Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Baby Brooke's Birth Story

On December 23, 2015 we were scheduled for an early-morning induction with my third child; my husband's first.  I was 39 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy.  Since this was my third pregnancy with gestational diabetes, I was well familiar with the induction process and how long it could take.  I had gained 27 pounds with this pregnancy - approximately half of what I gained with my first two pregnancies.  I ran until I was 34 weeks along.  At my appointment the previous week I was one centimeter dilated and slightly effaced.  I hadn't made any additional progress for the past couple of weeks.

The two nights prior to the induction, I didn't sleep well.  It was really that I was uncomfortable.  I was just anxious - and very excited to meet our baby girl.  I would toss and turn all night in bed and try to sleep on either couch downstairs.  I would read books and eliminate screen time.  But nothing worked.  The night before her arrival, I slept a total of fourty-five minutes on our couch.  The induction was scheduled for 7:30 am.  I finally got off of the couch at 5:00 am and took a hot shower.  My husband was also up and barely slept.  My kids were up shortly after and eager to meet their baby sister.  My daughter (just turned 12 yrs) was excited to take the last day off of school before winter break to be present for her sister's birth.  My son (almost 8 yrs) decided that he wanted to attend his school's holiday celebration, so we would be dropping him off at his dad's at 6:45 am and his dad would be bringing him up to the hospital at lunch time.  He was scheduled to leave school at 11:00 am.

We arrived at the hospital a little early.  We checked in at labor and delivery and they immediately showed us to our room and had me get on a hospital gown.  The room was dimly lit and it was still dark outside.  The room was quiet.  I couldn't believe that this moment that we had so impatiently been anticipating was finally here.  The three of us just looked around in amazement and smiled.
My daughter got comfortable on the couch with some books and my ipad.  After meeting my first nurse, Angel and the resident, they started discussing the induction process.  They were going to be inserting a dissolvable pill to begin the induction.  Depending on progress, they would check me again in four hours and decide if another pill was needed.  This was also done with my son's delivery, so I was well familiar with the waiting process.  At 8:15, the nurse put the IV needle in me, which never ended up getting used this time.  With my previous pregnancies I also needed Pitocin.  The pill was also put in place at this time.   This should begin the dilation process. I was to be checked for progress around 12:15. 
At 9:00, my parents arrived.  At 9:15, my friend Tina arrived.  She had one child of her own, but always wanted to witness someone else's labor and delivery.  So we had her join us for our baby girl's birth.  She would also be taking photos for us and writing down updates to document her arrival.  At 10:00 my younger sister arrived.  And at 10:30 my mother-in-law arrived.
I was asked by the nurse regarding my pain level at 11:10 and said that it was at a level one.  I was starting to feel like something was happening and was having light contractions.  The doctor came in shortly to meet us and was laughing about our room full of people (and support).  After some introductions and updates, he left the room.  All of the women in the room joked about how good looking he was.
Around 11:30, everyone else was getting hungry.  I was enjoying my ice water and ice chips.  At one point, I also was given some sugar-free Jello.  Before my support crew headed down to the cafeteria for lunch, they went downstairs to meet up with my son in the lobby.  He was so excited to be present and I was happy that he got to enjoy his party at school and spend time at the hospital - something that he was emotionally torn about.  Poor kid. 

Contractions were getting a little stronger and I was starting to get annoyed and a little less comfortable.  I loved my support system, but all of the noise and chatter was starting to bother me.  Luckily, I had made a birthing playlist, just like I do for running.  I put in my headphones and listened to several Mumford and Sons songs over the next hour.  Everyone headed downstairs to lunch and my husband stayed with me.
The nurses came in frequently to check on me and made updates on the computer.  But, otherwise the room became quiet as I listened to my tunes and closed my eyes.  I got in my "zone" and my "place", just like I do with marathons.  I was focused.  The nurse expressed how focused I was at several points.  From the beginning of the process, I expressed that I wanted to have another medication-free birth and avoid an epidural as well.  When my wishes were expressed to each nurse or doctor that came in the room, the original nurse continued to mention how possible this was when there were looks of doubt on their face and how I did this with my previous two pregnancies. 
Family started returning from the cafeteria, just as my pain got more intense.  I finally had my mother-in-law take my son to the waiting room to await his sister's arrival.  My sister's boyfriend was to be arriving at the airport for Christmas later that afternoon.  So, my dad and sister left after lunch to get ready and drive to Milwaukee to pick him up.  Eventually, my daughter took her bag of goodies and came over to kiss me, an said "I think it's time for me to go".  She's a smart kiddo.  She went to join her brother in the waiting room.  My husband, mom and friend were staying with me for the arrival.
I was still listening to my ipod.  As Mumford and Sons' "Ghosts That We Knew" and "Below My Feet" played, something was starting to come over me as the tears began flooding.  These are two songs that also make me very emotional during my long runs.  I often play them during the last hour of marathons and they bring tears to my eyes.  The music is so powerful.  It moves me.  The music was just as emotional during the laboring process.  I remember wiping my tears and saying "I don't know why I am crying?".  It wasn't the pain.  It was just all of the excitement, anticipation and love I felt.  It was emotional and overwhelming.  I started breathing heavier. I was checked at 12:25 PM by the nurse and was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced.  I wasn't really in any pain.  Just getting uncomfortable from each contraction.

At 1:12 PM, the resident, Dr. Stevens, opted to break my water and said that I was making enough progress on my own and didn't need another pill inserted.  This was happening.  I was actually going to be meeting our daughter soon.  It didn't take long and I was starting to really FEEL those contractions and need to breath through them.  I soon turned off my ipod and focused on each contraction as it passed.  My mom and my friend continued to comment on how intense they were getting and how much closer they were getting together.  How I was making progress.  I was losing track of time and what was going on.  My husband held my hand on and off throughout the process.  I instructed everyone that I didn't want my feet touched or rubbed at all prior to getting to the hospital.  So no one bothered with that! 
Two new nurses arrived and Angel gave them an update on my labor.  At 3:30 PM the contractions were getting very intense and I wanted to make more progress internally.  They had me lay on my side for a few moments, which made them more and more intense.  They asked if I wanted to take a walk.  I thought I could stand up and would try it.  After breathing through a few contractions that ran together, I stood up and got to the foot of the bed.  I eventually walked across the room which seemed like the longest room ever.  I ended up at a oak rocking chair and holding on as I stood up.  I breathed through contractions as I stood up and moaned.  The nurse told me that if I wanted to walk the halls, that I needed to wear socks or slippers.  After having someone fumble through my suitcase for my fancy new slipper socks, the nurse gave me some fuzzy red slipper socks that she had.  I breathed intensely as she tried to get them on my feet.  And I bent over in pain as contraction after contraction arrived.  I remember think that this was terrible pain, but that I could do this.  I ran through difficult pain during marathons and had two other children without medication.  I could do this.  But, the pain was getting even worse.
Yeah, I never made it to that walk down the hallway.  I labored the rest of the time in the delivery room.  I sat in the rocking chair and decided it felt better to stand back up and push through the pain.  I ended up against the wall and window nearby and breathed through even more intense contractions.  I was getting louder with my moaning and my breathing.  The nurses kept documenting my progress in the computer.  I heard and vaguely saw another nurse preparing a table for delivery on the other side of the room.
They asked me if I wanted to try the birthing ball.  And I was open to that, as I remembered it easing my pain with my daughter.  I made my way back near the bed, when my bag of waters really started draining everywhere all over the floor.  My mom was frantically looking for paper towel to clean it up, when I finally told her that it would be fine and the nurses would take care of it when they came back into the room.
I sat on the birthing ball and was starting to sweat tremendously.  I was feeling more pressure in my bottom as I sat on the ball and felt the counter-pressure from the ball.  My mom mentioned that she thought it would be about another hour until the baby arrived.  I sure was hoping I was making progress from that 2 cm.  At this point, our first nurse went home and wished us luck and a Merry Christmas.  While I was on the ball I held the bottom of the bed and remember moaning and thinking that I had never been this vocal during the other two births.  But, I couldn't help myself from making sounds as I breathed through each contraction.  I recall rotating my head in circles and thinking to myself just how demonic I must look as my family though my head was spinning (literally).  I was so hot.  Soooo hot.  My mom kept asking if I wanted a washcloth, but I declined.  Minutes later a nurse came in and I said that I had to get those fuzzy socks off of my feet.  She removed them and eventually put a cold washcloth on my head.  She new better than me.  I started to feel cooler immediately.  I was told that I wasn't going to need Pitocin and that I was laboring well on my own.
After a short time on the ball, I noticed that the windows were still open and that the sun was starting to set.  I hadn't looked at the clock, but I figured it was approaching 4:00 PM.  Well, soon the clock struck 4:00 and the nurse came back in to see if I wanted to be checked.  I remember telling her that I better have made progress.  After struggling to get back on the bed, I said that if I was only at 4 or 5 cm that I wasn't sure if I could last too much longer without anything.  I was doubting myself.  She said that I was 100% effaced and at a -1 stage and .... 9 1/2 cm dilated.  Thank goodness!  I was almost there.  I had done it.
At 4:10, she asked me if I felt like pushing.  I said a little bit.  At 4:11, the doctor and resident came back in.  I said to him, "Boy, I am glad to see you!".   Everyone chuckled.  I was checked again and he told me I couldn't and that I had to continuing breathing through the next couple of contractions.  I had a 1/2 cm to go and that if I pushed that I would most likely tear.  Something that I didn't want to do.  The doctor and the resident brought the table around to the foot of the bed.  Bright lights were shining down on me.  It was show time.  I was surrounded by so much love from my husband, mother and friend.
Within in one minute, at 4:12, I was told that I could push.  I had a few controlled pushes.  With each one, I could hear my mom and my friend oooh and ahh as I made progress and they saw more and more of my daughter's head.  My husband was supporting me up near my head and was cheering me on, having no clue what emotions he would feel in these next few moments as he met his daughter.  The doctor commented how controlled and "toned" my pushing was, and everyone including the doctors attributed that to my running.  Go figure.  I pushed a total of eight minutes.
Eight minutes later, at 4:20 PM, our baby girl arrived.

Brooke Olivia.

She came out crying.  I don't even recall them suctioning her.  She was healthy.  And strong.  She was beautiful.  A head full of hair.  A perfectly round head from a speedy delivery.  And curious eyes lined with long eyelashes.  The nurses laid her on my chest and removed the top of my gown.  We bonded with skin-to-skin contact.  It was amazing.  Within the hour, the nurses were teaching me to nurse, something that I had not attempted with my other two children.  I had grown and nourished her for nine months inside of my body, brought her into this world through the most excruciating and exhilarating process and now I was still the one helping her survive in this big, big world. 

Each time I have a child, I wonder how my love can double for another little human being.  But it does.

After some time bonding, my friend went to the waiting room to get my children and my mother-in-law.  The kids were so excited to meet their baby sister.  They returned to the room all quiet with anticipation and huge smiles on their faces.  It was amazing.  Nothing can describe it.  I will never forget it.

After getting to know our Little Brooke, she was taken behind a curtain to get cleaned up and weighed.  She was 7 lb 13 oz of pure perfection.  And 20.5 inches long.  It was amazing to see the kids bond with her.  To see tears of joy.  I finally was able to see my husband become a father as he held that little girl in his arms.
Our happy little family just grew by one.  I am now a mommy to three little people.


  1. Simply beautiful! Good job, Mama!

  2. Oh I've been waiting for this post!!!! What a beautiful birth story ! I have so much admiration for you choosing a drug free birth! I wanted all 4 of mine to be with an epidural and pain free but the last 2 children were unintentional natural births.( well I did have epidurals, they just did NOT work!!!) I can attest that being a runner really pays off during labor and delivery!!!
    GREAT JOB mamma! I have enjoyed reading your journey post baby as well. You are such an inspiration!!! Just keep on doing what your doing, soak up every minute with sweet baby girl, and keep riding above and beyond.
    You. Rock.

  3. Just beautiful! Congratulations to you all!

  4. Beautiful story, beautiful baby, and a beautiful family. I'm so happy for all of you. Congratulations!

  5. So happy for you and your little family! Congratulations!

  6. Love it! It's the best feeling when they place that cute, gooey baby on your chest.