Brenna's Birth - In Emily's Words
I bring you today Brenna's birth story, as told by the mama (funny how her recollection is slightly more detailed than mine!).
Brenna is here!
Brenna arrived via c-section on October 7th at 12:28 pm after 18 hours of non-medicated natural labor. My water broke on the way to Burger King, I had been sitting with Tom at my mom's house and got up to go get some Whoppers (one of my favorite pregnancy indulgences, gotta love the grease)...when I felt something go 'sproing' (gross!). I thought it was my pelvic bones moving, or any one of several weird things that happen when you're preggers.
So I get out to my sister's van and my mom and Tom join me. Tom had to take a work call on his cell phone so he was occupied. Just seconds after sitting down I felt a weird gush. I pretty much knew what was happeing, it was exactly on my due date after all...but I was in denial a bit just because of human nature I guess. I turn to my mom, who was going to be driving-we hadn't even left the driveway yet-and said...'umm Mom...I think my water broke.' She very calmly asked me what was going on, and I told her, she agreed that my water had probably broken. Meanwhile Tom was sitting in the back of the van talking on the phone with his customer, totally unaware of what was going on. I got out of the van and immediately REALLY knew my water had broken! I started walking over to our car, and was intending on just waiting for Tom to get done with his call, but then I started feeling contractions and told my mom to grab Tom. According to my mom, when she told Tom his eyes widened a little, and without missing a beat he politely excused himself on the phone and told his customer that his wife's water had broken and he needed to let them go...that's my professional unflappable sweetie! He told me later he was just wondering why everyone got out of the van and left him there in a closed vehicle in AZ. :-)
We made our way to the hospital, without my hospital bag or anything, and found out that due to the storm we'd just had that caused a change in barometric pressure, and the full moon that night, that every dang pregnant person in the Valley was also in labor. Well not really but that's what it seemed like! I had to sit on a puddle pad on the couch in the waiting room with contractions that were between 3 and 5 minutes apart for a couple of hours before I got into a room.
When I got in and they checked me I was 3cm dilated and Brenna was still up really high, like she had been all along. That had been a concern for a while, that she had no interest in getting locked and loaded into position. My former jerk doctor was pushing for an induction or c-section was wasn't interested in letting me go into labor naturally and also had no interest in letting me try to go for a natural childbirth, so I had switched at 38 weeks to a really good doctor who was willing to work with me. So the nurse recommended that I try to labor sitting on my birthing ball fo a while to see if that would help her to come down into position, Brenna looked really good on the monitors and since my doctor was a good one and not the jerk they let me move around and not be constantly strapped down in the bed.
When several hours of laboring on the birth ball didn't bring about any changes, the nurses and my doctor had me start walking....and keep walking. I ended up walking off and on for 12 hours! All of this got me to a whopping 4 cm, and no change in how high Brenna was in my pelvis, so by 4AM my doctor was going to check in and see how things were and to see if there was any progression. This whole time I'd been having strong contractions, enough that I couldn't walk or talk through them, and was getting pretty exhausted. Tom and my doula stayed by my side the entire time, with my mom and sister filling in and providing moral support.
My doctor had mentioned to the labor nurse about using pitocin to augment labor to see if that would get things going, and I really felt funny about it. I knew that pitocin could cause heart rate changes in the baby, and also thought that since it wasn't a foregone conclusion that I could have the baby the old fashioned way, that it was safer for Brenna for her to be delivered by c-section. It seems that I have a rather shallow pelvis and my height didn't help matters any, so both doctors, the good one and the jerk one, had thought that there was a distinct possibility that I would have problems with going into labor naturally. The difference between the two doctors is that the jerk one wasn't interested in letting me try to have her naturally, and the good one gave me some pointers on getting Brenna to drop-she was willing to try, and that meant all the world to me. It feels much better to be part of a team rather than having some jerk tell you 'this is how it's going to be'.
I was really hoping to go drug-free and have her naturally, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that the baby stays healthy (and Mom too!)
By about 5 AM it was determined that I wasn't getting anywhere in terms of having her any time soon, so I told the nurses that I wated to have the c-section, and since I knew I was going to have to get drugged anyways, I consented to the epidural to allow my body to rest before the surgery. They put in the epidural around 7AM, and the people who did it were great, the anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist (sp?) were nice and did a great job, and totally made me feel at ease and comforted me over being a bit sad over having to get the drugs. My OB booked an operating room for noon, so I was able to catch a little rest without the pain of the contractions getting to me.
They prepped me and gave me the spinal block for the actual surgery, and even though I had been warned that it would feel like I couldn't beathe, I was still unprepared for actually having that sensation! Logically I knew my brain was getting enough oxygen, but the feeling that you can't take a full breath had me in full scale panic mode in no time flat. Once again the nurse anesthetist was great and made me feel better, and I somehow kept from trying to jump off the table and run away...how I would have accomplished that while numb from the chest down is beyond me...
After a lot of weird tugging but no pain, Brenna came into the world at 12:28pm, and immediately let out a cry. That was one of the best moments in my whole life. Tom sat by my side the whole time, and took some pictures of her as they put Brenna in the warmer and assesed how she was doing. My upper body was behind a screen so I didn't get to see her be born, but Tom did, and he got to hold her pretty quickly after birth, and he brought her to me to look at her before they took her to the nursery. She was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. She weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces at birth, and she's 21 and a half inches in length..a tall baby from a short mom, which I find funny. :-)
While the doc was evicting her, she said 'oh, that's why you wouldn't come down'...it turns out that Brenna had a true knot in her cord, and also had the cord wrapped around her neck. Either of which could have meant very bad things for her at any time, but especially if she had been forced down into my pelvis by using the pitocin. I thank God every day for Brenna, and for Him letting me know that pitocin was NOT a good idea!
After a severe bout of the shakes coming down from the drugs and the hormonal shock after a surgical birth, I finally got to hold Brenna when she was an hour or so old. She looked so tiny and perfect, after all the bumps and thumps in my belly I still can't believe I was able to grow this precious human in my body. She has long eyelashes and a full head of dark hair. She came out with baby blue eyes, but at one week and one day old they're already starting to turn darker, so I think she'll be a brown eyed girl like Mom. Daddy has brown eyes too so it's a very likely thing!
We've had our ups and downs since being home, I'm healing and getting more used to being a mom every day, and Brenna is an excellent baby and a very good sleeper. I'm also grateful for that! It's been a wild, wonderful, though sometimes terrifying ride so far, and I can't wait to see what's next as our baby girl grows.