It is no surprise that we welcomed another little BOY into our family!! We are beyond excited to have met Beauden Nash on September 9th, 2019 at 7:44am. He is the perfect addition to our boy tribe .. and no, we are not sad that it wasn't a little girl! A boy - and exactly this little boy - was who and exactly what we wanted all along! We are floating on cloud nine through this newborn period and appreciate all of the love and support. Crazily, I've felt the most supported this third time around between family and friends gifting us with presents, flowers, food and time. We have truly felt the outpouring of love in welcoming this new baby to our family. Thank you.
I wanted to recap my labor and delivery story because I cherish having done so with my previous birth. Re-reading my labor and delivery story bringing Vance (my second son) into the world literally gives me chills and brings me back to the hospital room. So, that is what I am going to do today for little Beauden.
This labor and delivery story was quite different than my previous births. In fact, none of my three births has been quite the same, despite each being vaginal, medicated deliveries. This birth was ideal in a lot of ways, which I will discuss later on, and also involved a little more "drama" than the others. But, when all was said and done, our sweet baby boy trumped the noise, and reminded us about what is important, and that is bringing a healthy baby into this world. And on September 9th, 2019, we did it!
As you all know, I, like many women, started to feel anxious about when I would meet my baby. When will I go into labor? What can I do to get on the same page as baby to signal go-time? What alternative remedies can I do to urge things along? Should I have a membrane sweep? If so, when? Should I induce? If so, when? I had all of those crazy thoughts that us moms have as our due dates approach, and had to make some tough decisions along the way. Ultimately, my three wishes came true. First, was bringing a healthy baby into this world. Second, was that I went into labor on my own. And third, I went into labor in the thirty-ninth week of pregnancy! My labor started at thirty-nine weeks and five days and we had our baby boy at thirty-nine weeks and six days. Totally full-term and one day shy of my actual due date. Totally ideal.
Before I get into details, I wanted to preface the "drama" I mentioned before. As my labor and delivery story unfolds, you will see my strong reaction to my doctor(s) and nurse. I do not mean to disrespect any part of the medical community. My husband comes from a family of doctors and I have the utmost respect for physicians. At the end of the day, they know more than I do. They birth hundreds of babies a year, and I have only birthed three. But what I am going to share is my honest reaction to the situation. This is not meant to chastise the medical community, but instead to show that I will go through any length to protect my baby. In many instances, I was wrong about the protocols that I felt should have been carried out - and the nurses and doctors were right - but that doesn't mean I can't have feelings or opinions about how events should have unfolded otherwise, especially when it comes to the safety of my baby. Please be gentle with your thoughts and opinions, and remember that this is my story, not yours. You may judge me or think you would have done otherwise, okay fine. But please keep any negative commentary to yourself. I have already gone over the series of events with physicians and labor and delivery nurses, who have given me perspective.
In sum, this labor story was a HUGE blessing in a lot of ways. We brought our precious baby BOY into the world. And after all was said and done, despite a few bumps along the way (as there always is, even in a very uncomplicated pregnancy) all was right in the world. And this story, more than ever, reiterates my heartfelt belief that labor is a means to an end with the soul intent of bringing a healthy baby into this world. Whether it be a c-section, scheduled induction, at-home birth or medicated vaginal birth, every mama goes her own path and does the best she can given the circumstances presented. And her (and her doctor's) goal is always to bring a child safely into the world.
So here it is... Buckle in!
I had finally hit my thirty-ninth week of pregnancy. Full-term, I thought. We had made it. The fact that I had gotten to 39 weeks calmed my nerves, and I was now ready - more than ever! - to go into labor. I was starting to get uncomfortable with more and more cramping throughout the day. I hadn't lost my mucous plug, and was sure to check each and every time I used the restroom. Despite not having lost it, I knew that labor might be near because of the cramping and pressure I felt on my lower regions. Not only that, but my daily workouts were getting to the point of discomfort. Yes, it was a physical discomfort from the cramping and pressure, but also a mental discomfort. Literally, two days prior I had woken up with the thought that maybe I wouldn't workout, which was a thought I rarely had during pregnancy because of how amazing my workouts made me feel.
The thirty-ninth week rolled along and my husband and I had thought that maybe I'd go into labor before family came into town. My parents and my in-laws were scheduled to arrive on Sunday, two days before my actual due date and one day prior to my scheduled, aggressive membrane sweep. If the membrane sweep didn't go according to plan, I would be induced the following Thursday (two days after my due date). By chance I went into labor before family arrived, we had zero plans as to what we would do with our kids. My husband and I joked (but were kind of serious) that we would just bring the kids to the hospital with us - even if it was in the middle of the night. But low and behold, I didn't go into labor (somewhat thankfully) and Sunday rolled around. Perfect timing, I thought, and I was happy that family had made it before the baby was here.
Sunday: 39 Weeks + 5 Days
It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday. I woke up feeling happy. Happy that family was coming in only a matter of hours, and that I was one day closer to potentially meeting my baby. I had a tendency of freaking out about hosting logistics, even with family, and leading up to this was no different. Where will everyone stay? Will I have to entertain everyone? Will I feel calm having everyone around me? But as soon as the day arrived, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and pure excitement that my parents and in-laws would soon be here. I craved their presence and couldn't wait to see everyone.
We carried on our morning as we would any other weekend morning. First, we made a trip to Starbucks off Knox Henderson. I pre-ordered our drinks and food... an iced venti green tea soy latte for me, three sausage egg sandwiches for the boys and a tall pike for Ryan, no room. After finishing our meal, we headed to Abbott Park in Highland Park, one of our favorite parks in the area. Ryan and I played with the boys for a bit on the playground before we setup our workout stations to get in a Kayla workout. Working out at the park together as the boys played on the playground had become one of our favorite morning activities. And today was no different. We completed our workout, despite my cramping and Braxton Hicks, and after, felt like a million bucks. After the workout, the boys played soccer on the adjacent tennis court for a bit before we headed back to the house for Vance's nap.
Vance went down for his midday nap. I then showered and got ready for family to arrive. I wasn't going to wash my hair and style it because I thought that maybe I'd wait until tomorrow - for my scheduled membrane sweep. After all, I wanted my hair to look nice if I were to go in labor! But I decided it needed a wash and that I wanted to look nice when family arrived. I proceeded to style my hair, do my makeup and put on my prettiest Pink Blush dress. I needed to live up these maternity outfits before it was too late.
After I was ready, our first visitor arrived... my mom! And I was ecstatic that she was here. She brought the boys Melissa and Doug sticker packets to play with. Rhett was overjoyed to play with LeLe and his new toy. Soon after, Ryan's parents (my in-laws) arrived - Mike and Willa. They had made the grand, ten hour drive from Kansas City to Dallas, and not only that, Ryan's dad was here! This was kind of a big deal because he is a working doctor, as I mentioned above, and had to take time off to be present for the birth.
We all mingled in the dining room and caught up on the pregnancy, the baby, life, grandkids, politics, school, everything. I showed Willa (my MIL) and my mom the baby's nursery. We organized some of the new gifts they had brought. We also tallied everyone's thoughts on boy verses girl, and agreed that boy was the likeliest outcome. After settling in, we made the executive decision that we'd go out for Mexican food that night as soon as my dad arrived.
As soon as he came, we caught up a little more, then headed out to Meso Maya, a delicious Mexican restaurant, for dinner. Yum. Dinner was ideal. Our parents get along nicely, so it was nice having everyone together. The boys behaved nicely and we had amazing conversation. It really was an ideal night.
At dinner, I had a few cramps that were a bit stronger than normal and I spoke up to my mom about this. I also told my dad that I was having more lower pressure at this point in pregnancy than compared to any of my other pregnancies. He gave me a funny look and reminded me that I told him this same exact thing the night I went into labor with my first son, Rhett.
Dinner ended and we all headed home for the night. Mike and Willa to our house and my parents to a hotel. Logistics-wise, we had organized it so that Ryan's parents would stay with us the first two nights (and help with the kids if I went into labor), and then my parents would stay with us the following nights. Hopefully at that point the baby would be here.
We put the boys down to sleep and got ready for bed. Ryan had been insisting that everyone watch the Dave Chapelle comedy skit that was being talked about, so him and his parents watched the skit, while I got myself into bed. I wanted to relax and veg out alone. Pregnancy at this point was tiring and it had been a long day.
The Start of Labor
It was 9pm, and I lay cozily in bed perusing my baby apps on my phone while infusing clary sage, an essential oil that I had heard helped put mamas into labor. I felt very relaxed and happy, but I kept feeling frequent cramping that was coming and going every now and again. The cramps were coming consistently, but somewhat far apart. I had a tendency of dismissing the thought that it was true labor because in past times, the cramps didn't progress, however, the next cramp came and got my attention. It felt different; stronger; more pronounced. Interesting, I thought. I got up out of bed and started organizing my hospital bag. I didn't want to jinx the fact that I might be in labor, but I also knew that it was only a matter of days anyways, so I might as well pack.
I lay back in bed after my anxiety died down and felt another cramp. Still in denial, I proceeded to time them. Might as well, I thought. I put my Apple Watch back on and noted the beginning time of each contraction in the Notes section of my phone. They weren't entirely regular, but regular enough to force me to time them. I heard the TV turn off downstairs, and everyone said their goodnights. I yelled down goodnight to my in-laws. I feared that if I got up I would totally jinx the contractions and they would go away. So I stayed in bed with my mind on my timer.
Ryan soon came up and started conversing with me about the comedy skit, but all I could think about was the incoming contraction. I interrupted him, "So, I don't want to jinx it and it might be nothing, but I'm feeling some cramping. And they are kind of painful. It feels different than normal cramping. I'm sure it's nothing, but I just wanted to give you a heads up." Just then, another contraction hit me. "Yeah. That was a contraction." I looked at him nervously. "I'm sure it'll go away, but it's definitely more painful." He looked at me and got excited. "This is it!" He said. "Let's get everything ready." he told me. I looked at him anxiously, "Well, maybe it'll go away, but maybe we should get organized. DON'T say anything to your parents." I feared that if he told his parents that it would totally jinx the contractions and they would go away. Simultaneously, I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up. Lastly, I also didn't want a crowd of people around while I labored. I wanted it to be a calm, soothing experience.
I anxiously started doing things in our master bedroom, and Ryan did the same. It was as if we didn't know what to do with ourselves! I got a wave of adrenaline and nerves all at once. This could be it, I thought. I proceeded to nervously make the bed. (I am a chronic bed-maker and needed the house perfect before we left). Ryan kept asking me what I needed and frantically was throwing things into my hospital bag. I was calling out items that I might need. Before I knew it he had zipped up my hospital bag before I could finish. "Wait!" I said. "I need to make sure I have everything I need." I onced over my hospital bag and figured it was fine (totally out of character for me). I was so nervous that I couldn't think. I also threw on some concealer to brighten my eye and changed out of my PJ's. Thank Goodness I showered earlier today because my hair looked perfect.
By the time our room was organized and the hospital bag was packed, we headed downstairs. Ryan's parents were now in their room sleeping - and all was peaceful, quiet and dimly lit. My nerves were getting the best of me and all I could think about was how my in-laws would successfully get the boys to school without having gone through everything! While at dinner, I thought that we should do a drive by to each of the boys' schools in case I went into labor, so that they would know how to get there, but figured we'd do it tomorrow. Boy, was I wrong!
Anyhow, I started to lay out each of the boys' backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles in a row so that she would know whose was whose. I also screen shotted a map and drew directions for each of the boys' school locations. I wrote notes on an envelope for that included pick up/drop off times, what they could have for lunch and what wasn't allowed. Anything I could think of that would help them get to school easily!
I think my MIL could hear us whispering and jittering about in the kitchen, and I soon received a text message from her: "I think we are having a baby tonight." she wrote. I paused before I responded out of fear that I'd jinx it if I told her. Further, I wasn't sure I wanted an audience while laboring, but I soon got out of my head and texted her back, "I think you're right." I wrote.
She quietly came out of her room and asked how I was doing. Excitedly, she asked, "Brooke! Are you in labor?" I responded, "I think so. Contractions are coming every six minutes or so." Despite my nerves, Willa's presence soon calmed me, and I was glad that she was there. She pulled out her phone and said that she would start timing the contractions. She kept asking how I was feeling and helped me breath through each contraction. As we timed each contraction, the spacing between them was somewhat off. Some were five minutes apart and others were seven minutes apart. Some were stronger and required me to breath intently through them, while others were lighter and I could simply walk through them. Some were shorter and some were longer. We questioned if it was true labor due to the irregularity, but there was no doubt that some sort of pattern was emerging.
Willa rubbed my back and asked if I needed anything as the contractions came and went. "I'm good." I responded. "I just hope they don't go away! I really want to be in labor." Ryan also asked what I needed, but to be honest, I was perfectly fine focusing on the contractions without any help. If someone were talking to me or touching me, I kind of lost track of what I was feeling. I wanted to ensure that a) I was really feeling a contraction and b) the validity of each one, so that we knew when to head to the hospital.
It was 11:30pm, and the contractions started hitting every five minutes; painful enough to indicate that this was true labor. In between the final contractions before we headed to the hospital, we snapped a photo with my letter board sign that read: "Mama is headed to the hospital. It's Go Time!" My nerves were on fire. I had been waiting for this moment to come.
Ryan and I said our goodbyes. Hopped in the car and started driving to the hospital. Luckily, it was less than ten minutes away. I might have had one contraction on the way that I breathed through nicely. As we approached, Ryan asked if I wanted to go straight into Labor and Delivery myself or if I wanted to park with him. "Park with you." I quickly said. I was rather calm at this point - surprinsingly.
We parked and Ryan grabbed all of my hospital things. We walked toward labor and delivery into what looked like an ideal entrance. It was locked, but nurses were soon to exit, so we made our way in. We went up a short elevator and realized we were in the wrong location, as all of the doors around us were locked. Crap. I thought. I should have figured this out sooner. We were quick to exit that building and head through the main entrance. Much better. The doors swung open and we walked down the hall towards the admissions area.
We approached the admittance area and there were a few nurses gathered around, casually hanging out. They smiled at me and asked how they could help. "I believe I am in labor." I said very relaxed with a smile. The woman at the desk smiled back and asked, "Okay. Were you here last night?" I responded, "Umm no. I wasn't here?" I was totally confused. Why would she ask me that? My first thought was that she assumed that I was crying wolf about being in labor. A little rude and presumptuous, I thought. They proceeded to hand me paperwork and my husband started filling it out. The nurse at the front then asked if I had called my doctor. "No." I said, " I wanted to come to the hospital first and make sure I was actually in labor before waking her." The nurse looked at me in an odd way, "Okay..." she said. Once again, I was baffled. Was I supposed to have called her? I mean, I know you should call your doctor but I also didn't want to fake anyone out at this point.
I started to get a little nervous. To be quite honest, I didn't like the way the front desk had handled me up to this point. I didn't like how the receptionist responded by asking if I had come last night. I also didn't like the way the nurse made me feel when I told her I hadn't called my doctor. In my heart, I prayed that I would have another nurse because I wasn't happy about this particular nurse. She seemed a little out of it and wasn't making me feel excited and happy - which I was because I was in labor!! Instead, she was making me feel confused and uneasy.
I saw her give a look to the other nurses, as to communicate that she had us covered. Damn, I thought. I really hoped I'd get another nurse. She asked us to follow her back to a room. We walked in and the room was dark before she turned some lights on. The first thing I noticed was how big it was. The second thing I noticed was that there weren't any windows. I am a total "natural light" kind of person, and was a little bummed that the room was enclosed. I guess it was alright, seeing that I'd be laboring through the night and it would be dark anyways.
The nurse proceeded to fill out our information in the computer. She mentioned the computer system had changed over recently, so we'd need to be patient with her. I told her that was completely fine, and the only thing we asked is that no one giveaway the gender of the baby since we weren't finding out. She agreed that they wouldn't reveal the gender and told us that they will circle "Gender Surprise" on the white board so that all of the nurses and doctors knew. Great, I thought, but she failed to go over and circle it on the board, which made my nerves flare up.
She continued asking us questions, until she came to one that made me pause. "Are you going to circumsize?" She asked. My heart dropped. Why would she ask us that if she knew we weren't finding out the gender? She quickly corrected herself, "I mean, if it's a boy, will you circumsize?" A little surprised and in shock, I responded, "Yes." And gave a wink to my husband.
She finished up and left the room. As soon as she did, I looked at Ryan and said, "Do you think she just gave away the gender? Why would she ask about circumsizing if we were having a girl?" He shook his head, "Absolutely not. She wouldn't have made that rookie of a mistake. I'm sure she was just going through the questions." I shrugged it off. Ryan looked at me and said, " I will go ahead and circle 'Gender Surprise' on the board so everyone knows." He read my mind, and walked over to the board, circling "Gender Surprise." My nerves calmed a bit.
The contractions were now coming about every three minutes or so. Ryan was timing them and I was breathing through them. They were painful, but again some more intense than others. There were times I thought I could labor all night through the contraction pain, but then one would hit me and I'd feel that out-of-my body pain where I felt like I needed to clench my fists and grit my teeth through the pain.
The nurse came back in and said she would soon check my dilation. I couldn't wait! I had been wondering how much I had progressed from 2 cm since my 38 week check up. How far dilated I was would then determine whether or not I would get the epidural soon or continue to labor. It would also indicate - possibly - how quickly I would have my baby! The nurse proceeded to check me, and I was at 5cm, she said. I believe it was around 1am.
I felt good that I was 5cm dilated, but like any mother, I had hoped maybe I'd be further along. But again, with the information I was happy. Labor hadn't been too difficult to handle so far. The contraction pain was getting more and more intense though, and I was starting to contemplate when I'd get the epidural. I might have labored another thirty minutes or so before making the decision that an epidural was on the horizon. The contraction pain was starting to get the best of me, and I was starting to feel that out-of-control feeling. Plus, I knew the contractions could pickup at any moment and maybe I'd regret not having gotten it sooner.
The nurse had been MIA. Literally, hadn't been into our room to check on anything. Another contraction hit and I told Ryan that it was getting super painful and that I thought I might want the epidural. "What do you think?" I anxiously asked him. "I mean, there is no point in waiting, right? If I am just going to sit here and labor, I might as well enjoy it." Ryan agreed that this was the best decision. Another hour had passed and I assumed I was likely at 6cm or more, and now was an opportune time for the epidural.
I had hoped that the doctor would be here soon and that they might consider breaking my water to progress labor. I knew my body and knew that breaking my water would speed up the contractions and the whole process in general. Thus, I told him to let the nurse know that I wanted the epidural, and that I wanted it now.
It was maybe close to 2am at this point and I was waiting for Ryan to return back with news of the anesthesiologist's whereabouts. Ryan came back into the room and told me that he was on his way. I felt comforted by this, and with the pain of the next contraction, knew I was making the right decision getting the epidural.
The anesthesiologist soon walked in and I immediately felt at ease. His enthusiastic and positive demeanor - polar opposite from the nurse's - made me feel calm and taken care of. So much that I hoped he'd stay as long as possible! He was quick to get down to business and handed over the paperwork for signature. I noticed a bulletpoint that pointed out the long-term effects to baby of getting an epidural and I didn't like what I read. It said something about memory loss, and I started to panic. I asked the anesthesiologist and he said that it's all legal jargon, and that he had given his wife the same epidural for her births. I felt like I didn't have any other option. I wasn't going to birth unmedicated. I quickly agreed that I would proceed, and signed.
The nurse helped me up from the bed. My body felt worn and achey from the contraction pain. They then sat me with my legs over the side of the bed. I bent my spine into a cannon-ball shape, which I remember from my previous birth, and he administered the needle. Another anecdote I remember from my previous labor was that the epidural made me feel immediately chilled. So much that I started uncontrollably shaking. This time was no different. I didn't feel necessarily chilled, but I did feel the cool sensation of the medicine running through my body. I started to feel weak; almost like I might faint. Moments later, I heard the beeping of a machine. "Her blood pressure is dropping." the anesthesiologist said. "Am I alright?" I responded nervously. "Yes," he said, "We just need to get your fluid IV working. It wasn't administering properly."
Once they fixed the IV and got me situated on my back, my blood pressure normalized. I started to feel the tingling sensation in my legs and the contraction pain soon subsided. What a relief, I thought. But then before I knew it, I started to feel those uncontrollable shakes. I was shivering; my entire body lightly convulsing from the medication. My teeth chattering as if I was outside in below zero weather. I asked if this was normal. "Yes. Totally normal." the anesthesiologist responded. I felt calmed by his response, and in fact, knew it was normal from my last labor, but also felt nervous about how out-of-control I felt. Ryan and I continued conversation with the anesthesiologist and my mind soon was distracted from the shaking, and before I knew it, I was back to feeling normal.
Laboring thought the Night, but wanting Answers
I was feeling good at this point. My legs felt a bit uncomfortable from the epidural. It felt similar to how your legs might feel if they had fallen asleep. Kind of like that numb, tingling sensation where you want to shake your legs, but also feel unable to shake them. It was a rather annoying feeling, but I reminded myself that anything beat the pain of contractions.
I also encouraged Ryan to fall asleep. It was late and pretty uneventful. The nurse had left us to ourselves. Literally, she hadn't checked on us at all. So I tried to close my eyes to rest, too. In and out of dosing, I would check the clock. I started to wonder why my labor wasn't going faster. My first labor with my first son had been ten hours from the time my water broke to the time I delivered him. I dilated 1 cm every hour, which the nurses told me was very "textbook" for a first labor. Then, my second labor, I had been induced. They had started the Pitocin, which did nothing to progress my contractions, but as soon as the doctor broke my water, the contractions came hard and fast. I ended up delivering my son within three or four hours.
This time, I felt as if labor would indefinitely be faster. The fact that I was sitting here laboring with my bag of waters in tact was a bit baffling to me. I knew that if the doctor broke my water that I'd likely progress faster. My mind started racing wondering why we hadn't gone that route. In fact, where was the doctor? I hadn't seen a doctor all night and my nurse was pretty non-existent. I felt a bit alone and a bit uninformed. I had questions about the process and wanted some answers. Yes, baby was healthy, and I was clearly contracting and slowly dilating, but I knew that breaking my water could potentially get the baby out faster. Wouldn't a faster delivery be both beneficial for mom and baby?
After what felt like a long while, the nurse finally returned. It might have been close to 3:45am when she checked my dilation. I was at around 7cm. I was a bit confused why I hadn't progressed faster. The nurse said, "You're at 7cm. The doctor should be here around 7am, so just relax and I'll come back and check you then." I was starting to get a little impatient, wondering why I hadn't seen my doctor. I also wondered how the nurse could be so calculated as to when the doctor would arrive. 7am? What if I progress faster and have my baby sooner? How can the doctor just assume she can be here at 7am?
Feeling impatient and dissatisfied by what she had said, I asked the nurse, "I have a question. I'm wondering why we haven't broken my water at this point in labor?" I continued, "I don't know a ton about this, but I know with my last son that breaking my water progressed labor much faster. I have a feeling that it will do the same thing this time. Is there a reason we haven't done that?" She paused before responding, then said, "Well, the first reason is that you are Group B Strep. The doctor wants to ensure that the antibiotics are in your system for four hours, which gives enough time to reach the baby. And the second reason is that doctors like their sleep."
What? Sleep? I thought. Doctors like their sleep?? Even though I nodded politely, I was fuming inside. I couldn't fight back my words and responded to the nurse, "I understand that doctors like their sleep, but I know my body. I know that this labor would progress faster if my water was broken. At this point, I am prioritizing the health of myself and of my baby. And the focus should be on that. If for some reason, my baby becomes distressed or if I end up having to have a c-section because the doctor is sleeping, there is going to be a big, big problem." I was stern and fuming; not yelling, but fuming and my heart was racing. The nurse looked back at me somewhat caught off guard, but I honestly didn't care. I meant business. I can't remember how we ended the conversation, but it left me feeling empty and angry.
I didn't understand why the doctor wasn't here, and felt betrayed that I wasn't able to speak with a doctor, much less my doctor. I also was hugely upset that the doctor was prioritizing her sleep over the birth of my baby. I was mad. Where the hell was she? And if something went wrong because she wanted to "sleep", bigger issues were to follow. Yes, I somewhat understood the argument about Group B Strep and the doctor wanting antibiotics in my system for four hours. But at the same time, I had been Group B Strep with my first pregnancy and had never heard of this four-hour rule. In fact, if the four-hour requirement were such a big deal, then why didn't they explain this to patients the moment you tested positive for Group B Strep? Wouldn't it be imperative that you arrive to the hospital in a more timely manner to avoid going under the four hour requirement? Wouldn't they urge you to get there ASAP to ensure the safety of your baby? I just didn't buy it. Something felt very off to me, and I was pissed that the nurse had responded in this way, and also that I had been put in this situation.
Ryan assured me that everything was okay, but I still felt intuitively wrong about the situation and how it had been handled. I told Ryan that he could go back to sleep, and that I was fine, but I really wasn't.
A few moments or maybe even several minutes later, the resident doctor entered my room. She introduced herself as such and proceeded to ask me how I was doing. Still fuming, I asked her the same question in the most respectful way, "I don't mean to act like I know more than I do. But I'm wondering why they haven't broken my water at this point. I had my water was broken in my last birth and it really progressed things along. I understand that I am Group B Strep, but I just want to make sure everything is being done in the best way possible to ensure the safety of my baby and I, and that I clearly understand why we aren't doing things if there is a legitimate reason."
Unlike the nurse, the resident responded in the most caring tone with an explanation that was actually comforting. She said something along the lines that there is balance between rupturing membranes too soon, but also not waiting too long. She said there is risk of infection if the membranes are ruptured too soon, and if I wasn't ready to progress that could be a problem. But also waiting too long to rupture membranes may also present an issue, as well. (I can't identify the reason she said now looking back). Regardless, she very much professionally gave a factual response to why there is a balance between waiting to rupture the membranes and the rationale for that. She further said that my body is naturally doing what it needs to be doing right now, and baby is doing his or her job and there is no distress, so to keep along this path, and that is the best route to laboring at this point.
Again, I felt rather calmed by this response unlike I did by the nurse's "sleeping response". The resident was caring and offered a clear explanation that put me at ease. I felt good going forward and decided to relax and rest.
Where was the doctor?
It was nearing 6:30am and the nurse had mentioned that there would be a shift change at 7am. She also had told me that my doctor would be here at this point, so you can imagine how much I had been anticipating the clock to strike seven. After laboring all night, I was finally ready to see my doctor, to meet my baby, and also for a new nurse! It was a new day, it was a new vibe, and I was thankful that we were close.
Around 7am, my parents arrived at the hospital. (Long story short - they didn't understand that I was actually at the hospital laboring from my initial phone call telling them that I was having contractions, then never received, or actually slept through, the text message that I sent telling them that I was heading to the hospital. Good news is that they got to sleep through a rather uneventful night of me laboring at the hospital. More good news of me laboring through the night was that they were now here, and I felt happy they were.)
I excitedly explained to my parents how my labor had started. Then proceeded to say I had been laboring all night, but had gotten the epidural and felt good. I also told them that I wasn't impressed with the nurse and the controversy about having been told that my doctor wanted to "sleep". Despite the resident making the situation better, I still was upset by the entire situation and couldn't shake it.
Momentarily, the new nurse entered the room. She introduced herself and started telling me what was about to go down. "You're doing great," she said. "The good news is that the doctor is on her way. It is no longer going to be Dr. xxxx, it is going to be Dr. yyyy. She is on her way and she will be here at 8am." I looked at the clock - something I felt like I had been doing all night long - and had 45 minutes until then. I went from feeling on top of the world that my baby would be in my arms in minutes to feeling so defeated that I had to wait yet again.
Emotions hit me dead on and I couldn't help but burst into tears. Even though it was only 45 minutes away, I had been waiting on a doctor's arrival all night. It wasn't fair, nor was it right. The nurse had promised that the doctor would be here at 7am. Tears flooded down my face and the nurse looked at me bewildered. "I'm so sorry," I proceeded. "I don't mean to be difficult. I have just been waiting all night to speak with my doctor. I feel misinformed. They had promised she would be here by 7am and that it would be Dr. xxxx. I don't know why she isn't here or isn't coming after I allowed her to sleep all night, and I just feel ready."
The nurse agreed that she would make it better. She could see the pain in my face and hear it in my voice. I turned over to see my dad fuming. If anyone knows my father, you'll know that he protects his girls with the fiercest loyalty - to the point where he will go to any length to make sure we are okay. This situation wasn't any different, and I could see the fight in his eyes. Someone was going down, and it wasn't going to be pretty. "Dad," I said anxiously, "Just please be nice because I don't want them to be mean to me if we make them. mad." I felt tangled in this moment. So hurt that my doctor was nowhere to be found and that she wasn't here when they said she would be. At the same time, I knew that my dad would make it right.
Turning It Around
My dad and husband exited the room. In a few short moments, I could hear a serious conversation being had just outside the door. I'm not sure who it was between, but I knew something was going down. The nurse came in to comfort me, and said she was going to make it right and that I had no reason to worry. I apologized profusely, but also vented the truth of my feelings about how let down I felt by my doctor. She told me that she admired me, and admired my dad for advocating for me, "What your dad is doing is right," she said, "This goes to show that you will never stop fighting for your kids."
In a matter of moments, a woman entered the room and introduced herself, "Hello, Brooke. I am zzzz, head of Labor and Delivery. I want you to know that we are going to make this situation right. Dr. yyyy is on her way right now but she is stuck in traffic. We have a partnering physician that is here. He is not within your doctor's practice, but he covers some of their deliveries in the event they cannot be present. His name is Dr. Welsh. I can get him in here right now if you are ready to have this baby. Please let me know."
The last thing I wanted was to cause anymore trouble, but I was ready. I looked at her and said, "Yes. Please. I would like him to check where I'm at and see if I am ready. If he agrees that I am ready, I would like to have this baby." She responded, "Great. I'll get him and be right back."
All Is Right
Momentarily, Dr. Welsh appeared and immediately I felt happy. His presence was calming and his energy was contagious. For the first time since coming to the hospital, I felt like I was protected, advocated for and in good hands. Dr. Welsh got things moving along, and communicated that he would be checking me. He and the nurse stood at the foot of the bed and lifted up the blanket. Their eyes widened at what they saw and the nurse quickly said, "Yep. You're water is about to rupture on its own. It is literally coming out of you." She communicated that she would break my water. I agreed, and she informed me that it had been done. The doctor quickly checked me. "Yep. She's at a 10. She is ready to go." he said. They organized the delivery table and go me setup to push. The nurse walked me through the process, and I let her know that I kind of had forgotten how to push.
It came time to push and she let me know. I pushed with all of my might, until they quickly told me, "Stop! Your baby is coming. We've got to get everything ready." They organized a bit more, called in a resident with my approval, and then let me know that it was time. I gave one short push and they told me baby's head was here. They said one last push and baby would be here. I gave it my all and they said the body was out. He cried immediately! They handed baby to me, and I saw that his chord was tangled around him and there was not one, but TWO knots in his umbilical chord. I lifted him up and saw it there... another PENIS!! And my world was changed forever. I knew it all along, sweet boy. Beauden Nash Raybould. We KNEW it was you.
I asked the nurse if he was okay because he was crying and the chord had been tangled, but she assured me that he was PERFECT and that a knot in the umbilical chord was good luck. Good luck twice over, I thought. My baby, we did it!
As soon as I held him in my arms, I felt overwhelmed by emotion. Overwhelmed by how my labor had gone down; overwhelmed by the entire fiasco and turn of events, but I was passed it. I had my baby in my arms and I was floating on cloud nine. We proceeded to solidify his name, and allowed my parents in the room. Beauden was swaddled in his blue swaddle as my parents entered, and they excitedly asked what it was.... "Another BOY!" We exclaimed. And they couldn't help but laugh and smile. Love filled the room and everything felt right in the world.
That is, until Dr. xxxx came into the room. She proceeded to profusely apologize for the turn of events. Beauden was still crying and I thought it fitting given that the doctor was spewing words that quite frankly, I couldn't hear nor did I really care to hear. I appreciated the apology, but I felt wronged by the situation. I kept acknowledging that it was just a miscommunication and that it really was alright. I really didn't want to be having this conversation, while holding my new baby in my arms. It was over. I wanted to move forward and be with my baby, and couldn't wait for her to stop talking. I believe she said something along the lines that she was in the loop the entire time with the nurse, knew what was happening. She was here at 6:30am but for whatever reason didn't come to my room, and wish she knew that I wanted to see her. Anyways, like I said, I really just wanted to end the conversation and enjoy my baby. Soon after, she left and I was happy.
Then doctor number two, Dr. yyyy, came into the room. Literally, right after. Likewise, she proceeded to apologize. I honestly didn't want to hear it. Once again, I wanted to float with my baby during this moment, and didn't care to come back down to the turn of events that had led up to this. I nodded, but really was in another world. I was with my baby and everything else melted away.
In summary, that is the story of how little Beauden came into the world. All 6 lbs, 15 oz and 20 inches of him. The postpartum care was phenomenal and the nurses were completely on-point. I feel lucky, to be honest, and oh-so appreciative of them, especially after what I had gone through. My L+D 7am shift nurse gave me a huge hug before departing. I even asked for a photo with her and thanked her for going to bat for me. I appreciated it more than she knew.
And I recount this story, once again, not to make any part of the medical community look bad, but instead to share what I really went through. As a mother, you dream of going into labor, literally since the day you become pregnant. Heck, even before that. You dream of going into labor even as a little girl, or at least I did! It is one of those monumental moments that comes but only once, twice, or maybe even three times, if you're lucky. It is a day that you look forward to, always remember and hold to one of the highest standards. You get one shot and then it's over. As my third time going through this and possibly my last time, I felt let down. Not by any standard that the hospital failed to meet or by any protocol that they got wrong (or even got right). What I was most upset by and disappointed in was how I was treated. And yes, I think both doctor and nurse maybe forgot that this moment is held to such a high standard in a mother's mind. Of course, like I said, they could have done everything right, and I may have been DEAD wrong on the idea that they should have broken my water, but the way I felt laboring through the night literally in the dark with poor explanatory responses was the part that failed.
But bigger than poor bedside manner and the miscommunication that happened was the ending to my story. Dr. Welsh literally saved the day!! From a situation that left me in tears of sadness to be turned around to tears of joy and my healthy baby boy in my arms, everything happened as it should have.
I'm thankful that I started labor at the perfect time - literally the day family arrived in town! I'm thankful that I started labor at 39 weeks, and just one-day shy of my due date, I mean, how ideal?! I am thankful that labor started on its own and that I was able to avoid the membrane sweep and induction. I am thankful that my husband was by my side and we got to peacefully enjoy the labor process (at least for moments throughout). I am thankful for my second nurse who fought tooth and nail for me. I'm thankful my parents were able to be present. And most of all, I am thankful that my baby boy is in my arms. Everything else is static.
Words of Encouragement for Mamas
In the delivery room, when ish was going down, my mom told me, "You know too much, Brooke." Referring to me inquiring about why they hadn't artificially ruptured my membranes. And she said it in the kindest way possible. And to a certain level, I agree with her. I knew enough to be dangerous in the delivery room. I am not a doctor. I don't know anything in comparison to what they know about labor and delivery. They carry out hundreds and thousands of births over the years and have knowledge that surpasses mine. Again, my doctor could have done everything right in this situation, it was only the fact that it felt wrong to me.
But what I want to encourage other mamas to do... is to be an advocate for yourself in the delivery room. I read this piece of advice before going into labor, which was ironically given by a labor and delivery nurse on Instagram. She said that we can listen to advice and protocols that the hospital gives us, but at the end of the day, you can be your own voice in the delivery room. I couldn't agree with her more.
I don't regret challenging the nurse. At the end of the day, I wanted to ensure that my baby's and my health was being prioritized. I wasn't rude. I wasn't condescending. I simply spoke up for what I believed to be right in the moment - whether it was right or wrong. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. All I asked for was a response. And when I wasn't happy with the response, I fought harder. This to me, is indicative of what it means to be a parent, as the nurse told me. My dad fought for me. And you better believe I will fight for my baby. Right or wrong, I will never stand down if I feel that something is jeopardizing my baby, and I encourage you to do the same.
That's all for now mamas. Thank you so much for the support. And so much love to all the little babes out there. Motherhood ain't easy, and it starts well before you're in that hospital room.
At 35 weeks, I am getting antsy for the big day. My body is changing and those pre-labor symptoms are starting to emerge. One of the most noteworthy pre-labor symptoms has been the Braxton Hicks contractions. While not constant, I notice that the Braxton Hicks are generally more prominent with movement or when I workout. While Braxton Hicks can be annoying and unpredictable, I remind myself that they are my body's way of preparing for labor. But, the truth is, I have a hard time identifying whether or not they are real contractions or not. This got me thinking about the idea of being able to track them. Was there a product out there that allowed for the tracking of contractions?
Tracking contractions would be beneficial for several reasons...
These are many reasons why a contraction monitor would allow for peace of mind as I approach the big day. And, to my luck, I came across a woman's health company called Bloomlife, which offers a technologically advanced contraction tracker. Woo hoo! Here is a little more about the company, the contraction tracker, and my personal experience.
What is Bloomlife?
Bloomlife is a women’s health company focused on improving the health of moms and babies.
Why is the contraction tracker helpful?
How does the Bloomlife contraction tracker work?
There are three parts to the Bloomlife tracker: app, sensor, reusable patch.
The app is available in the app store but does not work without the sensor and patch. Bloomlife designed the information interface alongside members of the birth community to cleanly highlight the most valuable data. To me, the most noteworthy stats from the app include:
SENSOR, PATCH + CHARGER
In addition to the app, the sensor, patch and charger are included in the package. The sensor and patch can be taken on and off your body for up to one week. Clear directions are included in the package to help you understand how to easily attach the sensor to the patch, how to attached the patch to your body, and also how to remove and store the patch. As a side note, the sensor battery life outlives the patch life, but Bloomlife recommends charging fully each time the sensor is snapped out of the patch.
Is the Tracker Safe?
Like all moms, this question was the most important consideration before using the product. And the answer is, yes, the product is 100% safe! In the exact words from a Bloomlife professional, this was the response I got with respect to safety:
"Bloomlife is completely passive - it reads bioelectrical signals from the uterine muscle - meaning it doesn't send any waves of any kind into Mom's body. We've designed every aspect of Bloomlife for safety, including this little piece. The level of energy from Bloomlife's Bluetooth (Bluetooth LE, "Low Energy") is 100 times lower than cellphone level and 1,000 times lower than the safety levels defined by the regulatory bodies. We've also done extensive testing to show that the Specific Absorption Rate (how much energy gets through the tissue) is so low that any energy from Bloomlife's Bluetooth signal does not actually enter Mom's body whatsoever. Hope that helps answer some questions!!"
My Personal Experience
After my second pregnancy (now on my third), I grew more interested in my ability to track contractions. At 37 weeks, my doctor had assured me that I would go into labor "any day now" because I was 3cm dilated and having pretty consistent Braxton Hicks. With the consistency of the BH's, I too, knew that labor must be close. However, I persisted on through 41 weeks and had to be induced with my second son. While my induction process went ever so smoothly, I did birth a big baby: he was 9 lbs. 3 oz. Looking back on this process, had I been able to identify or track my contractions more consistently, I feel like I could have more clearly dictated the terms of my labor experience. Hindsight is always 20/20, but maybe I would have opted to have my membranes swept at 40 weeks, rather than going seven days past my due date only to be induced. Again, who knows what I would have done in this situation, but I do feel a contraction tracker would have been helpful.
Fast forward to my third pregnancy, and I am most interested in the ability to track my contractions for the aforementioned reasons. Because I birth big babies, I like the idea of knowing whether or not labor is close and feel that having a contraction tracker, such as the Bloomlife, will empower me with that information. Sure. Labor will happen when it is going to happen, but for someone like me who has had vaginal deliveries in the past, I fear that if I go over 40 weeks, I may end up with a 10+ lbs baby with the possibility of a c-section in my future. If I can avoid this, I'd love to do so, and by understanding my contractions, I think I will be able to paint a more accurate picture of labor and delivery as opposed to what I went through with my last pregnancy.
So I did it! I have partnered with Bloomlife after researching innovative companies that allow mamas to track contractions. Bloomlife suggests starting the contraction tracking process ideally around 34 weeks, which was perfect for me at 35 weeks pregnant. Upon receiving the Bloomlife package, I opened the box, and was excited to start monitoring my contraction journey! After all, I was 35 weeks pregnant and labor could happen at any moment. Opening the package lid, I found a sensor, patch and charger, which were displayed in an organized fashion, along with a quick guide. I quickly opened the guide and got started!
Within the quick guide was five easy steps to follow. The first step was super easy: download the app. I found the Bloomlife app easily, downloaded it, and setup a profile with very basic information. I then proceeded to the following steps to get the patch attached to the sensor, and then to attach both to my belly. Within minutes, I was ready to go! Next, I started a session and waited about five minutes for the sensor to calibrate. Note: you must be resting during this process, as any movement can throw off the tracker.
After calibration, I sat peacefully for about an hour, checking in and out of the application as it tracked my contractions. I will add that the app is extremely user-friendly with straight forward features, allowing me to see any peaks in contractions, the duration of those contractions and the frequency.
After my hour spent of tracking contractions, the app simply summarized my information. I found that I had contracted twice during the hour with the average contraction lasting in a duration of 1 minute and 30 seconds. While I found that tracking the contractions during the day was exciting and helpful, I also knew that Bloomlife recommends tracking contractions through the night in order to get the most accurate reading. So, this is what I did! I tracked my contractions over night and this is what I found...
They were somewhat all over the place, but I did get the most accurate results when I did complete the full overnight reading. In fact, there was one night in which I apparently experienced an hour of contractions coming every 10 minutes. That is crazy! Almost as if if I were awake, I'd think to possibly call my doctor. Aside from that, I use the tracker for an hour before bed and haven't had huge traction. Stay tuned for more Bloomlife updates!
Use code "BROOKE10" for 10% off your Bloomlife purchase!