Evelyn's Birth Story
I went an entire year before posting my birth story. I feel like there is a lot of stigma out there with how women give birth. As if I were to shame someone over their birth. There is no right or wrong way to give birth; but there is a need for options, care, and concern for what a woman wants and desires in their birth. I'm going to share with you my birth because I believe something that the great Ina May Gaskin has shared. That sharing a positive birth story (yet realistic) puts into the world more empowered women - to believe the same can be achieved by them.
Evelyn was born 9 days after her due date. I was committed to thinking that she would come early. I mean, my mom had both babies two weeks early.
Evelyn’s birth went nothing as planned - as most births do.
I was a week past my due date and went for a check-in on the baby at Baby+Co in Nashville. I felt butterflies but knew it was because I would be meeting my baby anytime now. Little did I know those butterflies were also very high blood pressure.
January 28th had a different feel than any other day over the past 9+ months. Mama was 9 days past her due date and it all started that morning. Dada went to hit balls at the golf course while mama slept in. When I woke up I knew - being a planner - my blood pressure still felt high from the day before. Baby+Co had warned me if it was too high the next day I would need to be induced.
I bought a blood pressure monitor that morning and read my vitals - still too high. I had a little pity cry. I called Andy to come home, then I called my parents to let them know. My bags had been packed for a month but I couldn’t even begin to think of what I needed. Everything planned for had just been thrown out the window.
I knew I would have to be transferred to the hospital and that would mean many different things: no labortub, no luxurious king size bed, possibly no outlet for my essential oil diffuser.
We packed our bags and loaded the dogs in the car. I remember fumbling to try and find my Hypnobabies Hypnosis birthing tracks as our beagle Lou sat in Evelyn’s babyseat to the kennel. I knew I was out of it when I wasn’t telling him to get out because of dog germs! When we arrived at Baby+Co they took my blood pressure and checked vitals. I was having mild yet inconsistent contractions and my blood pressure was too high, it was clear we were headed to getting transferred to Vanderbilt Hospital after 3 hours of trying to stabilize blood pressure. Being that it was now the afternoon we ate “our last supper” at J. Alexander's so I could get in a last good meal of my favorite salmon and then we let my parents know the plan was going to be induction at Vanderbilt.
As soon as we arrived the midwife team was amazing. I was admitted at 4:30 pm - with midwife Bethany Sanders. She was very onboard with my natural birth plan. I advocated for a natural birth and asked for a natural, drug-free induction (more details in another post). She helped me create a plan of doing a foley bulb to help dilate me to 4 cm. A foley bulb is essentially a balloon they blow up inside you to naturally help dilate cervix. I started to diffuse peace essential oil to help calm my nerves- all the midwives would peek their heads in to ask what that amazing smell was. It helped distract me from the hospital setting.
The foley bulb was inserted and then Bethany left at 7 because her shift was over - and on came midwife powerhouse Annie Sorenson - braids and bouncing on my birthing ball. She was not naturally minded and advocated for Pitocin and Cervadil. We compromised - I said to just give me time to progress. She was amazed that the foley bulb fell out within 2.5 hours around 9 PM and I was dilated to 4 cm.
RaRa, Granpappi, Nicki, and Dave came and brought us dinner and snacks for the long night ahead and returned home - they were so hopeful baby was coming that night.
I told Annie I wanted to give my body the chance to kickstart labor so I wanted to try the breast pump and lunges around the hospital to increase my contractions as opposed to Pitocin. I started puttine essential oils Basil and Clary Sage on my abdomen every hour to strenghten and intensify contractions. If contractions were to stall at any point Pitocin would have to be started. Dada and I stayed up through the night setting alarms for intervals of 10 minutes on pump 10 minutes off and walking around the hospital doing lunges every 90 minutes. I remember the determination in my heart, Annie didn't think it would work but I knew it would. I bounced on the ball - to help baby descend - while napping my head on the bed in between pumping. I put Deep Blue on my back as contractions started to intensify and balance and serenity on my feet to calm my nerves.
Around 5:30 am she checked me again and my contractions were consistent around 2.5 minutes apart but baby's head was still a little high to break my water.
Andy encouraged me to take a nap - I did and I prayed. Andy was such an amazing advocate for me and encouraged me that I had come this far and that he knew I could do it. At 6:30 am - 30 minutes before Annie was off shift baby miraculously dropped and Annie broke my water. It was a welcomed feeling, and those real contractions started to flood in. I gave Annie a hug and she had tears in her eyes, she was thrilled I got the natural induction I wanted. She said she had been telling the staff my determination and she was so happy to be on my journey.
Bethany (previous midwife) returned and I was afraid she wouldn't have as much strong willed direction but she ended up being the right amount of calm. Andy called RaRa and Grandpappi to let them know progress and that we needed RaRa's help through labor. The next few hours contractions brought me to my knees. Dada and RaRa took turns massaging and apply counterpressure to my back. Grandpappi, Dave, and Nicki ran to get food (mama needed organic suckers and an acai bowl) and espresso requests (Dada).
I remember going through a harder contraction around 1 pm, knealing by the hospital bed and looking up to seeing it snowing outside and thinking how miraculous this journey of bringing you earthside was Evie. I transitioned in and out of shower and tub as I progressed to 8 cm. Bethany suggested then I get out of tub and do lunges during contractions - yowza! The nurses we had were so amazing and confident in me.
I started to push but something wasn't right.
Bethany recognized baby’s head was shifted in birth canal. So the nurse recommended to invert hospital bed to unlock head out of birth canal and ride out a few contractions with exercise ball between legs. That's when I met Jesus and prayed for Evelyn to arrive safely. Andy and the nurses kept me from going over the edge and brought me oxygen - and then the nurse said it's time to push. I asked midwives to switch out peace from diffuser and put in motivate and cheer oil. Those helped motivate me because I had been awake for almost 48 hours. Andy started crying and saying "She's almost here B - she's really here!". 45 minutes of strong pushing and I felt her warm body on my chest. Our world was forever new. I will always remember looking down after that last push to see my baby arms reached out towards me as if to hug me and looking me straight in the eyes.
Looking into Evelyn’s eyes I saw my future, hope, best friend, and love of my life all at once. We had known each other forever. She latched immediately and the intense rush of calm from the both of us from the feeling of her head resting against my chest is something that I’ll always treasure.
- Essentially Bee