7:15 a.m. – I wake up. My husband, Michael, is getting dressed for work. We had been up talking and praying (and me crying – I was so done being pregnant!) until the wee hours of the morning. He looks at me, surprised, when I whisper that I think today’s going to be the day.
7:20 a.m. – Still laying in bed, I have my first contraction, but I’ve grown skeptical over the past two weeks. I have a doctor’s appointment at 8:30 and I’m worried they’ll make me wait longer if I’m not yet in active labor. The hospital does not schedule inductions on holidays or weekends, and my family was leaving on Sunday. I’m feeling anxious, but decide to get up and get ready for my appointment, hoping that I have another good contraction soon.
7:27 a.m. – The second contraction comes seven minutes after the first. My hopes for real labor without an induction are increasing.
7:50 a.m. – I get out of the shower and the contractions are coming pretty strong. They are increasingly painful but I figure that I’ve got some time because my water hasn’t broken yet. (This was my first experience with back labor – not fun.) Michael and I decide that this is the real deal and we should probably just go straight to the hospital. He calls my doctor to advise them that I won’t be making my appointment. The plan is to get ready for the day, drop off some stuff at Michael’s work, and head down to the hospital.
8:00 a.m. – I put on some make up and start to blow dry my hair, chatting with my family in between contractions. My mom wants my 20 year-old sister to see my labor pains and we all joke about how this is the ultimate birth control! Everyone gets excited that the baby is finally coming! We all hope together that she will arrive sometime before that evening so that I have a chance of spending at least some of Christmas Day with my other girls at home.
8:15 a.m. – Contractions are really starting to hurt and they are coming faster. It takes all my focus to manage the pain. I try as hard as I can to relax and breathe low. There is less chatting and joking with my family – it was game time. New plan: Michael calls a co-worker and asks him to swing by our house to pick up some paperwork because we need to head to the hospital right away. I’m still convinced there is time though because my water had not yet broken. I brush my teeth and pack my toiletries bag for the hospital.
8:35 a.m. – It feels like there is no break between my contractions. They come one after another. Somehow, using all my willpower, and with Michael and my dad on each arm, we make it down the stairs and out the front door. My water breaks during a particularly hard contraction on the front porch and all I can manage to yell is “Water!!” Michael runs inside to grab my water bottle and suddenly realizes that I am talking about a different water.
8:36 a.m. – I’m absolutely frozen in pain on the porch. Even though our hospital is about two blocks away, it felt like it might as well have been in another state. My legs start to shake and give and I blurt out “I need to push – NOW!” My dad (a family doctor in Arizona who also does OB) says, “Looks like we’re having this baby right here.” Thank goodness he was with us!
8:40 a.m. – We get back in the house and head for the living room. Michael and my dad lay me down on my ottoman. The baby is crowning. I start pushing, with my sister holding my back up and Michael and my mom holding my legs.
8:54 a.m. – Baby Evie is born in my living room, two feet from our Christmas tree. There is not a dry eye in the place. We tie the cord with dental floss (no clean shoelaces available) and Michael cuts it with my trusty pair of sewing scissors (sanitized with Purell, of course). All of the clean towels have been used already, so we wrap her in a beach towel. Evelyn is absolute perfection and I am so in love.
8:56 a.m. – The doorbell rings! Its Michael’s co-worker, coming to pick up the paperwork. My mom and sister quickly hold up a sheet to block the view before the front door is opened. The conversation is very brief and sort of awkward, I’m sure, for Michael’s co-worker. He becomes the first person to find out the baby has just been born.
8:58 a.m. – A rustle at the top of the stairs. Thankfully, both of my girls had stayed up late the night before and had slept through all the commotion of the morning. Claire (my two-year old) is awake now and shouts from the landing “Hey guys! What’s goin’ on?!” We direct Claire’s attention to the baby as she rounds the corner, so that she doesn’t notice the afterbirth just then being caught in my (formerly) favorite casserole dish. Grace (my four-year old) comes downstairs shortly thereafter. The girls begin presenting Evie with pacifiers, blankets, toys, and presents from under the tree. We decide that we should probably still go to hospital to have everyone checked out.
9:45 a.m. – We arrive at the hospital and there are no wheelchairs so we walk up to the labor and delivery wing and announce, “I just had a baby. Where should I go?”
10:00 a.m – We are checked out by the doctors and nurses and the results all come back great. Evie weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs even!! We recount our story about 20 times. A guy comes in and takes my picture with Evie in a giant Christmas stocking ((awesome)) for the Dover newspaper. After a few short hours at the hospital, we are cleared to head back home happily to spend Christmas as a family. Hooray!
The rest of Christmas Eve is full of BBC chick flicks, my mom’s famous Swedish meatballs and collective head-shaking. I am SO not a home birth kind of gal, but the experience was nothing short of life-changing and completely spiritual for me and my family.
The birth of any baby is amazing and miraculous, but we’re all feeling a special connection to sweet Evelyn Jane, our little Christmas Evie.