Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Grayson's Birth

The story of Grayson's birth is a long one... mostly because his birth was a long one. Long and incredibly difficult. We certainly did not have any kind of easy time getting him here. But, he's perfectly healthy and perfectly beautiful and that's all that I ever could have asked for.

I can't believe this little guy was in my belly just more than two weeks ago!

This is going to take a while. Consider yourself warned.

I had my 39 week check up on Monday the 5th. I was so uncomfortable and had declared the past weekend our last with just the two of us. I was determined to have the baby before his due date. Saturday the 10th. Nick went to work Monday and I slept in, went to get a pedicure, and then saw my doctor. She had mentioned at my last appointment that if I hadn't gone into labor by my 39 week appointment that she could sweep my membranes and hopefully get things started.  I was already 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced so I asked her to go ahead and do the membrane sweep. I went to the grocery store to pick up some last minute stuff after my appointment and said a quick prayer that my water wouldn't break in the middle of Safeway.
Last prego picture. 39 weeks and 3 days!
My dad was in town for the night so we cooked dinner {and by we I mean Nick} and chatted. I started to feel contractions coming on around 8:00 that night. I was so relieved that the membrane sweep had worked and started to get excited. I texted our Doula {Sara from here on out} to give her the heads up that we were hopefully in the early stages of labor and that we might be seeing her the next day.

I tried to go to sleep that night but woke up around midnight with contractions coming every 6-8 minutes and lasting about a minute each and I absolutely couldn't sleep anymore. I went out to the living room to sit on the yoga ball and watch tv while I timed the contractions on my phone app. After Nick woke up around 6:00 I decided that I was ready to go to the hospital and went to take a shower. My dad and Nick were both laughing at me for being so determined to get a shower and do my hair when we should have been rushing to the hospital but I told them I didn't know when I was going to be able to shower again and wanted to go to the hospital clean. Thank goodness I did.

We left for the hospital and my dad took pictures from the front lawn. When we got to the hospital they checked us into our room and we met our nurse, who just happened to be the same sweet nurse that helped with our ECV procedure just a few weeks before! They hooked me up to the monitors and Sara came to meet us armed with coffee for the nurses. Nick sent a text to the family and some of our closest friends to let them know that things were starting to happen and that Grayson was on his way. My contractions really weren't progressing and they ended up sending us home after a few hours. We picked up sandwiches on the way home, which I did not eat. Labor really does make you loose your appetite.

We went for a walk around the neighborhood and spent the afternoon trying to nap. I sat in the bath for a few hours and Nick sat next to the tub and timed my contractions. My Dad left to go home and my mom arrived to stay for a few days. By 8:00 that night my contractions had become pretty intense and we called Sara to come back to the house to help. She sat with me through the evening and pushed on my pelvis and rubbed by back through each contraction. Around 10:00 we tried to go to bed. My contractions had intensified so much but started spreading out to about 12 - 15 minutes apart but stayed that way through the night. Nick woke up with me for each contraction to apply pressure to my hips which really helped.

By 4:30 am we couldn't sleep through the contractions anymore and I got up to try to eat something... and ended up puking everything up instead. We went for another walk and watched the sun rise. Sara went home and we went back to bed to try to get some sleep. By the time we woke up I was starting to feel so desperate for some relief and I started talking about going back to the hospital to start Pitocin and ask for an epidural. Not at all part of my original plan.   We called the doctor around noon and she told us to go back in and that she would call the hospital and tell them we were coming. My contractions started getting incredibly intense and we rushed to get everything into the car. By the time we pulled into the parking lot I was in tears and starting to panic. When we checked in to labor and delivery the front desk ladies joked that this time we were there to stay. Clearly I was way too happy when we showed up the morning before.

While the nurses got the room set up for us I got in my gown and got into bed. I asked the nurse right away if they could set me up to monitor intermittently so that I could get up and move around. It was so much more uncomfortable to have contractions sitting or lying in bed. The nurse checked me and found that I was at 6cm dilated and still 80% effaced. I was so happy to hear that we had finally progressed some. After 20 minutes on the monitor and my first dose of GBS antibiotics they let me get up to walk around the hallways of the hospital. This ended up being one of the stranger parts of this story. Apparently not many laboring mamas ever leave their rooms at this hospital. Every time I would have a contraction while walking in the hallway we would be approached by a nurse, a volunteer, or some kind of admin staff asking if I needed a wheelchair or if they needed to call our L&D nurse. I ended up feeling really uncomfortable about how much attention we were getting and decided after a few times walking the halls to just stay in our room the rest of the time. I actually preferred to be hooked up to the monitors. Hearing the baby's heart beat made me feel calm.

The family started filtering in and sat in the room with us for a while but we ended up having to send them out to the waiting room. I was getting distracted by talking to them and started skipping contractions but then would have one twice as strong the next time, or would have a "twin" contraction where the contraction would peak and then start to go down and then peak again even stronger before it was over. Those were absolutely the worst and continued all the way through until we started pushing.

At 6:00 my doctor came in to break my water and check on us. Things started happening pretty quickly after that. My contractions got incredibly painful and it started to be too uncomfortable to be on my feet anymore. Up until this point I had been sitting in a chair next to the bed that rocked or was leaning over the bed so that either Nick or Sara could push on my pelvis. I threw up the ice and little bit of Jello that I had been able to get down earlier. By 9:00 I was frantic and begging the nurse to let me start pushing. She kept telling me, over and over again just to wait another 15 minutes. I'm pretty sure she said that for at least an hour. Finally at 10:00 we started pushing and made pretty good progress in the first half hour. At that point the nurse discovered that Grayson was face up and that he was stuck on my pubic bone. She told me that we would have to try extra hard to get him to move past that point or we might be headed into a C-section. We tried pushing in pretty much every possible position to help him move and nothing really seemed to be helping. His head would not come down at all.

Around 1:00 am, after pushing three hours, the doctor showed up. She was very serious and told me that we would have to use vacuum suction to get him out and that I was going to have to give it absolutely everything I had left. At this point I was on oxygen and pretty much passing out in between each contraction. I told her I literally had nothing left to give but somehow powered through. They started the vacuum but the suction cup kept popping off. We didn't know it at the time, but they can only attempt a vacuum delivery three times. On the third suction she was able to pull him free and on my very last possible push he came out. I didn't even realize what had happened until I opened my eyes and she was holding him up. I've never experienced such relief, or joy, ever in my life.

They rubbed him down and put him on my chest and Nick cut the umbilical cord. I will never forget looking at his face for the first time. He was just so beautiful. I looked up at Nick, we were both crying, and I kept saying oh my God, hi baby, hi baby. Because of the vacuum delivery the Pediatrician and baby nurse had to take him right away to measure his head. He had a really huge, bulging bruise on his forehead from the suction cup and a pretty bad cut where my bone had scraped him.

The Pediatrician had to take him from me pretty quickly to examine his head. They were concerned because the suction cup had been placed partially over his frontal soft spot and they were worried about bleeding from his brain.

{Okay... this is where it gets ugly. Sorry...}
While all of this was going on my doctor discovered that my placenta had ruptured and a piece of it hadn't come out and I was loosing quite a bit of blood. Again, also something we didn't learn about until the next day. They distracted Nick by giving him the baby and had him sit on the other side of the room. I had 2nd degree tears and she was rushing to get me stitched up and I remember saying that this must be why everyone gets the Epidural, so they don't have to feel the stitches afterwards. Seriously. I felt every single stitch. She was able to get the last piece of the placenta which saved me from a secondary surgery. {Another fun fact we learned about the next day.} I cannot even imagine having to go into surgery after that entire ordeal. My doctor is a Saint. Sure, I may have been threatening to kick her in the face the entire time but she was amazing. She absolutely went over and above to keep me out of a C-section. I think a lot of doctors would have called it off long before and I wouldn't have had the chance to have a natural birth. We had discussed my birth plan quite a bit during my prenatal appointments and she really did everything possible to help me stick to it.

So, after 56 long hours of labor, 3 and a half hours of pushing, a suction cup, 2nd degree tearing, and not a drop of pain meds, sweet little Grayson Brooks was born. 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and 21 inches of purple, wailing, perfection.

After the doctor was done torturing me and the room was transformed back the nurse handed me my beautiful baby and he latched on right away to breastfeed. By now it was 3:00 am and the family, who I was shocked to hear were still waiting, was finally allowed to come in to see us. The poor Grandmas. They were terrified after not hearing from us since 10:00 and after getting word from some random L&D employee that Grayson was actually a SHE. Which... he is definitely not.

Auntie Caitlin popped a bottle of champagne and my nurse pumped a lovely little Norco cocktail into my IV. She told me she wasn't offering, and that after everything I had been though over the last few days it was necessary and that I would thank her later. I ate a few saltines and graham crackers but skipped on the champs.

Around 4:00 the nurses came back to take Grayson to the nursery. They had to keep him for observation for a few hours to make sure that the trauma to his head was only on the surface. The family left to go home and Nick and I were left alone together for the first time. We both immediately fell asleep for a few hours before they brought G back to us.

We've talked a lot about how frighteningly close we came to things going really wrong during his birth. It's taken me a while to be able to write all of this out. The truth is, his birth was actually pretty traumatic and I still get really emotional when I think back to re-live the whole experience.
We have some loved ones in Heaven who I know without a doubt were there watching over us last night. We are all feeling so incredibly blessed by our boy. Every moment, even long sleepless nights and times that we feel like we really have no idea what we're doing, have been amazing.

He is absolutely the best thing that I've ever done.


  1. AMAZING story!! Go, you, for all of it! Soooo happy you aren little man are safe. Major props for laboring naturally, especially for that long and with all those hurdles. Enjoy newborn-ness, it's the best most special and magical time!!

  2. How precious! You are a WARRIOR! Seriously, I can't imagine the feeling of almost passing out in between! I love your priorities ;) Washing your hair and getting ready! What an exciting day to remember and reflect on!



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