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It’s complicated: The birth of EvieAunna Epidural

It’s complicated: The birth of EvieAunna

"It was happening so quickly, even though it took so long to get to that point."

It all started on October 21, 2014. I was 33 weeks into my pregnancy. I woke up that morning and started getting ready for work. As I was doing my hair, I felt my pants get wet. I quickly pulled my pants away and realized I was bleeding. I immediately started crying. I was terrified. Although seeing blood was nothing new to me …

Six months earlier, on April 13, I had gone to the ER for bleeding. I was around six or seven weeks. They did an exam and ultrasound. After a few hours of being there, the ER doctor came in the room and told us we lost our baby. He gave me numerous prescriptions and papers on having a miscarriage. We were devastated. We cried and cried for so long. Two days later, I followed up with my own doctor to schedule a D&C. But he said something didn’t seem right. He told me not to get my hopes up, but they were doing another ultrasound.

After the ultrasound, I had to wait for the tech to talk to my doctor about the results. Eventually, she pulled me out of the waiting room and took me into an empty room. My heart dropped. I thought the worst. But then she said, “There is still a baby in there. The heartbeat is normal, and growth is normal. You still have your baby.” She hugged me, and I cried tears of joy and happiness. But also tears of anger and hate. Why? Why did this doctor tell us we lost our baby when the ultrasounds showed a living baby with a heartbeat? I’ll never know. It turned out I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, which can cause bleeding until it goes away. I bled on and off until I was about 22 weeks. But it never got easier. It was still just as scary every time.

Evie7

Back to October 21 … I went to the labor & delivery floor at our hospital and waited for my doctor. Once he got there, I found out I was being transported to a hospital two hours away by ambulance. My doctor was afraid of hemorrhaging and placental abruption, among other things.

Once we arrived at the other hospital, we learned our baby had an irregular heartbeat, and I had another subchorionic hemorrhage. My fiancé and I were both a mess. After four long days admitted to the hospital and sharing a room and bathroom with another couple, the specialist said he thought I was OK to go home. They were sure the heartbeat would “fix itself” and my bleeding had slowed.

I was more than excited to get home. We had gotten our extra car seat base and the decorations for the baby’s room in the mail while we were gone. So of course we wanted to go through all of it and install the base in my fiancé’s car. I was happy knowing we were getting more stuff together, especially after the scare of an early labor.

The very next morning, at about 10:30 a.m., I was on my knees getting my 4-year-old son dressed. And I felt it. The warm gush of fluid pouring down my leg. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom, telling my son to get my fiancé. My poor boy was scared, as was I. When my fiancé came to the bathroom, I was trying to hold back the tears and terror. I choked out, “I think my water broke.” He started rushing around getting everything ready. He knew. We knew. The doctor told us if my water broke after I hit 34 weeks, our baby was being delivered. And that day, I turned 34 weeks.

We all knew we wouldn’t be coming home without a baby. I wasn’t prepared—mentally, physically. I wasn’t ready to have our baby yet. I knew this was going to be my last pregnancy ever, and I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Not to mention, we still didn’t have a boy’s name picked out. (We had gone through the pregnancy without finding out the gender. It was going to be a surprise. So we knew we needed both a boy’s and girl’s name.)

After I had gotten myself cleaned up, my fiancé put our stuff in his car, put the baby’s car seat in the back where the brand-new base was installed, and off to labor & delivery we went. Once there, my doctor informed me that he wanted me to be life-flighted by helicopter back to the other hospital two hours away. That really scared me. Thankfully, for whatever reason, it was decided I’d just be transported by ambulance again. So off we set on the two-hour trip, my fiancé following right behind in his car.

About halfway there, a car in front of the ambulance made a last-minute turn. The speed limit was around 45-55 mph. So we were all travelling at a decent speed when we had to come to a complete stop. The ambulance stopped, my fiancé stopped, and then out of the back window I watched an old pickup truck come flying out of nowhere, headed straight for the back end of my fiancé’s car. I grabbed my side rails and sat straight up, trying to yell but strangely my voice was stuck inside of me. Not like my fiancé would have heard me anyway. And then, BAM.

The truck connected with the back end of the driver’s side, making the trunk fly open and the car look like it was going to flip. I started freaking out, trying to see if my fiancé was OK. But then the ambulance started pulling away. I yelled “I can’t go without him! I can’t. I won’t. Go back. I need to go back. I can’t go without him.” The EMT then told the driver what had happened, so he turned around and pulled into a side road. After waiting for the police to get there and talking to them, my fiancé found someone to come get his car, hopped into the ambulance with me, and we continued the rest of our journey to the hospital.

So there we were, at a hospital two hours away from home and family with no car, having a complicated pregnancy and premature labor. And also no car seat or brand-new base. They had both been ruined the second that truck made impact with my fiancé’s car.

Evie6

Once I was admitted to the hospital, I agreed to participate in a study about ways to start/progress labor. I chose the Pitocin and Foley balloon option. So they started the Pitocin and inserted the Foley baloon. I also was using the labor ball. I wanted to progress as fast as possible because I was told 24 hours after my water broke, they would most likely give me a C-section. I wanted so badly to get to experience another vaginal birth. I was determined. I absolutely refused to have a C-section. But it seemed like my cervix was taking forever to dilate.

My fiancé walked the halls with me, stood behind me as I rolled my hips around sitting on the ball, rubbed my back during contractions, and spoke the most beautiful words of encouragement throughout my whole labor. He helped me go to the bathroom, got me anything I needed, helped me clean myself up when more of my fluid would leak down through the Foley balloon. He helped ease everything during labor.

Then the contractions started getting worse and worse. They were becoming extremely painful. And I was becoming extremely exhausted. I got my headphones out and started listening to music while on my knees leaning on the labor ball. Music has always been an escape for me. The music in my ears and my fiancé holding me was helping get through the contractions.

Evie5

Sometime in the early morning hours, about 16 hours after my water broke, my mom and sister (who thankfully made the two-hour trip to be with us) talked me into getting the epidural, so I could hopefully get some rest before the delivery. I was hesitant at first, mostly because an epidural can slow down your labor, but eventually I gave in. The epidural worked OK in the very beginning. But then it felt like it completely wore off, and I could feel everything again.

About eight hours later around 10:30 a.m. (on the 26th), they checked to see how far dilated I was: 8 cm. I thought to myself, really? Still only 8? It will take hours to get to 10. What if they make me get a C-section? As the nurse who just checked me was walking out of my room, I laid down. Pressure, pressure, so much pressure. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. Actually, I felt like I was going to the bathroom. “Get the nurse. I feel like pushing. I can’t stop it!” My sister ran after the nurse, as I laid there in pain trying so hard not to push like my body was telling me to.

The nurse came in and calmly said, “Oh I don’t think she could have gone 2 cm just since I checked her a minute ago.” But as soon as she checked me, my room started filling up with people. Nurses everywhere. Everyone was suddenly running around me, propping stuff up, moving things closer, turning lights on, opening my legs. The mirror I requested at the beginning so I could watch my birth like I did with my son—that was dust in the wind to me, my fiancé and my nurse. It was happening so quickly, even though it took so long to get to that point.

Evie4

Evie3

On October 26, 2014 at 10:48 a.m., after a few pushes and a lot of pain and burning, my fiancé started crying and said, “We have our beautiful baby girl!”

“It’s a girl,” I said to myself, “a girl!” Our baby girl, EvieAunna Nicole. My last baby I will ever have, and I was lucky enough to get a girl—so I had one of each. I was so excited and so happy—and relieved to hear her crying.

With her being premature, we knew she would be taken to the NICU right away. But they did place her in my arms quickly after she came out. Then after they wrapped her up, they let me hold her for a few seconds again before taking her away. I cried so hard. I was so happy to be holding this beautiful baby girl who I was told had passed away inside of me, who I was afraid I’d lost so many times after that with all the bleeding. It all suddenly became so real. There she was, six weeks early, but so beautiful and perfect. All 4 pounds, 12 ounces of her.

Pregnancy, labor and birth have been the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. It changed my life. I am so blessed and feel so very lucky to have gone through it all twice. Even after all the complications.

Evie1

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!