Eva’s Birth Story

This is the first blog post in whiiiiile, but it’s been quiet for good reason!  One month ago today, Jake and I welcomed our sweet baby GIRL, Eva Catherine to the world!  It has been the most beautiful, fulfilling, and challenging month of our lives – we adore our little lady so deeply.  In honor of her one month of life, I wanted to type up her birth story, so I would always remember the day she arrived and changed our lives forever.

Eva’s due date was September 4, Labor Day.  A couple days before, I started having some semi-consistent pre-labor contractions, so I began wondering if we were getting close to some action.  On Sunday, September 3, around 8 PM I noticed my contractions getting even more consistent, and a bit more noticeable – not painful, but worth noting.  I couldn’t sleep that night so I started timing the contractions around midnight.  I took a warm bath and rested between the contractions, and the next morning was GAME ON.  Our goal was to labor at home (yes, on LABOR Day) for as long as possible, so we settled in for an intense day.  We tried several different laboring positions to manage the pain, and I ultimately found one that worked best for me — on my knees, hovering over a chair in my office.  And that’s pretty much where I stayed most of the day!!!  Around noon, Kate, our doula, came to the house to help coach us through the increasingly intense labor pains, and she took over  the task of timing my contractions.  Jake had been in touch with our midwife, Kathryn, since the night before, and around 3:30 PM called to tell her we were heading that way.  My contractions were around 4 minutes apart at that point.  We were close to entering the transition stage of labor, and I desperately wanted to be in the tub at the hospital for that stage, so we headed to Henrico Doctors Hospital to have our baby!

The car ride was something I was dreading.  Labor pains had been INTENSE and difficult to handle, and the idea of getting into a car was simply terrifying.  I’ll never forget what seemed like the greatest GRACE: my contractions calmed down during that 15 minute drive!  I know it is normal for changing locations to interrupt labor, but as soon as we stepped out of the car, my contractions were in full force again!  No setbacks, thankfully.  Jake and I did a little slow dance to work through that contraction, then into the hospital we went.  I don’t remember everything 100% clearly from this point on, because I was labor drunk in labor land.

As soon as I walked into our hospital room, the first thing I said was, “Is there a TUB in this room???”  Our midwife, Kathryn, reassured me that yes, there was a tub — but first we needed to briefly hit the monitors to check on the baby.  At this point Kathryn also checked to see how far along I was: this was one thing I was anxious about.  What if we had done ALL THAT WORK at home, and I was only at 2 cm?!!  I held my breath as she checked my cervix……..nearly 7 centimeters dilated!!  We were all so thrilled, and so proud to have worked through so much at home.  Finally Kathryn told me I could get into the tub, so that’s what I did for the remaining hour and a half of labor.  I had finally reached the transition stage, and it was A BEAR.  There had been times throughout my labor thus far that had me wondering if I could really do this, but transition had me nearly out of my mind.  It was intense, I was foggy from pain + exhaustion, and I had no time to wonder if I could actually do it… because that baby was coming, so I HAD to do it!  Jake kept repeating to me the affirmations I had written down during my pregnancy:

You can do this…
You ARE doing this…
You are STRONG…
All of this is for your baby…
You’re about to meet our baby…

Around 6 PM, Kathryn asked me to get out of the tub so she could check my status.  I was 9 cm dilated.  My water hadn’t broken, and the baby’s head was right behind it.  She said that if I started pushing, that my water bag likely would break from the pressure, sending my baby right on out (paraphrase).  SO, I started pushing!  It was a completely different sensation from the contractions, both separately and deeply intense.  Strangely enough, my water actually never broke.  Instead, I DELIVERED my water bag completely intact!  I essentially pushed out a water balloon of fluid!!!  It was WILD, and while I was still extremely labor drunk, I did find this to be kind of cool…

After 50 minutes of pushing, at 6:51 PM, our baby came into the world.  I cried a little typing that sentence.  HORMONES, OKAY.  Jake caught our baby, and brought her straight to my chest for skin-to-skin.  I looked at him and asked, “What is it?!”  And he said… “…I don’t know…”  I thought I was going to lose my mind until someone would tell me if we had a baby boy or baby girl!  As those few seconds passed, I found myself thinking… I think this baby on my chest is a baby girl.  I think I have a daughter!  Jake and one of the nurses lifted our baby back up off my chest, Jake peeked down below and said, “It’s a girl!”  Over and over again, I remember saying “My baby! This is my baby!”  7 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches long and entirely perfect in every way.  It was the most brutal yet magical day of my life.

I’ll shoot you straight: labor was ROUGH, but I expected it to be.  Recovery, on the other hand, was something I was not prepared for.  I tore pretty badly during delivery, which made life very challenging and painful for a few weeks.  I had no idea to expect such a slow and difficult recovery, which I think made the process all the more challenging.  I couldn’t be more thankful for Jake, who has taken on every possible role (except the milk supplier) and has taken care of me and miss Eva so very well.  Growing, delivering + caring for a baby — none of this is for the faint of heart!

This is definitely my longest blog post ever!  If you’ve made it to the end, you deserve a glass of wine.  I don’t have that for you, but here are a few pictures from our stay at the hospital!  Happy one month to my sweet love, Eva Catherine!  Your birthday, sweet one, is my favorite story every told.

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  • Teresa McDaniel

    How sweet yall have brought into tjis world another perfect AngelReplyCancel

  • Linda & Roy Peay

    aw….what a great story! You delivered an intact bag of water, too! That’s just crazy!!!

    I’m so happy for you three! How beautiful life is, from the first breath.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t know if I had a boy or girl yet, either. (I didn’t hear the doctor when Tyler came out) That’s really funny how you found out. ha haReplyCancel

  • Sarah

    Congratulations, Allison and Jake!!! I cried while reading the story of your Eva’s birthday story, reminded me of my Eva’s birthday which is quite different but 5&½ years ago, we were blessed to welcome our Eva to the world. Great job, Mama & thank God for great Daddies for our little ladies!!! Can’t wait to meet her!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jan Steincamp

    What a beautiful description! You two have been blessed, and what a beautiful story to share with your bundle of joy as she grows older. Congratulations to all.ReplyCancel

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