It was 6 a.m. June 22.
I’d gotten up every 2 hours since I first laid down my head at 11:30 p.m. the previous night and I had this feeling that my on again off again sleep pattern marked the last night’s rest I’d get as just Brie. Not Jaden’s mom.
Part of me was disappointed but given my track record of being anxious before any big event in my life – graduation, moving, etc. I’m not quite sure what I expected and when I really sat to think about it, I still felt pretty rested. It must have been the adrenaline.
After my contractions were coming every ten minutes for an hour I decided to call my parents. Their flight was scheduled to come in around 1 and I wanted to let them know I probably wouldn’t make it to my 8:30p induction appointment. After 40 weeks and 5 days, J was ready to make his appearance. I was so grateful that I’d stuck with my decision to be patient and not have my membranes stripped as my doctor had offered the previous Tuesday at our appointment. I didn’t see the need, I told her, unless there were health risks. She’d shared that she’d begged her doctor to strip her membranes by this stage in pregnancy but because I wasn’t uncomfortable I passed on the option.
Over the course of the next several hours I continued to monitor my contractions. They were as far apart as 10 minutes and as close together as 2. I knew this was it.
I practiced my breathing and used my labor ball – a literal God send, to help me get through the contractions as they grew more intense. And just as everyone had said in Lamaze and elsewhere, movement and breathing helped me get from one contraction to the next.
A Split Decision
It was around 10 a.m. My mom was on standby text. At this point her and my dad should have been at the airport, as far as I knew baby J would at least wait until they got in but she wanted me to go to the doctor. “You’re in active labor Brie. Just go ahead and go.”
I on the other hand reasoned that if I’d have to wait around for the contractions to kick up, I’d rather do it in the comfort of my home, in the arms of my husband, where I could wear my own clothes and could choose to wear pants. Here, I knew the lay of the land and so as a way of stalling a little bit more, I packed snacks, folded baby blankets, ate a biscuit hubby had made along with some grapes, had hubby take out the trash (or maybe I did it), played a couple rounds of Cooking Dash and starting writing this.
At 10:15 my contractions started to become more frequent again – the longest gap being 6 minutes and the shortest 2 minutes. I was pumped. My hospital doesn’t typically admit you unless your contractions are 5 minutes apart for 2 hours. I just had one more hour to go. Again, my mom reasoned I should just get to the hospital and then my dad came in with a heavy hitter via phone, “I know you’re your own woman Brie. But you know I believe in thinking through the best case and worse case scenario. Best case scenario I would go to the hospital and be put on the monitor, worse case scenario I would wait too late and end up having to have the baby at home. Point was made – off we go!
Turned out listening to my folks was a great decision – go figure. Because after I showered and got dressed, the contractions were closer to 2 minutes apart and then before I knew it we were on our way to the hospital. We checked in, the receptionist said someone would be out to get us soon and then we were introduced to our nurse Erin. I heart Erin. She got us all set up in the fetal monitoring room. At this point it was around noon and there were no other mothers or even hospital staff in the unit. G chocked it up to being lunch time, my thought process was that J wanted his own moment.
The doctor came to check me. I’d dilated 3 cm. Only 7 more to go. They typically don’t admit you that early but since I was already being induced at 8:30 they made an exception. “You may have a baby before you were even scheduled to come in!”
That’s when the whirlwind started. Paperwork, IV needles that wouldn’t take, a stern warning about not continuing to eat – (this may have been brought on my grabbing a taste of another biscuit G had made. I panicked for a moment but by the time I was in my labor and delivery room I was good again. This was really happening!
I got hooked up to my remaining IVs and some other things they told me I needed, shortly after we were settled in our new spot my parents walked in with my friend Ta’Lynn and then the waiting began.
The Waiting Game
At about 2:30 they came in to check me. I was 4 cm. Now it was time to break my water which they said would intensify my contractions. This doesn’t always happen but because baby’s heart rate was low they wanted to help the labor process along some. They also requested putting in a catheter to get a more accurate reading of my contractions. Currently they saw a drop in J’s heart rate every time I had one. I asked if the catheter meant I’d have to stay in bed, they said yes but said walking at all was off the table now that my water was broken. For the first time, I started to doubt if I’d be able to pull through with going natural. Movement was one of the things I was counting on to get me through it and it was gone in an instant.
We decided to wait on the catheter and see how both me and baby would progress. At 4:15 I was over my contractions, not because of the pain as much as the fact that I simultaneously felt like throwing up and having a bowel movement. What’s more, because of the pain, I started getting the shakes. But G and I decided i would try to make it to at least one more centimeter. When he shared how I was feeling with doctors they said a lot of what I was feeling was a sign of later stage labor and that I might have been farther along. They checked and I was 5 cm.
Great! Time for the drugs. With it being a sterile procedure everyone was asked to leave the room. By 5:15, I’d been given my dose and was waiting for the effects to come in. And then stuff got real. At 5:30, J’s heart rate still wasn’t doing well so they cleared the room again and rotated me…a lot…trying to get him to respond. Bro man still wasn’t having it. My parents had come back into the room and then everyone was asked to leave again. “Little man is really not liking these contractions. If you were at 10 cm I’d let you push but because you’re still only half way we need to get him,” Dr. McClure said. And just like that I was having a c-section.
By 5:53 they had taken me off the monitors. By 5:55 they’d made an incision and by 6:00 on the dot he was out. “Happy birthday Jaden!” Geordan looked over the curtain and said “He’s a dark baby.” My first question – “Is he cute?!?!?” I don’t remember what the answer was, I just remember a lot of tugging of what felt like my intestines, hearing crying in a room off to my left and then he was next to me, my beautiful Jaden Gregory.
They were able to stay close to me for a little while and then Geordan and Jaden were sent out of the room so they could do more tests to make sure he was okay. Once they were gone, I finally had the chance to process and I started asking questions. “Did you take my placenta out?” I asked. They had and apparently my placenta, aka J’s life source in the womb had abrupted. This meant it had started to detach from my uterus which is only supposed to happen after your baby is out. It’s typically detected by profuse bleeding in the mom, which I had not had. The abruption was why J wasn’t getting enough oxygen and why his heart rate was dropping. If I hadn’t punked out and gotten an epidural when I did I would’ve had to be put under during the surgery and would’ve missed those first few moments of J’s existence and as I reflected on that truth, I had so much peace in knowing that all of this was clearly a part of God’s plan.
It’s Sunday, June 25. A full week past baby’s due date and as I stare down at my son every morning I still feel like I’m having an out of body experience. It’s like he isn’t really mine or I’ve been dreaming him this whole time. The only major evidence that I’m not tripping is the presence of my incision and the absence of those kicks in my stomach that I was over to begin with.
Maybe it’s the fact that in 48 hours, I’ve only slept 8 or that I keep hearing about how he shouldn’t be here. How a ruptured placenta should have meant a number of complications for both me and the baby. Many of them were life threatening but here we are by God’s grace. And I’m reassured all the more that God has big things purposed for our family.
My heart is full of immense gratitude as I think of all the things that could have gone wrong but J was born perfectly content, happy, normal, just like any other baby. I’m excited for the way God will continue to write His story.
Proverbs 19:21 – A man’s plans His ways but only the Lord’s purposes prevail.
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