Monday, June 17, 2013

Eleanor's birth story

Eleanor was supposed to be born on a Friday morning at 8:00. 
Instead, Eleanor decided to surprise us all and come a little bit early.
Nothing about this little girl was really expected.
Between finding out we were having her when Adeline was barely 5 months old, and then finding out she might have club feet (which she didn't), we should have known that she would try to sneak in another little surprise at the very end.

Let me start at the beginning.
For weeks now I have been in planning mode, trying to anticipate everything and anything that would need to be completed before our little girl arrived. I had pages of to-do lists at work and with the school year ending I was trying to get everything put away and stored while still leaving out the skeletal items that would be needed to finish out the year and make things easier on my sub.

At home we were furiously cleaning and organizing and working really hard to keep the house tidy and organized just in case I went in to labor. You see, when Adeline was born we weren't prepared for anything, didn't even have our bags packed even, and I vowed I would not let the same thing happen this time!

So after spending Memorial Day at home, finishing up a few final details and cooking out with friends, I made up my mind that Eleanor would in fact stay in place and that our Friday c-section was going to happen after all.  I began working through my nerves of the surgery and trying to mentally prepare myself for this life changing event that would be rocking our world very soon.

On Tuesday I went to work and finished up the rest of my to-do list items.  I felt good about ending the school year, and I was finally beginning to feel relaxed. I commented to one of the teachers that now that I was finally ready for the baby to come my nerves had began to kick in about having another c-section. Even though I had already had one with Adeline, it was an emergency one so I didn't have time to process the fact that I was getting split open.

That evening we went to our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class at church that Landen was leading and left with lots of words of encouragement from the people in our group.
When we got home we ate a late night dinner of hamburgers and watched an episode of Monk on Netflix before going to bed. We had barely laid down when I felt a weird I-just-peed-my-pants feeling. Now to be honest, at this point in the pregnancy, it is completely possibly that I was, in fact, peeing my pants. I had an small feeling though that this was the real deal.

I jumped out of bed alerting Landen to the situation and he jumped out of bed frantic. If you remember from Adeline's birth story, Landen was at work when my baby juices started flowing freely so this was a new experience for him.  He asked me if he had time to take a quick shower to which I agreed because I wasn't feeling any contractions yet. We called a friend from church who was our backup plan to watch Adeline just in case I did go into labor in the middle of the night.  By the time she arrived I had packed the last few items, written a note about Adeline and what she was eating, and was feeling some pretty strong contractions. I was more than ready to head to the hospital.

Landen and I were quiet on the way to the hospital (other than the normal "drive faster. run the stupid red light. when will be there" pregnant lady outbursts). I can't be sure what he was thinking but I can imagine it had a lot to with the the new little girl that we would hold in our arms soon and the sweet little girl we left laying in the crib asleep at home.  I know that's what I was thinking about.

We arrived at the hospital around the time my contractions were starting to get pretty intense.  After confirming that I was in labor, (duh), the nurse asked if I was still wanting to go ahead with the c-section or if I wanted to try and attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). This sparked a two hour  back and forth discussion between Landen and I and the nurses. I had made it to the end of my pregnancy fully expecting to have another c-section. Now, being faced with the choice of delivering vaginally, I was scared to death. Landen, being the stellar husband that he is demanded that they provide us with all of the statistics and risks associated both with having a repeat c-section and having a VBAC. After praying about it, I made the choice that I would try and chance a vaginal delivery. They wheeled me from the triage room into my very own labor and delivery room, set me up with my epidural, and the waiting began.

After my epidural kicked in, I was feeling pretty good. I emailed my principal, my substitute teacher, and the other 2nd grade teachers to tie up some loose ends since I would not be going to back to school. I watched a movie on my computer, Landen slept, and my parents, sister, and niece arrived. While everyone else tried to get some sleep in the late night hours my mind was going full force. I had no idea what to expect from my body, and I knew that labor could take hours. Many. many. hours. I prayed for our little girl, both the one in my belly and the one at home. I begin to understand that my little family was changing. When the nurse checked me and I was still at 3 cm they decided to do a very light drip of Pitocin to see if things would get rolling faster.

I can't tell you what time of the morning it was when I realized that my epidural was wearing off, but I remember that I quickly became aware that I could feel my right leg more than my left one. After alerting the nurses to the situation we tried adjusting my position to let gravity do it's job and when that didn't work the anesthesiologist came back in to up my dosage.

It was around this time that I began to feel a weird cramp in my right side. The Dr's came in and checked me again and I was at 6 cm with her head at minus 2 (which I guess means that she wasn't ready to make her grand entrance yet). As time went on the cramping continued to get worse and worse and before I knew it I couldn't talk through the pain anymore. This all seemed to happen in no time and I was suddenly in the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. It's true that words can't describe the pain of labor. All I can say is that at one point I think I said something along the lines of "stupid freaking Eve and that stupid freaking apple!"I was in pain y'all!

To make a short story story, the pain that I was feeling was what they call very active labor. It's the kind that is caused when you go from 6 cm dilated with a baby not ready to come out to 10 cm and a baby pushing her way out on her own.  I was told that the epidural simply couldn't '
keep up" with the pain I was feelings.  Thank a lot epidural. I went from 6cm to a baby in 45 minutes after only 20 minutes of pushing. I think Eleanor is going to have her mother's sense of urgency. Pushing was a lot harder than I thought, but not for the reason that you probably would think. My neck and my arms felt like they were going to fall off my body. I kept complaining about my arms hurting and the nurses kept laughing. They kept reminding me that I was in labor and that it wasn't supposed to be pleasant.

As Eleanor's head started crowning everyone started talking about her hair. Can I just insert here how weird it is to be spread out for God and everybody to see and everyone is looking down there talking about the color hair the baby has and playing with their hair and talking about all the hair. Come on y'all. I'm kinda all exposed over here. Please stop looking at my nether regions!  My mom and my sister were allowed to join us in the delivery room and just as sweet mothers do my mom was so worried that they were going to do an episiotomy and I kept hearing her ask the Dr in her sweet southern drawl to not "cut me" if they didn't have to. You gotta love Mama's who have your..uhhmmm... back. 

At 8:31 a.m, after one last push, Eleanor Mae was born.  The feeling of seeing Eleanor come up out of my..well, you know...was incredible. I looked at Landen and he looked at me and we looked at her and there were so many emotions that I couldn't possibly capture them in words. I went from the worse pain ever to having a baby crying and flailing about on my chest.  I will say however, that she was the most beautiful little girl, just like her sister, and she had RED HAIR!!! WHAT THE HAYDAY! How did I birth a kid from my loins that had red hair! I was surprised when Adeline had black hair but at least her father shared that trait. No one in our immediate family has red hair. She also looks a lot like her Momma, which makes me this lady really happy. Adeline is the spitting image of her father so I love that we both have our little mini-mes.

It's also amazing how in that moment, we were also both thinking about Adeline and how much we missed her. I wish she could have been there, but alas, she is one.

Eleanor weighed 7lbs 2 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. She barely beat out her sister in both weight and length.  She suffered a little bit of jaundice which led to Children's hospital coming out for home visits for a couple of days but she soon received a clear bill of health from that.  I did fine and had very minimal tearing which made the healing process a breeze. I'm so thankful for that because I was able to enjoy our little girls so much more!

Adeline meets her sister for the first time!

We are adjusting to being a family of 4 very well. Adeline loves her sister and is constantly wanting to give her hugs and kisses. Other than the one time she looked at me, smiled, and stomped on her baby doll that was laying on the floor I haven't worried to much about her future relationship with her baby sister. They definitely don't look much alike but I know that they are going to be the best of friends! 

Eleanor took us by surprise in a lot of ways. She came on her own in her own little way, and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that she gave me the experience of labor and delivery. I am thankful that she has red hair. And Landen's eyes. And my chin. I'm thankful that she was healthy and strong and that her jaundice was low. I am thankful that she is ours. She is such a joy and she has definitely been just the right addition to our family.

We love you Eleanor Mae!


  1. Congrats on your new little girl! What a story!

  2. What a beauty! So proud of you for literally "pushing" through the pain, Amanda. I want a red-headed baby one day, too. :)



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