Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Birth Story: Brielle June

Disclaimer: If you have anything negative to say about any of the methods or decisions made in my labor and delivery, please don't. This is not meant to be a place to share opinions or debate. It's simply a story of love and joy, and I couldn't be happier with all of my decisions and the outcome of it all. Here we go...

The fact that every book, doctor, and website calls 37 weeks full term is just rude. They suggest you pack your bags, have your birth plan printed, and basically drive yourself nuts wondering if today is going to be the day.

I figured I would probably go late. Most first time mommas do. But regardless, our hospital bags found their permanent place in the back of our car, and I was on edge during every stupid Braxton Hicks contraction I got. Starting at 37 weeks I began getting cervical exams. I knew that they couldn't predict labor accurately, but since we live over an hour away from the hospital, I felt like I needed to know if for some reason I was a 3. I wasn't. 1 cm. Starting to soften. Not much going on. By my 40 week appointment I was annoyed. My due date was 2 days prior, and I was desperate to have my baby. I wasn't physically miserable by any means, but  mentally and emotionally, I was beyond ready to not be pregnant. We had an ultrasound to check my fluid, and got a non stress test. I had 3 contractions within the first 4 minutes of being hooked up to the monitors. The nurse tried to see if I could be admitted, but no such luck. I had been having those contractions for a month now, and the baby was too healthy and happy to worry about them.

It started to seem like my pregnancy was going to last forever. I really didn't want to be induced. Five minutes on the internet and you will see countless posts about the horrors of Pitocin contractions and how induction=c-section. I brought these concerns up to my doctor and she assured me that she personally didn't feel like she performed more c-sections after an induction than when a mother went into labor naturally. She said to trust my body, and the choice was mine. I felt better. I trusted my doctor. I wanted that baby out. My doctor scheduled an induction for the next Saturday. I would be 41 weeks.

In the mean time, I continued to try EVERYTHING to get that girl out. Nothing worked, and on Saturday morning at 8am, we arrived at the hospital. The process of getting settled was a long one. By the time I got into my gown, signed some final papers, received my IV, and talked to my doctor, it was about 10am before the induction process even began. Because my cervix was being stubborn, my doctor didn't think it would be wise to start with Pitocin. She suggested that I begin with 25 mg of Cytotec, a small pill that is inserted into the cervix to soften and dilate it. Now, I had done my homework on Cytotec and seen some unsettling things, but I also knew some people who had received it and had no problems whatsoever. When I talked to my doctor about it, she again gave me the choice to use something differently, but assured me that she had never seen negative affects from it, and that she truly believed it would be the best method to take with me. She promised they would be monitoring me the entire time, and would act quickly if the medication decided to do something crazy. I agreed to it, and recieved the first dosage.

I had to stay completely flat on my back for an hour after they inserted the Cytotec, so that it would stay put in my cervix. After the hour, I was free to move around and do as I pleased. We spent those first three hours hanging out, talking, and drinking apple juice. :) It was then time to check to see how far I had progressed. I was quickly disappointed to learn that I was now only a 1.5. The super scary medicine had not caused my uterus to rupture, and actually had not done much at all. My doctor then suggested we do another round of 50mg. I agreed, and the next pill was inserted. (Oh, and if you're wondering if it hurt like H E double hockey sticks, the answer is yes. Yes it did.) Again, I had to stay flat from 1pm to 2pm, to allow the medication to settle. After my hour was up, Jake and I decided to take a walk around the hospital. After a couple laps up and down the halls and a trip to the gift shop, we decided to head back to the room. I didn't dare go near the cafeteria. Karissa + no food + being tempted with food would not have been a good situation. A little after 3pm I started to get regular and real contractions that were pretty uncomfortable. Around 3:30 they really started to hurt, and at 3:45 my water broke.

My water breaking wasn't like in the movies. It started as a small gush, and during every contraction, more and more came out. It was miserable. Literally felt like I was peeing my pants every 2 minutes, and I was just sitting in a pool of warm water. Sick.

Now, before I move on with the story, I'm going to have to back track a minute. About a month after we found out we were pregnant, we found out that our cousin, Korie was also pregnant with her second baby. It was so exciting to know that our kids would be about six weeks apart and would get to grow up together. Korie and I went to the same OB and were going to deliver at the same hospital, which is a little over an hour away from where we both live. When she was about 29 weeks along, Korie was put on bed rest, and it started to look like the babies were going to be a little closer than 6 weeks apart.

Ok, back to the story. As my water continued to break, my contractions were getting increasingly more painful. Right as I was coming out of a bad one, my phone went off. I hadn't really been checking it since I had actually gone into labor, but I decided to look to see who it was. It was a text from our other cousin, Bekah, saying that Korie's water had also just broken and she was on the way to the hospital. Later, after figuring out the details, we realized that our waters broke at exactly the same time: 3:45pm. Pretty freaking freaky, huh? Anyways, at the time, things were still pretty scary since Korie was only 35 weeks pregnant.

It didn't take long for my contractions to get to stupidly painful. I always wondered what they would feel like, and the best way I can describe them is period cramps mixed with diarrhea pain, but that you think might kill you. I've never had my uterus and/or back stabbed repeatedly, but I'm pretty sure it would feel similar to those contractions. The nurse brought me a hot compress, but that was worthless. I was having both stomach and back labor. They suggested I get on my hands and knees to help with the back pain, but it only made my stomach hurt 100x more. Being on my right side was moderately less painful than my left, and all I could do to get through the contractions was to stay on my side and hit the railing of the hospital bed over and over to the rhythm of Brielle's heartbeat from the monitor. After the epidural (spoiler alert) we affectionately referred to it as playing my drum.

I was in so much pain that it was hard for me to remember, let alone think about the fact that Korie was on the way to the hospital, but a little over an hour later we got a text that she was pushing in the car. I repeat, PUSHING IN THE CAR!! Now all of our family was already in the waiting room of the hospital for me and were getting periodic updates from Korie's husband as they made their way over, but since we were in the delivery room, this was the first update we had received since her water broke, so we didn't know if they were in the parking lot or still 30 minutes away. As my mother-in-law (Korie's aunt) was trying to get details, we began to hear an intense voice over the intercom calling a Code Blue (i think? i don't actually remember the color) in Labor and Delivery and paging a doctor...our doctor, who was actually just on her way over to the floor to check on me. Just a minute after that, we heard the doors to the floor click open, and the most horrific scream I had ever witnessed in real life. Anybody who knows Korie, knows she has the sweetest voice in the world and is rarely ever NOT happy and cheerful. To hear somebody you love, especially somebody who you have NEVER seen in that sort of distress, screaming in that much pain, is the scariest thing in the world. I just remember being mid-contraction, feeling like death myself, and thinking, "Omg. Korie is dying. The baby is dying. Somebody out in that hallway in dying." My nurse immediately left our room to go help with Korie. We were left along in the room, terrified. My mom, mother in law, and Jake all stood over my bed, as we prayed for the health of Korie and the baby.  I kid you not, 2 minutes later, the nurse was back in our room letting us know that everything was alright. My mother in law also received a text that the sweet little baby boy was out, pink and crying. :) So then, even though I still felt like death, I was relieved to know that neither Korie or little Brady were dying. The only other thing I could think to ask was if she delivered him in the hallway, because I'm not exaggerating, that's exactly what it sounded like. Fortunately, Korie had made it into the room (two doors down), our doctor arrived on time, and Brady was born only 3 minutes and two pushes after she arrived at the hospital. Pure craziness. She wasn't even experiencing contractions when her water had broke, so in the span of an hour, she went from no pain, to getting contractions, to the worst pain of her life, to pushing in the car, to literally making it to the hospital with only a few minutes to spare. It's nothing short of a miracle that Brady was born healthy and perfect, 5 pounds, 5 ounces, 18 inches long.

After the excitement died down, our doctor came in to check on me. Unfortunately my body wasn't being nearly as proactive as Korie's. I was only dilated to a stupid 2. At this point, I was sure I was going to be in labor forever. Also at this point, my contractions were at the point to bringing me to tears, and much stronger than they should have been for only being dilated to what I was. I labored like that for two more hours, drumming my drum, breathing as much as I physically could, which to be honest, all I wanted to do was hold my breath and/or pass out. Jake was the absolute best the entire time. He held my hand during each contraction. Rubbed my back. Held a cool rag over my eyes. Fed me ice chips. Told me I was a champ. Literally did all the perfect things that I assume they tell you to do in child birthing classes. (we decided to save the money and just wing it.)

After three hours of hard labor, the nurse came in and offered me medication. I assumed they wouldn't let me have the epidural yet, since I wasn't progressing like I should be. However, when I asked what my options were, an epidural was one of them. I don't think my nurse finished the word before I said yes. I know for a fact I could have gone on longer without one, but I also knew for a fact that I wanted to get one, and after hearing Korie's screams I wanted to make sure I got one before it was too late.

I may or may not have tried to kiss the anesthesiologist on the lips when he came in a few minutes later. Now, I used to be TERRIFIED of epidurals, but it really was not bad AT ALL. But maybe that's because nothing can be worse than the pain of contractions. I definitely felt a sting when he gave me the first shot, but the worst part of it all was remaining still through the contractions. I slowly began to feel pressure traveling up my back, and before I knew it, all of my pain subsided. You guys, I can't even express how good I felt after that bad boy. I immediately began joking with the nurses, asking Jake to get me my make-up, and went back to watching Friends on the TV. I was the happiest girl in labor and delivery for a good two hours.

About 15 minutes after I got the epidural, they checked my cervix and I was a 3 and 100% effaced. About an hour later I was a 4. Things were finally starting to happen, and I couldn't even feel it happening. It was perfect. When the nurse checked me that time, she had me get on my hands and knees and remain there for about 15 minutes, to encourage the baby to move down even more. I was able to do so even with the epidural. (That probably should have been a cue that it was wearing off, but the thought didn't even cross my mind. I still wasn't in any pain.) At around 8:00 or 8:30, I started to feel a lot of pressure. I kept telling everybody that I had to poop. They checked me again around 9pm, and I was a 5.

The pressure or "needing to poop" only got worse. It was all I could think about or talk about. I'm sure my poor family was sick and tired of me repeating it over and over again. It didn't take long for me to realize that the feeling came about every minute or two, right around when I was having contractions. Even though I still couldn't feel any pain, the pressure became more and more uncomfortable. After about 30 minutes, my drums came back and all I could do was lay with my legs crossed and tightly as possible. I was certain that something, either poop or a baby, was coming out of me. At 9:45, my nurse must have gotten tired of me complaining, and checked me again. I just remember her smiling and saying, "Well the reason you feel so much pressure is because you're a 9.5, and your baby's head is VERY low." I freaking panicked. I immediately looked at Jake and said, "I can't do this." I wanted to tell the nurse that I was just kidding, that the pressure wasn't that bad after all. I was fully intending on asking if I could just stay all night with my legs crossed tight. I couldn't have a baby. I didn't know what the heck I was doing. We shouldn't have been cheap idiots and just taken the stupid class. But then I had another contraction, felt that pressure, and changed my mind again. I wanted that kid out of me.

Since I still had a little ways to go, the nurse said she would call my doctor, start to get things ready, and when I felt like I couldn't take the pressure for one more second to let her know and she would check me again. I think I lasted for another 10 minutes max. "She's coming out," I told her.

My doctor came in and took a look. She said she wanted me to give her a practice push to see if I was ready. I must have impressed the crap out of her because she immediately gave me the ok. As they finished getting themselves and everything ready, the nurse gave me permission to push while I waited, whenever I got the urge to. I kid you not, nothing has felt so good in my life. The pressure is honestly unlike any feeling I've ever had. It was so overwhelming, and being able to bear down felt like eating a Double-Double WITH a chocolate shake, on the beach, while getting massaged by Denzel Washington. Like, literally the best thing ever.

Soon the room was assembled, my doctor and nurses were ready, the lights were dimmed, and Phil Wickham's Sing-Along album was playing. My doctor and nurses were all Christians and were humming along to the worship music. It was awesome.

So at a few minutes before 10pm, I had Jake on my left side, a nurse on my right, my mom and mother in law by my head, and my amazing doctor in the danger zone. She gave me my instructions: next time you feel that pressure, grab your legs and push to the sky. I didn't know what on earth she meant, but that contraction started coming, and I somehow did exactly what she said. Then I did it two more times before the contraction was over. I felt like the strongest and most exhausted person in the world. "Why didn't you take a nap today, you idiot?" I asked myself after my first set of pushes. I quickly determined that I did not have the energy to do this for two hours, like I had read was a normal amount of time for first time moms to push. I was going to push past the freaking sky if I had to. That baby was coming out. And she did. And let me tell you, I felt EVERYTHING. Thanks for nothing, epidural!! Jk. I actually couldn't be happier with my epidural wearing off, and am so thankful I got to experience everything that I did. But holy crap, it hurt like a mother. I felt the pressure, the burning, and yes, even the tearing, but more than all of that, I felt overwhelming love. At 10:17pm, only 20 minutes after I began pushing, my beautiful Brielle June Yeager was born, very appropriately while, "You're Beautiful" was playing. 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and 20 inches of pure perfection. I just remember hearing Jake say, "She's coming Kris, she's coming." (I told him not to look, but the dummy watched the whole thing and claims it was 'freaking awesome') Next thing I knew, I could hear her crying, looked up to Jake, saw him crying, and lost it. She was here. Our miracle was here.

They laid her on top of me, I kissed her perfect face, afterbirth and all, and looked into her beautiful eyes. She immediately locked them on mine and I have never felt so whole, so complete. I told her how beautiful and perfect she was, I kissed her dad, and I cried like a baby. They let me hold her for a while (longer than I imagined they would), then asked if they could take her to do all the things they do to babies after they are born. I wondered if I could say no, but gave her over reluctantly. I delivered the placenta, which wasn't as bad as people say. I got stitched up, which is way worse than people say. But soon, the nurses were done with her, and she was brought back to me for skin to skin. I never ever EVER wanted that moment to end. It was truly Heaven on Earth. God's greatest gift. Perfection.

Life these past two and a half weeks have been nothing short of crazy. We are still adjusting to everything: to being parents, to being parents to the most beautiful girl in all the land, to not sleeping, to breast feeding, to diaper changes, to experiencing love so strong it hurts, so strong it's scary. These past two weeks have been the most difficult and most fulfilling of my life. I am so grateful to everybody who has helped us. To my most amazing doctor who I wouldn't have traded for the whole wide world , to the INCREDIBLE nurses that I almost refused to leave, to our families who have showered us with love, help, and presents, to our friends who have not stopped showing their support, to our puppy who proved to be the best big brother ever.

More than anything, I am grateful to God. I deserve none of this. Why I was given a daughter so beautiful and perfect is beyond me, but I will always be thankful for her life.

I feel like I've loved her forever.