Monday, May 31, 2010

Brooklyn's birth story

Warning, this will contain some graphic info about me and the labor and delivery experience. Also some details may be off slightly since this is just how I remember it and not neccessarily exactly what happened. I know my memory is hazy for parts of the day, but I think I got all the important stuff right. Also this is very long.

WOW, what a day Saturday was! I would love to hear the story told from Sean, my mom, or Laura since they were all there for all of it, and I'm sure what I remember is probably off a little since it was so crazy. Maybe I'll get lucky and can talk one of them into sharing their version (especially Laura). :)

Anyway, I woke up Saturday morning at about 7:30 to pee, this wasn't surprising since I always have to wake up early and go to the bathroom. I laid back down in bed and tossed and turned trying to get comfortable, and then about 7:50 thought I felt what might have been a little trickle of my water breaking. I hadn't heard or felt a pop like I did when my water broke with Megan, but I thought I'd get up and go to the bathroom again and if it was my water, I'd feel more coming out. I went to the bathroom and didn't notice anything else, but Jackson was fussing, so I got him out of bed and brought him into my room and put him on the bed with Sean and half laid down with them. I told Sean I thought maybe my water broke, but I wasn't sure, and as I was laying there, I starting feeling another gush, by the time I got into the bathroom it was running down my legs, and I knew for sure my water had broken. That was between 7:55 and 8:00. I told Sean it was definitely my water, and by then everyone in the house was up. Sean's mom took the kids downstairs to get them started on breakfast, and Sean and I got ready and finished packing my stuff. I called Laura, and Sean called my mom, but we told them both to take their time since I wasn't in any pain or having many contractions, and we were still at home. We got the rest of our stuff together and headed to the hospital.

I couldn't remember if we were supposed to go to the ER to check in, or straight up to the family birthplace. So we stopped at the ER and I told the guy working the desk my water had broken and asked if we should be admitted here, or just go upstairs. He asked if I was having any contractions, and I said a few. So he asked how far apart they were, and when I said I didn't know, he looked at me like I had three heads. I later told Sean if they were painful I'd have paid attention, but it's not like my baby was coming out any minute now, and you'd think the guy would have known that since I was not in any obvious pain. Anyway, he made a call, and said we should just go straight upstairs and they would do everything up there.

When we arrived upstairs they took us to the triage area. That is what they do when they want to make sure you are really in labor, or that your water has really broken. So they gave me a gown and a cup to pee in, and put us in a triage room. The nurse asked a bunch of questions because they couldn't find my info anywhere, and hooked me up to the monitors to check on contractions and the baby. The baby's heart rate was great, and I was contracting, but not often or very strong. Finally the house OB came in to check to see if my water had really broken. I had to laugh because my pants were soaked by the time we got to the hospital, despite wearing a pad, and since I had been sitting in the bed I had been feeling several more gushed of fluid. As soon as the nurse picked up the sheet she realized the ob definitely wouldn't need to verify my water had broken, but he wanted to check to see how dilated I was. I was dilated 3-4 and about 80% effaced, which was some progress from my appointment the day before.

With all that info they gave us a room and called the doctor that was covering for my OB, since my OB was out of town. My mom and Laura had arrived while I was still in the triage room, so they helped us move into my real room and got the rest of our stuff out of the car with Sean. We had left everything out there rather than bring it all in and drag it around until we got settled in our room. The OB said I needed a small dose of pitocin to help regulate things since my body wasn't doing much on it's own, and I really wasn't surprised. I'm pretty sure my body just doesn't get what it's supposed to do, even after my water breaks. So I got my IV started and they drew my blood. I signed a bunch of papers, including the one consenting to an epidural, even though I hadn't made a decision for sure on that. I didn't want to have to sign something for it later when I was in pain should I decide I needed one.

Then the waiting began. It was probably 10:30 or so by the time I got situated in my room and had the pitocin started. I definitely noticed an uptick in the contractions pretty quickly, but they weren't terrible. We all just sat around and talked for a while, and the nurse checked me at about 11:30, and I was only dilated to about 4cm. Everyone else had some lunch and I just enjoyed the quiet and tried to rest. I couldn't really sleep with the contractions, but it was nice just laying there relaxing for a while. The nurse checked me again at 1, and I was still 4cm, and I opted for an epidural at that point. Yes, I totally wimped out again, but honestly, I'm at peace with that decision.

After getting the epidural I felt really good for a while. I had been nauseous all morning, and that went away. The only issue I had was a little "window" on my lower left side that wasn't completely numb, but after laying on my left side for a bit that went away. Then we decided to roll me to the right side to try to move the baby down some more and make some more progress. The nurse checked me again at 3 and I was still only 4-5cm. After being on my right for just a short time, that window of pain came back, and I asked the nurse if I could roll back to my left to get some relief again. She said that was fine, but unfortunately, it didn't help. Not only did that spot not go away, but it was really painful, and the small spot that wasn't numb seemed to be growing.

Things just continued to get more painful and more intense from then on. The spot definitely kept getting bigger, and the contractions were quite painful. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me an extra dose of meds to see if that would help. It did not. So she came back and said she could either try moving the epidural a tiny bit, or give me a whole new one. I said we should just try moving it, so she did that. We waited a few minutes to see if that made a difference, and by that time it was all I could do to get through each contraction, which were about 2 1/2 minutes apart. Having a contraction that was 1 minute long, every 2.5 minutes made me feel very overwhelmed. Once we realized moving the epidural wasn't going to work I couldn't think straight enough to make a decision about getting a new one, so we did nothing.

The nurse had checked me again at 4:30 and I was 5-6cm, but 6cm when I had a contraction. They called the doctor at that point because I had warned everyone once I got to 6, things tend to go fast. At 5:00 I was still at 6cm, and the doctor had arrived. The contractions were so painful at that point I was just laying there holding Sean's hands trying to breathe through them, and could focus on nothing else. I know the OB tried to talk to me, but I have no idea what he was saying. I do remember Sean trying to encourage me and tell me how great I was doing, and all I could do was yell at him to SHUT-UP! I feel bad, but at the time I really needed him to shut-up. I could tune out everyone else, but when Sean talked to me I couldn't focus on breathing through the contractions and everything seemed worse. There were a couple contractions I really felt I couldn't get on top of and was breathing too fast and the nurse kept reminding me to slow down my breathing so I wouldn't hyperventilate. I also found myself moaning through some of the contractions to get through them. I never thought I'd be that vocal in labor since I never was before, but I did whatever I could at that point not to completely lose it.
The doctor came in a little after 5:00 (not sure exactly when) and they finished getting everything ready for delivery. At 5:15 or so, they checked me and I was 8cm. Then at 5:20 (ish) I was complete and ready to push. I pushed a couple times while they were breaking down the the bed, then then threw my legs into the stirrups and I really started pushing. Right after I started pushing my photographer, Kristen, ran into the room and started taking pics of everything. I'm so glad she made it in time. She said she was literally running and couldn't figure out exactly where to go, but someone told her they heard a lady yelling that way (I guess she pointed in the direction of my room), and said Kristen should head over there. Yes, I was the lady that was screaming while I was pushing. I'm kind of embarrassed by that, but I definitely didn't plan it, and didn't feel like I could not do it. At 5:29pm, after just a few pushes, Brooklyn Reese entered the world weighing 8 pounds 11 ounces, and 20 1/4 inches long. Sean announced it was a girl, but with all the craziness he couldn't remember the middle name we had picked out, and I was still not really thinking straight and couldn't help remember either. It was so much harder pushing Brooklyn out than I remember the other kids being, but maybe I just felt it more than I had before. The last couple hours of labor and the delivery were the most pain I've ever been in, and I'm not sure if my epidural was working at all anymore, but if it was working, even a little, that's as close to going natural through labor and delivery as I ever want to get.

Sean cut the cord and they put her up on my chest. She stayed there a few minutes, but then they took her over to the warmer to clean her up. I was fine with them taking her then because I couldn't really focus on anything or even try to hold her right away. The Ob was working on delivering the placenta, which did not want to come out easily. We finally got the placenta out, and then the real fun of me bleeding way too much began. They could not get me to stop bleeding and the poor nurses had to keep massaging my uterus to get it to contract to try to stop the bleeding. The doctor checked me for any internal tears (I didn't tear at all on the outside) to see if that was causing some of the bleeding, but there were none. So the nurses kept working on me, but since they couldn't get it to stop the doc ordered a shot of Methergine to help. I was definitely freaking out because I could see and hear the concern in the nurses voices and faces. I'm sure they were annoyed at me, but I asked a couple of times what my bp was, and at one point it was down really low (like 70 something/50 something), which they told me was still ok. They were more concerned that my heart rate was really high. I also asked if things were ok, and the one nurse said we were still ok, so I asked if she would tell me if I wasn't ok, and she said yes, and at that point I had to trust her on that. Finally after the meds and tons of massaging my uterus the bleeding finally slowed to an acceptable level.

The baby nurse was cleaning Brooklyn off and weighing her and Kristen was taking pics of Brooklyn while they were working on me. I got so wrapped up in my care I had to remind myself to ask how Brooklyn was a couple of times. I knew she was in good hands though, so I figured they'd let me know if she wasn't. Once they finally got the bleeding slowed down and cleaned me up and took my legs out of the stirrups, I felt like crap. The combination of not eating since 10pm the night before, laboring all day, then losing a ton of blood, and having nothing but fluids and meds in me had made me incredibly weak and nauseous. The nurse asked if I wanted to nurse Brooklyn, and I said I knew I needed to, but didn't really feel like I could. They wanted to give me something for the pain I was in (my uterus hurt so bad from all the massaging), but I said I really felt like I needed to eat before I took any more meds or I'd really be sick. So the nurse got me some crackers which I ate slowly, and by 6:30 I finally felt like I was capable of sitting up and holding Brooklyn so she could nurse. I know it was just barely over an hour after she was born, but I felt terrible she had to wait so long to breastfeed for the first time because I was having such a rough time. She did pretty well nursing though, so I don't think it had a major effect on things.

Sunday I was pretty sore all day, and really tired. The ran a blood count on me and said I was pretty anemic, but as long as I wasn't feeling dizzy or having other issues like that, they just wanted me to take it easy and get plenty of rest and iron. I slept a lot Sunday evening after our last visitors left, and then slept decently through the night, of course waking up to nurse Brooklyn as needed. Today I feel remarkably better, though definitely still tired, and my uterus is really sore, especially when Brooklyn nurses. I think it will take me a few days to feel "normal" but I don't feel so exhausted anymore.

Brooklyn is doing really well, and is really getting the hang of nursing. It's been a little harder with her than it was with the other kids, but no major issues. She's such a sweet snugly baby, and I'm so happy to have added another healthy, beautiful baby girl to our family. I'm also thankful and totally ok with this being the last time I have to go through pregnancy and labor and delivery. The scare I got with the excessive bleeding was enough to really convince me we should not have any more kids.

I have to give a big thank you to Sean, my mom, and Laura for being there for me through it all. Even though I yelled at Sean, he was great at supporting me throughout the labor and delivery, as always. Laura had never seen a live birth, but she was fantastic and was right there holding my hand when things were so hard at the end, and held my leg to help me push. What an amazing friend she is! And my poor mom. Saturday was a really hard day for her. Even though she's been there for 4 out of the 5 kids' births, it's still hard for her to watch me be in pain and not be able to do anything. Plus all the excessive bleeding I had really freaked her out, so by the end of the day she was wiped out and definitely needed some rest. Also a huge, giant thank you to Sean's mom for staying with the kids and taking care of the 4 of them completely for the last 3 days. She's amazing and I could not ask for a better mother-in-law.

So it was a crazy, rough day, but it has a happy ending with a healthy baby and mommy, and that's what really matters to me.


  1. Welcome Baby Brooklyn! Thanks for sharing your story, Cheryl. I'm glad everything turned out okay and I wish you a speedy recovery! Enjoy your sweet new baby. :)

  2. Was Dr. P in South Carolina?

    Sounds like everything was intense ... but it ended well. I hope BFing is going great. :) Glad you have so much help support at home. What do Brooklyn's siblings think of her?

  3. Carmen, I'm not sure where he was, but yes, he was out of town. Bummer he missed it, but the other doc was great too.

    The other kids love her and want to smother her with hugs and kisses.