January 13 started out normal enough. It was a Thursday, and was my first day back on campus at UT. I drove down early that morning and had class all day. I knew going that it was a risk – that it was always a possibility that Elizabeth could go in to labor at any time. Classes ended and there were no urgent calls. Labor had not commenced. I was a little disappointed – knowing that a Thursday birth would be great! Family could come in because of the weekend, and I would have the most amount of time possible before having to go back to school.
When I got home, Elizabeth had already been walking, drank a small dose of castor oil, and was making spicy chicken tortilla soup. She was trying everything possible to get labor started. Nothing seemed to work, so we went to bed a little early.
“Alex – I think this could be it.”
It was 3 AM, and I woke up immediately. It was like someone had thrown a bucket of cold water on me. I jumped out of bed. Elizabeth was going to take a shower and I was going to make sure everything was in the car and ready to go.
In around 30 minutes we were loaded up and driving to the hospital. By now Elizabeth was really starting to hurt. I got us to the hospital as quickly and safely as I could. Now Elizabeth was having contractions that wee so painful that she had to stop walking when they came on. We got in to the emergency room and they took us back to labor and delivery. We hadn’t sent out the text to family yet because we wanted to be sure that this was for real first.
The nurse checked Elizabeth out and told us that we were in labor (at around 5 cm dilated) and should let people know. I sent out the text: “THUNDERCATS HOOOOOOOOO!!!”
This was around 5 AM. Elizabeth began to have heavy contractions.
I got great news from the nurses desk – our doctor, Dr. Gernt was on call all weekend! Our doula, Amy, arrived and helped to coach Elizabeth and guide her into the right positions for labor. We also had a nurse shift change that resulted in an old friend of mine, Lauren, being our nurse. This was great, as she is very familiar with natural birth methods and was so extremely helpful.
Elizabeth was checked and we were told she was now at 7 cm. Wow. Things were moving quick. It wasnt even 6:30! Elizabeth was having really tough labor pains. I have never seen her hurting so much. It was so hard to see it and not be able to do anything tangible. I just kept telling her how great she was doing and reminding her of our sweet little boy that would soon be there.
7:00 AM. She is now dilated to 9. Twenty minutes later, Dr. Gernt breaks her water. We are about to start pushing!
I am starting to get excited knowing where we are. This is going by so fast!! Lauren tells Elizabeth she can go ahead and start pushing. About 10 minutes in Elizabeth says “I think I can feel him coming!” Amy calls the nurse and about 30 people descend into the room. Dr. Gernt comes in and gets ready. Now its go time. She tells Elizabeth to push as hard as she can. Elizabeth gets moved so the baby can come out more naturally. This was probably really comical to see – Lauren holding one leg, Amy the other – while I held Elizabeth’s hands and urged her on. With each push I can see Evan’s head coming forward.
After one series of pushes Dr. Gernt says, “Elizabeth do you want to feel his head?” Doing this helped Elizabeth to see how far we were and how close Evan was to being born. After that she was a woman possessed. She pushed so hard it was crazy. In just a few more pushes Evans head came out. Dr. Gernt asked Elizabeth if she wanted to help deliver the baby. Elizabeth reached down and grabbed Evan out and put him on her chest. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.
He was born. 8:27 AM. 6lbs. 12 ounces & 20 inches long. We cried and we laughed. It was such an amazing and happy moment.
I got handed scissors and cut the umbilical cord. This was a really strange feeling, but I am glad I did it. After that things calmed down a little. Evan latched and fed with Elizabeth – while she had him I went out and told the family he was here!
I went back and saw him get weighed, footprints get taken and all of those special things.
All in all Evans birth was very quick, and was just amazing. I cannot describe what it feels like. When I saw him for the first time I just knew my life was going to be totally different. Later, I got to give him his first bath – an experience I would never give up. It was such a cool time for the two of us.
Evan is so lucky to have so much loving family. Eric drove all the way from Orlando and stayed the weekend with us. Patrick and Chelsea drove down from Cleveland. WE had family, friends, loved ones – everyone came in to see the little guy. Evan has so many wonderful uncles – Eric, Wes, Joey, Adam – what a lucky little guy.
Looking back – I am just so proud of Elizabeth. She is amazing. She made it through Evan’s birth naturally (I knew she could do it!), and is the most perfect mother I have ever seen. The way she cares for Evan is just….it makes me so happy. Thats the only way I can describe it. It is just a joy to see her with him.
Evan is beautiful. He has a full head of cool hair that I play with every day. He has pretty blue eyes and the cutest little nose. He chirps like a bird and has the most random arm movements ever. He has to have his hands close to his face – always. Swaddling his hands does not work – he just wont have it! When he gets really hungry or upset and cries his lower lip quivers and it is the most precious/heartbreaking thing I have ever seen.
Last night was our first night at home, and while we arent getting much sleep, I had my little man on my chest for a few hours while he slept. It remains one of my favorite things I have ever done.
Lily is adjusting just fine, by the way. She seems to know the boundaries and has just been great so far. What a relief!
While having Evan is wonderful and he is so sweet, it is also very taxing! We knew it would be, but wow! We arent geting much sleep yet, and household duties have certainly fallen behind! I am going to have to kick it into high gear! I have school tomorrow, which means driving to Knoxville. I am not ready to leave my family just yet!!!
Evan has been eating a lot more today, so hopefully we will get some more sleep tonight! New babies are so sweet! Sometimes its hard to just let him sleep – I just want to pick him up and hold him!