A Swell Birth Story: Evey Lyn June 23 2016, 0 Comments

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Thank you so much to our fans and customers for patience while we welcomed our newest daughter to the family in May. Six weeks out and it is still a transition running a business and tending to a two year old and newborn at home, especially when that newborn LOVES to eat around the clock and doesn't always sleep. We do a lot of baby carrying around here and showering is for the birds apparently. 

Makeup as well.

Not a lot of people choose to have a birth photographer present at their birth. For some it can seem invasive or just plain unnecessary. And having someone there for who knows how many hours it takes to delivery isn't exactly cheap either! However for me, I wanted to capture so many moments I did not get to capture having a c-section with my oldest daughter. I never even labored the first time around despite studying and reading up on natural childbirth for months in advance of Isla's arrival. I was really bummed when we found out she was breech at 40 weeks and she clocked in at over 9 pounds.

It felt as if the experience of giving birth was a bit robbed from me. I was NOT happy about a c-section but I was incredibly happy to finally have a baby in my arms after three miscarriages. So I got over it. But I did have back problems and ended up in physical therapy to help my ab muscles start working better again when Isla was 17 months. I knew I wanted another chance to give birth the non-surgery route the next time around, however a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) is frowned upon by WAY TOO MANY DOCTORS even though the statistical risks are very low for a uterine rupture.

I researched and asked around and was referred to Dr. Joseph Tate in Norcross, GA leading up to planning my second baby's prenatal care. His office is a stark contrast from a clinical environment and includes lots of kids running around and office furniture circa 1980s perhaps. However, Dr. Tate delivers all of his patients and believes in evidence based medicine and not fear based medicine. His faith that most women can deliver without surgery or crazy interventions was reassuring to me. I think my first OB thought I was crazy when I said I would try for a VBAC the next time around.

I also had pain from my epidural in my back for several weeks after my first birth via c-section so I wanted to avoid having to go through that again and the horrible itching I had right after my daughter's birth. No one tells you that they can make you scratch all over and it was so not fun. I wanted to bounce back as quickly as possible and be as present as possible for my daughter's arrival so we hired a doula. I mean I love my husband but what does he know about childbirth? He barely read a chapter in the Birth Partner book!

We thought Evey Lyn would be a smaller baby. I didn't gain the 70+ pounds I gained with Isla and I measured a bit behind for the last several weeks of my pregnancy. Dr. Tate doesn't put any stock in estimating weight, which was a good thing. Evey shocked us all at 8 pounds 13 ounces. We thought maybe 7 pounds! 

For anyone who has been told by their OB that a VBAC is not an option, I encourage you to research other practitioners and really push for WHY it is not an option. Ask them for evidence based reasons not to attempt a delivery. Obviously there are reasons not to attempt a trial of labor in some cases for some women, but I read somewhere that about 70% of VBAC attempts are successful! Says a lot about a woman's ability to give birth!!! That is a lot of ladies that don't have to recover from major surgery. And whatever you do, run if your OB says anything like "we won't let you go past xx weeks." It is your beautiful baby and your beautiful body and your health. No one should tell you what you are "allowed" to do. They can suggest options but should not back you in a corner. And yet it happens all the time and I hear it all the time. Advocate for yourself.

I advocated for myself and challenged the norm of today's OB practices and I am so thankful for the experience I had. A few days before my due date, my water broke although my contractions didn't really feel like much. I was admitted to the hospital to monitor the baby and worked all day long. Finally around 9 pm I started getting uncomfortable and my doula, Christine Strain, arrived to help me out. I did not want pitocin although it was offered and after every dilation check, my contractions got worse so I was confident my body was figuring it all out. 

I never felt the need for an epidural thanks to the support (and lots of massages!) that I had in place but Dr. Tate is one of the few who offers something called a paracervical block. By 2 in the morning on my birthday I really wanted something just not an epi so they called him in to give it to me. Thankfully I was 7.5 cm dilated so he agreed although he wanted me to try pitocin in hopes it would make my contractions more intense and keep me from hitting the infection and baby distress call that might lead to another surgery...I had about 4.5 hours before hitting the 24 hour mark that my water first broke and the baby showed some irregular heart activity due to my loss of fluid.

The paracervical block only lasts 2 hours at a time and is like a numbing agent that just relieves pain in the cervix, nowhere else. The great thing is you feel the need to push and where to push but it took the edge off for me even though it didn't remove the pain or feeling. I could move just as freely but you can only get it twice so it should be game time before you get it!

My contractions were already 1 minute apart and 1 minute long before the pitocin but the combination of the low dose pitocin and the relaxation relief made me feel the need to push and within an hour I was asking to do so. A whole crew came in and Dr. Tate said I was ready to push and 21 minutes later our gorgeous platinum haired little Evey came into the world on my birthday! She was a large little marge which surprised us all. It was 3:21 in the morning and I think everyone was relieved she was finally here. I could smell a lot of coffee.

Now the one big drawback to a VBAC with no epi is the fun that comes after the baby is born. Being completely numb would have been nice below the belly button for that part but I guess the lidocaine was OK. Emory Midtown is great at promoting Baby Friendly policies that help moms bond and breastfeed successfully so my little lady got to lay on my chest and stare up at me while we stared back for a whole hour. It was a great distraction and some of the absolute best moments of my life. Thanks to another baby with low blood sugar, she went off with her dad to the nursery before coming back to see me. 

All of the sudden it was time for everyone to go, included my husband and baby. I found myself with just our lovely photographer Claire Elise. And then it was just me for a bit before my nurse came back in. It is such an odd scenario going from crazy action and buzz everywhere to nearly complete silence...but that did not last long!

I treasure the memories made becoming a mother for the second time to an earthly baby and am so thankful for the photos we have to remind us of such an incredible moment in our lives.  And I have to say the recovery was great. It definitely took 4-5 days to be completely off motrin, but by one week out I was able to take walks, hold both girls, cook, clean and do laundry. Two days after Evey came home we went out to eat for dinner as a family. We even took a family trip to Callway Gardens for a night the second week we came home while Kevin had paternity leave!
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One of my favorite memories was Isla meeting Evey or "baby"! She brought her the Millie Forever Blanket I had made with a tag matching her current two year old place in life. It is the most precious sister gift and I hope Evey treasures it. The Noah Forever Blanket with white trim is from my husband and I. It has our handwriting on the tag and the quote from the movie The Help "You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important." It has a spot of blood on it now that I cannot get out, but it was from the day she was born. It is crazy how something that could be seen as a blemish actually symbolizes something beautiful, the birth of a new life, a brand new soul with gifts to bring this world. I am so thankful for the doctors and specialists in life that push against the accepted norms. Without such courage I might never know what my body can do.
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Transitioning to Active Labor the night of May 11...
Meeting the Family...

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