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.