Everly was due on September 21st, 2017, but she was born on September 8thand just celebrated her first birthday a couple of weeks ago. I’m finally getting around to sharing her birth story now. Here are 8 facts about how it went down!
- My water broke 5 days before I gave birth
Yeah, that’s not typical. In fact, most women go into labor before their water breaks. It’s not like you see in the movies- a big gush of water is actually fairly uncommon. My water broke on Labor Day 2017, while spending most of the day in a kiddie pool in our backyard to escape the heat. It didn’t break dramatically- more like a slow leak from a small puncture in a balloon. I decided to wait until the next day (Tuesday) to ask the doctor about it. The nurse and my doctor weren’t convinced that my water had broken yet, so I went to work. It was so icky to have amniotic fluid sporadically running down my legs for the next few days.
On Thursday morning I was walking the dogs at 6am before my second biweekly doctor’s appointment and had a big gush of liquid. I didn’t actually think much of it since I had been leaking for four days at this point. To my shock/frustration/surprise, my doctor sent me straight to the hospital after my outpatient visit. The ultrasound showed that my amniotic fluid level had dropped dramatically.
- I was induced with a pitocin drip
I didn’t want to be induced, but it was out of my hands. When I got to the hospital, I changed into a hospital gown and a cervical check showed that I was already 3 cm dilated! The pitocin drip was likely to be successful.
I think the drip was started at 11am, but my contractions didn’t get painful until 7pm. I remember being really hungry and Colby was eating Sour Cream & Cheddar Ruffles in the room. I was very happy and excited the whole time- listening to Pitbull and FaceTiming family.
Then things got painful. Once pitocin was cranked up to 20 mL/hr, my contractions were getting intense and cervical checks were extremely painful. I had only dilated to 4 cm. The nurses decided to place an internal monitor, and to this day I think that’s the reason one of Everly’s eyes has a pupil larger than the other. I suspect they poked her in the eye with the monitoring device when they were trying to jab it in there. I also think the top of her head was scratched up and red because a nurse with long fingernails was attempting to break the rest of my amniotic sac. So awful.
- I got an epidural
It was after that point that I asked for the epidural. The contractions, cervical checks, and attempts to insert the monitoring device were extremely painful now. Having the epidural placed was scary. The anesthesiologist told me to stay completely still, but my contractions were strong and nauseating. I wanted to double over in pain, but I stayed perfectly still. It felt like little electric shocks down my spine when he was threading the epidural tubing.
The numbing effect hadn’t fully kicked in when the nurse was trying to place my foley catheter. She couldn’t get it right—it kept slipping into the wrong place until Colby asked for a different nurse. I was so embarrassed at the time, but in retrospect I’m so glad he asked for someone else. Our new nurse was super experienced and got the catheter in on the first try. I think her name was Lindy. If it weren’t for her, I couldn’t have given birth without a c-section.
The epidural made everything better. I could still feel contractions, but they just felt like intense pressure rather than excruciating pain. By midnight I had dilated all the way to 10 cm and was ready to start pushing!
- I almost had to have a C-section
Since I had done CrossFit my entire pregnancy, I was confident I would be able to push Everly out quickly. I heard from a fitness instructor that she pushed her baby out in just 4 pushes! When the nurse said it would probably take about 2 hours since it’s my first pregnancy, I didn’t really believe her. I gave the first push my very best effort! I was sure that baby was gonna come out quick. I searched Lindy’s face for a sign of how impressed she was with my beastly maternal strength, but didn’t find a trace of approval. Haha, she just sighed and said, “yeah, this is gonna take awhile.”
It was pretty cool to watch my contractions building on the monitor. Timing the pushing was like trying to catch a wave when surfing. There would be this anticipatory build up, a few deep breaths, and then puuuuuuuuuuuuushhhhh for 10 seconds. I was surprised that I wasn’t supposed to hold my breath. It was exhausting to try and push and exhale at the same time. The nurse eventually gave me an oxygen mask to help me recover between contractions. In retrospect, I wonder if the oxygen was for Everly more than for me. If I were doing it all over again, I’m sure I’d be paying closer attention to Everly’s heart rate more than my own status on the monitor.
By 3 am, I had been pushing for well over the 2 hours that Lindy thought it would take to get Ev out. I was determined to keep pushing, but my body got to a point that I couldn’t feel any contractions anymore. I could see them on the monitor, but my efforts to push were less successful when I couldn’t feel what was going on. Mentally, I still had plenty of energy, but my body was giving out.
Lindy told me she would get me prepped for the OR and call the doctor in do the c-section. She told me I could rest for half an hour and then try pushing for a few additional minutes if I wanted to. I hadn’t even fathomed the possibility of a c-section. I was CERTAIN I could push the baby out if I had an epidural! I felt defeated.
- I tore pretty badly, but Everly was born healthy!
When the doctor arrived, she let me keep pushing. I summoned up all my strength and gave it my best effort again. The nurse and doctor said it was working! Everly was finally making downward progress. The next half hour is a blur, but by the time I was giving the last few pushes, there were at least half a dozen nurses in the room cheering me on! I still thought it would be awhile, but the doctor told me to push and keep my eyes open and there she was! Everly cried and the first thing I noticed were her eyebrows! Newborns have eyebrows?? The doctor laughed. She stitched me up (3rddegree tear) while Everly received her bishop score of 9-10. Amazing! She was perfectly healthy and alert! I got to hold Everly close and spend some time skin to skin before she was taken for her first bath. It was 4:17am. We were exhausted.
- Everly was much smaller and cuter than I expected
She was born weighing 6 lbs 13 oz, and her weight dropped to 6 lbs 2 oz while we were in the hospital. Colby and I were each around 9 lbs when we were born, so it was a shock that she was so petitie. And adorable! This might sound mean, but I didn’t expect Everly to be so cute. I thought she’d be a funky looking baby since Colby and I look so different from each other. I also totally thought she’d be born with a funky shaped head, baby acne, and peeling skin. I would have adored her anyway, obviously, but she was SO pristine and beautiful right from the start!
- The dogs celebrated their first birthday the day Everly was born
That’s right! Alec and Abbi share a birthday with Ev, so we will always get to celebrate them together! Too bad their first birthday wasn’t celebrated the way it should have been.
- Abbi survived a venomous snake bite that day
Yep. About an hour after delivering Everly, Colby and I woke up to a call from my mom telling us that Abbi is bleeding from the mouth and swelling up. Colby rushed home to take her to the vet, where we found out she was bit by a snake in our backyard! Abbi’s head is about the size of a tennis ball and she had swelled up to look like she had two golf balls in her mouth. The wound looked burned and black from the venom. Abbi stayed at the animal hospital overnight on pain meds and IV fluids. How does an 8 lb dog survive a snake bite? I don’t know, but I’m so glad she was ok! I hope our doggies will live to celebrate many more birthdays together with their human sister.
I love reading birth stories and blog posts about the new mom experience. It’s been a busy year of learning since the day Everly was born. Crazy how the way I think has changed since having her. My mental focus has shifted so much from myself to her. Have you noticed that since having kids?