I never expected Brielle's birth to go the way that it did. I guess you always have this vision of what it should be and then things happen and change so rapidly. I was approaching my 41 week mark and I was officially done with being pregnant. I just wanted to hold my baby. Not only was I emotionally and physically done being pregnant but the ultrasound showed her to be weighing 8lbs 14 ounces. Now, that is a big baby!!! And let's keep in mind that it's all just an estimate. Those things are never perfectly right anyway. Dr. Bootstaylor took one look at me said, I'm guessing 8lbs 5 ounces. I seriously don't know how he does it- cause sure enough- that's exactly how much she weighed.
I do want to mention that the weekend before she was born- I had tried lots of different ways to induce labor naturally. I ate pineapple, walked like crazy, applied acupressure points, and ate eggplant Parmesan. There is this restaurant here in Atlanta that swears by their eggplant Parmesan. Apparently, 24-48 hours after consuming this dish- you will go into labor. I was sold! We went to the restaurant and they sat us in a booth. I looked up at Daniel and just couldn't believe what was written on the wall.
So, I went into the hospital to get induced on Jan. 28th. I had been really hesitant about inducing because being on pitocin, your contractions are much harder. Being that this was a VBAC- a vaginal birth after c section, my body had never experienced contractions with Arizona. So, I was scared out of my mind but ready to just get the show on the road. I was put on pitocin at 3 pm. This is when labor started. I looked at the clock and thought- 12 hours. I can do 12 hours. I guess I was being hopeful, cause it definitely lasted longer than 12 hours. Daniel and I enjoyed a lunch and dinner at the hospital together. The contractions were coming and I was so excited to know that my body was doing what it was supposed to.
I got a cervix check around 8pm and I didn't want to know where I was- I didn't want to get my hopes up. We had hired a doula named Shari- she was so amazing and supportive thru the whole thing. And honestly, if I didn't have her there, I would have totally given up. I was feeling the pain more and was wondering if I was dilated more than the 1 that I was the previous week. It turned out I was only at a 2 and it seemed like I was never going to get to that magical number 10. I was having a lot of back and hip pain and so Daniel pressed hard on my hips during each contraction to relive the pain. My doula suggested I take a medication that goes thru the IV that relieves pain. That way I could get some sleep and strength before I got to the real pain. I took the medicine and let me tell you- I was in heaven. This stuff is amazing. You get so drowsy and just doze off feeling maybe one or two contractions along the way. Now, in a typical person, this medicine would last 30-45 minutes. Not with me! This thing lasted 2 hours! I was passed out in no time and blissfully asleep for two hours.
The night continued to wear on and by 2 am I felt like I needed extra support. Daniel suggested we call Shari in to get me thru the rest of labor, We called Shari and informed her and she rushed over. She got there around 3 and we hadn't checked my cervix since 8. We went ahead and checked and I was at 3-4. The night and morning were about to get longer. We tried different birthing positions for the next 4-5 hours. The birthing ball was my best friend, pacing thru contractions, swaying of the hips, sitting on the toilet, and just using sense of touch to get thru a contraction- like rubbing on something soft or squeezing two fingers. At 7 we did another cervix check and I was at a 7-8. I was feeling much more hopeful. My doula suggested doing a last round of the magic drug. My nurse was a little hesitant about it because I was so close to giving birth and if on the drug- the baby would be drowsy and not able to breathe. After the nurse left the room, my doula informed me that only 4-5% of the drug goes to the baby and at the pace I was going I would be giving birth in 3-4 hours. The drug on me lasted 2 hours. She felt confident I would be okay and that this extra spout of sleep would be helpful for the pushing stages.
We went ahead and did the drug and I slept for an hour and a half. I woke up with intense contractions and a new nurse. It was pretty awesome because this nurse had worked with Shari before and understood her way of doing things during the labor process. The next few hours are kind of foggy. I remember getting a strong contraction and felt the need to push. I voiced it to Shari and she jumped with excitement. After that, I got myself in position and started to push- trying to get Brielle further down. Shari and the nurse noticed that Brielle was posterior- meaning the back of head was toward my back- which makes it harder for her to tuck her chin and make her way down the birth canal.
We tried a different labor position and I remember that it was the most excruciating pain I'd ever felt. I stayed essential laying almost flat on my belly with my left arm under me and my right leg in the air all while pushing. This really only lasted for about 5 minutes until I decided that I had it and just wanted this baby out. I was in full out tears and told Shari that I was done- I couldn't do it anymore. She just knew that meant the baby would be here in a matter of minutes. As I flipped to my back and gave one good push- my water broke. Relief! But then it got real. I got on my knees and leaned against the backing of the bed and felt a rush of fear, and realizing that I am so close but not sure if I was close enough to have a successful vbac.
Dr. Bootstaylor walks in and comes over to me and asks how I'm doing. I break down in tears and say I'm done! I can't do it anymore and that I'm beyond exhausted. I didn't think my body could handle anymore. He saw it all in my face and voice. All of sudden, things were getting arranged, nurses were filing in. Shari looked and me and said, this baby is coming now! Let's get ready! In a matter of minutes, I was ready to push Brielle out. Dr. Bootstaylor had to use forceps to assist with pulling the baby out. He gave me the go ahead and with three good pushes Brielle's head was out. She was looking at me and everyone else in the room. Daniel was standing next to me and telling me I was doing it. Dr. Bootstaylor asked for one more push and said, reach down and grab the baby now. I never thought I would pull the baby out the rest of the way. I just figured he would do it, but it was the most exhilarating thing I've done. I reached down and....grabbed her by the neck...sorry Brielle. I adjusted my grip and grabbed her under her armpits this time and pulled her out the rest of the way and onto my chest. I was smiling, laughing, crying all at the same time. I had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl.
We let the umbilical pulsate for two minutes to give the rest of the blood to the baby and Daniel cut it. I looked over at Daniel and we were both so happy. I also said something along the lines of, "great, now I have to push out the placenta." Well, thankfully, as I'm snuggling with Brielle, the placenta comes out on its own without any effort on my part. I got a second degree tear which Dr. Bootstaylor stitched up for me while Brielle and I bonded and nursed. She latched on so quickly and effortlessly it was amazing.
Daniel was so calm during the whole labor in process. I needed that calmness cause there were times that I just broke down in tears and uncontrollable shaking. He was completely confident that I could birth this baby and that confidence really motivated me.
After 20 hours of labor, three doses of the magic drug, a posterior positioned baby weighing 8lbs 5 ounces and coming into this world without any other form of medication, she was born at 11:14 am. I couldn't feel more accomplished than I did that day. I had done something so many people thought would be impossible for me to do- based on my size. Well, as you can see, size does not matter. I am one happy momma and now the recovery process begins.
Welcome to the world, Brielle August Atkins!!