After having Corrie Joy in Germany I was so curious how this second birth would go- because you hear second births are easier and faster, and because this time I’d be delivering in the United States.
After talking with multiple friends here there was one thing I’d pretty much decided on- I wanted to get in early and get an epidural. Corrie’s birth wasn’t a nightmare exactly, but it was definitely long (when you’re in it the labor feels eternal, doesn’t it?) and with back labor I wasn’t getting any rest between contractions. While I did end up getting an epidural, it was after hours of struggling in pain with contractions, and it didn’t fully take, so I could still feel quite a bit.
This time around I decided let’s just go in knowing I want the epidural and hope for the experience my friends and sister-in-law had had- they literally took naps while they waited to dilate and felt next to nothing. It sounds too good to be true.
Each of my two appointments before Eva’s due date my doctor asked me if I had any interest in inducing. He asked me particularly on my last appointment, on a Tuesday, with my due date that Friday. He said I was already dilated 4cm and aboug 75% effaced, so an induction would be easy and go smoothly, but it was totally up to me. He said “some women are just SO uncomfortable at this point that they just want to get on with it.” I told him I could wait. He told me that’s fine and to just call if I changed my mind. I decided if by Friday, due date day, nothing was happening, I would call and schedule an induction for the following Monday.
Well Friday rolled around and there was still ZERO sign of anything happening- despite all my walks around the neighborhood, “jogging” in the basement, bouncing on an exercise ball, and other efforts at cajoling this baby into making her appearance ;). So I called the doc. We set up an induction for Monday morning, but I still had high hopes that baby would come before then.
Sunday came and still nothing. My parents had come into town on Wednesday so we all got ready and went to church. Talking with friends at church I started realizing that I had set up my induction for Halloween, and I didn’t particularly want a Halloween baby. When I got home from church I called the hospital and asked if I could reschedule my induction to Tuesday morning. They worked it out for me.
Turns out I didn’t need that phone call…about an hour and a half later, around 1pm I felt a contraction. About 20 minutes later I felt another one. I knew this was it. I started tracking contractions. By around 3:30 they were getting strong and were coming in various intervals, 15 minutes, 12 minutes, 10 minutes, back to 18 minutes. I wasn’t sure when to go to the hospital. I started texting my friend Molly, a nurse, who suggested I just call the hospital and ask them. Smart Molly!
I called and said “uh Hi, I just called a few hours ago to change my induction- but now I’m having contractions!” I explained to the woman how they were coming at different times, that this was my second baby, that we live 30 minutes from the hospital, and that I’d been a 4 the previous Tuesday. She said “wait at home until your contractions are 5 minutes apart for an hour, and they should be really strong- like you have to stop walking and talking.” I should have said “wait lady, I don’t want to feel them that much, I want to take a nap.”
I didn’t say that. I said “oh. ok.”
Darn me and my rule following.
I tried to do what she said. I paced my house, stopping to breathe through contractions. Ben and my mom took Corrie Joy trick or treating (in Ankeny, our town they actually trick or treat the night before Halloween and they call it “Beggar’s Night”). My dad stayed with me for support and to pass out candy to trick or treaters. By 7:30 I was definitely at the “can’t walk and talk” phase, and Ben, CJ and my mom were back, but the contractions were still not coming every 5 minutes. It would be 10, then 7, then 5, then 7, etc. By 7:40pm I’d had two that were 5 minutes apart and took my breath away and I said “Ben, let’s just go.” It hurt too much to keep walking laps around my kitchen. We had already gotten everything into the car. We said goodnight to Corrie and made sure she was settled with my Dad who would stay home with her.
Ben and my mom and I jumped in the car (okay, I wasn’t really jumping) and I started praying that God would allow us to get there quickly. He answered, we made it in about 20 minutes- we hit EVERY light green and there was hardly anyone on the freeway. But in that time the contractions quickly started coming more regularly. By the time we got to the hospital I was having them every 2 minutes and struggled just to walk into the ER (we had to go through ER since it was a Sunday). At this point I was in a lot of pain. I kept thinking how we’d still have to request an epidural, so it would probably take a while for the anesthesiologist to get to me, and then they say it takes a bit for the epidural to have an affect. Clearly I was not grasping how much I was really laboring.
As one of the nurses was wheeling me to a room to get checked out, I heard the voice of the woman I’d spoken to on the phone- I wanted to yell curses at her and tell her I should have come in hours ago, but I refrained. We got me onto the bed in the hospital room and I remember weakly saying to the nurse “I need painkillers.” She chuckled at me. I wasn’t chuckling.
Then she checked me.
“OH! You’re at a NINE!”
I wanted to say “oh, so maybe you’ll all take me seriously now, huh?!” I didn’t. I think I said “urahggghhhhh!” As I struggled through another contraction.
I was taken into a delivery room. For some reason there were three or four nurses in the room. Speaking to one of them I said something about an epidural. As she continued entering information into a computer for me she said ‘oh, is that what you wanted?” I had that sinking feeling that it was too late (Ben told me later that she quietly said to him “she’s not going to be able to get one”).
The doctor came in about five minutes later. She looked around and says “hey! We need a delivery table!” One of the nurses hustled to get that in place at the foot of my hospital bed. I remember feeling the urge to push. This was one thing I didn’t really feel with Corrie due to the epidural. I could feel the contractions some still and still felt some level of pain, but I didn’t feel that need to push. I said to the doctor “I want to push.” She nodded her head and said she’d break my water and then I could.
At this point you’d think it would occur to me that this meant my baby was really coming soon. It didn’t. In my mind this could still go on for hours. Days. Weeks. (Okay, actually I thought I’d die before it got to days or weeks). But the doctor quickly broke my water and I was able to push. With Ben on my right offering a hand to squeeze, and a nurse named MJ on my left giving me her arm to
punish squeeze, I started pushing that baby out. I was having an ongoing conversation with myself in my head:
“I can’t do this! I’m going to pass out!”
“YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU’RE MADE TO DO THIS!”
“This is never going to end!”
“YOUR BABY IS COMING! THAT PAIN IS HER COMING!”
I felt like all of my internal organs were going to come out of me before the baby did, but thankfully no, after about 15-20 minutes of pushing, a 7 Lb, 11.8 oz, 20 inch long baby came into the world at 9:19pm on Sunday, October 30th, 2016. We had checked into the hospital at 8:34.
She was tiny to me (over 2 lbs and 2.5 inches smaller than her sister) and I wept as I saw her. Pure joy, pure relief, pure exhaustion.
The first thing I told her as they laid her on my chest was that she was supposed to be here on Friday…but I have forgiven her for that (and I’m encouraged to try to be more punctual myself). I couldn’t believe that was her. I couldn’t believe those were the little feet that I had just felt kicking my ribs. She was surprisingly alert. She seemed so calm. She didn’t come out crying. I cried for the both of us. She was so perfect. Praise God.
It took me until the next day to commit to a first name, but here she is, our beloved little Evangeline Ruth Beran. (Ee-van-gel-een). We mostly call her Eva (Ee-vuh). She is our little sweetie and we thank God daily for bringing her into our lives!