Guest Post by: Jennifer Braswell - Jenn was in the same sorrority as me, Alpha Delta Chi. She and her husband,Corey live in Boise, ID with their dogs and new baby boy.
Friday October 2, 2015
It was Friday morning, October 2, 2015. Corey had just left the house to go to a dentist appointment. I laid in bed for about a half hour while I looked at Facebook and Instagram. Then at about 10am, I got up. I put a bowl of oatmeal in the microwave. When I turned around, Malibu had those “feed me” puppy dog eyes on. I opened the cabinet, pulled out the tub of dog food and opened the lid. I squatted down to scoop the food and...pop…
10:05am: Water breaks. I looked down and watched the water pour onto the carpet. The gushes kept coming. The water was a yellowish-brown. I instantly knew there was meconium in my water. I was standing on the carpet and wasn’t sure what to do. Of course Corey had just cleaned the carpets a week before. I noticed a couple blankets on the back of the couch so I reached for those. I put on the floor to soak up one of the water and one between my legs to catch the water that was still coming out. I seriously didn’t know there could be so much! I called Corey to tell him what happened. He was already in the dentist’s chair about to get numbed up. He told me he would head right home. I called Kristi, our midwife, to let her know that my water broke, there was meconium and that I wasn’t having any contractions. She told me that if I didn’t feel the baby move within ten minutes, to head to the hospital in case the baby’s cord got pinched. When Corey arrived back at home, I hadn’t felt the baby so we loaded up the car and headed the 2-3 blocks to the hospital.
10:45am: Registered. When we arrived at the hospital we went to registration and they took us straight back to a room. They asked me a few questions and hooked me up to a monitor. The baby’s heartbeat was strong and to my surprise, I was having contractions. By the time we were about to leave registration, I started feeling some of the contractions.
11:45am: Admitted. Once we were admitted, we were taken to our labor and delivery room. The room was huge with a great jet tub. When we arrived in our room, we started to get settled in. Corey brought our bags up and bought us food since we hadn’t eaten yet. After lunch, we were ready to go. Contractions were really kicking it at this point. We had learned lots of techniques to help me relax and cope with the pain. We tried a hot shower, counter pressure, labor dance, hip squeeze, jet tub, robozo, etc. Corey was a great coach and really took advantage of everything we learned in our Bradley classes. At this point, the contractions were getting really intense and were mostly in my lower back. Between the back labor and everyone (Corey, Kristi and our nurses) rubbing/massaging/squeezing my lower back, it was hurting pretty darn bad.
11:46pm: First Vaginal Check. Kristi decided to check me and see how dilated I was. This was my very first check during my pregnancy. I was 5.5cm. This gave me some encouragement although she said the baby was still high.
Saturday October 3, 2015
3:45am: Nitrous Oxide. My back was hurting so bad that even after a contraction ended, it still felt like it was continuing in my back…for 3 minutes. I wasn’t getting any kind of break. We called Kristi and asked her to come back to the room so we could talk about pain management. She recommended nitrous oxide (laughing gas). She said it is great because I can control how much I get, it doesn’t transfer to baby and as soon as I stop inhaling it, the effects go away. Corey and I discussed this option and decided that I should try it since my back was hurting so badly and there aren’t any risks. It took a while to get the hang of it but it was working nicely once I did. For those who have never used it, it essentially makes you feel a little light headed to distract you from the pain. We continued all of our pain management techniques. Corey was very supportive and encouraging of me even though I decided to try the nitrous oxide.
5:54am: Fentanyl. The contractions continued to get more painful especially in my back. My back hurt so incredibly bad. I was starting to panic when I would feel a contraction coming on. I was getting pretty tired at this point. I was crying and just want some relief between contractions. We talked with Kristi again and fentanyl was our next option. It is administered through an IV port. I was able to get a dose an hour for 4 hours. They use a syringe to put it into the IV port instead of being hooked to an actual IV. After my first dose, I felt a little relief in my back which made the actual contractions bearable. The fentanyl only really lasted for about 20 minutes then the back pain came back full force. I tried the jet tub again and was feeling amazing. After an hour I got back out. As soon as I was out of the water, the back pain kicked back in. I would panic at each contraction. I was using the Nitrous Oxide and the Fentanyl. Nothing was helping my back. I was hysterical with each contraction….It wasn’t really the contraction that hurt so bad, it was the back pain that wouldn’t stop between contractions.
5:57am: Vaginal Check. Kristi checked me again and I was 8cm! I was so happy to be so close. She said the baby was still high though. I was just excited to be closer to meeting my baby. I somehow found the strength to continue. I was getting very tired at this point. All I wanted to do was sleep. I was still very hysterical with each contraction. Corey continued to be a great coach.
12:16pm: Vaginal Check. Kristi checked me again. I was hoping to be a 10 so I could start pushing and be done. Unfortunately, I was still an 8 and the baby was still high. I as so done at this point. I just want my back to stop hurting and to sleep. Kristi started explaining her concerns to us. She said that my contractions weren’t close enough together, they weren’t strong enough, the baby was still high and I was exhausted. She recommended I get an epidural and start Pitocin on the lowest dose. Corey and I discussed this with each other. We decided that it was in our best interested to take Kristi’s recommendation and start the Pitocin and epidural.
12:58pm: Started Pitocin. They started me on the lowest dose of Pitocin while we waited on the epidural. My contractions started to become more frequent and stronger. All I could think about was getting some relief with the epidural. It felt like it took forever to get it.
1:45pm: Epidural. Oh man. I was so happy to get the epidural. It started working within 15 minutes. I finally got some relief! I decided it was nap time and snoozed away. I was feeling fabulous.
5:30pm: Vaginal Check. Kristi checked me again and I was only 9cm and baby was still high up. Baby was not coming through my pelvic bone. At this point, the epidural started wearing off. I was not happy. Kristi met with the Doc and they decided I should try to push to see if I could get baby to descend.
6:00pm: Started Pushing. It felt so good to push! I tried really hard to do my best so that baby would descend and we could finally meet. After 30 minutes of really good pushing Kristi and the Doc both agreed that the baby was not descending at all. They said that the baby was literally too big for my pelvis and that they recommended a C-section. Corey and I felt that we had tried everything we could and that a C-section is what we needed to do in order to keep everyone safe. They brought everyone in and started to prep me for the OR.
7:20pm: Begin C-section. I was wheeled to the OR and was finished being prepped for the operation. Once I was ready they brought Corey in. One of his hands was holding mine and the other had the camera read to go. We were so excited to meet our baby. We both were at peace with our decisions and were so ready to be done.
7:43pm: Baby is born! The baby is born and Corey announces with a tear in his eye that we have a boy!! We were both so happy. After they suctioned Christopher, he got to lay on my chest for a few minutes. Then he and Corey went to recovery while I was put back together. My midwife said he was in the optimal birth position and his head was legitimately too big to fit through my pelvis. I started to feel a little pain and was ready to be done. I hear the Doc and others mention blood loss and hemorrhage and other scary things. I knew it wasn’t good. I was given a couple shots in my arms and I could feel a lot of tugging and pulling. All I could think about was dying on the operating table while my husband and my baby were clueless in the other room. Finally, they said they were putting the last stitches in. I was then wheeled to the recovery room.
Christopher Roan Braswell
October 3, 2015
9lbs 1oz and 20 ¾ in long.
Head circumference was 14 ¾ in
Recovery. When I got to recovery, Corey and Chris were already there. The doctors came in and pushed on my uterus through my stomach. Ouch! It was so painful. When she did that, a little blood came out of me but not too much. I was feeling confident. Then my nurse, Brian, pushed and there was a big gush. Not a good sign. I’m freaking out inside. They started giving me multiple pills and shots to try and get my uterus to contract and the bleeding to stop. They pushed on me at different intervals throughout the night. Finally in the wee hours of the morning the bleeding slowed down. I didn’t get any sleep all night. I thought I was going to die from bleeding out. It was the scariest thing ever.
Mother and Baby Unit. The next morning I was stable enough to transfer to the mother and baby unit. We spent 3.5 days here. I had blood tests drawn to see how my counts were. I was given many IV fluid and other oral medicines. The nurses were all shocked at how well my body was coping with the blood loss. I lost half my blood volume and I never felt dizzy or light headed. I was exhausted but that was about it. I ended up getting two units of blood and two bags of iron. This took an entire day which was annoying but I felt like I had so much more energy. My bleeding stayed in the normal range and I continued to improve energy wise and my body coped well with the blood transfusion. I was able to get up and walk around more. It was so nice to take Christopher for a walk around the hospital. We enjoyed our stay but were so ready to head home.
October 7, 2015: DISCHARGED!! We finally were able to go home ☺
Total Labor: Approximately 27 hours basically natural + 6 hours epidural= 33 hours before C-section
Corey and I are not disappointed at all with our birth story. We joke about how we were able to experience the three different types of labor/delivery: natural, medicated and C-section. We thank God for keeping me safe and giving us a healthy little boy. We felt very prepared after our Bradley class which not only taught us about natural birth but equipped us with questions to ask when interventions were presented to us. Corey was a great coach and remembered so much from our class. Our midwife, Kristi, was also fabulous and I apologize again for increasing your C-section statistic ☺