Evangeline is here, and our world has changed again. For those of you who like birth stories, here is the story of her arrival.
My contractions started about 3 a.m. on Monday 08/03. They were an average of 6-7 minutes apart for a few hours. It was definitely early labor (they were not really painful or terribly close together), but I was nervous that this one would go quickly since my second baby Jack was born 4 hours from the first contraction. I was too excited to sleep, so I packed a few more things and ate a small breakfast. I finally decided around 6:30 to take a shower. I could easily handle the contractions still at this point, but the thought of hanging out at home with the kids waiting for things to progress did not appeal to me at all, so I figured we would make our way to the hospital and see where I was by the time we arrived there. I woke up Matt and asked him to call his dad and get ready to go, but I said we should have time so that he didn’t need to rush around.
At about 8, my father-in-law arrived to be there when the kids got up, and we drove to the hospital (about 30 minutes away). Matt stopped and grabbed breakfast, I ate a few crackers, and we were still waiting for labor to kick into high gear.
I checked into the hospital and was taken to triage in the labor and delivery area. The nurse who checked me in said I was 2 cm. She monitored me and the baby for a while, but all I wanted to do was walk around and see if we could get labor moving. She finally had me walk around for about 30-45 minutes. She checked me again, and after being there for 2 hours, I was still 2 cm. She sent me home since I planned to go unmedicated and didn’t want any help with induction.
We decided not to drive home but to the mall which is closer and walk around there for a little while. As soon as we arrived at 11 a.m., contractions were now 2-3 minutes apart and stayed that way for an hour. It was nearing lunchtime, so Matt got a sandwich and sat down to eat for a few minutes. I ate a bag of baked chips and kept walking. I called my mom, and she thought that walking or shopping would be a good idea to kill some time and keep moving. After I hung up with her, the contractions intensified and I had a couple that stopped me in my tracks. We were going to walk more at Target, but as we drove there, I had a few big contractions and felt we should go back to the hospital. We walked there for about 15 min before checking in at 1 pm. By the time we checked back in, the contractions were pretty intense and I couldn’t walk or talk through them anymore.
When I checked in with the same nurse, I was at 4 cm and they admitted me. The nurse knew I wanted to labor in the water, so she filled the tub and I got in to labor. When I got in the water during Jack’s labor, it really relieved pressure and helped with the pain. This time, I did not feel like it helped as much. I just kept remembering something I read about not tensing up during contractions, so I concentrated on dropping my jaw to remain loose and breathing through them. I was in the tub for about an hour, and the nurse returned. She said that she would like to check me if I felt things were moving along because the midwife was at least 20 minutes away. I said that, in that case, she had better check me now. I was 9 cm (from 4 to 9 in 1.5 hours). She said, “You were right, that did go fast!” At that point, I labored on the birthing ball to 10 cm and waiting for the midwife. I concentrated on breathing and not thinking about how much time was passing or whether or not the midwife was getting close.
When she arrived, I was ready and moved to the bed to push. I always wonder in the moments of transition and pushing what I was thinking going unmedicated. I have never pushed more than 15 minutes with any of my babies, and I think the pain of pushing while experiencing the pain of a contraction is motivating enough for me to hurry up and get this done. The midwife said I was a rock star at pushing, which I will take as a compliment even though I don’t intend to improve on those skills in the future.
It was over quickly in the grand scheme of things, and Evangeline arrived at 3:03 p.m., two hours after we arrived back at the hospital. I had in mind that I would love for her to be born on the 4th because Isabella’s birthday is the 14th and Jack’s is the 24th, and I just like numbers that match up. However, she showed up at 3:03 on the 3rd and she is our third baby, so I was very happy with those numbers.
Evangeline was 7 pounds, 6.5 ounces, just about 8 ounces smaller than her brother and almost a pound and a half bigger than Isabella at birth. She still seemed so tiny! I forgot how small they start out.
Since I am 37 years old, the midwife had said it would be best for me to deliver by my due date, which was August 8, but I could choose not to be induced if I didn’t want to be. I did not like my experience of being induced with Isabella (due to pre-eclampsia), so I said I would rather wait. I am very thankful she came in her own time and, once again, I didn’t have to deal with any medication other than ibuprofen afterwards. 🙂
Matt was great for the entire labor experience. He did everything I asked, which is all I wanted since you can’t exactly plan ahead how it will go or what you will want or need in the moment. He went with the flow and was very supportive when I needed it. I am so glad to have had the incredible experience of sharing the birth of our three children with my husband by my side every step of the way. I don’t take it for granted that God has greatly blessed us with these three babies. The newborn and postpartum days have so many challenges of their own, but this third time around brings a perspective that it will all soon be a memory. We figured out how to adjust to two kids, and we will make this transition eventually as well. I am doing my best to drink in the sweet moments and survive the hard ones, knowing that children are a blessing from the Lord and the challenges remind me to fix my eyes on Him for the strength I need in each moment.
We love you, sweet Evangeline Grace!