Evie’s Birth Story

Okay, so something that I’m starting to feel fascinated with is birth stories. It’s not necessarily that I’m in a place where I’m ready to have a kid, or that I’ve caught baby fever, it’s more that I’m fascinated by what the human body can do.  More specifically, I’m intrigued by what a woman’s body can do.  We can lift.  We can run.  We can have incredible boobs and incredible bodies.  And then we can create and birth life?  And then nourish the life with our bodies after?  It’s incredible.

More so, I’m intrigued by the different choices women have.  You can birth your baby in the hospital.  You can have the baby at home on your bed.  You can have the baby in a bathtub.  You can choose pain medications.  You can not choose it.  But at any rate, I find it really fascinating, and so today, I bring yo a special treat – my niece’s birth story!

Hey Chelsie (bridesmaid from heaven)! (Fun fact – Chelsie didn’t sleep a whole lot toward the end of her pregnancy.  When Evie was being born, I hadn’t gotten a middle-of-the-night text from Chelsie all evening, and I should have known something was up!  I opened up my Instagram, and there she was!)


With everything that our family had been going through we were getting increasingly impatient for Evangeline’s arrival. We wanted more than anything for her to be healthy, but we were ready for her to come. Saturday, January 19th, Jimmy and I ran some errands and tried to get some last minute things done just in case, as I said, ” this was our last weekend just the two of us.” That night I ended up calling the midwife on call, Lisa, because I was having some bleeding. She told me Evie and I had nothing to worry about, and that it could possibly be a sign of early labor (Yay!), although there was no way to be sure. With this news I decided to get some sleep. Looking back I’m glad I did!

At 4:30 am I awoke to contractions I couldn’t sleep through. After having had lots of Braxton-Hicks for weeks, and spending hours the previous Wednesday timing them only for them to stop entirely, I knew this was different. I couldn’t sleep- due to discomfort and excitement- so I moved to the living room to watch television and try to be sure if it was finally really go time or not. Around 6 am the contractions became regular enough to warrant timing them. I was letting Jimmy sleep, but he woke up and realized I wasn’t in the bed and he came in to check on me. Was this it!? Still not sure.

We passed the time watching television and I did my best to stay hydrated. I ate when I was hungry, and though I couldn’t sleep I did my best to rest. Around noon things seem to be progressing regularly enough that it was time to alert the family and a few close friends. My mom hopped in the car and began the six hour drive to Nashville!

Things progressed somewhat slowly as I took a bath to relieve the pain and breathed through contraction after contraction. Jimmy was wonderful at reminding me to breathe and he let me lean into him with every surge. Eventually my contractions reached a steady five minutes apart and one minute in length for over an hour. It was time to call the midwife again. Now Erin was on call, the midwife who caught my cousin’s youngest baby. As she could easily tell (I suspect anyway) I was having regular contractions all right, but their intensity still had a long way to go. She told me to wait as long as possible to come in, and let me know she would inform the midwife coming on for night shift that she should expect me later on in the evening. More waiting… More intensity… Lots of time spent on a yoga ball and on my hands and knees on a yoga mat breathing and focusing trying to let my body do its job. Finally my mother arrives with my sister too! Such a nice surprise! I had wanted my sister to be there with me, but with two young children at home it hadn’t seemed possible.

Their initial arrival was a nice distraction since at this point I had been awake and contacting for 14 hours already. Soon I was reaching the point of discomfort that made the thought of enduring these contractions in the car less than ideal, and my mother and sister both felt that it was time to go to the hospital. Jimmy called the midwife for me, as I was now unable to talk through contractions. Shift change had occurred once again. The midwife on duty was Elaine, the only one at the practice I go to that I had never met. Figures, but at that point it didn’t really matter. I had known this was a possibility. Jimmy answered Elaine’s questions as my mom, sister, and I prepared to leave. Elaine asked if I wanted an epidural waiting for me, and Jimmy assured her that I did not.

The ride to the hospital is a bit of a blur. I think we hit all, or mostly all green lights on our way to Vanderbilt. We live just a few miles from the hospital so it didn’t take long. It was still before 9, so we expected to pull into the valet parking and stroll right into labor and delivery while a nice attendant parked our car. Not that night! The valet entrance was blocked and there was no one on duty! A quickly exchanged look of panic between Jimmy and myself and he circled the block to the other garage entrance. In moments we were in the correct garage and we even found a space to pull through so that my mom could park behind us. Standing next to the car while Jimmy, my mom, and sister gathered our bags to go inside seemed to take forever. Contractions in the cold, outdoor air were much more uncomfortable than in my nice warm home. I was still on my feet though, and glad to be at the hospital.

We took the elevator to the 4th floor where they were expecting me. Despite the fact that I had been told I didn’t need to preregister because I was “in the system” I found myself filling out paperwork and answering questions at check-in. No sense in complaining though, because that would only make it take longer. After the paperwork was done, they took me into triage where it suddenly hit me (and my sister who didn’t mention it until later) that they could realistically still send me back home if they thought my labor wasn’t active enough yet. The nurse went ahead and had me change into a gown and began monitoring the baby. At one point months ago I had thought I might like to labor in my own clothes. A close friend suggested a stretchy cotton fold-top skirt and a bikini top. This sounds lovely and almost cute, doesn’t it? Then you think about the process of labor, and particularly the number one thing that surprised me about labor- the amount of blood involved. I personally prefer to bleed on linens I’ll never see again so I went with the gown. Elaine the midwife came in soon after I arrived in triage. She introduced herself and though we had never met she put me immediately at ease. She is a kind, grandmotherly lady who obviously knows her craft from years of experience. I was in good hands. At last the moment of truth. It was time to check me. The previous Thursday I had been 1.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. How much further would these hours of laboring have gotten me? I was thrilled to find that I was at 4 cm and 90% effaced and at -1 station! I would be admitted, but Elaine wanted me in more active labor. My IV port was placed (I am positive for Group B strep- 1/3 of people are- which meant that I had to receive intravenous antibiotics every 4 hours to protect the baby) and as I stood up to move to my delivery room I felt fluid drip down my leg. My water was leaking! We had actually arrived at the hospital at just the right time, because being GBS positive I was supposed to begin antibiotics as soon as my water broke.

My nurse, Mary (who was wonderful, despite calling me Celeste for most of my labor) took me to my room complete with hydrotherapy tub. I got my first dose of antibiotics and Mary monitored the baby. Then, at Elaine’s urging Jimmy and I walked the halls to try and help things progress a bit faster. I had to check in and monitor the baby every half hour, but we spent 3 hours walking while my contractions intensified. I was glad my mom had brought my yoga mat for me. I was able to labor on my knees and not be on the bare hospital floor. Around 12 am Elaine checked me again. Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe the way I felt when she told me I was still at 4 cm and only “a little thinner.” At this point I was exhausted and in so much pain. The newfound frustration wasn’t helping. Little did I know, Elaine told my family that 4-6 cm is usually the hardest, and once you get through that it’s much faster from there. But all I heard was Elaine suggest that I get in the tub and try to relax and open up. The warm water was a godsend! I was able to rest between contractions and even doze a bit. I got out of the tub to use the restroom (where I also spent a lot of time laboring) and ended up vomiting. I actually felt infinitely better after throwing up, but throwing up while having contractions is not pleasant… But when is throwing up pleasant? I returned to bed, now completely nude aside from blankets, where this time along with my next dose of antibiotics I received fluids since I has just undone all the drinking and hydration I had been working on keeping up with. Somewhere along the way I received some nausea medicine. It too was a godsend. It made me a little sleepy, so I was able to rest a bit more. At 1:45 Elaine checked me again. This time I had made some progress. I was at 5.5 cm. This is still not what I wanted to hear, but progress is progress. Again, Elaine suggested the tub to help my progress. This second trip to the tub was a bit different, as my pain had changed and I was feeling more pressure. At this point my entire entourage was exhausted. Everyone but Jimmy was asleep. I was in the tub and as comfortable as I could be, so I told Jimmy I would be fine if he took a walk down the hall and got some coffee. (He was so amazing during my entire labor. He deserved a few minutes to try to wake up and have a break.) At 4 am I was checked yet again and I was at 6.5 cm and the baby had moved down to 0 station. Almost to transition!

Now, everything that I had read told me that transition (7 cm to 10 cm) is the most painful and intense part of labor. This was not the case for me. I would consider going from 4-6cm to be much, much more intense for me. Be advised, I am NOT complaining. This was a pleasant surprise. At this point I was just ready to have my baby. Less pain than expected was a bonus! Somewhere around 5:45 am I told my mom that I felt the urge to bear down with each contraction. My mother in law jumped up and told me not to push and my mom went to get Elaine! Elaine soon checked me and told me I was at 9 cm. I had to learn to breathe through the contractions now so that my body would not involuntarily start pushing before I reached 10 cm (I was told that if I wasn’t fully dilated and I pushed prematurely I could end up causing my cervix to swell, thus reversing my progress). At 6:20, Elaine noted how hard I was breathing through the contractions, checked me again, and finally I was at 10 cm! It was time to push!

Suddenly I became very, very aware of the clock on the wall. 6:30- pushing. 6:45- Elaine wants me to change positions so that there is less stress on the baby. Now I’m pushing on my side. 7- shift change! Wait, what?! My wonderful nurse, Mary, and my midwife Elaine were leaving me! I could have been dramatic about this, but they explained they had to be back that evening for another night shift. They had been amazing, but at this point it was all up to me anyway. Enter new nurse, Angela, and new midwife (the same one I had seen at my last prenatal appointment), Melissa. Mary literally handed my right leg to Angela and Melissa took over setting up instruments for cutting the cord, etc. I later commented to Angela that the transition was incredibly seamless! Melissa soon had me move back from my side to my back for better leverage. Somewhere along the way someone got a mirror so I could observe my pushing progress. The only time in my entire nude labor that I felt self-conscious was when the NICU team (standard precautionary measure) came in unannounced and there was a male nurse among them. They realized they were still a bit early and immediately left for another hour or so (when they did return I only noticed one person peek at Evie- screaming on my chest- say, “Awww!” and then leave the room). All in all I pushed for a little more than an hour and a half. I will say that finally being able to actively do something productive was amazing. Pushing caused my contractions to not hurt. My skin stretching hurt, but being so close to meeting my daughter it didn’t matter. At 8:08 my beautiful baby girl finally made her way out. I’m still in shock, but I didn’t even tear. Watching those last two pushes in the mirror was the most amazing thing. Her head came out, and my contraction was over, but I wasn’t waiting any longer. One more push and her shoulders were out and the next thing I knew Melissa handed me my baby!

It was hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever done. That being said, I’m so glad that I did it! My beautiful, alert, healthy daughter was worth every second of it. Walking, unassisted to recovery felt triumphant. I had just had a baby without pain medicine. I’ll probably never run a marathon, but I had had my ideal birth.


How marathoning is like delivering a child.

So here’s a disclaimer.  I am not pregnant, nor have I delivered a baby.  But., one of my best friends was pregnant throughout the time I trained for my marathon, and our lives have always been eerily parallel, despite the fact that she lives about 8 hours away in Nashville.  As I was going through the whole process – the training, the race itself, and then the after, I asked her about it, and she seemed totally in agreement, that training for, and executing a marathon is kinda sorta like the process of getting pregnant and delivering a baby.  Also, fun fact:  now that we have kids, we are sworn to secrecy about what happened at her wedding weekend.  I am fine with that 😉

Mama Chelsie and baby niece Evie, when she was born on January 21st of last year! Mama delivered with no drugs!

How Marathoning is Like Delivering a Child

By: Cheri and Mama Chelsie, cause she’s actually delivered a child.

  1. You’re pregnant/you’ve registered for your first marathon! So what do you do? You tell your best friends, because you’re kind of so excited, but kind of terrified. What have you gotten yourself into? Oh well, you’ve got forever to prepare for this, right? Right? Why do some people so happy for you, and some people seem so terrified for you?
  2. Realizing that what you’re about to do is going to be a big deal, you go to Barnes and Noble and sit there with a tea while you read every single book on the topic.  You might even bring your laptop to Google some stuff and do some cross-referencing.  Why the hell are there so many theories on this stuff?  Should I eat seafood?  Is caffeine okay? Am I about to get judged for all my choices?
  3. You tell people.  And the world starts to implode.  First, it’s a lot of congratulations.  Then, a lot of unsolicited opinions.  Then a lot of stupid questions.  “How far is a marathon?”  “Why are you doing that?” “I think my sister ran a marathon once, but she said it made her hate running. [shrugs] Hope this doesn’t make you hate running!”
  4. Once you get over the initial shock of what happens, you realize, you have to eat well.  Gone are the days where you could mindlessly toss back a few cups of coffee, or drink all night with friends because each day when you wake up, whatever’s in your belly is what is coming with you for the run.  If something doesn’t agree with you, your body will certainly let you know, and you may find yourself in the bathroom a little more than usual.
  5. You talk to your friends about how they did it.  How did they prepare?  What should you know?  Some of their advice is comforting.  Some of their advice is terrifying.  You kind of think you can do it, but you kind of doubt yourself a little bit.
  6. You start going to bed a little earlier.  But it doesn’t really matter, because as you get a little closer to the event, you won’t sleep well anyways.  You’ll fall asleep okay, and find yourself stress dreaming about every thing that could possibly go wrong.
  7. You get a little practice with your longs runs (a few fake contractions).  Some of them make you really confident.  Some of them are defeating, and you’re really not sure if you can do it.  But what choice do you have right now?  You can’t back out, right?
Jesus, that beautiful is baby, huh? Mama Chelsie isn’t too bad either 🙂
  1. Some really weird stuff starts happening to your body.  You’re hungry all the time.  But you only want to eat good stuff.  Your thighs rub together.  Things spread, things come together, and your energy is all over the place.
  2. Okay, it’s the morning of.  You can do this!  After 9 months (or less) of training, you are so pumped, and very nervous.  And the adrenaline of what’s about to happen to you starts to pull you through.
  3. Less than halfway through, endorphins are flowing.   What are people talking about?! This is awesome!  You might even nod your head and high give some passers-by.  Mind over matter that’s all it takes. ::hair flip::
  4. Chelsie was in labor for over a day.  Luckily, there is not really that when you’re marathoning.  But an hour and a half after those endorphins are flowing, despair comes.  What the frick were you thinking?  Why did you think this was fun?  Why did you tell everyone you were doing this?  Now if you were to lay down and die, they will know you failed.  You’re breathing heavily.  You’re making noises.  The only thoughts are the thoughts of your loved ones, and how you have to make it back to them.  Not religious?  Doesn’t matter.  You will be praying.
  5. The final push.  25.5 miles.  People tell you you’re almost there.  You hope so, because seriously, you’re not sure you’re going to make it.  But you put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving.  And suddenly, the finish line appears.  And with that, you give it literally everything you have.
  6. Euphoria.  You’re crossing the finish line.  And you collapse into a pile of emotion.  Disbelief.  There are tears and sobbing.  Someone puts a medal (a baby) on your chest, and a blanket around your shoulders.  There are hugs and smiles.  And in the words of Chelsie, “you feel like a million bucks,”
  7. The would-be Rip Van Winkle.  You want to sleep for 1000 years.  But you have to call your family and friends who are wondering how/what you’re doing.  Ugh.
  8. The next day, when you feel like like 10 trucks ran you over, you swear that you will never do this again.  No one in hell could pay you enough to make you want to do this again.  Your chub rub hurts.  You want to eat, but you can’t.  And you want to slap whomever it was that said this was a good idea.
  9. The blackout.  A few days later, when you’re feeling better and your homies are slapping you on the back for what you’ve done, you literally black out all the crazy stuff that happens to you, and you think that it might be a good idea to do it again.  Whaaaaaa?  Who would do this more than once!
Those little feet!

Happy Valentines week beautiful people!  What have I missed about training for a marathon/having a sweet baby?  

Babies on the brain.

We’re getting married in about 7 months ::gulp cause I feel like I haven’t done anything:: and people are at it, asking those rude questions that are none of their business really, or premature.

Literally, hours after we were engaged?

“Have you set a date?”

Why would we have set a date, we literally got done calling our parents 40 minutes ago.

“Are your parents okay with you being interracial?”

Yes. But if they weren’t, do you think I’d share it with you, a total stranger?

“Did you only date white guys before or is this the first?”

First.  It’s not like I have some weird fetish.

“Can I be invited? Please?! Can I have a plus one?”

Wasn’t really planning on it.  And now you’ve made it very awkward because the venue can only fit a certain amount of people.

But the one that I’ve gotten a few questions on, and the one I’m just not sure on, is the kid question.  Do we want kids, and how many?  And quite honestly, I can say, we have no idea, and this is the one idea that we’re completely both absolutely sure we’re on the fence about.

I grew up in a big family by today’s standards – there were four of us, and I love being able to tell folks about all my siblings, and the thought of not having a full house is sorta weird, but there are a few things that terrify me, mortally, about kids, and I’m sure I need to get past this before I even think about kids.


  • Student loans.  Mine are not paid off.  And the thought of bringing a child into that mix is chilling.
  • Money.  In general, kids are spensy, and I’m obsessed with the idea of being extremely financially independent – something we’ll touch on a little later when we talk about my resolutions.
  • This is about to sound awful, terrible, and selfish.  And I know that, so I’m prepped to get screamed at.  But I am a little concerned about my weight and what a baby might do to my body.  I’ve been told that once you have a kid, that your priorities shift, and you may not be as concerned with your body.  But I sort of like to run.  I like to work out.  I like my abs and my arms, and I’m worried about how hard it will be to maintain that once I have a kid, or two, or four, like my mom did.


Kara Goucher

      I mean, Kara Goucher (pictured above) returned to her sexy Olympiad self within a year, but she runs literally like 100 miles a week.  Like.  How can I even compete?  Will my exercise participants take me as seriously if I’m not in tip top?


  • What if I suck at it?  No backsies when it comes to kids, ya know?  And if I suck, I’m screwing a kid up.  I can’t live with that!

But at any rate, I figure, we’ll make that decision when the time comes, but for the time being, I’m totally willing to hold your baby for a while, just to borrow, while I decide!


Congratulations are in order!

Let’s take an itsy bitsy break from a ‘Running for Haiti’ related post, okay? We’ll resume the run chat tomorrow.

I woke up to some wonderful news this morning.

I have been friends with Chelsie Lykens since high school…we actually rode to prom in the same limo, I used to copy her French homework, etc etc.  I was in Chelsie’s wedding a few years ago in West Virginia when she married her handsome hubby, Jimmy.  Well, Chelsie and Jimmy welcomed their first daughter this morning, and I’ve been on cloud nine the whole day looking at pictures.

Chelsie, Jimmy, and baby Evie.  How darn cute, right?  And how does she continue to look so good despite the fact she had just been pushing for three hours?
Chelsie, Jimmy, and baby Evie. How darn cute, right? And how does she (Chelsie) continue to look so good despite the fact she had just been pushing for three hours?

Well, the arrival of this sweet, gorgeous baby has gotten me thinking. My friends are starting to have babies. Which means, I need to stop eating snacks appropriate for 5-year-olds (fruit snacks, crystal lite, and fake chicken fingers), and start getting serious about a few things.

I’ve been working on budgeting since November.  I’m not particularly skilled at it, but I’m working on it.  So I decided, in order to be accountable for the enormous amount of money I’ve been spending on food, that it was time to announce to the world that  from Wednesday, January 23 to the following payday (that’s two weeks), I’m not going to set foot into Whole Foods, which is so conveniently placed next to my job.  But I can’t go in there, because it’s a total suck on my bank account.

I love Whole Foods.  They are incredibly reasonably priced for the quality of food that they have (their 365 house brand is what’s up).  It smells nice in there, and they make it easy to live as a vegetarian, vegan, or a person suffering with food intolerances. (I’m a vegetarian, btws).  But I have been spending all my hard earned monies on:

Complete cookie (2)Lemon Poppyseed Complete Cookies (cookies with protein!)


KombuchaCosmic Cranberry Kombucha!  Makes my belly so happy!  But it ain’t cheap.

So my plan is to make do without a few of these things for like half a month while I re-learn how to spend money on food.  I’ll let you know how it goes, and it’ll give us a little something to chat about when I wrap up ‘Running for Haiti’ at the end of January.