Our baby Evelina is now three weeks old and I can’t believe it. The most common thing that any parent tells you when you have a child is how quickly time goes and I understand why - it seems like just a few minutes ago that I was lying in the hospital with our new born baby lying on my with her big blue eyes all confused. While I have five minutes (or however long Evelina’s latest nap lasts), I thought I would try to bash out the birth story, it being the start of the most monumental change in our lives. Hopefully, I will find time to fill in the rest of the last three weeks - it’s amazing how one tiny being can take up so much time.
Picking up from where I left off then, we arrived at the hospital and even though it is only three weeks ago, this whole part seems pretty hazy to me. We were shown to an empty labour room - the labour suite was pretty quiet by all accounts so we were able to get into a room straight away rather than being put on the antenatal ward which is where women are usually assessed upon arrival and where you have to stay if you are less than 4cm dilated and don’t want to go home. Given our particular house situation and because it was quiet, we were able to stay in the first of three labour rooms we were to inhabit over the next few hours.
This is the birth in a nutshell (warning - I am a total whinger and not nearly as brave as I thought):
- The contractions hurt really badly straight away which I was not prepared for. I had the impression that they would get progressively worse as I got more dilated. I was right but I had underestimated the starting point.
- I could not get my head around only being checked on every four hours. I kinda hoped it would all be over before then!
- At around 12 noon, after 6 hours of really painful contractions, I asked for some pain relief (the TENS machine and the bath I tried both failed to take the edge off sufficiently. I needed me some gas and air).
- I was instead offered the birth pool for which I had already asked. I jumped at the chance (not literally. I was in no shape for jumping).
- At first the pool was groovy. Pain relief was nice. To start with.
- Baby Girl decided to make things spicy by turning inside me. After being in a good delivery position for weeks, she turned so her back was to my back. Gas and air was provided. It helped initially but this change in position led to a nigh-on-impossible-to-resist-urge-to-push. I was only 5-6cms at the time.
- *Caution: cervical TMI ahead* After 3 hours of hard labouring,l I made no progress at all and in fact, the uncontrolled pushing had started to cause my cervix some damage meaning I was going backwards, if anything.
- At about 4pm, upon hearing this ‘fantastic’ news, I felt utterly defeated and the midwife suggested an epidural. Despite my previous misgivings, I agreed immediately - I felt there was no other way I could continue. And it’s not like you are queuing for a rollercoaster and decide not to take a turn.
- The worst hour of the whole day was from the moment of getting out of the pool (apparently, the warmth of the water was giving me more pain relief than I realised) to when the epidural finally kicked in. Not fun = waters breaking / urge to push / regular bitchin’ contractions while a kind man sticks a long needle in my back.
- Once the pain relief kicked in, everything changed. My delivery went from being stressful, painful and totally demoralising to a pretty fun experience. No, really! My midwife realised I was very dehydrated and hungry having not had anything to eat all day except three bites of banana at about 7am. Several bottles of isotonic drinks, a couple of chocolate puddings, a bowl of celery soup and a cup of tea later and I was feeling MUCH better.
- Finally, the three CDs of music I had burned from my relaxing Welcoming Baby playlist came into play (I really did NOT want to listen to music before this) and we listened to them all at least twice.
- Within 3 hours, I had progressed to 9cm dilated without even feeling my contractions. In fact, when I started feeling a little uncomfortable at about 8pm as the epidural started to wear off, I had a top up!
- My midwife told a porky to the sister in charge and gave me an extra hour to get my strength back before starting to push. If anyone would have told me beforehand that I would be glad to have my labour extended by an hour, I would have thought that was crazy but I was so relaxed and comfortable, I was almost dreading the last stage - the pushing.
- My pushing lasted for 2 and a half hours which is pretty long even for someone with an epidural which means I was exhausted but free from pain.
- The final push delivered her completely - head, shoulders and body - all in one go. I can still picture her grey little body appearing and I can still feel the overwhelming happiness that flooded the room. Evelina was born and she was perfect.
- *Caution - more TMI ahead* Within minutes, she was crying. She had her first wee on the midwife as she checked her over, she had her first poo on Rich as he held her while I was being stitched (that final push may have been impressive but it had its consequences!) and she had her first feed on me soon after.
I am not sure if I am a major wimp or whether there is some unspoken code about not talking about how horrible labour can be (if the latter, then I have blatantly broken this code so apologies). That said, I never once thought I could not go through it again and Evelina is worth every minute of pain and worry. She’s ace.
As soon as we found out we were having a baby, I started obsessing about names. I bought or borrowed four or five baby name books and started making lists. Trying to get Rich to discuss names at that early stage was not easy. He insisted that when the time came, he’d find the name which we would end up choosing. Aggravating as it is, he was right. We both liked the name Evelyn bur when he found the Italian variant Evelina, it quickly became a favourite. We had two final choices ready for when Baby Girl arrived and once she was born, she just looked exactly like an Evelina. We also liked that it could be shortened to lots of things, Evie and Lena being our favourites.
Her two middle names are names we both love but also honour special people. isobel is mother’s middle name and Sydney is the girl version of Sidney who was Rich’s great grandfather - the only grandparent he ever really knew. Sydney also happened to be a pretty damn cool character in Alias but that was just a happy coincidence.
Of course despite giving our daughter three good names we tend to call any of the following:
- sweet pea
- baby girl