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August 29, 2011

Labor and Delivery, Part 1

My sweet little girl, Evelyn Ann, was born on August 16. Now several days old, I still can't believe that she's mine. It still seems too good to be true, but as I've finally had the time to sit back and reflect upon the roller coaster of events that led up to her delivery, how it was everything I wanted but nothing that I expected, I'm ready to write it all down before those little details start to slip away.

This is Evelyn's story. It's intense and not for the squeamish, but at least I know that my little girl will be able to hold her own against her older brother as she grows up.

For the entirety of my pregnancy, I spent hours pouring over documentaries and information online about birth in America. After experiencing a very medicated birth with my son and watching my plans for his labor fly out the window in the delivery room, I knew that I wanted something wildly different for my next child.

Despite a few raised eyebrows and worried comments, Jonathan and I hired a midwife. We decided on a natural delivery plan. And we prayed very hard that we would have the opportunity to go through with it.

We watched and waited as we arrived and then passed the full-term mark. 37 weeks crept by, then 38 and 39. As the days passed, I finally came to accept that perhaps it wasn't God's plan for my baby to be born naturally. Perhaps there was some greater purpose as to why I needed to be induced. And as much as it hurt to finally acknowledge that fact, once I was two days past my due date, I finally let go of my preconceived notions that I always know what's best. I prayed about it and let it go.

That was the night I went into labor.

The first contractions hit around eleven. Sure, they were painful, but I didn't think anything of them since I'd had painful contractions before. Not wanting to pin my hopes on a few minutes of discomfort, I went to bed, periodically awakening as my stomach turned to cement.

Around 2am, Jonathan awoke as I was moaning and writhing through another contraction. The poor man would get no more sleep til the following night.

I continued dozing between contractions until 4:30 when they became much more frequent. Jonathan and I laid in bed, wondering if this was the real thing as I continued to clutch the side of the bed like a life raft.

We broke out the contraction timer around 5am and watched as the contractions went from every ten minutes down to seven. Still unwilling to believe that I was actually in labor after weeks of hoping and disappointment, I got up and began walking around our bedroom.

Jonathan watched me stop and moan through each contraction and would later tell me that he knew I was really in labor, but trying to reason with someone when something the size of a small watermelon is working its way through their body? GOOD LUCK.

I finally realized that Jonathan was probably right around 6am and called my mother to begin the three-hour drive down from her house. Naturally, I added the caveat that it MIGHT not be the real thing and I was very sorry if I was making her drive down for nothing.

A half hour passed and I realized that we didn't have time to wait for my mom. The contractions had picked up to every five minutes and were painful enough that doing anything besides holding onto the wall and moaning was completely impossible. Once our midwife instructed us to go to the hospital, Jonathan summoned our emergency babysitter, his mother, who arrived at our house in time to hear her son's wife moaning from the downstairs bathroom like a feral pig.

As my mother-in-law took care of Nathaniel, Jonathan raced around the house madly gathering up the list of items I had yet to pack in our hospital bag. Meanwhile, I was in the bathroom getting ready for my day between contractions because I refused to go to the hospital looking like a hobo. Clearly, I was not in my right mind at that point.

Once my husband finally wrestled the hair dryer out of my clenched fingers, we kissed the toddler goodbye and headed out the door. No sooner had we begun driving down the road when another contraction hit. As I grabbed the door handle and panted through the pain, I felt my husband step on the brakes. I glanced up and saw a police car drive by, which was about the point where I screamed FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DRIVE FASTER! THEY WILL ESCORT US!! Thankfully, Jonathan punched the gas (the officer didn't notice) and we were well on our way to the hospital.

Naturally, because it was early in the morning, our drive involved the use of a highway which, unfortunately, also involved rush hour. Never again will I wonder what it feels like to have a contraction in the front seat of a car while sitting in stop-and-go traffic. I can also safely say that I will never go through that again, even if I have to walk myself to the hospital, since my body has a tendency to react to that kind of confined pain in a very predictable manner, one which usually involves hanging one's head over a toilet. Or, in this case, copious use of plastic bags and apologies to the driver.

We arrived at the hospital in record time and made our way inside to the front desk where Jonathan asked for directions to the labor and delivery unit as I doubled-over with another contraction and finally admitted to myself that this was the real thing...

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming later this week!


  1. Can't wait to hear the rest! I often wonder if I'll know when it's really time since last time, I didn't have any real contractions of my own.

  2. I was worried about that too Verna! There was no mistaking the contractions this time though- hopefully that's the way it will go for you too!

  3. Love the new look! So precious!

    I am so glad (and jealous) that you were able to go into labor on your own. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

  4. But other then that, I like the new look too ;)