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What an awesome day!

I was once told that it is very difficult for anyone to truly understand how much God loves us, His children, until we look at our own children with the same love. I think I understand now. Our little girl was born today. Our first child.

We came to the hospital for a scheduled induction on Thursday evening (Dec. 18). Only at 1 cm dilated, they began cervidil that evening to “ripen” the cervix which, in turn, began some contractions almost immediately…though quite light at this time. About three hours later those light contractions began getting more intense. By 1 am, the contractions were an 8 or 9 on a 1 to 10 pain scale and things got a little crazy.

The nurse made the call to remove the cervidil to Heather’s delight…albeit almost as painful as the contractions themselves. The contractions continued and we were given the option to go ahead and get the epidural or just go with some general narcotics for the pain. Wanting to be as active as possible in the labor process (getting up, walking around, taking a bath/shower, etc.), we decided to go with the narcotics (since the epidural basically paralyzes you from the rib cage down.) The narcotic was given in two doses 30 minutes apart. The first one was clearly something Heather was enjoying! Though it did not curb the pain itself, it pretty much made her not care (as she said later). The next dose 30 minutes later actually worked on the pain itself. We were both able to get about 4-5 hours of off and on sleep…as much as you can with nurses coming in every 10 minutes to check on things and take vitals.

first-day-with-evangeline-001The next morning was strange. At about 6 or 6:30 am, they began the pitosin drip…which is the drug that actually starts the induction. It’s goal is to make the contractions stronger and more regular in occurrence. For Heather, it gave her 3 or 4 quick ones – about 1 or 2 minutes apart – then a longer break of 8-10 minutes in between. That continued for about 2 or 3 hours and our mothers showed up. My mom and I left to go to the cafeteria to get some breakfast real quick. While we were out, the doctor came in and broke Heather’s water. This was quite the catalyst for the next few hours of mayhem.

Within about 15 minutes, Heather dialated from 4 to 6 cm. Within another 30 minutes or so, was all the way to 10 cm (the highest you get…basically when it’s time to push).  The doctor came in shortly, and before I really understood what was happening, I was holding Heather’s left leg, pushing it against her chest, and listening to the doctor tell Heather to push as he counted to ten. “Wait, what? Isn’t there supposed to be a practice push or someone being told to go get the hot water or something?” It all happened so fast.

Well, unfortunately, after about 30-40 minutes of pushing every 5 minutes or so, the doctor was not impressed with Heather’s progress. With each contraction and coinciding push, the baby’s vitals seemed to dip lower than he was comfortable with. His instinct told him something else was going on and as suddenly as I found myself holding her left leg and hearing “Push”, I heard him saying, “As much as I hate to have to do C-sections, we need to do so here.” Within about 5 minutes, they had me a set of scrubs and were wheeling her out of the room for prep.

About 10 minutes later, they came and got me and we took ashort 30 yard walk across the hall was the C-section operating room. Heather was a little bit upset. We really didn’t want to have to do a C-section. I did my best to console her, tell her everything was going to be fine…and at the same time listen to everything that was going on. The anesthesiologist sat me on a stool by Heather’s head and told me I could look over the short curtain to see what was happening if I felt I could handle it. Since it all happened so fast and I hadn’t quite wrapped my mind around the situation, I felt like I could look.

They had already made the incision – a short 8 or 9 inch horizontal one a few inches below Heather’s belly button. They were working deep inside and cauterizing some things so – seeing smoke rise out of my wife’s belly – I sat back down. Heather expressed some worries about not feeling the baby move as much as normal a few days earlier…she thought this whole thing might have been her fault for not calling the doctor about that lack of movement. Knowing that had nothing to do with this, I did my best to reassure her in that. Then I popped up over the curtain, saw them reaching deep into my wife’s belly and knew something was about to happen. I grabbed the camera, turned it on – thankfully – and got ready for the first shot of our little baby.

first-day-with-evangeline-007First the head. Then with some maneuvering, the rest of the body…then, what we did not know until this moment…it was a little girl. I looked down at Heather and told her it was a little girl – something we both wished for. The doctor cut the cord, walked around the table, handed the baby off to the neo-natal unit (standard procedure in a C-section), and said something like, “Well, let’s get him all cleaned up and weighed.” Wait…”him”? I looked at Heather, she looked at me…”Did he just say ‘HIM’?” Then, the doctor himself said…”Did I just say ‘him’? I meant her…” Then I asked him where he got his license. And we all laughed.

After all the craziness, we’ve just been enjoying listening to her little coos, hiccups, and sneezes. Her cries are even music to our ears at this point (yes, I know that will change). She’s taken to breastfeeding quite well with at least 2 good-long 30 minute feedings. The others have been as if she were too tired to latch on and have been a little frustrating. But…the nursery offered to take care of her tonight so we could both get our sleep. They’ll bring her in if she gets wily and let her breast feed, then take her right back. It will be a great night of restful sleep.

Heather said to me, “Has your heart grown two sizes already?” (We had just watched Kim Carey in “The Grinch” the night before – The Grinch was so mean because “his heart was two sizes too small.”) I said I think more than two. SHe concurred.

first-day-with-evangeline-011It is so amazing what God has done. From the dreaded “infertility” word at one doctor’s appointment, to finally getting pregnant, having an uneventful pregnancy, with doctors and nurses telling us that the early progress looked like this was going to be an easy labor…to the trip across the hall into the operating room…God was there, comforting, assuring, guiding. When we got to hold our little girl for the first time…that instant bond that no one but parent to child can know…to hearing her sleep, burp, hiccup, sneeze, cry…there is nothing left to do but worship God Almighty.

To God be the glory forever and ever.

See more photos in a photo album on my Facebook page.


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