Friday, August 29, 2008

Evelyn's Birth Story, Part 4 Happy Birthday!

My midwife decided to let me push through the lip on my cervix, which I was able to accomplish in one push and get her quite far into the birth canal. I was so pumped, thinking she would be out in another push or two. This is when things got frustrating – with every push I would get her down, and then she would retreat back up. We figured out later that it was because she was “sunny side up” (posterior) and so her head was getting caught and was pushing her chin to her chest instead of allowing her to extend her little neck and kind of “dive” out like a normal position would allow. This also explained the tremendous back labor and tailbone pressure that I was experiencing. Pushing was HARD work. I somehow had this impression in my head that pushing was “nice” and provided “relief” and “rest.” It was hard, hot, sweaty work. Labor, just like it is called.

Evelyn’s head sat way down into the birth canal and the poor thing had her head rammed down over and over again, push after push, until my midwife finally resorted to an episiotomy. At 11:16 p.m. on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 our adorable little “punkin” Evelyn Elizabeth was born! She was put onto my bare chest immediately and I got to keep her there and cherish her for a good five minutes while I warmed her skin-to-skin and helped her regulate her breathing with my own breathing. It was the most beautiful and incredible thing that I have ever experienced. There really are not words to describe the joy and awe of these moments.

Jason cut her cord and they did a few quick things to her before they brought her back to me to nurse for the first time. That was incredible as well – to watch this tiny little being that I grew inside of me, now being nourished by me. Nursing is such a special bond between a mother and baby. I love when Evelyn nurses now and looks up at me and smiles so big that she can’t even keep sucking! Ahhh…I get so emotional thinking about all of this! At first, she was having a hard time latching on because she would not open up her bottom lip. But, I was obsessed with practicing over and over and making nursing happen.

Evelyn was a healthy, yet tiny peanut weighing in at 6lbs, 8 oz and 18 inches long (although I think she was longer than that). I could not take my eyes off of her and would not allow her to be out of my sight. I watched with my eyes wide open as Daddy and the nurse gave her a bath at 3:30 in the morning and just kept praising God for my healthy little girl. I just couldn’t wait for them to be done and for her to be back in my arms.

We really never slept until the next night as we had the midwife, baby doctor, nurses, phlebotomists, lactation consultant and food deliveries interrupting us every time we tried to sleep. And, I was obsessed with nursing. I think I pretty much nursed non-stop (maybe that is why she still loves to nurse in her sleepJ)! I was wary for weeks to let anyone even hold her – my “mama bear” protective instincts were so intense. I also was having a lot of “flashbacks” to the pain and images of labor when I would try to close my eyes…I was a little traumatized. So, I opted to just constantly hold Evelyn and stare at her rather than sleep!

Recovery went quite well. I did have a lot of pain from her posterior presentation making so much swelling and internal bruising. Ice packs and the inflated doughnut ring were my friends for a good week afterwards. Then, there was the giant incision and the raging postpartum emotions – typical recovery hurdles. But, Jason was so great and our church family was so supportive in bringing us meals when we got home that the recovery went quite well.

I am so thankful that God gave me the blessing of and strength to endure a completely natural and non-medicated birth just like I had hoped for. I was never hooked up to any IV’s and rarely to any monitors. It was such a beautiful and wonderful birth. I knew that I could do it and still feel empowered that I did it! Giving birth is a spiritual thing too, as you get to have a first-hand account of God’s perfect design in a woman’s body and in His creation and nourishment of babies. You get to be a part of a miracle.

To my precious miracle, Evelyn:
You have brought so much joy to my life! I smile more in a day now because of you than I think I used to do in a week. I love to watch you explore the world around you and learn new things. It breaks my heart every time you get an owie or I upset you when I direct you away from something dangerous. You’ve got me wrapped around all of your chubby little fingers! You keep me on my toes, too! You are very inquisitive and I often see the “wheels” turning in your head as you examine something. You take after mommy and notice and pick up the smallest crumb or piece of lint.

Your little voice and babbling makes me grin, your silly faces make me laugh, and your sweet personality makes me melt. I have tried every day to “take you all in” and burn memories and images into my mind. But, sadly, you are growing and changing so fast every day that my finite brain cannot keep up!

I still love to watch you sleep and I still let you sleep in my arms, for I know that you’ll outgrow my arms one day soon and that someday a sibling will come along for you and my arms will have to make room for them. But, you’ll always be my first baby, and that is something so special and a place in my heart that you will always exclusively hold. You are actually in my arms right now, and even though you barely fit, my arm is tired, and one-handed typing is challenging, you’ll stay right here until you wake up, because we both like it that way.

I am so excited for you to turn one and to watch you continue to grow and blossom into a toddler. But, I’ll hold onto every last day of your babyhood, too. We’ll have another year of milestones and I will rejoice and celebrate each one of them (I am already storing up tears of pride and joy for your first steps as I know they are quickly approaching). You are already starting to leave me in a room to go play in another independently. My big girla!

I love you little punkerdoops. Happy Birthday to the best, sweetest, smartest, and cutest daughter in the whole world! I love you “so much, so big.” and I am so honored that God chose me to be your mama.

Love forever,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Evelyn's Birth Story, Part 3

After finishing my shower I called the clinic and asked if I could come in to get checked so that I knew what was going on with my body and if I was in labor or not. My midwife had Wednesdays off, so a Physician’s Assistant checked me and monitored my contractions on a machine. She concluded that I was now dilated to 1 ½ and 90% effaced – those contractions were doing something! She assured me that within the next three days I would have a baby - I was thrilled and motivated!

In the clinic parking lot I called work to inform them that I would indeed not be coming in that day. I also called the hair salon – I had an appointment on Saturday and it looked like I would be missing that. My stylist was able to squeeze me in that afternoon for a cut, but no style. I knew that it might be a while before I would be able to get a trim, so I took the time slot. I made one last trip to Target to exchange a defective diaper pail (funny, since it was a junk contraption that we returned again) and buy some other baby supplies, another nursing bra, and Daddy treats for the hospital – Gatorade and Power Bars.

I made it to the hair salon in time and was still contracting quite hard. I had to stop talking during a few contractions, which totally freaked out the stylist! I took my wet head of hair home and microwaved myself some lunch – leftover mashed potatoes and chipped beef gravy. Then, I was going to pack my bag, but decided instead to take a nap, as I was quite tired. I lied down on the couch and the contractions really picked up. I could not get comfortable enough to sleep and then around 3:20, I felt a “pop” during a contraction. I thought it was weird, but I just kept laying there, the Dr. Phil show in the background. A few minutes later my phone rang. It was Jason checking in on me. As I stood up to reach my phone, there was a small “gush”. I did not answer the phone with “hello,” instead it was a semi-panicked, “I think my water broke! I am hanging up and calling the clinic!”

Rushing to the bathroom, I sat down on the toilet for another “gush” and I called the clinic. The nice nurse told me that my water had indeed broke and to get to the hospital. I remember my legs were just shaking – this was really happening – I was about to deliver my baby! So much for “in the next three days” – she was coming that day! I called Jason back right away and told him to come home. He describes that drive as the slowest drive of his life. He said he got behind every old guy driving five under the speed limit and hit every red light on his ten-minute drive home, making it feel like an hour!

I rushed around the house gathering things for my bag. The contractions had grown in their intensity, and with every one, I needed to stop and breathe through them. They were not only stronger, but were also coming about every 4 minutes. Jason arrived home and we headed to the hospital, carseat in the back and me sitting on a trash bag and a towel. I had so many butterflies – I have them again just remembering the anticipation of that car ride.

We were at the hospital checked-in and in the room by shortly after 4:00. I had my gown on and we started to walk the halls. The contractions were quite intense and at one point I found myself crying in the hallway as I clung to Jason after a contraction. The tears were somewhat out of fear of the unknown, and somewhat out of joy as the moment I had been waiting for was finally here.

I started to get quite uncomfortable and we headed back into the room so that I could get in the tub. It seemed like the contractions were right on top of one another. I was disappointed that I was only dilated to 3, as I thought for sure I would have been a 5 already! I labored hard in the tub, with my awesome coach Jason at the side of the tub keeping me focused as I did deep breathing through each contraction. My midwife was nice enough to come in on her day off to deliver me. She would occasionally pop in and her calming presence at the edge of the tub was also so wonderful.

The contractions became so intense at transition that the pain made me lose my lunch and I also became cold and wanted to get out of the tub. I got out and she checked me – I was dilated to 7. I tried to labor on the birthing ball at this point and standing, but I felt quite weak. I think it was after about an hour that my midwife felt I was not progressing quickly enough and wanted me to have Pitocin. Getting out of the tub must have made me tense up and stall labor a bit. I did not want Pitocin, and I begged my midwife not to make me have it. She told me to lie on my left side and we could wait a few contractions before an IV was hooked up. I lied there staring at that IV and prayed the God would pick up my contractions so that I did not need it. He answered my prayer immediately! Something about my left side kicked those contractions back into high gear and a few contractions later I was feeling tremendous pressure. Sure enough, I was dilated to 9 ½ and just had a small lip on my cervix. It was pushing time - about 9:30 p.m.!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Evelyn's Birth Story, Part 2

On August 26, 2007, Evelyn started giving me signs that she was coming! It was a Sunday and as we sat in church I started contracting every 12 minutes. I sat there in disbelief as I timed them and quietly prayed for my baby, too distracted to listen to a sermon.

We went straight home from church and the laundry brigade began. I think I did six or seven loads of baby laundry that day – washing every item of clothing, blanket, sheet, burp cloth – you name it! I had been waiting to do it so that it was nice and fresh for her. My due date was not until September 9th or so, so I figured I could wait another week. But, the fact that the contractions were still quite regular was great motivation to get that laundry done.

I remember folding little baby clothes while I sat on my big red birthing ball and was filled with so much excitement and anticipation as I daydreamed about my little baby in those clothes. How I yearned to know what she would look like and how it would feel to have her in my arms, at my breast, and with her little hand wrapped around my finger.

I went to work on Monday still contracting quite frequently, yet without a good pattern. I had not begun to clean out my office yet and so that whirlwind began as I realized how many personal things I had gathered over two years and how much it would take to get my affairs in order to leave my programs in someone else’s hands.

I furiously worked all day and managed to get everything packed up and into my car in time to leave for my 5:30 appointment with the midwife. I was only dilated to 1 and was about 50% effaced. I thought for sure those contractions had done more! My midwife said that it was probably just false labor. I was worried that my uterus would tire out since it had been contracting for 30+ hours pretty regularly, but without much progress.

Tuesday everyone was surprised to see me back at work. It was a rainy day and I had to park very far from my office since I slept in a little that morning to gain some much-needed rest. I remember being frustrated that I was back there and was carrying back in items I had hoped would remain home from now on (my important paperwork, my foot stool , daily planner, etc). But, my excitement picked up again later that afternoon when I lost my mucous plug. Yeah…that was pretty weird and gross! I ran back to my office from the bathroom, slammed the door, and dialed my mom as quick as I could to make sure it was indeed my mucous plug. After her reassurance and looking it up on at least 5 websites, I was excited to be having more signs of labor.

I went to Jason’s softball game after work and told my friends what was happening. One friend, Alicia, just about screamed and told me I was going to have the baby soon – she just knew it! I wasn’t convinced though and figured it would be at least another week before Baby Girl made her debut.

Wednesday morning I woke up after night filled with contractions – some that even woke me up. I was also still losing a ton of mucous. I’ll never forget talking to Jason while I was in the shower that morning explaining all of my contracting and mucous. Jason made the determination that the baby was coming and that I would be staying home from work that day! You see, I was a 50-minute commute from home and our hospital. Jason’s “feeling” led him to run around the house that morning and pack his bag. The guy was seriously convinced! I decided to make a call to the clinic to get checked that morning before I would drive into work. I am so grateful that Jason made me stay home that day (and that he made his demand to me while in the shower, thus prompting me to shave my legs just in case he was right!)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Evelyn's Birth Story, Part 1

The Birth of Evelyn Elizabeth
Written 8/22/08, in honor of Evelyn’s approaching 1st (whimper) birthday.

I loved being pregnant! I walked around since the day I found out I was pregnant (Dec 29, 2006 in case you wanted to know) feeling just special. I felt like royalty, for I was carrying, GROWING, a little person inside of me. I felt so privileged to be in the baby-growing business.

The first trimester was hard. I felt very nauseous most of the day and the only things that really seemed to taste good were potatoes – especially fried ones, and simplex sugary white carbohydrates like animal cookies. Then, there was the exhaustion. Me, Miss Night Owl was ready to turn in each night around 7:30. Poor Jason. I had no energy to cook, clean, or do much else other than whine about how icky I felt.

Yay for week 12 when I did seriously begin to feel much better! I think it was about week 14 when I was convinced that my clothes no longer fit (it was probably from all the fried potatoes and animal cookies though, not the baby). I couldn’t wait to be showing and wearing maternity clothes. I was ready for people to gawk and marvel and acknowledge how I had the pleasure of growing Evelyn inside of me.

Every day I spent considerable time gazing at my beautiful growing belly and daydreaming about the day that I would get to meet that little baby that I had been falling more in love with every day.

I kept growing and growing, and despite the usual discomforts of pregnancy, I never was “sick of being pregnant” as many women complain about. I was however, SO ready to meet my precious little girl.

Free Entertainment

I can't fall asleep. Weird, since I always feel tired.

Anywho, Jason told me to get out of bed and blog. Here I am!

I think of fun things to blog about all day, but forget them about five seconds later. One of the things that I was thinking about today is Evelyn's new obsession with dogs.

She first realized dogs existed in May when we were at my dad and step-mom's house. A dog barked when we came in and she clenched onto me with her tiny hands and screamed in horror. Even though she had seen a lot of dogs before, she realized then that they were alive and might very well want to interact with her on this particular trip. She spent that whole weekend trying to climb up my chest while clinging on for dear life every time she saw a dog. Poor girl.

The next time we visited those doggies, she started doing a weird noise and arm waving thing when she saw the dogs which confused us as to whether she was excited or terrified to see them.

After a few more trips there and some sights of puppies at outdoor concerts and in the neighborhood, she has progressed to a little joy-filled doggie lover. Whenever she sees one, she makes this adorable little "woof" noise that makes her little breath blow out. Adorable. It really, really is.

This leads me to my title. Evelyn has brought so much free entertainment - from sticking out limbs in my belly, to now her adorable "woof-ing." I have been providing her with much-loved free entertainment in return with lots of looking at her "babies and puppies" calendar, books about puppies, Animal Planet shows, pretending all stuffed animals are puppies, and our newest favorite - watching clips of puppies on YouTube. Good times. Great entertainment.

Oh, and by the way. We will NEVER have a dog! Sorry, punkin! Mommy only will clean up your poop!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I had my hair cut tonight. If you didn't already notice, in late April I had my long locks chopped to just longer than collarbone length for a change and a reason not to wear a ponytail every single day like I was since Evelyn was born.

I needed a trim and was surprised when the new stylist I went to here told me that MY HAIR IS CURLY. No way! I have always WANTED curly hair - I don't HAVE curly hair! She told me that the myth about women going curly from pregnancy is true and often occurs to the hair on the back of the head - exactly where my hair has been considerably wavy. I was chalking it up to the haircut + the product I was using + the humidity + the new water + who knows what else.

But, I guess I have curly hair in the back of my head. It's like a new kind of post-pregnancy mullet - a curly party in the back and some straight business in the front.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Month of New Tricks

Evelyn has had a month filled with new "tricks" including waving "hi" and "bye" on command, clapping on command and during "patty cake," listening to directions (i.e. "give mommy the washcloth"), and raising her hands for "so big." It has been fun to see her grow in this area of understanding language versus just immitating behaviors. And, the best part is watching her little face and excitement while she practices her new tricks!

This is Evelyn a few weeks ago showing off her clapping skills.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Last night I was lying (I think it's lying...I always get confused by that one!) in bed and realized that I was in the best "sandwich" one can be in. We were all lying on our backs. Evelyn was to my left and had her right arm over mine. Jason was on my right and I had my right arm over his. I thanked God for the great life I have as I listened to them both breathe heavily (neither one was snoring, but they sure do both breathe heavily some nights in their sleep!:-) I lied there in the light of the nightlight, smiling and thinking about how I was sandwiched between my two favorite people in the world. Pure bliss!

Funny Faces

For a change of pace, some silly pics! I call this one the "turtle face." She does it mostly after eating yogurt or ice cream.
Everyone loves a good "eyes half-shut" picture for a laugh, yes?
Uncle Dawson is a HAM! A chocolate-loving ham that is!
Doesn't she look like she's going to swallow that straw like the sword-eating circus people?

And this is titled, "MOM - you are SO mean - I WANT to eat the window opener!!!!"

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mr. Hippo...the new friend!

So as if crawling wasn't too much to handle, now she's starting to walk! My little girl is growing up too fast! We never gave her permission to get big.