Strong, Like A Girl


My first daughter’s name is Evan. We didn’t give her a name until the last few weeks of my pregnancy. We had so many we liked but none were right. Finally we settled on Evan. It would turn out to be the right one.

Evan is our second and middle child. Her heart is loving. Her smile is infectious. She is the first of two daughters, three years younger than her big brother.  Kevin Leman’s Birth Order books would tell me she is similar to being a first born.

January 2013 034

I went in to have my first born, my son, with birth plan in hand and a mind packed full of natural birthing techniques and aspirations. When we did the hospital tour and they showed us the O.R., where you would be were you to need a c-section, I turned to my husband and said, “we will NOT be in there.” Guess where we wound up.

When I became pregnant with Evan I really wanted to experience the whole birthing moment. I hired a doula. I visualized. I relaxed through early contractions, smiling, in the pool. We headed to the hospital.  Dilated to, uh, only about a centimeter, I told the doctor, “forget the birth plan! I’ve had a c-section before. Just get her out. This sucks!”

My poor husband. I told him over and over how much I wanted the experience of having this baby. Then I made him call our doula, already in the hospital stairwell, and tell her to not even worry about showing up. She came anyway. Thank goodness. She was smart and kind.

Fortunately, my husband remembered my dream. Standing by me while I snarled and bounced on a birth ball, he said these very smart words first, “honey, you can do whatever you want. I will agree with you” and second, “if you have a c-section you’ll have to have an epidural anyway, so why don’t you try that first and then see what you think.” He’s smart and kind, too.

It took another seventeen hours, but I had my daughter. Just the way I planned (ha). It hurt like a bitch. But it was nothing short of amazing. And Evan, well, Evan was breathtaking.

She spent the night on my chest. We were together all night long. I couldn’t stop breathing her in and resting my lips on the top of her head.

The next day, at noon, she turned blue.

My husband called the nurses. There is nothing scarier than having three people walk into your hospital room, snatch your newborn from your hands and yell, “she is!”, meaning she was choking. She was grey.
I couldn’t see her. I could only see the face of my husband which had gone pale and my sister’s face that was red. Tears streaming. This all happened within 30 seconds. Just as I was feeling what could have only been a primal scream welling up and about to unleash, the nurse quickly said, “Look mom! Look over here!” She knew. She got my attention right away. Evan was pink and crying.

Evan would be diagnosed over the next few days with Congenital Nasal Pyriform Aperture Stenosis. Say that five times fast. Only a handful of doctors are familiar with CNPAS. We were fortunate there was one right here at home. CNPAS is very rare and could have come with a plethora of deformities and disabilities.

Small arrows are where nostril should be open but is not.

Small arrows are where nostril should be open but is not.

We spent eleven days in the NICU. Eleven days making sure she would breathe well on her own. Eleven days getting feedback from neonatal doctors. Eleven days waiting for chromosome tests to come back. Eleven days watching her little chest rise and fall. Eleven days learning every beep and alarm of the machines. But after eleven days, we wished our little NICU preemie neighbors peace and health. Then we brought Evan home.

That first year we took turns sleeping. With the lights on. We listened to her breathe. Every day and night. Every hour. We listened for her tiny breathing monitor, strapped around her chest, hoping it would not sound its scary alarm. There were no support groups. No websites. We got through it on our own.

Evan is now almost eight. We were told she may have to have nasal surgery. She only snores now. We were told she may have stunted growth. She‘s absolutely average size. We were told, of the most minor of issues, she may be a slow reader or not do so well in certain subjects. She’s one of the smartest in her class.  We were told this mid-line condition could affect her brain, her heart. Her brain and her heart are amazing.

What Evan does have, that’s visible, is one front tooth.

Single front tooth

Single front tooth

A Single Maxillary Central incisor is a symptom of CNPAS, it is very rare, and Evan loves it. Feel free, anytime, to tell her how adorable it is on her.

July '11 to Oct '11 052

Her name is Evan. It means little warrior.


13 responses »

  1. Nana loves you my LIttle Warrior…you are AWESOME and I LOVE THAT FRONT TOOTH..SMILE n you wear it well, you are BEAUTIFUL and Nana will always be here for you… ❤

  2. I think like any parent, my heart stops a little when I read stories like that. I am so glad she has no long-term problems. By now you guys have probably even recovered a tiny bit from the horror of sleep deprivation and anxiety. And that tooth thing is pretty damn cool – never heard of it!

  3. Hi, I just stumbled onto your blog and wanted to tell you how beautiful and moving your story is. What an amazing little girl you have and what a gift you have for making your story come to life. Congratulations on your little warrior. Looks like she is going to great things! Best wishes, Kris (in Brazil)

  4. Hahaha… She takes after her cousin Dan… He is missing some teeth also. He didnt have CNPAS but I find it ironic that they are both missing some teeth from the same family… Maybe that comes with intellegents (or vis versa) What a lovly story!!! Love your blogs! 🙂

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