Through our pregnancy, Tommy and I did a lot of praying and talking about how we wanted to bring our child into this world. We knew we wanted to do things as naturally and peacefully as possible. After doing a lot of research, we decided to take Hypnobirthing classes to help prepare us for her birth. I promise it's not as crazy as it sounds. It focuses on allowing your mind and body to relax to the point where your body takes over to do what it was designed to do; give birth to your baby with relatively little pain. We found it ironic that we had to 'retrain' our idea of the birth process to let things happen naturally because of the way society portrays things these days. We loved our class and all the information and techniques learned there. That's why in my last post I mentioned being excited about giving birth...and I truly was. I listened to my relaxation scripts every night as I went to sleep and practiced my breathing techniques daily. I was ready.
On Sunday, April 15th, we were sitting in our friend's home during community group and I started feeling pain high on my stomach. It lasted a while and got stronger. Tommy and I went on a short walk around their neighborhood to see if it would stop, but it didn't. Through the night I had pretty steady contractions, nothing unbearable, but pretty close together. I woke him up early Monday morning (around 5:50am) and told him he should probably make some coffee because I thought we should go to the hospital. We took it easy for a couple hours just to make sure it was the real thing. We packed up the car and headed over. I was completely calm, which I didn't expect, while Tommy got a little emotional. We checked in and got hooked up to measure my contractions and everything came to a halt. I was only one cm dilated and contractions had completely stopped. We got sent home.
I had my weekly appointment the next morning, so I didn't worry about things too much. Everything seemed to be fine. The doctor almost didn't check to see if I had made any progress since he had just seen me the day before. I was now 2 cm dilated, which didn't mean much, but since I had already had a series of contractions, he took it as a sign that baby was coming. As he was feeling my belly, he had a suspicion that she might be breech. My heart sunk. He just wanted to make sure so he sent me to get a quick ultrasound and sure enough, she was completely head up. There had been no signs of this prior to that appointment. My head was spinning trying to think about what questions to ask and how to stay on track with our birth plan. He told me my fluids were too low for her to flip back over at this point. Normally he would encourage trying to flip the baby, but at this point in my pregnancy (1 week before my due date), the low fluid levels, and the fact that my body had already shown signs of labor, he wanted that baby out. He didn't want me to go into labor and have an emergency c-section.
I was an emotional wreck. I was crushed that everything we had prepared for was out of the question and that her birth story wouldn't be how I would have written it to be. After a couple hours of tears and coming to terms with things, Tommy and I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon/evening together soaking everything in. I had to refocus and change my thought process from getting through labor and delivery to nothing other than meeting my daughter the next morning. We went on a date for the last time as a family of two to Carrabbas. We ate entirely too much food and tried to wrap our minds around what was going to be happening in the next 12 hours. When we got home, we packed everything up in the car so we wouldn't be late for our 5:30am check-in time. We also finished her nursery by hanging artwork on the walls. The next morning came very fast, even with me waking every hour to see what time it was.
I cried most of the way to the hospital and on and off until the surgery had begun. The nurses were great and were very patient with me as they explained everything that was going to happen. After the iv was in place and they checked all my vitals, we went to the OR. Tommy got to put on his robe, slippers, and mask while they prepped me for my spinal tap. The nurse holding my hand was a God send for sure. I was so thankful for all the relaxation and breathing techniques learned in our birthing class as they helped me get through the entire surgery in total peace. They wouldn't let Tommy back in the room until I was completely prepped because husbands often faint during this time. The most painful part of the entire procedure was the iv, everything else felt like a bee sting and pressure. It was very strange being able to 'feel' everything that was going on without feeling any pain. From the time they started the surgery until I heard my baby cry was about 5 minutes. Tommy watched the entire thing (so proud of him). I loved watching his reaction to everything and rushing to our daughter as soon as she came out.
Estelle June Evans was born on April 18, 2012 at 8:43am 7lbs 9oz and 18in long. "She's definitely a girl!" was the first thing he said to me. I could only see her from a distance as they weighed her and checked her out. My first question was "Does she have hair?" I needed to know something about her instantly. She did/does have a thin head full of hair. She was so calm and quiet and totally peaceful, even while in the nursery she was wide-eyed and alert.
Tommy brought her over to me after about 5 minutes and we got to spend a couple minutes snuggling her for the first time before they had to take her to the nursery as they stitched me up. That was the longest and hardest (emotionally) part for me. I wanted to make sure Tommy didn't leave her side, so he spent the next hour with her while they finished with me and got me back to the recovery room.
As unplanned, scary, and out of my hands as it seemed, it was absolutely perfect. Since I never went into 'real' labor, she experienced no trauma as she was lifted out of me. That is the one positive I'm clinging to. It was not our story, but her's. I'm extremely grateful to our doctor for taking the precautions he did so we didn't have to face emergency surgery. I do feel like I missed out on something because I didn't experience labor as most mothers do. I hope to have that for our next child. I don't dwell on that now though because we have a perfectly healthy little girl who we are madly in love with. She has already changed us so much and has brought our families closer together. It's truly amazing how such a small person can have such a huge impact.
Estelle, we couldn't be more thrilled to be your parents. You are such a joy to us. We are honored that the Lord chose us for you. We pray that you never doubt how much you are loved and that each day we are able to show you the love of Christ. We are all new at this life together and I know we'll learn from each other daily. Never have I experienced grace to this magnitude and I hope I continue to see it as we learn how to care for you. We love you, baby girl. We can't wait to see the person you become! We also apologize in advance for dressing you up in ridiculous outfits just to take pictures that will embarrass you someday.