The labor and delivery of Evolet went quite a bit different than Jude's. I had Braxton Hicks contractions for several weeks. When I was pregnant with Jude, I had none (or so I thought). I may have just understood what was going on the second time around. They did not hurt at all... my belly just became rock hard and I could usually tell which way the baby was positioned by pure sight. Every once in a while I would have a couple of contractions that were slightly painful. They felt crampy but nothing to worry about. The first ones I remember were at 36 weeks. I had two while Chad and I were watching a movie. I didn't have any again for another week or so. If I had to pee, they became more painful. But again, nothing to write home about.
In the wee hours of the morning on October 28th, I woke up with what I thought was a Braxton Hicks contraction. Usually going to the bathroom reduces any pain with it. Well, the pain didn't go away as it normally did. However, I was in a bit of denial and I passed it off for Braxton Hicks. These contractions kept me up most of the night. Each time, I got up and tried to pee. Little did I know, I was keeping Chad up as well. He asked me a couple of times throughout the night if I was okay. I continuously said yes and tried to go back to sleep. Finally around 5:00 a.m. he asked me again and again I told him I was fine. Then he asked if I was having contractions. I said yes. He asked if they were Braxton Hicks contractions and I said I was no longer sure. We both stayed up chit chatting for about 45 minutes while the minor contractions came and went. We ended up snuggling up and sleeping until almost 7. Jude woke up and Chad got him ready and took him to school. In the mean time, I called my doula and asked what was going on. She told me I was in false labor, the precursor to the real thing. I asked if I should go to work and she suggested staying home to rest. I did. Well, I stayed home. I don't know about the resting part. When the contractions seemed to taper off I took Rhyme and Tempest on a one mile walk around our neighborhood. The walk was slow but it was nice outside. I only had a couple of contractions on the walk. When I came back home, I decided to take a nap. That nap brought on much more painful contractions. I knew at that point that I would not likely make it past the weekend. Chad continuously checked on me and I assured him I was fine. I don't think I am very convincing.
When he left to pick up Jude, he called his parents and asked them to go ahead and head down here. He told them I was showing signs of labor and he was convinced the baby would be here sooner than I thought. I did not know they were on their way until Nichole called and asked if I was in labor. I told her "No, not really." She sounded disappointed and confused. She was confused because she knew her parents were packing to head down to Bloomington. That was news to me. I laughed and let Cheri know via text that I wasn't sure this was going to turn into anything. They were coming anyway. Marvin also stopped by after work. We all had dinner and my contractions seemed to be picking up a slight rhythm although they were still pretty sporadic. By the time my in-laws got here, my contractions were more painful and ranged from 20 minutes to 6 minutes. Each contraction also varied in length from 20 seconds to 1 minute and a half. I talked to my doula a couple of times and she suggested that I take a bath or shower to ease the pain and see if they went away. If they went away, I was still in "false labor". If they didn't, the real deal was here. Finally around 9:30 or so, I went to take a bath. The contractions were pretty uncomfortable but the bath did seem to make them subside. I got out of the tub and decided to go to bed. I fell asleep quickly but I kept waking up every 6 minutes to a new painful contraction. Chad came upstairs to check on me around 11:30 and I was no longer in bed. I was on my knees hunched over the chaise. He asked if I was okay. I told him I needed a puke bucket. He ran downstairs and grabbed me a bowl in no time. Then, he called my doula and explained how I was acting. She said she would just meet us at the hospital. I was definitely in real labor at this point. After a few dry heaves, Chad grabbed everything and let his Mom know we were headed out. I made it downstairs just in time for another contraction. When we got to the truck, I decided that I had to pee. Back inside... but no luck. We got in the truck and we were on our way. My contractions varied from 4 to 6 minutes apart on the way there and each one was slightly over a minute long. Our path to the hospital was blocked with road construction signs so we ended up taking a brick road quite a way. I think this is the bumpiest road in town. By the time we got to the hospital, Chad grabbed my stuff and helped me out of the truck, just in time for another contraction to set in. I could barely walk inside and all I could really say was "Owwww... this hurts". We went to the ER because I had no idea where else to go. ER called the mother/baby unit and they came and got me. The nurses asked if I wanted wheeled to my room or if I wanted to walk. Chad laughed and said... "she can't walk anymore." The ER ladies also told the mother/baby unit nurses that I looked like I was ready to push. Therefore, when we got to my room, nurses were everywhere. I laughed when they told me why and told them I didn't think I was that far, I just had no pain tolerance.
The nurse checked me (which I hate because it is so painful). I was expecting and hoping that she would tell me I was a 1 or 2 dilation (at a minimum). When she told me I was at a 6... I was ecstatic! I thought... I can do this! I had a few contractions laying in the bed. My doula helped me breathe through them, instead of holding my breath. She also gave me plenty of options to help reduce the pain. Although I tried the labor ball with Jude and it didn't work, I wanted to give it another try. I sat on it and when a contraction came, I initially hated it but I stayed on it for another contraction. The second contraction came and I realized that maybe I did feel better on the ball. That is where I stayed for a majority of the contractions. I felt like I was doing pretty good through these contractions. To distract myself, I thought of Jude and how he liked to sing his colors in Spanish. I kept singing that song or sang the ABC's while I pictured him singing to me. I felt like this was helping. The one thing that wasn't helping was the lady that I could hear screaming down the hall. She was going through labor and must have been doing it all naturally as well. Her screams were making me nervous.
I did climb in bed a couple of times to get checked only to find out I wasn't making very much progress. The next check put me between a 6 and 7. The next one put me at a 7. SIGH. Dr. Santiago was in the office for another delivery. When he was done with that delivery, he came to break my water. This was right before 4 a.m. He let me know that he would be in surgery at 6 a.m. so there was a chance he could miss it. My doula warned me that my contractions would get much more painful but should progress my labor and make me ready to push sooner. She was right. The contractions got intense. Very intense. The spanish color song was no longer working. The ABC's were no longer working and I was starting to "cuss". I think I said shit once and then I continuously said "This F-ing hurts!". I didn't say the real word... I literally used "f-ing". Then I was done... I couldn't take the pain anymore.
I told my doula and Chad to find the anesthesiologist. I wanted that epidural. To my shock, they both told me no. Not because it was too late but because I had already came so far. Between contractions, I begged and I pleaded. Chad told me the only way I was getting an epidural was if I told him that I would divorce him without it. He knew very well that I would never say anything like that. Chad and my doula would even whisper to each other "She is so close... She can do this... Don't give in". I was sitting between them and let them know that I could hear them. Looking back, this still makes me laugh. I was checked again and I was at a 9. I was still begging for the epidural. Chad and my doula knew my experience with Jude and the epidural did not go so well. I knew, I would likely be better off without it. I was just in pain... a lot of pain. About 15 minutes later, my doula thought I was "there" based on how I was acting and had the nurse check again. She was right, I was a 10. They called Dr. Santiago and had me go ahead and start pushing. I asked one more time for the epidural and the entire room, now filled with nurses, chorused back "It's too late". Part of me was excited that I had to do this drug free. Part of me was nervous. They told me to start pushing. This time, I could feel exactly what I was doing. It didn't take too long to figure out how to push but it was still painful and a lot of work. As my doula promised, pushing felt better than just screaming through the contractions. That was until I hit that "ring of fire" as they call it. By this time, Dr. Santiago was in there and I told everyone that this was burning. They told me that was good and to keep pushing. My doula really motivated me when she told me that I had to push through the pain or I would be there a while. I did not want to be pushing for any longer than I had to.
Dr. Santiago, the nurses, and my doula would encourage me to push. They had me feel Evolet's head. I looked at Chad once and he looked very stressed. He had his hands on his head and just looked nervous. He felt helpless. All of a sudden, Dr. Santiago's encouraging voice to me changed to a serious but very controlled voice giving the nurses specific directions. Evolet's head was out... but she was stuck. She came out posterior (head up instead of down) and she had shoulder dystocia. Her shoulder was stuck on my pubic bone. When this happens, the babies don't get any oxygen while stuck. I have been told it can be pretty serious. One nurse was trying to help and thought she was following the doctors orders but he kept telling her she was pushing in the wrong spot. She was pushing on my pelvis (or something). I knew something was wrong. I could tell by the change in Dr. Santiago's voice and demeanor. My doula told me that I had to really focus and to keep pushing... no breaks. I did as she said. As Dr. Santiago started to climb on the bed, another nurse jumped in to help. She actually jumped up next to me on the bed and then proceeded to fall on me. However, her fall helped get Evolet out. As she fell, her fist went into the top of my stomach and went down. I assume this was her plan anyway. With that, out came Evolet at 5:42 a.m. I had no idea what was going on but I did not hear her cry. Chad did hear her cry but to this day, I don't remember her first cry. Yes, it still bothers me. That was something very distinct that I remember hearing with Jude. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. Someone whispered in my ear that it was a girl... then I just kept asking "Is she okay?" repeatedly. Chad also told me we had a girl, assured me she was okay, and kept telling me what a good job I did.
I think I went into a bit of shock after that. Everyone was talking about how big she was. I thought they were crazy. She looked so small to me. Well, they put her on the scale and she was pretty darn big. 9 pounds 12 ounces, 21.5 inches long. I was in shock that I had a girl, that I delivered her naturally, that I had a girl, that she was so big, that I had a girl. (For 9 months I was pretty darn sure I was having a boy). She was beautiful with her chubby cheeks, eyes that would barely open, newborn cry, and tiny grip. They gave her to me right away while she was still covered in vernix. I nursed her and held her and just tried to process everything that just happened. At the time, it seemed liked those contractions were lasting a lifetime. In reflection, time flew.
My recovery has been amazing. I feel great because I wasn't pushing for 3 hours. I did have a level two (out of 4) tear but even that hasn't bothered me much. This recovery has been easy in comparison. Evolet also sleeps 20 - 22 hours a day so I have been able to get plenty of rest. Jude barely slept... likely because he spit up everything he ate so I was constantly feeding him. Evolet eats and barely spits up so her tummy is full and she sleeps. Nursing is painful but I am hoping that that will soon subside.
I feel so fortunate to have delivered two healthy babies, a boy and a girl. Growing up, I knew I wanted a boy first because I always wanted an older brother. My wishes have been granted. I am lucky. I am blessed. I have my two children, two cocker spaniels, and an amazing husband.