying a little, feeling immensely blessed and saying a silent prayer to our Father for allowing me to be so lucky. 

We went home, our family of four. And it's been tiring, loud, and pure bliss ever since.

Evelyn Rose Sillivan
Born May 21, 2014
at 9:21 p.m.
weighing 6 lbs & 13 oz. 
and being 20.5" long. 

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