I remember looking at my journal the day before, thinking how I had intended to write more during my pregnancy, but that was never realistic even more so now after having her 8 months ago. Instead I have little nuggets:
- There was sheer anticipation as we waited and longed for a positive pregnancy test
- The celebratory journal entry talking about how excited I am to tell family, then listing out each person I intended to tell directly before we told the world.
- A recap of the end of my pregnancy journey (little did I know that I would have her the next day).
I was under the impression I would be a week or two late with an oversized baby both in weight and length, after all that is what the ultrasound tech and my midwife were hinting at. How many women do you know were early with their first baby, I only know a handful and they were dramatically early. So, at 38 weeks and 5 days I was certain I had 2 weeks to nest. Not to mention I wasn’t even on mat leave yet, I was using the last of my vacation days at work when she arrived.
I was also mentally prepared somehow that she would arrive by a C-Section. By all accounts I didn’t need one, no one told me that and there were no risks, and baby E was head down and in the right position. We just had to wait.
Now begins the saga that was her birth story:
My husband and I were currently binge watching a TV show most nights and at midnight on May 13th (8 days before my due date) my water broke. It wasn’t a fancy affair, nothing gruesome either, just an abnormal amount of liquid trickling out of me that I knew was not a loose bladder, it made me laugh at how uneventful it was, and I immediately put on those glorious women’s diapers (I’m not lying I loved them) . Note to all the first time mama’s go out and get the Always Discreet Boutique mesh underwear.
I had remembered our midwife advised me that if I started my labor in the middle of the night to try and draw a bath and extend the contractions until they were 4 contractions within a 10 minute window. Right away they were 2-4 minutes apart but after a warm bath I was able to have two cat naps until 8 am rolled around.
At 8am I went to the washroom and when I wiped I noticed a green substance in the amniotic fluid that was gradually coming out, I was warned that this could be meconium (when your baby poops in utero) if it was – if it was meconium there was now a clock counting down to get her out because of bacterial growth.
Our Midwife told us to head to the Chilliwack Maternity Ward and check in to confirm my water had broke and meconium was present. After 2 swabs and noticeable meconium on the absorbent pads laid out on the bedding we were asked if we wanted to go home and labor from there, they told me I was only 2 cm dilated and she wasn’t coming soon.
I can’t tell you why I had the intuition or gut instinct to say no, but I felt that I shouldn’t go home to labor, and as the story progressed I understand now when they say “follow your instincts”.
When we decided to stay, they put me on oxytocin to help me progress and dilate. However with every contraction Evelyn’s heart would decel. So with counsel from the OB we decided to stop the drip and use laughing gas instead until they could come and administer my Epidural.
If anyone offers you laughing gas, take it, it helped me through my contractions and gave me a calm that I truly needed. I remember the hospital staff coming to offer Ian some food, because at this time it was lunch and we both hadn’t had anything to eat. I was a little high on the laughing gas and asked Ian to describe his lunch as if he was eating at the Fairmont, I was convinced it was the most delicious egg salad sandwich he’s ever had – though he would probably refute that. In the moment however I was deliriously happy and wanted to know what he was eating.
As the contractions got closer together nurses would come and go. They had put an internal heart monitor to track her more accurately after the oxytocin drew light that something was up with Evelyn’s heart rate, and there were still some abnormalities of it deceling after each contraction. Even as the concern on each nurses face would rise and fall, I trusted those caring for us would make the right call for both of our health.
The midwife and nurse agreed to an epidural to get the process started and hopefully to dilate more.
This is when the drama started to unfold:
The epiduralist came in to administer the needle, she had me get up and hang my legs over the edge of the bed, I had been warned don’t move too much as the internal heart rate monitor was attached to Evelyn’s head and should not be tugged. So I was increasingly upset that the epiduralist kept prompting me to “sit higher, move over here” and so on. With only two movements on the bed to get to her “optimal posture” Evelyn’s heart rate plummeted and I heard “get her on her hands and knee’s”
I immediately moved, with my head down into the mattress I repeated “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. As I quietly repeated that over and over into the mattress I was certain I was saying it louder than I was. Ian mentioned that he couldn’t hear a thing, I attribute that to the fact he heard many things that I filtered out in that moment like her heart plummeting to 30 bpm then up to 170 bpm when I changed positions. The only thing I knew was that we were on our way down to the OR, Evelyn had to come now, her little heart wouldn’t be able to take too much more trauma.
They wheeled me into the OR, had me move over to the operating table and sit again to administer the spinal this time with no issue except for a misfire of the needle and spray against my back before they succeeded. Ian was still outside of the room until they had me in place, I couldn’t imagine the fear he must have been feeling in those quiet moments before he came into the room. My legs were beginning to numb and I had a complete peace that she and I would be safe, Ian came in and sat at my head as they started to cut my lower abdomen. Tugs here and there, the reflection through the OR lighting above game me a small view of her being born, and with ready lungs Evelyn was raised out of me and cried immediately.
I can’t begin to explain the feeling of hearing your child cry with their first breath. She sounded so small and so sweet. My cry was something entirely different than I have ever experienced before, I was laughing. I was so happy, euphoric, I said “I’m a mom” and “she’s real, she’s not just an idea anymore”
The doctor had said out loud “Too small, too small” and had me worried, but Ian assured me she was healthy. He joined the nurses and helped cut her umbilical cord. Her little frame only 6lbs 7oz, definitely not the chunky baby my Midwife had hinted to.
It was probably 10 minutes before they brought her over to me and laid her on my chest. My arms were weak so I relied on Ian and the nurse to prop her up. I just couldn’t believe she was here, she was real!
Ian was then asked to leave the room and sit with Evelyn outside of the OR as they closed me up. Again it felt like forever and no time at all as they closed and sewn me together again. I could only imagine what Ian must’ve been feeling as he sat out there with her, little whimpers into his chest as he examined her face, he told me he was overwhelmed with every emotion in the book.
When they wheeled me out of the OR they placed Evelyn back on my chest and took us down to the recovery unit to monitor that my spinal was wearing off and that Evelyn could feed for the first time. She didn’t hesitate at all, she immediately latched and took the colostrum that she needed. My milk would not fully come in for a couple more days.
We were brought up to the room, where we existed for the next two days while I recovered from major surgery and adjusting to a whole new world with our baby girl.
Our room overlooked the parking lot and the large green trees rustled in the beautiful May sunshine. I also remember that the labor room and the OR both had equally gorgeous views of the surrounding Chilliwack mountains and tree’s. I had such a peace within the walls of the hospital because I had such beautiful window’s to the world around us.
It was an amazing feeling to watch Ian become a dad. He instantly fell into it perfectly. He swaddled her like a pro, she loved being nestled under his beard like a baby bird, and when he went home for one of the nights I thought to myself how I needed him more than ever, I didn’t know how to exist as a mom. My world was forever changed, our world had forever changed.
Now if you’ve lasted with me this far in the story you can understand why instinct is key. Day’s later Ian and I discussed how if we had laboured at home we would have never known about her heart decelerations and risked her heart plummeting/racing and eventually stopping. Because of the guidance and care of an amazing hospital staff, our midwife Natasha Oglesby from Maternity Tree (who thankfully photographed inside the OR), and our OB Dr. Deacon who delivered her; we have a beautiful little happy girl here today.
Miss Evelyn Lauren Violet Wills.
And because I can’t end a story with such “old” photos of her. This is how stinking cute she is now!
Thank you to anyone who held us in their prayers as we entered this season and walked through an uncertain delivery. Evelyn is our gift from God and we count ourselves blessed every day.