The past 7 weeks have been the most dynamic of my entire life. And I’ve had so many thoughts swirling around my head about delivery, motherhood, postpartum blues, community, and love. SO much about love.
I’m going to try to keep this blog post as concise as I can and not get carried away.
But no promises.
May 26, 2017
In hindsight, I’m pretty sure I started labor the night before Evelyn was born. I couldn’t sleep all night long; my hips were incredibly sore and there was no position that would bring relief. Luckily I had an OB appointment the next morning and I hoped they could give me some answers.
The morning of May 26, I preemptively packed my go-bag in my car. Emptied the dishwasher. Straightened up the living room. Let the dog out. I did all of this knowing that “today is the day”. I have about a 25 minute drive to my doctor, and the time in between my front door and the the office, I was starting to have what I thought to be contractions. When I got to the OB office, I told them my current status and they hooked me up to a machine to monitor what was going on.
The doc came in and found that I was at 3 cm and 90% effaced. She confirmed what I had felt anyway – today was the day. However, she said that I could go run some errands because they may not admit me at 3 cm.
But I knew something felt off.
I called my husband and told him I was coming to pick him up from work so he could drive me to the hospital.
It took me 5 minutes to get from the doctors office to his work. And in that 5 minutes, my contractions were already 7 minutes apart. When Anthony got in my car and started to drive me the 8 minute drive to the hospital, I was 5 minutes apart. We checked into the hospital and they wheeled me up to labor and delivery.
By the time I changed into the birthing gown, my contractions were 2 minutes apart. TWO MINUTES.
I was dilating fast. In 30 minutes I had gone from 3cm to 6cm. Those of you who are mommies, I don’t need to tell you how unusual that is for a first-time mom.
Things happened really quickly after that.
I was put on oxygen, they put a sensor on her head to monitor her heart rate, and I got an epidural.
And they couldn’t figure out why her heart rate was dropping. I’ll never forget the look on the doctor’s face when she said, “We never want to go this route, but we need to get this baby out of you – and at this point we need to do a c-section.”
I was devastated. I wanted to labor for my child. And this somehow felt unfair. I hadn’t even listened to the c-section part of the birthing class I took because I didn’t think this would be how it went down. Truthfully, I cried about Evelyn’s birth for the two weeks after she was born. Undoubtedly it was a combination of baby blues and exhaustion, but everything happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to process anything until after she was out.
We checked-in at 10 AM and she was born at 11:50 AM.
So many things happened in that hour and fifty minutes that I’m still, nearly 7 weeks later, working through it all.
Evelyn Sue Nelson was born at 11:50 AM weighing 7 lbs 9.1 oz and 20.5 inches long. She was healthy and I was OK. Really, that was all that mattered.
I will say this: nothing – NOTHING – can prepare you for the first time you hear your child cry. Or the look on your husband’s face when they announce she’s a girl (he was adamant it was a boy the whole time). Or when you get to hold your child in your arms and study every curve of their face and when they wrap their littler water-logged fingers around yours.
It was the most incredible moment of my life.
They took Evelyn away with Anthony in tow while they sewed me up. It was the longest hour ever. Between post-op and recovery, I wasn’t able to spend the first 60 minutes of her life with her. That was hard. And my poor husband who was told “You’ll see your wife sometime within 3 hours” as he held his new baby girl to his chest in the maternity room – I know he was scared and I can’t imagine the uncertainty he was feeling as his wife was separated from him and his newborn daughter was hungry.
We found out what happened. The doctor came in and told me that I had a placental abruption. It’s when the placenta rips away from the uterus. It is extremely rare and only happens in 1 in 200,000 births. Why did it happen to me? Her response: “Just bad luck.” Figures.
The next 3 days were a blur of friends, face-time, lots of pain, lots of joy, and zero sleep. When I left the hospital I literally asked the nurse “Is it normal to be seeing double?” To which she replied “As long as you don’t have a headache, I’d wager that’s exhaustion.”
Our first weeks home were really hard, but we found a rhythm. My sweet husband was so supportive. Between keeping me on my pain pill regimen (because c-sections are NO JOKE), running errands, and letting me sleep – I can’t imagine going through those first two weeks without him.
And can we talk about our friends? Our meal train was so crucial to surviving our first few weeks. I consider myself a good writer, but I cannot conjure the words to adequately express my gratitude to those people who helped by bringing us food. Some meals were home cooked and others brought our favorite meals from local restaurants – all of it was so appreciated. We even had friends from across the country calling in pick-up orders for us!
It truly takes a village and our village is one of the best there is.
So there you have it. The birth of Evelyn Sue.
We call her Eddy for short, but it’s too long of a story to tell in its entirety.
Cliff notes are: my childhood dog’s name was Eveie, so that nickname was out. Anthony’s dad (who passed in 2009) had an inside joke with his brother-in-law where they would call each other Eddy. We felt that was a nice way to honor him. Her middle name, Sue, is to honor my Godmother and aunt who also passed in 2009.
This parenthood thing has been a wild ride so far – and I’m sure it’s only going to get more wild.
I will say this though: I have never loved my husband more than seeing him as a father. And as for little Eddy, I never knew I could love like this. It’s a new type of love that is all-encompassing and brutally raw. She’s already made me a better person.
I can’t wait to see who she will become, and in turn, who I will become because I get to be her momma.
All photos by the wickedly talented Cadencia Photography