So an uncharacteristic post for me, all about me, and nothing to do with food. But since so many of you are family and friends, I thought I would take this chance to share the story of how Evelyn (we are calling her Evie, pronounced Eh-vie), made it into the world a little sooner than we had expected.
The first thing I have learned from pregnancy is that you have no control. None. Zero. And that is a very difficult lesson for me to accept. In fact, I don’t thing I ever truly did. And this lesson turned out to hold for delivery also, as I will explain.
Last Monday, I strolled into the Dr’s office a little early for my 9:30am 37- week appointment. “Your appointment is actually at 3pm today” they said. A mix-up of some sort. “I’ll only be a minute if you can squeeze me in now. I’m feeling fine!” and they did. I sat in the waiting room for a few minutes, making a list of “to-do’s” for the day, and I even had a few things to return in my purse along with the receipts, ready to go. Well, next thing I knew, I was being wheeled to Labor and Delivery with a suspicion of preeclampsia. I tried to make light of the situation, keeping my nerves at bay and thinking “surely, this is just standard procedure”, so you can imagine my surprise when the Dr. on call strolled into my room and informed me that she wanted to induce me that night.
That was not the plan.
And all along, that’s what I had been told. Don’t bother planning for your delivery, because you can’t, and they were right. I planned for every other scenario mentally, but not a complication such as preeclampsia. (I still haven’t googled it, by the way!).
I texted Ryan immediately who had taken a flight to Philadelphia that morning and would be heading to Wisconsin later that night (not a direct flight from Atlanta). “I’m in the hospital and they want to keep me overnight” I wrote. He called. I cried. And he was on the next flight to Atlanta, arriving in a record time of about 3 hours.
I convinced the Dr. to wait to induce me until all the testing was back, which would be noon the next day and unfortunately, it confirmed her original suspicion. Tuesday night, we started to induce with Cervidil. I spent Wednesday and Thursday on Pitocin for the induction and Magnesium Sulfate for the preeclampsia (the magnesium was the worst part of my whole week…makes you feel…out of it in a very unpleasant way). We watched every show we could find on TV and when there wasn’t anything left, watched Homeland Season 2 on the iPad. By Thursday afternoon, while checking my progress, the Dr. accidentally broke my water, so I did have the chance to experience some real life contractions for about 2 hours before we checked again, realized I had only dilated 1 cm after almost 2 full days of induction, and decided to move forward with an epidural and a c-section. At that point, the Dr. could have told me “We need to remove your right arm” and I would have shouted “DO IT! DO ANYTHING YOU WANT.” I was done.
At 6:56pm, Evelyn made her appearance with a very audible crying fit, all 5 lbs 15 oz of her. Fortunately, the baby’s health was never in danger- just wanted to take precautions for mine. And she was born a healthy baby girl with beautiful skin, eager blue eyes, her mother’s cheeks and her father’s sweet little mouth and chin.
I spent the next four days in the hospital, “Hotel Piedmont”, where they brought me my meals (and don’t be disgusted by this, but I LOVED the hospital food), refilled my water, made my bed, brought me towels, and brought Evelyn to me to feed. I think I changed maybe 1-2 diapers over the 4 days, and that was just to make sure I could do it! The best part was, my dear friends and former neighbors had a scheduled C-section to deliver their twins the day after mine, so all weekend long, we pathetically wheeled or walked to one another’s rooms, collapsed on chairs, bonded over our now empty wombs, and complained about all the vaginal delivery moms running up and down the halls while we hobbled along the rails. It was like college dorms, and made such a difference mentally to know that she was just a few doors down.
Seven days and nights later, we packed up our things and took the scary first drive home with our newborn where we have been cuddling in our PJ’s and eating whatever we can find in the house for the past few days.
One of my daily bible readings recently quoted the following verse: : “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 This is an excellent reminder that while my experience was a little unexpected, I have so much to be thankful for:
1. First and foremost, we have a healthy baby girl. I prayed as much as I could during my pregnancy for exactly that. Not for a pleasant delivery necessarily. Just for a healthy baby girl. And God gave that to us, and I am so thankful. SO thankful.
2. The love I experienced over those days from family, friends, and the nurses was indescribable. My sweet friends in Atlanta who came to the hospital to keep me company while we waited on Ryan to arrive from Philadelphia and once Evelyn was born. The nursing staff who were all incredibly patient, relaxing, reassuring, and took excellent care of us. The Dr’s, whom I had complete trust and confidence in. And even priests and members of our church dropped in to pray and to offer communion. It brought tears to my eyes and was a clear sign that the Lord was with me and trying to remind me of that.
3. My mom, who interrupted her cross-country trip with my dad and friends to take the first flight she could find to Atlanta and walked through those hospital doors no less than 3 hours after Evelyn made her debut. She cooked for us, brought us sandwiches, took care of Leo (the dog), and stocked our fridge before we arrived home. I hope that I can offer Evelyn the same level of unconditional love that my mother has offered me, and as I told her over the weekend, I understand my mom in a completely new way now that I too am experiencing what it is like to bring a life into the world.
4. My husband, Ryan was incredible, spending 5 nights in hospital chairs or on little couches just to be with me, to comfort me, to help me to relax, and to reassure me. Ryan could absolutely be a certified yoga instructor after all of the relaxation and encouragement he provided me with for those days (including Monday, which was his 31st birthday- spent the whole day in the hospital). I woke up one night and looked over at him curled up in the fetal position on a miserable little sofa with wooden planks poking him in the shoulders and hips and I just thought, I am the luckiest wife in the world and I have somehow found the most amazing husband in the world. I insisted that he spend the last two nights at home to get some rest before we brought Evelyn to the house, and he reluctantly accepted. He probably had a more stressful week than I did, but luckily, he didn’t show it for one second.
So now I am a mother. The feeling is indescribable and I now understand other parents in a completely new light. I am no longer on pain meds, I happen to be a pro at recovering from abdominal surgeries actually thanks to my appendicitis and gall bladder surgeries in my 20′s, and I am being showered with text messages, emails, and gifts from family, friends, and neighbors. This is such a special time, and I am surprising myself by enjoying every single second of being a mom, even being pooped on. Now…ask me in a few weeks, and I’m sure I’ll have a few hardships to share. But for now, I am just thankful.
* Any photo that looks impressive was probably taken by the very talented, Ryan Murphy
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