Saturday, November 10, 2012

Evie's Birthday, Part I: The Birth Story

I think I'm going to divide Evie's birthday stories into three parts: the birth story, our time with her, and answered prayers.  I think there are so many details for each part and I don't want one to take away from the others if I post them all here.  

So, part I ... 

Let me preface this birth story with a few pieces of background information:

1. Micah's birth was s-l-o-w and steady, but textbook.  Contractions followed the very regular pattern they talk about in the birth books as I slowly but surely climbed my way up the dilation ladder.  And then I pushed for two hours before he was born.  I know they say the second baby goes faster but I was still preparing for a fairly textbook labor and delivery just a little shorter.    

2.  I had been having relatively painful Braxton-Hicks contractions for about a week and a half.  They happened at any time during the day but followed no particular pattern.  Sometimes at night I would have contractions for a few hours but then they would go away.  I started to just deal with them and not really consider them as "real" contractions.  

3.  I did not expect to go early.  There were no indications.  The doctors had implied that I might go late.  

Ok, so the story.  

I slept really terribly on Wednesday night and was up at 2:30 with those strong Braxton-Hicks contractions.  I felt Evie sitting so low and was really uncomfortable.  I ended up going to the couch to sleep because I was so restless.  The contractions continued until I woke up for the day around 8.  At that point, maybe since I started moving around they sort of slowed down.  

Those contractions continued randomly throughout the day.  Nothing unbearable, just pretty uncomfortable.  

I was making dinner around 5:00 and the contractions started to really pick up.  It was to the point where I had to stop what I was doing and lean over the counter to breathe through it.  But when we sat down to dinner, they slowed down again. 

I was so confused.  I was eating my dinner really slowly and trying to decide what was going on.  Yes, I was contracting.  No, there was still no distinct pattern.  I told Josh that I might be in labor but I wasn't sure.  He recommended that I get into the bathtub and see if relaxing would make them stop or speed up.  I knew that was a good suggestion, but first I had to bathe Micah, etc.  So instead I took a few minutes and laid on our bed to time what was going on.

Once I laid down and tracked my contraction times and durations I still saw no distinct warning signs.  I had like three contractions about 10 minutes apart.  One lasted as short as 30 seconds and one was as long as 90 seconds.  I told Josh and we just decided I wasn't really in labor yet.    

So I went through our normal nighttime routine.  I bathed Micah and breathed through some contractions.  I rocked him to sleep and endured a couple more.  They were certainly more painful than had been earlier that day but again, no consistent time or duration.

After Micah was all settled I filled up the bathtub with warm water and bubbles and got down to the business of relaxing!  I turned on netflix and just let myself melt into the warm tub.  The episode was 40 minutes long and in that whole time I only had two really strong contractions.  I was pretty sure no one would be rushing to the hospital for having two contractions twenty minutes apart.

I got out of the tub around 9:30 and started to get ready for bed.  I had another contraction and then Josh came in and watched me breathe through another one on my hands a knees.  "Huh.  Those aren't Braxton-Hicks." he said.  "I know!" I replied.  But I told him there was still no pattern so I didn't know what to do.  

The contractions were painful though.  And I distinctly remember thinking, goodness - if I am in this much pain before labor really starts how on earth will I do this without an epidural?  

I laid down again and decided to time things.  From 10-10:30 I had four very regular contractions that followed the typical pattern.  I also recognized the way I felt; the same way as I had when dilating to about 5-6 cm with Micah.  I was also starting to need to let out moans and groans which I knew was another sign of active labor. 

I got up and told Josh that I think we should call someone to come over and stay with Micah so we could leave for the hospital.  He picked up the phone and did just that.  

Right after I told him I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom.  I went to sit on the toilet and suddenly realized I didn't need to pee - I needed to push!  

I ran out of the bathroom and told Josh that we needed to go now!  It was so scary.  I was in transition and our bags weren't even totally packed!  Thankfully I had packed both Micah's and Evie's bags earlier that week, which I thought were the most important. 

Josh scrambled around throwing our stuff in bags.  I was trying to pack what I could, pausing for some really, really painful contractions.  

In the middle of one contraction I started feeling Evie's head crowning.  I whisper-screamed to Josh that I think we should just call 911 because she was coming.  He told me we needed to make it to the hospital and I needed to get into the car.   

At that point we couldn't wait for anyone to come for Micah so Josh woke him up and buckled him in.  I climbed into the car too and kneeled backwards in the seat; there was absolutely no way I could sit down.  I prayed desperately to the Lord that He would help me and not allow Evie to be born in the car.  

Josh deserves quite a medal for getting us all to the hospital.  He was going 60 in a 35, weaving in and out of traffic, giving me landmarks to let me know how close we were, and bantering with Micah who kept saying, "whoa, Daddy!" and "wow, cycle" (referring to our car ride as a motorcycle ride).  

But we made it.  Barely.  

Josh pulled up to the ER entrance and ran in for some help.  I had another contraction and absolutely had to push at that point.  Evie's head came halfway out.  As I tried to get into the wheelchair I pushed her head out.  I tried to communicate to the not-so-speedy security guard pushing my wheelchair that the baby was coming and he needed to go quickly.  "I know, I know" he said, obviously not realizing what I meant.  

The next contraction, I pushed Evie out.  

Yes, you read that right.  I pushed her out.

Yes, she was born in the wheelchair on the way to the ER.  Yes, I delivered my own baby.  Seriously, how crazy is that? 

I assure you once the security guard saw that the baby was out he started to hustle!  I was begging him to hurry even faster; my baby needed help, she needed a neonatal team.  I was also trying to swipe the fluidy goop from Evie's mouth but my hands were covered in blood and birth.  

Evie and I were met in the ER by probably no less than 25 people.  I was so overwhelmed.  They scooped her onto a table immediately and the cord was still attached.  They knew she needed hep because she was blue, but they didn't know any of our situation or the details of how we wanted Evie to be cared for.  Things would have gone not so well if Josh hadn't been there to rescue us.

Josh deserves another medal for this.  In the midst of the chaos and about a dozen people in my face asking me questions I heard his voice behind me.  He immediately started bossing the NICU team around and telling them what needed to happen.  But since his identity was unknown and I was very clearly this baby's mother they wanted to talk to me first about Evie's care.  

I tried to make a coherent sentence but it wasn't really working.  I kept saying oxygen is fine, but couldn't for the life of me think of the word suction.  Finally I just gave up and said, "I don't know.  Go get my husband, he's a nurse.  He knows everything!"  

At that point they brought Josh in and he let them know what was going on.  He very quickly came to Evie's and my rescue and helped settle the chaos.  Not to mention he got Micah out of the car and settled with an old co-worker who happened to be there that night.  

The nurses got me cleaned up a and then wheeled me back over to Evie.  Josh was standing there holding her hand as the NICU team gave her some oxygen through a face mask.  Once they stabilized her they handed her over to me wrapped up in a blankie.  She still had a tiny oxygen mask on and I remember trying to kiss her little face around the mask but still make sure she was getting what she needed.  

They wheeled us into the recovery room and all of our family and friends were there.  I was still pretty overwhelmed, but grateful that Evie was safe and alive and now we would just be able to enjoy our little sweetie.

I seriously cannot believe Evie's birth story went like that.  It was absolutely nothing like I pictured.  But I was really comforted by the fact that God knew; this was His plan.  And even though it seemed excessively dramatic, it was the way He had designed it.  

snuggling my sweet girl.  she had the best cheeks <3


  1. I will never forget running in the ER and seeing Micah wrapped in Teresa's jacket on her lap with Dave waving us over and then hearing Teresa say, "She had the baby in the hallway!" I prayed so so hard and God took care of every detail just as he always does. I love you! I love that picture of you and your girl... those images are burned in my heart forever. <3

  2. My goodness, sounds so similar to my Hannah's birth-- the saying-its-time-to-go-to-hospital cuz I feel about 5cm to suddenly feeling like I had to poop but really it was Hannah COMING and she indeed was born at home with a firefighter catching her just in time. i dont know HOW you held her in through the drive and everything and then having her in the wheelchair-- YOU ARE A CHAMP! What a story!

    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one with a story like that! part of me felt silly for not recognizing earlier ...

  3. Tears of joy and a few laughs in between. Thank you for sharing your family, your fears and your faith with us.

  4. I have never met you in person. But I have met Lauren in person and I love her, so it only natural that I now love you too.:) I want you to know you have the most beautiful daughter. EVER. What a crazy, amazing birth story. Those cheeks. Oh those cheeks. Thank you for sharing this most precious, sacred moment with us; though complete strangers, we are sisters in Christ and I am loving on you from a distance and asking God's angels to surround you right now.

  5. O wow! What a delightfully wonderful and memorable birth story you've been given. I'm so happy you got to have four hours together with Evie. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story (and see pictures?!) You have been so much on my mind this last week. Now I know why.
    Continuing to pray for you as learn to live without your sweet baby girl. May you feel HIS love and grace poured out on you.

  6. Whart an absolutely amazing birth experience! You and Josh are quite a team. I was delighted to hear your re-telling of Evie's birth story. What an astounding entrance she made! Thanks, Sarah for sharing these delightful minutes of her birth!
    Hugs & prayers,

  7. Precious Sarah and Josh--What an exciting ride! What a memorable delivery! This will be part of the wonderful story that is Evie. Sarah, you did good! Josh so thankful that you could give good directions. Love and prayers for your family.

  8. Well, Sarah, since we were supposed to be at your house watching Micah so you and Josh could proceed to the hospital, we were doing a little speeding of our own. On the phone with Josh, Teresa heard you cry out a little bit with one of your big labor pains, so we headed right out the door. As we were about to get in the car, Teresa said, "Give me the keys! I know if you drive, you'll go the speed limit, and I'm definitely not going the speed limit." (Actually, I'm sure I would've been glad for an excuse to speed.) So, imagine Teresa speeding down the road and checking the phone constantly all the while--a woman on a mission! So, while you and Josh were speeding from one direction, we were speeding from the other. The casual observer might have thought it was like the Indianapolis 500 out there.

  9. No fiction written could ever be more glorious than reality! In the midst of heartbreak God gives reason to laugh, and be amazed! Until you get to reunite with Evie eternally, she has impressed you with fullness of life and beautiful, remarkable memories. What a precious priceless gift <3

  10. You were living my worst birth in a car (or hallway!) Lol. I'm so sorry that had to happen, it's such a strange and panic stricken moments! So thankful you made it to the hospital and got the care you and Evie needed. I love that pic, it melts my heart. She definitely has the best chubby cheeks of all time! <3 You're an amazing Mom. Evie was beyond blessed to have you, just as you were beyond blessed to have been given her. Thanks for sharing all the details of the journey!

  11. I'm coming over for a visit from Lauren's blog. What a birth story - wow!!!! You are all quite a fabulous team God has bound together. I'm so glad you could have those moments and hours to build some more memories with your baby girl on this side of Heaven. Her quick entrance reminds me of a similar birth story and they we were told: “She came in a hurry, as if she had some place important to go.” Maybe you would be touched by their daughters story:

  12. Amazing story. So proud of you, and Josh, and Micah man. Evie is a beauty. Such a sweet princess.