Let’s get personal. Part 2. Brynlee’s Birth Story.
At about 5am Randy woke up to see me sitting up in bed and asked if I was ok. I told him I was ok, and nonchalantly added that I was in labor. He shot up in bed and said, “REALLY!?” To which I replied, “Yeah. I’ve been having contractions since 2am, but didn’t want to wake you. They’re not too bad yet, but I’ve been timing them and they’re about 10 minutes apart. You can go back to sleep though, it’s not pressing right now.” Naturally, he could not go back to sleep. He needed to get up and do something – anything.
He asked me what I needed and what he could do. I told him I was hungry and really wanted some toast… So he threw on some clothes and went to the store to get me some bread. He came home and made me breakfast around 6:30am… and then made me a second breakfast around 9am. By 11am my contractions were closer to 5 minutes apart. At 1pm we decided we should go to the hospital. I didn’t feel like the contractions were THAT bad, but we were advised to go in when the contractions were 5 minutes apart for more than 1 to 2 hours. So we went! I figured I could continue laboring at the hospital…
By the time I got all checked in the contractions were more intense and I was glad we were there. My Mom met us in the lobby before we went up. They got me all checked in, and then checked me to see how far along I was. I was only 1.5cm dilated…. which is exactly where I was when I saw my doctor the week before. So despite 11 hours of consistent labor, but body was not progressing. So what did they do? You guessed it. They sent me home. We were all very disappointed. They even suggested that I might make my doctors appointment later that week. My Mother laughed at them and said, “She’ll be back tonight.”
I was bummed but I was also starving again… and if I was leaving the hospital, I was getting a DELICIOUS filling meal. We took a trip to In N Out… and I enjoyed every. single. bite.
My sister met us at my house, and I told Randy to go back to bed. One of us needed to not be entirely exhausted from lack of sleep, and my Mom and my sister were there to help me through my labor pains… We walked around the neighborhood and it was getting increasingly difficult to move or even think during contractions. At 5pm we all agreed that I should stick it out until at least 7pm and then we would go to the hospital again.
By 7pm I was miserable and ready to get back to the hospital, but I was anxious and afraid that my body would still not have progressed enough and they’d send me home.
When we arrived at the hospital this time, my body had begun going into shock between every contraction. All hands were on deck at all times. My Mom was counting my breathing and massaging my legs, Melissa was fanning me as I sweat profusely, and Randy massaged my shoulders and quietly whispered words of encouragement into my ear. After each contraction my body was trembling. No matter what we tried, I could NOT relax through any of it.
As I laid there in misery waiting for them to examine me and see if they could officially admit me, my Mom could see the anxiety in my eyes and assured me that if they tried to send me home again she would throw a fit. She’s the best.
Finally they examined me and I was a whopping 3.5cm by this point. I was distraught when they told me this because my contractions were coming so fast and so intensely that I thought I HAD to be further than that… the nurses were surprised as well, and due to my level of pain and the severity of my contractions, they let me stay. Praise Jesus!
I made sure that every person who entered the room knew I wanted that epidural. I am not ashamed to admit, that drug free was not for me. I could not hang… but I did for about 21 hours before I FINALLY got that epidural. It was about 10pm when the Anesthesiologist made her debut, and I wanted to kiss her on the mouth when I saw her. She could not get to me fast enough… but she did an incredibly efficient job, and my very next contraction was at 50% of the pain of my previous contractions, and the one that followed that I didn’t even feel. I could finally relax.
My Mom, Randy and Melissa all slept in shifts. I got a few snoozes here and there between exams. Around 2am, roughly 24 hours after my contractions began, the nurse informed me that my water broke. Things were happening! I was so happy!
By 7am… I had barely hit 5cm. Half way there. My nurse was leaving and said she might see me at her next shift. We all laughed and I told her that if I was still in L&D when she came back to work, I would have some problems. It was like she knew something I didn’t, because she didn’t find that statement as funny as the rest of us. She just smiled and left.
It wasn’t until around 12 or 1pm that another nurse discovered that my water hadn’t fully broken, and I was stalled. They had pushed Pitocin (an induction drug) multiple times to try to help my body move along, but I was still only around 5cm. They called my doctor to discuss this, and she came in to break my water the rest of the way. This got me to 7cm, where I sat for a few more hours… They could tell that Brynlee was sideways and not budging, so they flipped me around every 20 minutes for the next couple of hours, trying to get her to turn in the proper direction. I sat at 9.5cm for two more hours, before my doctor finally came in again about 6pm and said, “we’re getting this baby out Brianna!” She stuck her hands in there, turned Brynlee face down and said, “there we go! You ready to start pushing?”
Yes, that was excruciating but I was so sick of laying in that bed that I could not WAIT to push. I was beyond ready to be done with this whole thing. I had all the energy I needed, all the motivation, and the most amazing support system. They turned on my “push playlist” and it was go time. My Mom held one leg, the nurse held the other, my sister took photos, and all of them along with my doctor encouraged me to push. Randy continued to massage my shoulders and encourage me gently. I went into beast mode. I wanted to push for as long as they would let me with every contraction, and many times I told them I had another push in me before break time. Each break was necessary, and with each one my family tended to me and encouraged me… and each time I was ready to push again, I pushed with all of my might like my life depended on it. I wanted her OUT! NOW!
I have to take a moment to talk about how much my husband impressed me through this process. We work out together and he is a pretty tough coach. I feared that he would try to coach me in a way that I didn’t need. I worried he would push me too hard and not listen to my needs, but I was very wrong. He blew me away with how gentle, and beautifully encouraging he was. He never left my side. He wiped away my sweat with a cold wet towel between pushes, and with every push he told me how amazing I was, how strong I was, and how I had this.
Before Brynlee was born I had asked Randy if he’d look when she was coming out… I didn’t want him to. But he wanted to! He told me that he didn’t know if he’d get another opportunity to see a child being born and he wanted to see. Reluctantly, I said ok. But when his opportunity came, he surprised me again. My Mom offered to trade places with him so he could see Brynlee coming out. He looked at me, and thought for a second and then said, “No. I think I’ll stay here. I want us to see her for the first time together.”
After about an hour and twenty minutes of pushing, at 7:42pm on April 1st, she was here. My Mom said she came out cheeks first… and looking back at photos I can totally see what she meant…
My Mom and my sister cried… Randy seemed to be stuck in awe for a while… and just watched everything as they laid Brynlee on my chest and wiped her down… he continued to tend to me. I didn’t cry. I think it was because I was just so relieved that it was over… and was so busy looking at her funny little swollen face, that I just laid there in relief.
After our skin to skin time, they weighed and measured her, bundled her up and handed her to Randy. Randy, mind you, had never held a baby before this moment. Without hesitation he took his daughter, sat down quietly and cried as he looked at her. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
Guess who we saw next? Our original nurse… back for her next shift. She came in to see the baby and say hello just before we were transferred to the mother/baby unit.
41 hours was a long time, but it instantly felt like a distant memory. 5 1/2 months later this all feels like a dream, and I hardly even remember her being so tiny, and looking so much like a puffy little monkey! It’s ok, I can say that, I’m her Mom… and I’ll be the first to admit that no baby, fresh out of the oven, looks cute… they are entire different beings 24 hours later when the swelling goes down… Take a look and you’ll see what I mean!
The birth photos were taken by my sister, Melissa!
Next Week in Part 3: Parenthood gets real… I’ll share our journey over the last 5 1/2 months.