It seems that from day one Evan has decided to march to the beat of his own drum. I had three of the "easiest" pregnancies with my first three babies, but from the start things were a bit different with Evan. I had low progesterone in the first trimester (which I did experience with Stella), at 20 weeks we found out about his cleft and my shortened cervical length, and then beginning around 24 weeks I was under care for preterm labor which means I had weekly ultrasounds up until I was 35 weeks pregnant. I failed my glucose test, then had to take the three-hour. I tested positive for a fetal fibronectin test at 24 weeks which means that it was likely I would go into labor within two weeks (YIKES!). But, then all of that ended up being for nothing because the Lord sustained Evan in my womb far beyond what we all anticipated.
I started to dilate around 34 weeks. I was 1 cm, then 3-4 cm. Then I jumped to 5 cm, and the nurse practitioner that I saw almost weekly thought I wouldn't make it but a few more days. So, I walked around for a week thinking that if I sneezed too hard I would pop out a baby, but alas nothing happened. I made it to 36 weeks. At my 37 week appointment, I was still at 5 cm but they weren't ready to admit me because my contractions weren't consistent. I decided then to stop walking around in that anxious state of anticipation, and I just enjoyed my last days of pregnancy. Those were my last days with just three children. Last days with Stella as my "baby." Last days of "sleep" (although we all know that late pregnancy doesn't equal good rest). All this time I was having lots of contractions, some very intense, some nights thinking "This is it." However, my contractions would slow down, we would make it through another night, and I was still pregnant.
My biggest "fear" with this delivery was that things would be chaotic. Let's face it, there's a lot to consider before I can just be admitted to the hospital. I have to make sure the kiddos are being cared for, whether that means someone comes to the house in the middle of the night or we have help getting them to and from school, etc. Also, when I went into labor spontaneously with Stella, I had extreme back labor that was very painful. I was not a very nice person, and rumor has it that I can turn into a little bit of a "potty mouth" when the going gets rough. How would all of that play out, say, in the middle of the afternoon. There were many what ifs and what would wes. My prayer was that it would all come together peacefully (and I really prayed hard that I would make it to the hospital in time to get my epidural). Selfish, I know.
On Tuesday, October 15, we spent out last day and night as a family of five. We had co-op at church, lunch at home, dinner as a family. Jonathan and Liam went and bought a new television for our living room because our old one (which we'd had for many, many moons) took no shorter than 15 minutes to turn on. It was time, people. While the boys were out, we girls painted our nails because it is a necessity to have pretty toes whilst pushing out a baby, right? It was a sweet time with my two little ladies. We tucked the kids into bed, and I prayed that I would make it through the night and to my doctor's appointment the next morning. I had been having contractions off and on for several days, but again, no consistency, no strengthening.
On Wednesday, October 16, I brought Liam to school and dropped Stella and Nora (on Fall Break) off to Granna and Geegaw's house. The plan was that if my appointment showed no progression then I would come get Stella and then pick up the other two once they got out of school. If my appointment, however, led me to get admited to the hospital, then the girls would already be with them and they could get Liam at dismissal. I checked into the appointment and was quickly ushered in to leave a sample and get weighed. As I was coming out of the restroom, I was greeted by my favorite nurse practitioner, Krista, and her nurse. I saw Krista at most of my appointments since I was going weekly, and we have gotten to know each other very well. Love her! She told me how shocked she was that I was there, still pregnant. My response was, "I know!" She gave me a squeeze and told me to tell her what the word was after seeing Dr. Yang.
A few minutes later I found myself in the room and Dr. Yang came in, asked how I was feeling whether or not I was ready. She quickly checked me and said that I had progressed to a 6 or 7 cm.
"Let's have a baby," she said. Okay! She didn't even want me to go home, but wanted me to head straight to the hospital (just down the street). Thankfully, I had my suitcase packed just in case. A few minutes later I called Jonathan to tell him it was baby day! He was so excited, and we quickly hung up so he could get out of the office, swing by the house for a few last minute things for himself, and meet me up there. I then called Paul and Joyce to tell them the news, and then I called my momma. About 20 minutes after my appointment time, I was parking my van in the hospital parking lot and pulling my suitcase and my pregnant self up the hill to the hospital entrance. It was quite funny and seemed ordinary, but it was Evan's birthday.
I checked in and was escorted to my room where I changed and got hooked up on monitors. Several nurses came in to get my medical history and important information, and I was started on an IV and some fluids. Jonathan arrived around 11:00 am, and I had left most of our things in the van, so he headed to get himself some lunch and come back with what we needed. By the time he got back, the anesthesiologist was there to give me my epidural (around noon). A bit later they nurse checked me and I was at 8 cm. She called Dr. Yang who came in just a few minutes later and broke my water. She said I hadn't really progressed past 8 so I asked if I could sit up to see if changing my position and putting pressure on my cervix caused me to dilate. At 1:20, the nurse came in to ask if I felt pressure or if I needed to push. I didn't think I did, so she said to call her if anything changed, but that if not, she would be back at 2:00 to check on me.
At 1:35, Jonathan called his parents who had just picked up Liam from school. We were so excited to hear his reaction about having his baby brother being born that day, so we wanted to hear his response over the phone. While Jonathan talked to his folks, I began to feel some changes and lots of pressure. I could still feel my contractions (although mostly pain-free), so as soon as Jonathan hung up the phone I told him we needed to call the nurse. That was at 1:42. The nurse quickly came in and checked me, and I was complete. "Let me get the doctor," she said. A whirlwind unfolded as everyone came in and got in position. I was ready to push and could feel everything I needed to know what was happening. It was a wonderful epidural and delivery...pain free, but I was still in control of my body. About three rounds of pushing (counting to ten), and our boy was here!
Evan came out screaming and as mad as a hornet! Dr. Yang asked if I wanted to hold him, and I so did! She dropped that messy, bloody, screaming baby boy in my arms and it was love! I just love that moment and would do it over and over again. We snuggled for a bit, but his body temperature was dropping and they needed to check him out, so they took him across the room to warm him and weigh him. Evan was 7 lbs, 2 oz. and measured 19.5 inches in length. He was just a few ounces bigger than his two sisters (who weighed 6.14 and 6.15). Liam was my biggest baby at 7.15. As I mentioned in my earlier post, it quickly became apparent that his lip was the only thing involved in his cleft, so once he got warm, I tried nursing him. That first time it didn't go so well, but about an hour or so later we tried again and he did great.
Later that afternoon, the kids came by to meet their baby brother. They all instantly adored him! I tried to immediately address Evan's cleft so that the kids wouldn't be upset or confused or anything, but even though I pointed it out, they hardly seemed to notice or care. All they saw was their baby brother that they loved. We had several friends visit us throughout our hospital stay, and my recovery was pretty "easy."
All in all, Jonathan and I both think that Evan's delivery was probably the best one. It was smooth, fairly quick, and I was so comfortable with the epidural and pushing and knowing what my body was supposed to do. The Lord truly answered my prayers and calmed all fears. There was no chaos. Evan and I were both healthy, and all of our needs were provided for!
I'm weird, I know, but I love the actual part of having the baby. Now, I don't know how much I'd love it minus my epidural, but childbirth truly is such a miracle. Even now, four weeks later, I cannot get over the fact that Evan was INSIDE me! Our God is amazing. Conception and pregnancy and delivery and raising babies.....it's beyond my comprehension. It definitely causes me to stand in awe of my Creator!