Thursday, September 1, 2011

Evelyn Frances Nulk: A Birth Story

    Evelyn is truly a gift from God and answer to prayer.  We had just moved to Fort Leonard Wood in July 2010 and found out a few days later we were pregnant with baby number two! We were so thrilled to add to our family. Already I daydreamed of onesies and bunk beds. Then in early September I went in for my 12 week check up only to find out the baby had no heartbeat. Michael & I were crushed. It made me all the more desperate for another child…the one I had been dreaming about since the positive pregnancy test. After a few months of tears and disappointments we found out end of November that we were pregnant again! We were cautiously optimistic because of what happened previously. After a few ultrasounds confirming a strong steady heartbeat I started to get excited again. Then came the morning sickness and fatigue…but I didn’t mind because it all meant little baby was growing! And then at my 18 week appointment came the shocking news that we were expecting a girl!!! We were so sure it was another boy I had actually picked out bunks and baby boy crib bedding. It was a wonderful surprise to imagine a baby girl to hold and cuddle with. Visions of purple, pink, lace and bows danced in my head!

  Let’s fast forward to my last month of pregnancy. As most of you know, Gabe was born via c-section due to his breech position. The recovery was rough and I really did not want to go through surgery again. Thus Michael & I were hoping and praying for a VBAC. The doctor believed I was a good candidate for it and was very supportive of our birth plan. Unfortunately Miss Evie had plans of her own.  From 36 weeks on I think I walked 100 miles trying to get Evie to drop. Mind you it was August and 100 degrees everyday! I was not a happy preggo those last few weeks. I did everything recommended to naturally induce labor but nothing seemed to work. It was as if my body did not get the message it was time to have the baby! At my 40 week check-up I was not even dilated a centimeter and barely effaced. All that means is I was nowhere near labor. My doctor was reluctant to induce me (more dangerous for a VBAC) but said it did not appear I was going into labor on my own anytime soon. So we collectively made the decision to go ahead and do a repeat c-section. My OB was going out of town for a week but his colleague, Dr. Murphy, offered to do the surgery just 2 days later. Dr. Murphy was great; he answered all our questions and put us at ease. We left the hospital that day feeling a combination of disappointment and excitement…if that’s possible! I was so relieved to know there was an end in sight, but saddened the VBAC wasn’t working out. It made me feel like I was giving up.

    On the day of August 11 we were up at 4 am to get ready and head over to the hospital. We arrived by 5am and checked in and started blood work and an IV. Surgery was supposed to start around 7am but the anesthesia group had some mandatory class and didn’t arrive till 8am. Dr. Murphy was impressed by how calm I was. I did actually feel very peaceful about the surgery that morning. Evie had a strong heartbeat and I knew I’d get to meet her in a mere few hours! Also, MICHAEL WASN’T DEPLOYING IN 2 WEEKS!!! It’s amazing what that does for morale!! So finally by 8ish they had Michael suit up in his scrubs and they rolled me into the operating room. This is where I got really scared. The whole atmosphere in there is nerve wracking. The bright lights, stainless steel, group of strangers and the anesthesiologist telling you to lean forward and get ready for the bee-sting (the spinal) does not really put one at ease. You feel completely vulnerable; not to mention you’re pretty much naked from the waist down. Kind of humiliating. As soon as the spinal was administered I began to feel nauseous. This had happened to me last time, but this anesthesiologist was a rock star. I told him how I felt and he immediately gave me meds that cleared it right up. I actually felt great the whole surgery! Instead of puking all over my shoulder like when Gabe was born.
I also felt a lot calmer when Michael came in and held my hand. Within about 5 minutes after beginning they had Evie out. Dr. Murphy actually held her up over the drape for me to see her right after! She was crying and squirming and just perfect! I thought her face looked a lot like Gabe’s. Then they took her over to a warming bed to clean her off a bit. Michael got to be with Evie all during this time. They brought her back over to me to see before taking her off to the nursery. We snapped a family pic and I gave her soft little cheek a kiss and then had to say goodbye for a few hours. Michael accompanied Evie so I went through the rest of surgery by myself. 

The rest of surgery went great though. I think it took maybe another 30 mins or so for Dr. Murphy to sew me up. The nurse later told me he was very careful about making the perfect incisions and then later removing the previous scar tissue and adhesions. I like hearing that my surgeon is a perfectionist- it's very comforting. I was then sent down to recovery. This was different than when Gabe was born. As soon as surgery was done I went to a recovery room with Gabe. But at Fort Leonard wood they have the mom’s go recover for a few hours before being reunited with the baby. I think the nurses down in recovery disapproved that I was separated from Evie for so long. I actually didn’t mind too much because the elevator ride down made me terribly nauseous. And the meds they gave me down there didn’t work that time. So I was out of it at this point. Michael came down and showed me a video he took on his phone of Evie. He told me she was 7 lbs 5 oz and 20.5 inches long! I couldn’t believe how small she was! I thought she’d be bigger than Gabe was since he was born at 38 weeks (he was 7 lbs 10 oz and 21 ¾ inches) and she went the whole 40!  It was funny, all the nurses wanted to see the video and they kept asking when they could send me up to the room to be with Evie. Michael was concerned that one of her feet looked turned in. But later on the pediatrician came and checked her over and said her feet were just fine. I guess were a little over-sensitive since Gabe was born with club feet. Eventually Michael left again and the head nurse down there finally said I needed to be with Evie so get me upstairs to the mother-baby unit ASAP! It was really nice to get to my room and rest for a bit. I got to hold Evie for the first time and she was just so tiny and beautiful! She fit perfectly in my arms and I was just sooo happy to be done with everything and gaze at her. Michael was completely in love…he just glowed as he talked about her. Soon he was making phone calls and sending pics to anxious grandparents!   

      I finally was given a dose of something that worked to knock out the nausea which was awesome. It did make me drowsy though. But I felt good enough to have my mom and Gabe come over to meet Evie! My mom was awesome through all this! I felt so relaxed because I knew Gabe was completely taken care of and happy. She even brought over lunch and cookies J! Gabe was interested in baby sister for a few mins, then his curiosity with the hospital room took over! My mom got to hold Evie at only a few hours old which was really special. I was so happy to have her there; we didn’t have any family visit us in Texas when Gabe was born so this was especially fun!
    I should also add that Michael casually mentioned to me that Evie had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck two times! No one had told me that during the surgery but I guess all the nurses were whispering “thank God she had a c-section”. With the cord wrapped twice around, I would’ve likely ended up with a crash section anyways.  It was strange, but in that moment Michael told me, I felt total peace about having the repeat c-section. I actually exclaimed to him, “Why didn’t you tell me earlier!? That makes me feel so much better!” God knew that it was the safest way to deliver Evelyn to us. Hearing that was total confirmation that we made the right decision to do surgery. I had felt a bit unsure up until that point…like maybe I should have waited longer to attempt a VBAC. But it was not meant to be and Evie was born exactly how she needed to be! We are so thankful to have her in our lives!

   Whew!  Well there’s her story. I still need to do Gabe’s! Evie is doing awesome and my recovery has been dramatically different this time around. Also Evie is breast-feeding like a champ. That was another prayer of mine and Evie latched on immediately and has been eating fabulously. We are just so happy to be a family of four!
     Evie we love you so much, welcome to the family!


Kara W said...

Laurie, i love birth stories and this is beautifully written and so wonderful! I'm so so sorry for your loss, but overjoyed that you have sweet Evie. That is incredible about deciding to have a c-section even without knowing about the cord around her neck--what a miracle/blessing, thank God! Enjoy these early days, keep rockin' that breastfeeding, and keep posting pictures, I am an addict! :)

Laurie and Mike said...

Thanks Kara! I feel bad i haven't written Gabe's yet but someday i'll be motivated. I decided to write Evie's since it's much more pleasant and fresh in my mind. Breastfeeding is tough...i get pretty sore and exhausted at the night feedings, but Evie latches right on and goes to town. And so far i think my milk production is pretty good. The hardest thing for me is getting a burp sometimes! I swear at all the 2 am feedings Evie till take 20 mins to burp! I loved your birth story about Nathan btw...your little boys are so sweet!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Laurie and Mike. Evie really is a miracle baby. A twice wrapped UC does not usually have such a happy ending. I think someone was looking out for you when you agreed to the repeat. She is a beautiful baby and lucky to join such a beautiful family. And, don't worry...Gabe will get much more interested in his new sister very soon.

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