According to my early ultrasounds, Evie’s due date was July 29th. According to my calculations, it was July 26th. But then, I figured her due date was actually July 18th, because Caleb was born eight days early, so obviously she would come early too. So you can just imagine my
surprise horror when July 18th passed, then July 26th, and then (gasp!) July 29th. Apparently what baby #1 does has no bearing on what baby #2 does – so I learned – and Evie’s birth story could not have been more different to Caleb’s.
Even though Evie arrived “late,” the last month or so of my pregnancy was far from uneventful. At 35 weeks pregnant, I began experiencing painful contractions (not braxton hicks). The first time they began I was at church, and they lasted a couple hours, so I legitimately thought she could be arriving that day. Since I was only 35 weeks, I was completely unprepared, so I rushed home after church to pack bags and get things ready for her. However, by the time I finished getting ready, the contractions had disappeared…and thus began a long 5+ weeks, and the sub-title of this post: “The Womb that Cried Baby,” or alternatively, “my ridiculous 5-week-long labor.”
These on and off again contractions continued sporadically over the next few weeks. Then on July 17th (2 weeks and a day before she was born), while I was at church again (what’s up with that?), they started up yet again, but seemed a bit stronger. Because it was nearing rush hour (meaning if we didn’t leave soon, it could take us up to an hour and a half to get to the hospital), I called Sean and told him I wasn’t sure if it was time yet, but that we should just head out there to avoid getting stuck in traffic. So we made the 45-minute drive out to Antioch, and walked around the lobby to see if my contractions progressed. After 6 hours of consistent contractions, they disappeared again. Poof. I was disappointed and exhausted, but we turned it into a date night at Red Robin, so all was redeemed 🙂
After that day, the contractions came more frequently. About every other day, I had relatively strong, consistent contractions lasting 4-6 hours in the dead of night, that had me preparing for the hospital and thinking: “today is the day!” However, they always vanished by morning, leaving me exhausted from no sleep and super frustrated. It felt like I was on a crazy, totally unpredictable roller coaster ride!
Exactly one week before Evie’s birth, I had a check-up and was 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and she was literally 1/4 of an inch from crowning. I had so much pressure on my pelvis, it felt like I could sneeze and she would shoot out. If you know what prairie doggin’ means, that is literally what it felt like, baby style. It was terribly uncomfortable. Every time I saw my OB, she kept reassuring me – “it really should be any day now,” and then was surprised when I showed up for yet another appointment, and another.
So, the contractions just kept coming and going, as did Evie’s official due date. Three days past her due date, I went in for another OB appointment. My doctor checked me, and even after an entire week of contractions, my stats were the same. The SAME!!! I fought back tears, as she asked me if I wanted to schedule an induction. Flashing a Benjamin out of my purse, I eagerly said yes, most definitely…can my little friend convince you to do it today? (That may or may not have happened, my mommy brain doesn’t remember). She scheduled me for an induction on August 5th (not quite that same day, but I took it).
Leaving the office, I felt so depressed. I know that sounds entirely pathetic, but I was just so frustrated, confused, and exhausted after weeks and weeks of non-committal contractions (and let’s not forget I was pregnant, and overdue at that, which = totally unstable). I called Sean at 10:30 am, and had a complete meltdown. At this point, Evie was 2 weeks late in my book, which is like 2 months in pregnant time. Pregnancy is particularly difficult on my body, and the thought of even one more day sounded impossible. I recall praying in the car: “God, you could make her come right now if you wanted to, and it seems so inconsequential when she comes since she’s full-term, so why can’t it be now??” After a good 5-minute cry and deliberate attempt to release it to God, I pulled myself together and drove home.
An hour-and-a-half later, at noon, contractions began again. “Here we go again,” I thought. Not wanting to get my hopes up again for the umpteenth time, I tried to ignore them and just go about my day. However, by 12:30, they were becoming stronger than they had ever been before, so I called Sean and told him to be on call, since I was worried about getting stuck in traffic. I told him not to come home yet, though, because there had been so many false alarms, and it was likely another one.
Over the next 30 minutes, the contractions ramped up so quickly to a level at which I knew it was time to go to the hospital, so I called Sean at 1 pm and told him to come home right away. (Sidenote: Anyone else think it non-coincidental that I went into labor an hour-and-a-half after having the epic parking lot meltdown? Pretty sure Someone⇑wanted me to stop being so controlling and let it go, let it go and give it all over to Him. Lesson learned). Sean arrived home, we grabbed our things, and left for the hospital at 1:45. Sean hadn’t eaten lunch yet, so he grabbed some leftover pizza from the fridge to eat on the way. We drove about 10 seconds before I
politely irritably informed him I could not stand the smell of the pizza. In my mind, that meant he should throw the pizza in the trunk of the car to eat later. In his mind, it meant he should throw it onto our neighbor’s sidewalk. ??? He jumped back in the car, exclaimed “sorry neighbor!”, and we drove off. I love my husband 🙂
Fortunately, we left just before rush hour, so it took just 45 minutes to get to the hospital. My contractions were pretty intense, and Sean made fun of me for most of the way, because he said I sounded ridiculous. At least, that’s how I remember it. In his defense, I did sound ridiculous. Probably the best way to describe the noise I made during each contraction was a semi-melodic voice warm up exercise for a group of tone deaf ogres that rose in intensity and volume every few minutes (Sean’s description) 🙂
We arrived at the hospital, and I was admitted to triage around 2:30 pm. I remember a nurse saying something that implied she didn’t think I was very far along, which I gave a big harumph to in my head. I did all the standard stuff – peed in a cup, answered a million questions, and was examined. The nurse said I was 4-5 cm dilated, and I would be admitted. I was ecstatic at this news (as ecstatic as anyone can be in labor), because that was exactly where I was hoping to be – far enough I would be admitted and not sent back home (like my experience with Caleb), but not so far I couldn’t get an epidural (which I knew from experience, I definitely wanted).
I was transferred to a birthing room around 3 pm, and my contractions were very intense at that point. For some reason I could not wrap my mind around, the nurse’s began asking me the exact same questions I had just been asked in the triage room, but because my contractions were so intense, Sean was answering for me because I was totally unable. Since it was clear I couldn’t answer them, they said they’d resume asking the questions after I got the epidural.
The anesthesiologist (who looked to be about 13-years-old, but who am I to judge), arrived around 3:30 pm, and began the process of inserting the epidural. It was extremely difficult for me to keep still as he inserted the needle, because my contractions were so painful and coming so fast. After 3 attempts, yes THREE (do you know how big those needles are???), he finally got it placed by 3:45 pm.
Ten minutes later, at 3:55 pm, they asked if I could feel the epidural kicking in, and I said I couldn’t. They adjusted the dosage, and told me it could be another 20 minutes before it did its job. A couple minutes later, I felt like I had to push, so I told the nurse. She basically dismissed me, and said: “oh, some women feel that way during the contractions, but it’s not really time yet…but I can check you if you want.” To that I replied: “no, really, I have to push…check me.” Well, she checked, and subsequently panicked as she called the appropriate personnel in, because like I said…I really, actually had to push!
The nurse told me to wait, which could be likened to instructing someone to hit the brakes on a car that has flown off the edge of a cliff. Not gonna help. So I started pushing. As the nurse scrambled to get everything in place, I pushed about 5 times, and out she came. We didn’t even have our camera, video camera, or bags with us, because Sean had planned to go grab them from the car once the epidural kicked in, when things weren’t so intense and I didn’t need him right by my side. My water never broke during labor, so she started coming out inside the amniotic sac, which the delivery nurse (who showed up in the nick of time), was pretty excited about since it’s not something they see very often. The sac burst on her way out, so unfortunately, we didn’t make headlines for a baby born inside the amniotic sac 🙂
Evangeline Love Felker made her grand entrance at 4:08 pm on August 1st, 2013, and she was beautiful. Like I wrote in the post I did detailing her cleft adventures, I noticed something was wrong with her lip right away, but I really didn’t care. We cuddled, and it was wonderful. I tore like I had after delivering Caleb (but not as bad, the nurse said it was nearly a second degree, and she could tell my previous tear was nearly a third degree). She stitched me up, and in an oh-so-timely fashion, the epidural kicked in at about 4:15 pm…7 minutes after I delivered Evie. Served. In fact, double served, because then I was stuck in bed until the epidural wore off since my legs didn’t work – ha! And we never did get to all those questions they were supposed to ask…
So, my entire “active” labor was a total of 4 hours, and I was in the birthing room for only a little over an hour before Evie’s arrival! I suppose it makes sense that once the ball truly got rolling it all happened so fast, since I had practically been in labor for 5 weeks! It was the shortest, longest labor ever. We called all the grandparent’s to announce the news of her arrival, and a short while later, Pop Pop, Nana, and big brother Caleb came to meet her:
Overall, I would say my labor and delivery experience at Kaiser Antioch was positive…the only major negative was the epidural. I don’t know if my nurse was inexperienced or what, but in retrospect, she really should have checked how dilated I was immediately before the epidural was administered, because I must have been 8-9 cm at that point, and the strength/frequency of my contractions should have tipped her off to that (and epidurals are not supposed to be given that late in labor). Not only was it super awesome to have a huge needle stuck in my back 3 times for medicine that didn’t take affect until after I had already given birth, but the following day, of all the places I could be hurting, the epidural locations on my back were the most sore. So yeeeeah, if we ever have another bio kiddo, I definitely do NOT want an epidural. Noooo thank you. Funny how my attitude on that one did a complete 180…after Caleb’s birth, I thought maybe God had given them as a concession to womankind after realizing the “painful childbearing” curse was a tad bit unequal to men’s “you must work to eat your food” curse 😉
Speaking of Caleb’s birth, I wrote down a few of the interesting differences between the two labors and deliveries. Caleb was born within 48 hours of the first painful contractions I ever felt, and Evie was born more than 5 weeks after the first painful contractions I felt. Definitely set me up for some misguided expectations for round 2! 🙂 With Caleb, my active labor was like a marathon, and with Evie, my active labor was like a sprint. And since my active labor with her was so short, I felt much better physically after Evie’s delivery, than I did after my 19-hour labor with Caleb (which left me feeling like I had been mauled by a bear…then hit by a bus). Getting an epidural when I was in labor with Caleb was a life saver, and getting it with Evie was a total bust. And just in case you’re wondering, given the choice between a marathon labor with an epidural, or a sprint labor without an epidural (like you get a choice, ha!) I would unquestionably pick a sprint labor without an epidural.
The remainder of our hospital stay was also much smoother than with Caleb – I could understand my nurses, I had a private room, Sean was able to stay with me, Evie took much better to breastfeeding (even with a cleft lip), Sean was much less anxious, my body was less jacked up, I felt more confident in my parenting abilities since I was no longer a rookie, I could hang a “do not disturb” sign on my door whenever I wanted, and the hospital even brought us a celebratory dinner. Now that’s what I’m talking about. And when we came home, we weren’t living in an apartment complex full of partying college students!! So all in all, I was very grateful for a much better experience the second time around…despite Evie’s leisurely, tardy arrival. It’s ok, I get it…she’s a female. Just preparing us for the next 18 years 🙂