People say that life will never be the same once you have a child- everything will change, but in the best way possible.
Our sweet little Evalyn Mae Petz was born May 13, 2017, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces, and 21 inches in length. This little bundle of joy came 10 days early, but we sure didn’t mind.
It was a Wednesday night. I was relaxing in bed when I realized that I hadn’t felt the baby move for over a few hours. Which was very odd because she was very active…all the time! My husband said not to worry, and after thinking I was being a little paranoid, we decided not to worry. But I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right (mama instincts kicking in)! So, the next morning, I woke up to find no movement again. I waited a little longer, and then a little more longer. And after desperately trying to find an answer on Google (which was even more misleading), and asking around, I decided to call my doctor. After explaining my situation, the nurse sounded a little concerned and suggested I have a cold cup of water with ice, and lay on my back to see if the baby will move. It took about 2 minutes (which felt like an eternity) until I finally felt a sharp kick, “THANK GOD!” I cried out. But after a while, I felt nothing again. It was terrifying. So I called the doctor’s office back, and they suggested I came in right away for some vitals testing. It was at this moment, everything changed…
With my head spinning with frustration and anxiety, I grabbed my (half packed) hospital bag and bolted out the door with my husband. All I could think of in those moments was about the safety of my baby. I remember crying and praying that the Lord would protect this sweet child in me, on the whole ride to the hospital. And He did.
When we got to the hospital, I was taken into a triage room in order for the nurses to take my vitals. They quickly set me up and started whispering and mumbling under their breaths, which was very concerning. “What is it?”, “what’s wrong?”,” is everything ok?”… is all I could repeat. Then they quickly set me up with oxygen and an IV because the baby had an deceleration in heart rate. At that moment I broke down in tears. How could this be happening? But the nurses reassured me saying that everything was going to be ok because it was only a 3-minute slow down in heart rate.
After waiting for 4 hours, the doctor finally came in. He advised us that he was concerned about the lack of fetal movement and the 3 minute drop in heart rate. He continued to say that since I was 38 weeks at that point, there was no reason to send me back home. So he advised that being induced (the next day) would be my safest option. We prayed and trusted his judgment. And it was at that point we realized we were not leaving this hospital without a baby! I could hardly wait… until I reminded myself of the birth pains I would have to experience before.
So, the following day I was induced. I twiddled my fingers and slept for half the day with no progress. Even though I had contractions 3-5 minutes apart, I felt nothing. The nurses kept asking, “did you feel that one?” And I always responded, “nope.” I almost started to think this would be a piece of cake, ha!
Once again, the doctor came in, to check the progress and with only being 0.5cm dilated, he decided to stop the induction, and start again the following day.
At 2 am the next morning I was induced. I didn’t have many expectations for this day either, but boy was I wrong…
I started feeling different. My contractions started to get closer, but I still didn’t feel much pain. I was a little confused? So my husband (who was sleeping on the pull-out hospital couch beside me) woke up and decided to go home quickly to grab a few more last minute things, and freshen up. I didn’t think anything would change any time soon, so I didn’t mind. Ummm, nope! One hour after he left I started feeling excruciating pain! It was as if someone pricked me with needles all of a sudden. Every moment was unbearable, and then…water. Lots of water. Everywhere. I quickly called for the nurse in a panic! She hurried over and confirmed that my water broke. And at that time, I gave in and wanted the epidural. The anesthesiologist was there within 10 minutes. I had no regrets getting the epi ’cause the pain was getting worse and worse with every contraction. And where was my husband? Taking his time of course, not thinking it would happen this quickly. He wasn’t there to witness any of this, but was around for all the waiting time, funny how life works, huh? He was well on his way after I sent him a few messages with caps locks, ha! He felt really bad, but I was so happy to have him there with me again. My legs started to get numb instantly (which was a terrible feeling), and I started dilating about 1 cm every hour. This was happening!
Finally, it was time to push. The epidural was administered, I had my husband by my side, and I was excited to meet this baby!
But one hour passed, and nothing. Two hours passed, and the baby barely moved. By 2.5 hours, I started experiencing excruciating back pain! I can’t describe this pain, all I can say is that it was worse than any of my contractions, I felt every ache and with every push, it only got worse. After 4 hours of pushing I was done. I threw up a few times, cried out of back pain, and had no more physical strength in my body. It was at that moment the Doctor determined that the baby was occipito-posterior (OP) position. Meaning, the baby is head down but facing the wrong way–the stomach. This was the reason for prolonged delivery and the severe back pain I experienced. The doctor made it clear there was no way I was delivering this baby naturally. It was like trying to, “fit a square pig through a round hole,” in his own words lol. The nurses began preparing me for a c-section. I sure didn’t mind at that point. I finally understood the meaning of exhaustion.
A minute later, they quickly put me on a mobile bed and rushed me to the operating room. This is when the extreme anxiety kicked in. This room was set up like a scene from Grey’s Anatomy. Everyone was moving quickly, and quietly to prepare everything for the surgery. And all I could think of was PAIN! My lower back was still in agony. The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted a higher dose, and I screamed YES! My whole body was shaking (to what seemed like a seizure to me) from all the medication. I couldn’t help but think when all of this would be over. Never was I in such distress. Then they began. The Doctor, scalpel in hand, began cutting my stomach open. I screamed out, “I can feel that!!!!”. The anesthesiologist immediately increased the dose, and in seconds I was sleepier than sleepy. Then all the beeping noises and my husband’s supportive words became faint sounds…and I began drifting into a state of an unknown with weird dreams. I actually thought I was dead. The pain was gone, but the dreams were so vivid…but I was just in a very deep anesthesia-induced sleep!
From what I recall, suddenly (which felt like 10 seconds to me), I was awakened to monitors beeping, and a baby’s cry. I was so drowsy from the heavy sedation I could barely keep my eyes open. My body shaking. What was going on? What happened? Where is my baby? Was all I could think of. Until I started crying out, “My baby? Where is my baby?” And there she was. In my husband’s arms, as he gently passed her to me. This little human who was in me was finally in this world. I so badly wanted to be fully awake for this moment, and the moment that I missed when she was delivered, that I couldn’t hold back the tears. As my husband and the nurse tried to comfort me, they placed my little Evalyn on my chest (I needed support because my body was shaking from the meds) all I could recall was tears of joy, and the repetition of, “my baby, oh my baby.” She immediately latched on to feed, as if she already knew I was her source of nourishment and warmth. It was in that moment that I forgot all my troubles. All the agony of that traumatic experience vanished. It was worth it. She was worth it.
Moments later the doctor confirmed his initial suspicion; that she was indeed OP positioned, and because she was, the baby’s head simply did not fit into the birth canal…and very rarely can a woman actually deliver an OP-positioned baby naturally. When the baby is faced upward (posterior), the mother is forced to push the biggest circumference of the baby’s head through her canal. And because the top of the head enters the pelvis first, the head of the baby is the largest at that point and is extremely difficult to push through. Trying to do so with the help of birthing assistance devices like a vacuum, or tongs, would have lead to severe complications to the baby: internal bleeding, brain damage, and more due to the force applied to the baby’s tender head. Back to the story…As I look at my sweet Evalyn and think of all those possible factors, I can’t help but tear up knowing all of the “what-ifs ” and “could haves” that could have happened. And seeing how perfect every feature and part of her body is leaves me amazed. The Lord preserved and protected her. He answered our prayers and kept her safe. My heart rejoices in knowing that, and seeing the miracle of life right before my eyes, from my own body. This whole process, the wonder of procreation, so normal and natural, yet miraculous nonetheless unfolded little by little. From conception–to nine months of pregnancy–to labor–to May 13, 2017, to birth. And now I have this little human in my arms to hold...my heart is so full.
P.S. Thank you for all of you who prayed for us at the time. Although it was a traumatic experience, I felt peace and comfort in a time of distress.