Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Story of Brayden Michael

            As we are approaching 3 months since the morning we met our Brayden Michael (how is that even possible?!), I think it’s about time I wrote down his birth story while the details are still somewhat fresh in my mind. I will begin by saying this birth story was the opposite of Avery’s in almost every way possible, but honestly equally as amazing. (see The Story of Avery Grace for her birth story) As I reflect on both of their arrivals, I feel blessed to have had such unforgettable experiences to remember and tell them some day.

This time around, I was not working in Labor & Delivery anymore so I wasn’t on my feet as much for long 12 hour shifts AND I wasn’t able to get multiple checks and membranes stripped in the weeks leading up to his delivery. For these reasons, I was sure I was going to delivery past my due date. I was feeling a little TOO good as I hit my 39th week and made a special appointment with my midwife friend to get things “stirred up” (I claimed I’d never be that patient who wanted to speed things up before 40 weeks but sure enough both times by 39 weeks I was eager to get things started!) I got my membranes stripped on a Thursday morning, and was told in 24-48 hours something should happen.

Well, Thursday came and went, Friday came and went with some cramping here and there, but both nights I had the BEST nights of sleep that I had in a long time (ironic how it annoyed me then, but now looking back I see how my body was preparing itself) Then, Saturday rolled around and a huge wave of nesting hit. I pulled out all of Avery’s baby book stuff that I had barely touched in the last year and a half and got to work. As I was working away I was timing contractions that started, never much closer than 10 minutes, so I resumed my day as normal. We went to Weston’s parents’ house for dinner and I was so distracted that I didn’t think much of the contractions that continued to come about every 10 minutes. We got home, and got ready for bed, Weston fell asleep right away like always and finally around 11pm laid down for the night. As I was dozing off realized I was being consistently woken up by contractions every 7 minutes. So, I got up and gave up on sleep for the time being, hoping I could get them closer and make this turn into something if I was going to be kept awake! I got my earbuds out and sat on the exercise ball at the side of our bed, paced around the room, leaned and swayed over the side of the bed, all the while Weston snoring away oblivious to what was happening. (it was better that way!) Around midnight, I realized they were coming every 5 minutes and I had to move and breathe through them. This was just so different than the beginning of Avery’s labor, so I didn’t know what to think? (With Avery I was already at work and comfortable at 5cm, the painful contractions didn’t start until after they broke my water) I decided to fill up the tub and spend some time in there. As I was soaking and contractions continued to come consistently I texted my mom “Are you up?”

 Immediately I got “Yes!” (The plan was for my parents to come to our house so Avery could sleep the whole night at our house if things happened in the middle of the night)

“I think I may call the midwife, my contractions have been 5 minutes apart for the last 2 hours”

“We’ll leave now, you get to the hospital!”

“Calm down. I didn’t even wake up Weston yet!”

I love my mom.

At 1am I woke Weston up, trying to stay calm and not cause a complete panic. I also talked to the midwife. She asked how I was feeling, and let it up to me when I wanted to come in. I definitely felt like something was happening but wanted to stay home as long as possible. On the other hand, I was GBS+ this time (I was negative with Avery) so the nurse in me became very fixated on getting the two doses of antibiotics I needed. My parents got to our house soon after and we left for the hospital. The drive to the hospital was that stereotypical one from movies I always worried we’d have to make living 30 minutes from the hospital. Weston speeding, me breathing hard through each contraction, dreading the next one and feeling e.v.e.r.y. single bump and turn. Not fun. Something about sitting upright and not being able to move made them 10x worse, and by that point I was thankful we were on our way because flashbacks of how I felt during transition with Avery started to surface. This was happening.

We got to the hospital around 2am and I tried to calmly walk into triage, knowing I was about to see all my former coworkers. A few contractions interrupted registration, and by the way I was leaning, swaying, breathing, and not talking they must have known I needed to be seen and got me straight to a room. The midwife came to check me after what felt like an hour but was probably only 10 minutes. I never even sat down on the bed until she came in, since by this point I had to be standing and moving at all times. The contractions were now coming every 2-3 minutes. She told me I was 5-6cm and intact. All I could think was I wanted the antibiotics ASAP.

After my check the midwife asked “So are you thinking epidural?”

Although I had an unmedicated birth with Avery, I was very open minded to an epidural leading up to Brayden’s birth. (Partially because I was just so curious what they felt like after working in labor & delivery four years) With Avery I remember having a strong, determined desire to have a natural labor (also out of curiosity of what it felt like) and this time I just wasn’t in that same place mentally for whatever reason. I looked at Weston with question in my eyes and after an eager nod from him I said, “You know what, yes! I would love an epidural!”

They started my bolus and antibiotics in triage, I walked back to the room stopping to breathe through contractions on the way and once we got there I got bossy with Weston, telling him to “Get over here” and to apply counter pressure during contractions. (He doesn’t quite know how to contribute until pushing so this time I must have felt the need to change that HA) I remember feeling like I may be transitioning while we were waiting for the anesthesiologist, but by that time my mind was so set on the epidural I didn’t want to admit what my body was doing. The anesthesiologist entered the room and after a grueling few contractions of having to sit still on the side of the bed (didn’t even feel the epidural placement because of if), I started to feel some glorious relief. And let me tell you, Epidurals are everything everyone raves about and MORE! I absolutely loved that it was the middle of the night, just Weston and I, and we could sit in a peaceful dark room and bask in the anticipation of the arrival of our son! Something we didn’t get to experience in the intensity and speed of my labor with Avery. My contractions were coming literally back to back but by this time all I felt was tightening across my belly and a little pressure. We tried to take naps but I was too excited to sleep! Even being able to rest was so wonderful. My water broke on its own at 6am, they got my second dose of antibiotics in (YAY for crazy nurse brain peace of mind!) and although I was feeling some pressure, I was still so comfortable that I was able to wait until the midwife was available to check me. She was busy due to a crazy morning on the unit but I got to spend the wait catching up with coworkers who were stopping in one by one to say “Hi”. After she finished a few deliveries and took care of an emergency in another room the same midwife who stripped my membranes on Thursday entered the room. It was now Sunday morning, she checked me, and said “Oh he’s right here, ready to have a baby?” !!!!! WAIT. This is happening. Again, that sense of anticipation and excitement that I barely had time to acknowledge last time washed over me. Everyone got ready, Weston held a leg, and I was prepping myself for another strenuous hour or two of hard work ahead after pushing for 1.5 hours with no medication with Avery. I requested a mirror and on the first push I saw almost his entire head! WHAT. Then we waited for another contraction while chatting and laughing, I still wasn’t feeling anything more than pressure and when the next one came and I pushed and he was born!! DOUBLE WHAT! I just had a baby in two pushes and barely felt it (at least compared to what I remembered with Avery). Crazy. I was in awe. I pulled him right up to my chest and snuggled him immediately just like I did Avery. He had the same big mouth and lips and squinty eyes that I remember so well from the first time I laid eyes on her. (also, maybe TMI but since I was so comfortable and able to ease him out so slowly I didn’t tear at all! If you've ever had a baby you know that's reason to celebrate) He was the exact same weight and measurements as Avery born a few days before his due date and perfect as could be. So bottom line. I LOVE EPIDURALS. And also, I LOVE UNMEDICATED BIRTH. I just love birth and babies as a whole and am so thankful for the miracles that they are.

After reflecting a lot after Brayden’s birth, I honestly found myself not as eager to write his birth story. Will people even think it’s interesting if it wasn’t unmedicated? Should I have been more determined to go unmedicated again? No. I realized I was being ridiculous. His birth story was beautiful in every way, and in hindsight, almost too good to be true! My physical recovery was 10x easier than it was with Avery. I guess all this is to say, I just hope that all women can be proud of their birth stories no. matter. what. Whether it went the way you planned or the complete opposite. Whether it was traumatic or the definition of Zen. Whether you delivered at a birth center or a high-risk hospital. Whether you had a vaginal delivery or c-section. Be proud. Your body is strong, beautiful and capable of amazing things.

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