Introducing our sweet baby squashy, Gloriana Karis Evans. She was born at home at 9:41pm, Saturday, June 18th, 2016. She was 7lbs 1 oz, and 21″ long, and we are so, so happy. We are extremely thankful for our amazing birth team. Everything went so smoothly, though I did end up needing to have an episiotomy (8-10 minutes into pushing, baby was crowning, but the cord was – we’re guessing – pinched between her head and her fist, causing her heart rate to drop, so the wonderful midwives made the call to get baby out quickly, especially important since this was a VBAC.), which will make recovery longer, but, as I keep telling everyone who cringes when they hear that, it’s WAY better than the c-section!
We are over-the-moon to be recovering at home, and for the strongest medications I’ve had to take being ibuprofen. I feel alive this time, and I think I’ll probably be able to remember Gloriana’s first 2 weeks, unlike Ryan’s.
So far, Gloriana has been an amazing baby too. She sleeps well, nurses fine, and cries very little. Even when she does fuss, it’s not the incessant crying and screaming that I have vague memories of with Ryan. Could be personality, could be type and place of birth, could be lack of medications. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I’m just loving it while it lasts!
Ryan loves “his baby”. He wants to hold her all the time, and doesn’t want to give her up. It’s been such a blessing watching him love her. The night she was born was the first, and so far only, night he’s been away from us all night, and it was very strange not having him there, but I know it was more restful, after a long day of working quite hard.
— Stop reading here, if you’re not interested in the probably-TMI details of the day —
Regular, hard contractions, 10-15 minutes apart (with little, crampy things in between), started around 6:30am. I’m thankful for a full night of sleep before labor! So, thinking things would probably stop as they had for the past 3 weeks or so, we cleaned everything up at home (just in case), and headed to the market for some cold-brew, nitro coffee floats and fresh pretzels. Those vendors are on opposite ends of the market, so the walking kept the contractions going every 10 minutes or so.
After that, we headed up to the Evans’ house, and started laundry and smoking bacon. The contractions completely stopped up there, so Sam and I left Ryan, and headed back home – just to see if they’d start again. They did. Apparently labor is a SUPER mental thing, and I don’t like being around anybody other than Sam. 😛 I was extremely thankful for the birth ball as the contractions got closer together, stronger, and longer. I would lean over it, rock, grip Sam’s hands, and breathe through the hard ones. Sam was so wonderful at helping me to remember to relax and breathe. Eventually the contractions moved to about 7 minutes apart, lasting 70-90 seconds. Sam called his mom, and again contractions seems to slow down. Like I said, apparently I don’t like being around anybody except Sam, even people I love, and have been looking forward to having at the birth for months.
Sam and I decided to go for a walk on the trails nearby, and the contractions started again. When we got back, I headed straight for the bed. I continued to have some contractions, though they had slowed to about 10 minutes apart again. Mrs. Evans went home, and Sam and I had lunch and watched a show, then decided to try to nap, in case things picked up again. I fell asleep quickly, but was awakened 15 minutes later with a big contraction. Then fell asleep again, then another contraction 15 minutes after that. Did that for 5 contractions before I decided to get in the shower to see what happened. Sam was still asleep, but I knew he’d realize I was gone before too long. This was around 4pm. Contractions continued through the shower, and continued to get closer together, and I stopped watching the clock.
At some point (I think 6-ish), Sam called his mom back down. I wasn’t paying attention. Sam said I had my eyes closed from about then until the pushing stage. I couldn’t open them; I was focused, very focused, on relaxing, breathing, making sure I went to the bathroom often, staying hydrated, making sure a contraction wouldn’t start somewhere I would hurt myself or the baby if I fell to the floor to breathe, etc… It may have been at this time-ish that I decided I was exhausted, and didn’t really care if lying down slowed contractions. I hated contracting on my side, but I felt too tired to hold myself up anymore. And it was good. I was able to fall asleep in between contractions (made them seem like 30 minutes apart, instead of the 2-4 minutes it really was). I was there when the first small urge to push started, and I was there when the midwives arrived and started checking on everything.
From here on, things are really a blur. I went to the bathroom. I got in the pool. I HAD to push. I pushed for about 10 minutes, and the midwives decided the baby’s heart rate was slowing a little more than they were comfortable with. They got me out of the pool (no idea how!), and were trying to get me to the bed when another pushing contraction hit, and I was on the floor. They encouraged me to get the baby out quickly, to stop screaming, to moan low, and force all my energy with the contraction to get this baby out! She was close, but not close enough. They broke my water, but she still wasn’t coming quickly enough. I heard the terrifying word “episiotomy,” and I panicked. My awesome midwife challenged me “Okay, we won’t do it if you can get the head out with this next contraction! Don’t scream.” I don’t feel like I was in the best position for pushing, but I don’t really know. All I know is I pushed with everything I had, and there was still no baby, and there were scissors. It was very scary, but I was able to calm down knowing that my wonderful midwife wouldn’t have even CONSIDERED episiotomy if it hadn’t been truly necessary. However, I was still a little panicky because I really had not idea what was going on. I had a vague feeling that it might have had something to do with the baby’s heart rate, but at that point, I didn’t really know. I was extremely worried that something was very badly wrong.
And it probably could have been, but the baby came out in the next 2-3 contractions after the episiotomy. They had everything right there and ready in case she wouldn’t start breathing on her own, but she did, right away. She cried for a second, long enough to assure everyone that she was fine. Praise the Lord! After delivering the placenta (which was like nothing… for some reason I had thought it would be, not as bad as the baby, but not easy.), they got me to the bed, and baby and I had our “sacred hour.” It was beautiful. I wasn’t left alone to recover from the c-section drugs. I didn’t have to worry or wonder where my baby and husband were, and wonder what they were having to deal with. They were right there. With me. I was tired, yes, but I wasn’t drugged tired. It was amazing, and pretty much not even comparable to a c-section birth.
After that hour, the midwives checked over me and baby. Baby went out to visit with my parents (who I am so grateful had stayed up waiting for me to deliver for something like 11 days! and who brought us Steak and Shake at midnight!). And then I got stitched up. Honestly, even with the numbing shots, this was the hardest part for me. I felt very used up at this point, and it was extremely difficult to stay relaxed.
Once that was mercifully over, baby was brought back, food was delivered, and Mama and Daddy came in for a quick visit. And then we settled in for our first night. Mrs. Evans stayed with us that night, and we all (except perhaps her) slept as well as can be expected, and better than I expected!
Ryan was dropped off the next morning, and immediately loved holding his sister.
Family visited throughout the afternoon after church, and I was already able to be up and out of bed. It was amazing, and has continued to be awesome!