|Cameron Faye Photography|
Before I even go into detail about my labor and birth I want to always remember how Spyros and I came to the decision to have our dear friend, Cameron, photograph the birth of our baby. In February, I had an incredibly vivid dream that Cameron was in the labor and delivery room taking photos while our baby was born. I woke up from that dream in the middle of the night and felt such a yearning to want to wake Spyros up and ask him right then and there his thoughts on having her there to photograph. Considering the fact it was 4:00 in the morning, I decided to not wake him up and waited to ask him later on that day. Truthfully, I was expecting him to be "no way" about it. Spyros is super private (unlike me) and loves to tease me about my constant "need" to document everything. Before I had this dream, we were planning on Spyros having my camera around his neck to document the birth because he knew how important it was for me to have the picture of our fresh baby on my chest for the first time...the moment we found out if we had a son or daughter. Anyway, I asked Spyros that afternoon about having Cameron and it was such a quick conversation - he immediately said, "I actually have zero problem with that. Yes. I really love this idea because I don't want to be worried about taking photos." So, I texted Cameron. Oh her response. I cannot make this stuff up. Cameron said, "Hopey. I am crying! Are you serious right now?!" She was in Nashville with her sister and brand new nephew and literally had a dream the same night that she was in the L&D room with us. She woke up wanting to text me to ask how I felt about her being there because the dream was so vivid to her as well - but she didn't want to overstep. I have no doubt in my mind that we dreamt the dream at the same exact time. It was truly divine and from God. Being that our baby was due in April, and Cameron is a photographer and in the thick of wedding season, there was only a small window of dates she would be there to photograph the birth. Elise said from the moment she found out about our dreams that she knew the baby wouldn't come on any of the dates Cam would be gone. And she was right! April 9, 2016 Cameron was in town and so were her two sisters who are also dear friends...the three of them came to the hospital when my labor began and prayed over me. God is truly amazing. He is a good, good Father.
|Cameron Faye Photography|
Friday morning rolled around and I was feeling that same trickle sensation during that morning and some during the night. I called the doctor's office and they said they wanted me to come in considering it was a Friday (April 8th), they would rather have a peace of mind with the weekend coming up. The nurse said, "it could just be urine leaking" to which I responded, "It probably is and I am going to feel really dumb if it it is!" she said, "Oh no, Honey...it is always better to be safe than sorry, don't feel silly." My appointment was at 10:00am. The nurse also advised me to put all of my hospital bags in the car because if it was indeed amniotic fluid leaking, I would be sent directly to Labor & Delivery. I didn't put any of the bags in the car and I told Spyros not to come with me because it was nothing and I was going to be sent home. However, I did take a nice long shower and made sure I dried my hair and put on some make up...just in case. Fun sidenote: the night before Spyros told me to go treat myself to a manicure and pedicure because he knew I was feeling gross and big and kind of over it. So, I had a fresh mani/pedi! Hooray! Of course, the doctor I was scheduled to see was insanely backed up and I waited for over an hour before I got called in. But, because of this major delay one of my favorite doctor's on staff (and the doctor who scheduled all of my testing after my Monday appointment) began helping out and I got to see her instead. Thank you, Lord. She came in and was like "Hey! What's going on?" And I remember saying, "I'm going crazy is what is going on. I am psyching myself out. I think I am leaking some sort of fluid and I am probably just peeing myself...but I wanted to be sure." She was like, "No worries. Let's test you for amniotic fluid! It's not a big deal if it's not that, but we need to know." So, she did the test...went to go look under the microscope and I heard her outside the door say, "Oh yep! It's fluid." But, I convinced myself in the 5 seconds before she walked into the door that she wasn't looking at MY fluids. But, no! She came in and said, "You're right! It's fluid. Congratulations you're going to have a baby today!" Insert: me shell shocked. I started crying. I was so happy and shocked and honestly proud of myself for listening to my body and knowing something was off! She checked my progress to know what we were dealing with in terms of induction and I was at a 2 and 80% effaced to which she said, "GO GIRL!" and gave me a big hug and started drawing up my papers to send me to L&D. I was like, "I need to call my husband!"
I called Spyros at work. He answered and I said laughing, "Hey! Get home because we're going to have a baby!!!" He started laughing and said, "I knew it! I knew this was going to happen!" I then called my mom and sister who were together and my Mom started sobbing happy tears and Elise started screaming in absolute excitement. I got my papers to head over to L&D (the doctor's office is attached to the hospital) and I asked the nurse - so are you walking me over or what happens? And she said, "Oh no, honey..you just walk on over yourself they are waiting for you!" And I said, "So nobody is going with me? But I can't leave, right?" She said, "Right. Just head on over." So, I did exactly what they told me NOT to do and I got in my car and drove home to meet Spyros, put our bags in the car, and do one final sweep of the house. We hugged when I walked into the door and were just giddy. Our energy was amazing...all we could do was laugh! We're going to meet our baby! FINALLY! And this baby isn't due for 2 more weeks! Oh my goodness, I loved that feeling of overwhelming, joy filled, excitement! We packed the car, gave Doxie some excited love, and went on our way to to have a baby! We called Spyros' parents in the car and told them to come on down!!! They were so shocked, so thrilled, so excited! And, because it was a Friday - Spyros' sisters would be able to join his parents and come down! We called them once we got admitted into the hospital room. It was so special to hear their excitement - they both answered within seconds and I know they were wondering when Spyros' number popped up on their phone, "is it time?!" Their excitement was so contagious! Everyone was going to be able to be there for the birth! We had written up an email to send Spyros' parents with hospital info, hotel info, etc. and hadn't sent it...so we did that next!
When we pulled into the hospital, we were able to valet our car since I was a "laboring" Mama. I kindly declined a wheelchair since I wasn't in active labor and we walked in, got Spyros his visitor pass, and were escorted to the L&D by the kindest lady. The nurses greeted us at the desk and walked us to our room - it was so spacious and wonderful and we had a view of the skyline and the Farmer's Market I grew up going to, the same place we get our Christmas trees, pumpkins, everything! It made me smile. The next part, oh, what a dream. In walked Colleen. The nurse who delivered Nancy who has become a friend! Colleen IS MY NURSE?! She saw me and her jaw dropped. "ARE YOU MY PATIENT?!! SERIOUSLY RIHGT NOW?!" I got so teary eyed, YES! I was her patient and oh my gosh I felt even more at ease than I already was feeling. I knew Colleen was going to take care of us! I texted Elise and Mom, "Guess who's my nurse?" Elise said, "OMG IT IS FRIDAY. IT IS COLLEEN." And started crying. HE is a good, good Father.
So, considering my "membranes prematurely ruptured" and I wasn't in active labor, I knew we were going the induction route which meant Pitocin. At this point, it was one in the afternoon. We took a selfie, sent it to friends + family, called Maimai and Opop, and Spyros lead the two of us in prayer. He prayed over me, my health, my labor, and the health of our baby. We were beyond thankful and excited. It was baby time! Colleen told me to eat lunch before we started IV or anything. She is an angel. I called Elise and requested my favorite Laurel Market TURKEY (first one in 37 weeks!) sandwich...and a plethora of yellow vitamin water. My Mommy let Elise come to the hospital before she did - she volunteered to watch Nancy and put her down for her nap so Elise could come see me. Now that is a Mother's love. I know she wanted to be there with us ASAP, but she knows how close Elise and I are and gave Elise that privilege to spend some uninterrupted time with me and Spy. That's our sweet, Mommy. Elise brought us both lunch, she brought a cooler in for us because I encapsulated my placenta, and even helped coordinate with Mark to go by our house and get the lab kit that was being delivered THAT DAY for baby and I to participate in a Crohn's + pregnancy study. It's truly amazing how the "little details" all aligned. Elise called Cameron and told her I was going to the hospital! And we couldn't help but laugh because a few weeks before, I met Brooke's baby boy Luca....I knew she was coming back into town this weekend for Lauren's baby shower...and I said, "How cool would it be if I went into labor when all 3 of you were in Charlotte together?" Pinch me! It was happening. The doctor on call (the same one we met with on Wednesday) came in and said, "Well hello! Low amniotic fluid turned to almost no amniotic fluid...ha ha ha" And we talked through the pitocin, epidural, labor process. Since we didn't exactly know when my water began to break (no gush, remember) they were not going to check my progress much at all for fear of introducing infection. I was okay with that and ready to start getting things cracking.
In typical Hope fashion, my tiny veins were not cooperating and we had to wait for the IV team to come in to draw my IV line. Once they came in, we got the Pitocin started...this was at 3:00pm. We started to realize that Baby Skouras (who we all kept calling he) would be born on April 9th. Colleen wouldn't be the one to deliver the baby but assured me she would make sure I got the BEST nurse for the night...and goodness she did make sure! Once the Pitocin started, I got so excited! I was ready to hurt! I wanted to feel those contractions. The first one I felt, I was like "Oh yeah! That was it!" But, I wasn't in any pain. Colleen kept upping the dosage of Pitocin to get things rolling. During this "waiting game" my Mama and Nancy came to the hospital. We all talked about who this little baby would be! We all were set it was a boy. Although, the recent ultrasound we had made Spyros and I think, "that baby is pretty...maybe it is a girl?" But, we weren't convinced enough and continued to tell every nurse and doctor, "Yes, we really don't know the gender but we reallllyyy feel it's a boy!" Soon after my Mom and Pie came, Cameron, Brooke, and Lauren came in to pray over me and the baby and my labor. The girls, Elise, Nancy, Spyros, and my mom surrounded my bed and put their hands on me and prayed. The last time I was prayed over in a hospital bed - my life was being prayed for. This time, the safety and health of the life Spyros and I created was being prayed for. He is a good, good Father!
|Cameron Faye Photography|
We had sent Cameron home with her sisters after they prayed over me because we knew that things were going to take awhile, and I wanted her to be with her family. I promised we would call when things started to progress but that she need not worry! As the evening rolled on, the contractions continued - and began getting more uncomfortable. My water continued to break - but still no gush. I was feeling the contractions mostly in my back. I wanted to bounce on the ball or lean against Spyros with him putting his arms around me and the two of us swaying. Sitting in the bed, wasn't flying for me so I wanted to hold off on the epidural for as long as possible. My Mimi came in to visit during this time and she kept coming up to my belly and saying, "Come on out baby! Come on we want to meet you!" I swear, every time she would talk to the baby, a contraction would get more intense. It was hilarious! And sweet. Mimi had the magic touch! There was a whole lot of waiting...Colleen kept telling me I was too happy and not in enough pain, the baby's heart rate stayed perfectly steady at 135 bpm my entire labor...my contractions were getting closer together, but weren't intense enough. We kept upping the pitocin. Things were definitely happening. The Skouras crew were on their way to Charlotte - we were elated that all 4 of them would be here in time for the birth! They would get to come see us in the hospital before baby too. Opop was a crucial part in them getting to Charlotte as soon as they did and we called to thank him - he laughed and said, "Hopey! I can't believe you're talking to me right now - will you get back in the bed and rest you wonderful girl!" Oh how I love him! Elise and Mom were able to be at the hospital all evening because Mark volunteered to watch Nancy - and, the Houston's decided to spend the night at Mom's house so they would be close by the hospital. Once the Skouri crew landed, we told them to go have dinner, check into their hotel, and then come see us - baby wasn't coming that night! Colleen's shift was ending and she asked to stay on until 11pm (the longest she could legally stay) to be with me! She introduced me to Nurse Maggie during this time and told me, "You will be in the best hands. She is who I would want to deliver my baby." Just like Colleen, I immediately felt at ease with Maggie. She and Colleen worked together to make me feel safe and comfortable while my contractions picked up. Colleen left at 11pm and Spyros' family and my Papaw were on their way up to visit for a little bit. In fact, we got the funniest snapchat from Sophia of them literally running into my Papaw in the hospital lobby. Everyone was giddy with excitement.
We visited with family for a bit, my in-laws got to see my big 'ol belly before Baby Skouras came out and we all made bets on who this babe was. And, majority was BLUE. I started to get super uncomfortable. The contractions were getting more frequent and more intense. I hung in there for as long as I could and then I think everyone sensed I needed some space. The Skouras crew went to the hotel - we told them to get some rest as well as my Mimi and Papaw, things were probably going to happen the next morning and we would call them before I began pushing. After everyone left, it was just Spyros and my Mom and Sister - It was about 12:30am at this point and I was hurting. I remember looking at Nurse Maggie and laughing through pain saying, "Ohhh my gooshhh how do people do this naturally?!" The decision for me to get an epidural was easy for me because, I have been through A LOT of unnecessary pain in my life from my Crohn's Disease and the surgeries that I have been forced to face. I knew I wanted my birth to be joy-filled and pain free. Since Crohn's is stress induced, I also wanted to be sure to eliminate any extra potential stress on my body.
At about 1:00am I aksed Nurse Maggie to check my progress because I couldn't hang sans epidural anymore. I was only 4cm. I looked at Elise and almost started to cry. She was at an 8 when she got her epidural. I was like...okay, this is going to take FOREVER. They tell you once you get to a 5 to expect 1cm an hour! I felt defeated and said, "I guess I should wait to get the epidural because it will slow things down!" Sweet Maggie looked at me and said, "No. That's not true. You need to rest. You need to relax. You're too tense from the pain right now. I suggest you get the epidural, we'll get the doctor in to finish breaking your water and you sleep. Your body will know what to do." I did exactly what she suggested and at 1:35am I got my epidural. Woosh. Relief. I still felt every contraction just sans pain. The doctor came in around 1:45am and broke my forebag of water. Maggie and Spyros adjusted me on my side and put the peanut ball in between my legs. We turned off all of the lights and Spyros and I fell asleep for about an hour. I woke up a little after 3am and was uncontrollably shaking. I wanted to switch positions so we called Maggie. She coached me through breathing through the uncontrollable shaking and told me this was all normal. I tried to sleep again. My epidural took on my left side much more than my right. I could wiggle my right toes and foot but couldn't move my left leg. It utterly freaked me out. Instead of sleeping, I asked Spyros to get off of his little sofa bed and come poke and touch my left leg about 25 times. I kept saying I felt like a seal. I didn't like not being able to move that leg and I was freaked out. He kept telling me, "you have your left leg. You can feel this!" We kind of laughed about it and tried to sleep again. About 20 minutes rolled by and I felt nauseous and was still trembling. Maggie came in and gave me Zofran and an alcohol swab to sniff - she said I was probably in transition. She was watching the monitor and said things were really happening. I could feel all of the pressure of the contractions and they were very constant. Maggie was like an angel. So calming and peaceful. She encouraged me to relax and to breathe, she would come back in just a bit to check my progress.
At about 4:40am, I called Maggie to come in. I was feeling insane pressure. She checked my progress. We were all fully expecting me to be around 7cm, maybe an 8 since it had been just a few hours. Maggie laughed and said, "I can feel the baby's head!" to which I responded, "Oh good, does that mean I am close to a 10?" and she said, "Girl! That means it's time to PUSH!" I literally said, "What?!?! Nobody is here!!! Not yet!" She laughed at me and said because the baby was not in any distress that I could "hold it in" and call who I needed to call - but, the second the baby showed any signs of distress then it was go time. So, I called my Mom and Spyros called Cameron! Everyone was like "WHAT?!" How did you progress so fast?! I have no idea - but it was go time!! My body went into labor mode ASAP and baby was beyond ready to come out. I called Mimi who frantically said, "Oh my gosh that baby is going to be born before I get there!" Cameron lives 30 minutes away - we were to call her when I was close to pushing - but literally, things happened SO fast. We told her to drive safely and I felt at peace because I knew she would get here in time. I knew I could wait for her even though the pressure was INSANE. Cameron said she flew down Providence Road and kept praying aloud, "Lord you did not get us this far to have me miss this birth. Lord please let her wait." Mom and Elise got to the hospital at 5:15 am and ran into my room so excited. I was breathing so deeply and loudly at this point. Elise looked at me and said, "Are you in pain - did your epidural wear off?!" and I said, "No, it didn't wear off, but yes I am kind of in pain I am literally holding this baby in!!!" Hilarious. I kicked Mom and Elise out, see ya when baby comes!
At 5:20 am, Cameron walked into my hospital room right as I looked at Maggie and Spyros and said, "I can't wait anymore!" Cameron looked stressed but as soon as she got her camera out, she was at peace, I looked at her and said, "I am so sorry I had no idea things would progress so fast!" She laughed and squeezed my hand - it was baby time. I began my first practice push to which Maggie looked at Spyros and said, "I can see the baby - do you want to look" he said, "I have seen plenty of cows born before!" I laughed because, my husband would compare this situation to a cow. Maggie said, "Stop laughing! Spyros hit the call button. Hope don't laugh. Don't push. This baby is coming!" About this time, "Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin came on the Bethel Pandora station we had on ALL DAY LONG. I remember hearing it because of this blog post I wrote - this song came on the radio while I was pregnant and I just started sobbing and laughing and praising Jesus for the life inside of me. When I heard this song on during the moments before meeting our baby, I knew it was God saying..."I love you! You're welcome!" - I know He was acknowledging my praise and thankfulness. I smiled and looked at Spyros...we kissed and knew baby was coming! The doctor walked in, we guessed our final guess- "a boy!" - and in 3 contractions, while hearing lots of, "Good job, keep going, oh my gosh this baby has a lot of hair," I pushed for a total of 7 minutes and at 5:33am, I felt the baby come out and I heard my husband say, "Oh my GOD it's a GIRL!" through happy, happy tears, and at the same time I saw Nurse Maggie's face of happiness and surprise! Our baby girl was laid on my chest right away and I just felt an overwhelming joy, peace, and euphoric happiness. Evie was here! Of course it's Evie! It was the most amazing moment in my entire life.
|Cameron Faye Photography|
|Cameron Faye Photography|
Cameron captured the most beautiful photos. She looked at me and said, "Hope she came out right as the chorus of Good Good Father began." We were all crying. Cameron later shared with me that while she was at the Pursuit conference the week before, she felt God telling her to pick up the framed gift that was on the empty chair beside her. She had one on her chair, but she felt she was being told to grab the other one too. It was a pink frame. She wanted to find another gray one, but she knew she was being instructed to grab this specific one, so she obeyed. Then, she showed me this photo. Now, it makes sense, Cameron told me...God wanted me to have this for Evie. Y'all. I cannot make this stuff up.
Before we introduced Evie to family, Spyros and I both did skin to skin with her and I was able to nurse her for the first time. Then, Spyros went out and told our families we had a baby girl!!! It was such a proud moment for him.
|Cameron Faye Photoraphy|
God showed up and showed off on April 9, 2016. God is a redeemer. God is faithful. He is a good, good Father. It's who He is. And I am loved by Him. And so is our little girl, sweet baby Evie. And, since my words are long and capture only a glimpse of this day...please watch this amazing video created by the oh so talented Cameron of Evie's Birth Day.
Evie, you are our world. The day you were born is the happiest day of our lives. Your story, sweet Evie, is of God's ever present and constant redeeming love. Your Mommy and Daddy love you beyond measure. Beyond words. But, sweet baby girl, your Heavenly Father loves you more than I can comprehend. We thank God for you every day. Your birth is just a glimpse of the love your Father God, has for you, for me, and for your Daddy. Glory, glory hallelujah! We praise Him for YOU!
Elizabeth Victoria "Evie"
April 9, 2016
6 lbs, 8 oz
19 1/4 inches long
|Cameron Faye Photography|