This day was wonderful and hard, a lot like many of the days I’ve experienced as a mom so far. But I’ve never felt the enabling power of the Atonement in my life as fully as I did then. And what a gift to have had that, on top of receiving the most incredible little girl as a daughter…
PRESS PLAY ↡
It was a Thursday, three days before Evelyn’s due date. I woke up that morning to the sound of my parents’ dog, Indiana, barking her head off at some passerby outside. I quickly got out of bed to go get her and remember immediately feeling cramps, so much so that I stopped to rest.
I went about my day, but the contractions were getting stronger. Things started getting painful so I started timing contractions. I wanted to spend my early labor trying to relax in the tub and it helped somewhat until I got nauseous. We called the hospital to let them, and Brandi, my birth story photographer, know it was go-time. I knew I was entering completely on an empty stomach, not having kept anything down since dinner the night before, and that made me nervous for my energy levels.
We watched Sesame Street in the NICU waiting area while they prepared a room for us and I tried to keep my cool. Finally we received a room. Our nurse was great- the first of many amazing nurses and staff members. It was important that I let them know our gratitude so we had brought a Thank You Basket filled with goodies for nurses and staff. This was something we offered everyone and honestly, I think it helped keep my mind off the pain when I could focus on making sure everyone knew our gratitude and took a treat from the basket.
I hadn’t done my makeup- so I sneaked in a little makeup sesh before contractions got too unbearable. Then they got unbearable. I don’t know if you’ve heard this before but LABOR HURTS. I tried Nitrous Oxide to help my anxiety and ability to breath but it didn’t last for long. As Jordan says, this is the point when I started “Yelling Nicely” for people to do things: Get me chapstick, water, puke bags (I vomited 5 times by my epidural).
Back labor was hitting me really hard and those double hip compressions were my friend and if not for Jordan, I may not have survived those most painful contractions. He was my rock throughout the entire process and it brings me to tears to think of how much love he showed me that day, and every day still. I truly lucked out with this one. Here he is getting some of the tangles out from my 2 day-old braid. Who does that? Jordan. He does.
I was progressing pretty steadily. I knew exactly when I was ready for my epidural. I was so ready to get that sucker. I had never focused on breathing so much in my life when I went through those few contractions during the epidural insertion.
The epidural was AWESOME. When you go from feeling such intense pain to feeling virtually nothing at all- you really appreciate modern medicine. I was saying so many prayers of gratitude at this point. Jokes and laughter began flowing more easily. I was still very tired but so excited to meet Evelyn. We all were. I tried to take a nap but there was just too much going on.
The OB resident broke my water and I started pushing with coaching from my nurse. It turned out that there was meconium in the sac and this meant Evee would be checked out by the NICU staff immediately after birth. I will never forget how much love my mom, mother-in-law, Sheila, and my husband have for me when I think about how they held me while I pushed (for what would be 3 hours!) Seriously. If that doesn’t say true and unconditional love, I don’t know what does!
Thank heavens I could see the contractions on the monitor otherwise I really didn’t know when to push. The main sensations I had were intense hunger, thirst (I chewed on ice the whole time), breathlessness after pushing, having a dry throat (from the breathlessness) and a gratitude for the people around me and my Savior.
It helped me more than anything to know that whatever pain I was going through- the Savior has felt that pain for me and because of that, I knew I could succeed in giving birth to a healthy baby girl.
Before I knew it, my doctor and some staff came in and informed me that Evelyn’s fist was up by her face, making it difficult for her to pass through the birth canal. Of course this worried me but I knew that they were going to do everything they could from keeping me from getting a C-Section and I was going to give every human effort I possessed to get her there. In the end, they used a vacuum-assisted delivery which gave her a bruise on her scalp that went away within a few weeks.
I wanted my focal point to be Evee’s ultrasound, but I forgot to tell someone to pin it up for me until the last moments. So I settled with a “Safety First” document next to the bathroom. lol I studied that thing harder than I’ve ever studied anything before. But I still have no clue what it really said.
Things started getting real. My mom told me to push with all my might. It was not easy! 3 hours of intense pushing will exhaust you. By some miracle (I know many mothers are familiar with), Evelyn Cheryl was born. She was born at 12:05 am. One year to the date after Jordan’s dear Grandma Cheryl passed from her earthly life.
Evelyn’s first cry evoked the most tender feelings of my heart! It was so unreal that we could actually hear the voice of our baby. Immediately the tears started flowing. Looking up at Jordan, I could see tears in his eyes. He was fixated on her and I knew all the love and gratitude he was feeling in that very moment. As I saw her for the first time, I saw a head full of hair and said, “She has hair!” (Let it be known that I was very nervous she would be bald, like many of my nieces were at first.)
Because of the meconium, I wasn’t able to have her laid on my tummy immediately for skin-to-skin. She was whisked away to the warmer and examined by NICU. I kept peaking over at the warmer where Evee and Jordan were. I could see my dad taking pictures of her as the nurses worked. It felt like eternity until I could hold her. My heart truly goes out to all the women whose babies have complications or who have C-sections and aren’t able to hold their little ones right away. They finally came and placed her in my arms. She was so beautiful. As corny as it sounds, truly the child of my dreams!!
I remember feeling that she was so alert and calm for having just been born. Like, that was hard for me to deliver a baby, but can you imagine what these little babies have to go through?!
It touched me how she looked right at me and held eye contact. Even when Jordan held her, she looked right at him. I could feel that she already knew us. It was the best feeling ever to cuddle there together as a family for the first time. I felt so much love for this little baby and so much added love for Jordan. I will never forget that kind of peace and joy we felt together.
Brandi, our birth story photographer stayed a while to document our first moments together as a family. I am so grateful we found her and hired her! Having images of life’s most precious moments means the world to me; to come back and remember those feelings of love, sacrifice, miracles and support. Not only did she document the most monumental time in our lives, but she was a great friend to me and my family the entire day. I love that these images can help me remember the way I felt in these first moments of Evee’s life and how it changed our family forever.
Having a surgeon as a father sure makes you a celebrity at the hospital. I learned this when I had my kidney stone removal in December. lol It is always nice to hear the good stories and admiration people have for my father. He really is a great example of charity in the community. I already knew how amazing he is but these interactions always make me remember how proud I am to be his daughter!
Sheila and my dad hugged and kissed us and left as soon as things settled down. And my mom was ready to leave by about 2 am. I am so grateful things worked out so that they could be there to experience Evelyn’s birth.
I am so excited to spend our lives with baby Evee and watch her grow into the beautiful, good daughter of God she is. I hope that we do the best we can to raise her as such. And enjoy every beautiful moment as it is happening.
If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. This is a beautiful story to me and the photographs bring that to life so much more. I hope you’ve been touched by the story of Evelyn’s birth. It’s a day we’ll cherish for a long, long time.