I have never written down Evje's birth story. I probably should before I forget. Here's what happened. (warning, warning, this is going to be quite long!)
My pregnancy with Evje was uneventful and really one of the best times of my life. Honestly, I loved being pregnant. It took us 3 years to conceive Evje, so when I finally got pregnant, I was thrilled to the core. My main pregnancy symptom was being incredibly hungry at all times. I could eat a full meal and then be starving again in an hour. If I didn't eat, it made me feel sick, and then nothing looked good to eat because I felt sick, but I was so hungry that I absolutely had to eat. If you know me well, you know that even when I'm not pregnant, I get a little "testy" when I'm really hungry. When I'm pregnant and hungry, better watch out. I didn't really have any cravings, but when I was super hungry, a nice milkshake usually hit the spot. Other than my extreme hunger, I didn't have any other pregnancy symptoms; very little nausea, only threw up twice. Pregnancy was fun.
Evje's due date was May 4. On the morning of Saturday, April 30, I started having painless contractions. They didn't hurt at all, but I could feel my uterus contracting. It was pretty exciting, knowing that our long-awaited baby was finally on her way. We went about our day; among other things, we drove out to Rush Valley to check on the cows. I remember walking through the field, my imagination going a little crazy as I thought about what would happen if I had to deliver my baby in the cow field. Would the paramedics get there in time, or would Clayton have to deliver her, with our dogs watching? I know he's delivered plenty of calves, and Joel and Clayton teased me throughout calving season that they would pull out the calving chains and calf puller when I went into labor...hilarious, I know...but delivering a human baby is slightly different than delivering a calf. I figured that he and I together could probably get the job done.
We realized that the baby would probably be coming within the next day or two, but it was our first baby and we weren't entirely sure what to expect, and first babies typically take a long time to arrive. My contractions were still quite painless as the day went on, but I could definitely feel them. We watched a movie together that night, our last night as a two-member family. When we went to bed around 11:30pm, things were finally starting to get a bit painful. I tried to sleep, but was much too excited, and spent the next few hours timing contractions. Around 2:30am, painful contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes, so I woke up Clayton and told him that it was time to go! Before we left, I asked Clayton to give me a priesthood blessing, that I might have some comfort and reassurance during this nerve-wracking time.
We got checked into the Women's Center of the hospital, and got all hooked up to the monitors. I was dilated to 4cm and was having painful contractions every few minutes. My water still hadn't broken, so the nurses advised us to try to get some rest while my labor progressed. Easier said than done, but we tried to rest.
Having never had a baby before, I didn't know what labor would feel like, or what levels of pain I would be able to tolerate. I told the nurse that I wanted to labor on my own as long as I could before considering an epidural. I know that every woman experiences different things during labor, and some can handle pain better than others. For me, as the night went on, contractions got more and more painful, and I decided to stop being so silly and just get the dang epidural.
I think the anesthesiologist came in around 6am. I got the epidural, but told the anesthesiologist that I still wanted to be able to feel enough to push, so I asked for only a small dose of pain medication. An hour or two went by, and contractions were still quite painful. Having never had an epidural before, I didn't know what it was supposed to feel like, even with just a small dose of medication. When the doctor came in to break my water and realized that I could still feel what she was doing (ouch), she called the anesthesiologist back to our room. When he arrived, it was determined that only the right half of my body was numb. The left half was still painfully feeling everything. So, lucky me, I got to have a second epidural administered. Torture, let me tell you.
When the doctor broke my water, it was determined that there was meconium (fetus poop) in the fluids, and there was some worries that the baby would inhale some of the meconium and get an infection.
Still progressing through labor. It was pain-free for about an hour or two, but right before I started to push, the medication was beginning to wear off on my left side again. Good times. So I got to push being only halfway numb. It hurt. I pushed for an hour and a half with very little progress. I was exhausted. Pushing out a baby is hard work! Our doctor came in to evaluate my progress, which was not much, and determined that, with the risk of the baby having swallowed some of the meconium, things were taking too long and she would like to do a c-section to get baby out sooner. She told me that it was possible that my pelvic bones were too narrow to allow the baby through. I was crushed, and very scared to have surgery, but having been in labor already for 12 hours and pushing for an hour and half, I just wanted to get to get the baby out. We agreed to the c-section.
When we got to the operating room, the anesthesiologist gave me enough medication to knock out a horse. He wanted to be sure that I wouldn't feel any of the surgery, especially since we had trouble with the epidural before. Well, I guess the third time's the charm, because I was completely numb from the neck down. It was a really really weird feeling. When they lifted me onto the operating table, it seriously felt so strange, almost like I was falling. Anyway, the doctors did their thing, cut me open, and took the baby out. They held her up long enough for me to see her, and then the nurses took her to be cleaned, and to check her breathing. Fortunately, our sweet baby was fine. The nurses all commented on how strong she was, how lovely, and how loud her cry was. It was heaven to hear my baby cry for the first time. Evje Robin Sagers was born at 2:30pm on Sunday, May 1. She weighed 7lbs 6oz, and was 21 inches long. She was beautiful.
Most birth stories end after the baby is born, but mine keeps going! Ha ha. Later that evening, we're back in our recovery room, snuggling with baby and visiting with Clayton's parents. Suddenly, I don't feel very good and vomit into the garbage can. My head hurts pretty bad, and now my stitches hurt from the force of throwing up. It's not fun. Whenever I sit up, the pain in my head intensifies, but the pain diminishes when I lay down. I know that sounds really lame, "Oh I had such a painful headache, blah blah blah." But seriously, it was more painful than going through labor. Luckily, I had a good nurse who recognized the signs of what's called a spinal headache. Basically, sometime during one of my two epidurals that day, the epidural needle punctured a hole in the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord. Spinal fluid was now leaking out of my spinal cord, and the decrease in pressure was causing the immense headache. The nurse started an IV with caffeine, which can sometimes alleviate the headache, and called the anesthesiologist again.
The caffeine didn't help, so when the anesthesiologist came back, he administered what's called a blood patch. That's a super fun procedure where a small amount of blood is injected into the space over the puncture hole, in the hopes that a clot will form and seal the hole. So, yep, I get a third needle injected into my spine in less than 14 hours. It was awesome. I am then given very strict instructions to lay flat on my back for the rest of the night, in order to let the blood patch work. I am given lots and lots of pain medications, and besides the brief moment that the night nurse comes in to check my vitals, it is the best night's sleep that I've had in a long, long time.
The next day, I feel so much better! I have lots of visitors, practice breastfeeding, and spend lots of time snuggling with my beautiful baby girl. The nurses are all so sweet and attentive, and it's just lovely having everything and anything brought to me with the push of a button.
Sometime either Monday night or Tuesday morning, I don't remember exactly when, my head started hurting again. It was deja-vu. This time, I knew what was happening, and we got that dang anesthesiologist back in to give me a second blood patch. That's the fourth needle that was injected into my spine. I spend most of the day Tuesday laying down, resting, and praying that the blood patch will work this time.
Wednesday morning, I felt great again! Today was our check-out day, and I prepared to take my baby girl home. I changed her clothes into our going home outfit (green and yellow, because I was a tiny bit paranoid when I packed that maybe the ultrasound tech had been wrong about the baby being a girl, and it would be sad if our baby boy had to go home in pink clothes), and then I glared at a technician who said what a cute little boy I had. Clayton had recently started a new job, and couldn't get work off to take us home, so his father came to the hospital that afternoon to pick us up.
We got home, it was great, we had a few visitors and some friends came who brought us dinner. My sister-in-law Sarah volunteered to come stay with us for a few days to help out. Well, I woke up Thursday morning after a restless night of getting up at every little whimper and squeak that Evje made, and the dreaded spinal headache was back. Nooooo! I spent all day Thursday in bed, determined that if I held still long enough, then the headache would go away. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that, and I still had the headache on Friday morning when I woke up, Unable to handle the pain any more, I had Sarah take me to the emergency room. I had to recline the car chair back as far as it would go during the drive, as I physically could not handle to pain of being upright. I hobbled into the ER, told them I had a spinal headache, and demanded a bed to lie down. Lucky for me, the ER was not very busy at this time, and there was a bed immediately available for me, which is good because if not, I would have just laid down on the floor. We waited around for a while for a doctor, Sarah changed Evje's diaper on a bed in the next room and Evje peed all over the bed, and I got a third blood patch. That's the fifth needle in my spine. Again, I was given very strict instructions to lay flat for the rest of the day and night.
Fortunately, luckily, thank heavens, the third blood patch worked and fixed the hole, stopping the leak of spinal fluid. It was the most miserable and painful five days of my life, and I hope to never have to go through a spinal headache again! Besides the misery of the headaches and five needles in my spine, we were blessed with a beautiful baby and our lives were forever changed. We were so grateful to finally have a child of our own.