I guess the best place to start is at the beginning of the end. Any pregnant ladies out there, or anyone that has ever been pregnant, knows that towards the end of the pregnancy you are soooooooooo done being pregnant. It's uncomfortable, you're just ready for baby to be there, you know delivery won't be a piece of cake but are willing to go through it to get baby there and the waiting, waiting, waiting is killer. Suffice it to say, I had reached that point several weeks before my due date. So the week before I was due I went into the doctor and during that appointment she stripped my membranes. I had high hopes for little baby boy's arrival that weekend. Mostly because it was labor day weekend and if he came by then, I knew my parents would be able to come down to Utah and see baby and spend some time with us. If he chose to come later, I had no idea when they'd be able to come down to visit. So I kept holding out hope each night that it could be THE night for Jaden. For some reason I always envisioned going to the hospital in the middle of the night....probably because that was the time of day that baby always chose to do his moving around!
So while I said I was holding out hope, I have to admit it wasn't much hope. What are the odds something like that would work out that nicely? What I was really hoping for was that Jaden would just come during Eric's 12 days off work. I know Eric was really hoping for that too because he was stressing out and nervous about the whole delivery thing. In the end, Jaden chose to make himself at home in the womb for a while longer.
Labor Day came and went and the end of the following week, on Friday, I had my 40 week appointment. For the past several weeks each time I had gone into the doctor she would tell me at the end of the appointment that she hoped she wouldn't be seeing me at our next scheduled appointment....but here I was at 40 weeks and still making appointments for the following week. That week I was at 2 cm and 80% effaced. I had been at 80% for a couple of weeks and dilation was slow in moving along. So she stripped the membranes again, this time saying she really got it good. We were both hoping for results. She told me that she wasn't on call that weekend, but if I did go into labor that I could let the hospital know it was okay to call her to come in for me. I loved my doctor! Once again, I left the doctor's office with hopes of no return (at least not with a baby still in the belly).
As that Friday progressed, I found myself really paying attention to what was going on with my body, hoping the Braxton-hicks contractions would turn into the real thing! As the day wore on, I started to suspect that labor might indeed be in our future for that weekend. Eric kept asking me all the time how I was feeling and if I thought tonight was going to be the night. Now, he still will get after me for this, but I wasn't the best at being completely honest about how things were going because I didn't want him to worry or start to get nervous. That evening we were playing some games as a family and about 7 o'clock Eric asked me why I kept looking at my phone so much. I told him I was timing contractions and that they were about 4-5 minutes apart for the last hour. From then on Eric was constantly asking me how things were going, if I was okay and if I thought the baby was coming that night. I kept telling Eric everything was fine and that I didn't know if he was coming that night or not, but truth be told I had felt for most of the afternoon like that was the night. But again, I didn't want Eric to worry. After continuing that way for the rest of the night, Eric and I eventually went to bed with me still having normal contractions but nothing too painful. I didn't go to sleep because again, I thought I might be going to the hospital soon. In retrospect, I should have gottn sleep while I could! lol. At about midnight, after I took a shower, I woke Eric up to tell him that we probably needed to take the girls to his mom's house. I had packed an overnight bag for the girls earlier that day (because like I said, I thought I would be going in that night!) so they were all good to go. While he took the tired girls to grandma's house, I finished getting my stuff together in the infamous "hospital bag". I was such a procrastinator about that and how do you even really know what to put in there the first time you go to have a baby?! And to be honest, I ended up using almost nothing of what I packed. Anyway, Eric got back home and off we went to the hospital! By this point the contractions were indeed getting painful. I had to stop and crouch in the parking lot of the hospital in the middle of a contraction....so I really felt like things were at the point where this was it.
Apparently I'm a bit of a worrier, and for weeks the buildup of the impending delivery had left me a little scared at the possibilities of what could happen. But I have to say, now that it seemd the time had come for baby boy to arrive, I was ready to do whatever it took to get him here. We got to the hospital about 1am and I got all hooked up to have things checked out. At that point, I quickly realized how vital and necessary it was to have a good labor and delivery nurse.....and how bothersome it was to have a nurse that didn't seem to care. The first nurse I had fit into the latter category. Even Eric mentioned how she seemed a little rough and unsympathetic. He said it was the only nurse he's ever seen that has had to get in a linebacker position to get a running start to do a pelvic exam! lol. I'd been having normal contractions all the way up until I got to the hospital but it seemed as soon as I got hooked up, they started becoming terribly irregular. However, I was dilated to 3 cm when earlier that day at my doctor's appointment I had been at about a 1.5, so at least that was exciting that some progress had been made. However, when all was said and done, after about an hour and half of observation I was sent home due to lack of progression. I was honestly very surprised that I was going home. I really thought that was the start of everything. The gave me a shot containing some morphine and sent me on my way. Apparently, the shot was to help me sleep but didn nothing for the pain of the contractions. When we got home at about 3am Eric eventually went to sleep and I would sleep in between contractions. They were still getting worse and worse and so I really didn't get much sleep because I would wake up every time a new one started. I ended up on the floor curled up on my knees with my head on the floor to get through the contractions. When Eric woke up at 8am, that's how he found me.
That was when Eric insisted we go the hospital again. I admit, I was resistant about it. I figured if I had been wrong about being in labor when we had gone in earlier, then I would probably be wrong again. I kept putting Eric off about going and said I wanted to call the nurse first to talk to her. I'm sure Eric was frustrated with me at this point becuase I know he was worried and here I was being stubborn about not going back. I did call the nurse but that didn't really help anything. After Eric insisted some more and told me it would be better to be sent home again than wait until it was too late, I conceded to return to the hospital and we got there a bit before 9am. The contractions were definitely painful by then and I really felt like I was in labor but was still wary what they would think at the hospital. Once at the hospital, I again got hooked up to be monitored. And luckily, I had a different nurse that was definitely more compassionate to someone in labor. Upon initial examination I was dilated to a 4 or 4.5 so that helped me feel validated that something was definitely going in the rght direction. This time I did get admitted and I was grateful Eric had been so insistent that we return.
From that point on things started to progress pretty nicely. It seemed like I was dilating quickly and that Jaden would be there before too long into the afternoon. Eric watched football and held my hand as the contractions started to get worse. I felt bad for him becuase he obvioulsy wanted to do something to help but at that point there's not really a lot for the husbands to do. I gotta say, though, that he was the best ice-chip getter that a gal could ever have! :) Just having him there was all I really needed. I was going through contractions pretty well, just closing my eyes and breathing through them. I sat on an exercise ball for a while and really liked that better than laying in bed. The worst part was always when the nurse would come back in to check on my progress and I'd have to lay flat on my back. Luckily that was only about once an hour. At about 1pm the nurse brought in the delivery cart with all the necessary stuff for the baby to be born. That got me excited because she felt like things were going well enough that the baby would be born soon. She said she hoped I would deliver before she got off her shift at 2pm. Little did we know I wasn't even close to making that timeline. By then I was dilated to 7cm but 2pm came and went with no delivery so I entered a new shift with a different nurse. The nurse I had in that first shift was exceptional and the second one I got was even more so. Man, how quickly I realized what a difference a good labor and delivery nurse can make!
As the new shift started with our new nurse, I remained at 7cm. After several hours of staying there, my doctor called me to suggest breaking my water. Contractions over the course of that time had gotten worse but I was still at 7cm so she thought by breaking my water it would help bring baby down further because it would intensify the contractions. When she broke my water about a half hour later, the contractions did indeed intensify, but it seemed to make no difference on Jaden's positioning. However it was during the time that the doctor broke my water that she told me he had hair! That was funny to hear. After 3 more hours, I was still in the exact same predicament of 7cm dilation. However, by then the contractions had become what I could only describe as excruciating. The nurse came in and told me that they needed to put some kind of monitor up inside the uterus to measure the strength of the contractions to see if there was a problem with the contractions not being strong enough to push baby down. In my head I was saying that was crazy because how could these contractions (extremely painful at this point) NOT be strong enough??! Oh, they were definitely strong enough! At least in my opinion since I was the one going through them lol. So they did that and sure enough, the strength of the contractions seemed to be just fine. By this point I think the nurse was feeling bad for me because I was obviously in pain but nothing was progressing. After over 6 hours at 7cm, when she came and did the pelvic exam she told me that I was still at a 7 but it felt like a DIFFERENT 7. She later admitted that it wasn't any different but she was just trying to help me feel positive about it haha. She was a good nurse. She would massage my lower back through contractions since I needed Eric within handholding distance. Eric's poor hands. By that time he had removed his wedding ring because I was squeezing his hands so hard during contractions that it was painful for him! For the past couple of hours I had cried when the nurse would come in and say everything was still exactly the same because it was so painful but things weren't going anywhere. I think it is easier to handle that pain when you feel it is going somewhere and leading to something. But here I was, stalled at 7cm for over 6 hours. And I was so tired from having pretty much no sleep the night before. Despite how painful the contractions were, when the worst part of a contraction was over I would fall asleep and be out by the end of the contraction and wake up when the next one was starting. However, these contractions were lasting about 2 minutes each and were extremely intense (even the nurses and doctor had commented on this) with only about 20-30 second rests in between so I had lots of 30 second little naps during this time. Eric was there by my side the whole time, telling me each time when the worst part of the contraction was over. That was always such a relief to hear, knowing that I was on the downhill side of the contraction. That is, of course, until the next one started. It's amazing how even at that point, between each contraction I caught myself thinking that the next contraction couldn't possibly be as bad as I remember the last one was, but every time it was worse than I remembered from just a couple minutes previous. I think in general women have been blessed to quickly forget the real pain and struggles of childbirth.
Eventually my doctor called to make a recommendation. She caught me in between contractions so I talked to her at first, but as soon as another contraction started, I threw the phone at Eric and said I couldn't talk. I'm sure she could hear me in the background as she talked to Eric, because let's be honest, I wasn't exactly suffering in silence at this point. I wasn't screaming bloody murder or anything along those lines but let's just say that anyone that came in my room had no question that I was hurting. And I'll admit, that pain was a lot worse than I imagined when I thought about delivering naturally. I was doing my best to deal with it. I honestly didn't know, though, how I was going to ever be able to make it long enough for Jaden to be born, especially since nothing seemed to be happening. During this time Eric was talking to the doctor and told me that although she knew I wanted to deliver unmedicated, she thought I should get an epidural and see if that helped becuase otherwise it looked like I might end up having a c-section. I pretty quickly agreed to the epidural and once that decision was made I wanted the anesthesiologist there NOW! I asked the nurse how long before he would get there and she said he was on his way. I might have cried a little when I heard that because earlier in the day when my doctor had been "on her way" she was coming from home and took about 30 minutes to get there. However, the nurse quickly assured me that she meant he was on the unit and was just getting what he needed and would be there in just a couple of minutes.
When the anesthesiologist showed up and started to get everything ready for the epidural, he said it might hurt. Oh please. Did he not know what point I was at with these contractions? Getting a needle in the back was nothing compared to that. Honestly, I didn't even really feel it. However, about 15 minutes later, I DID feel the epidural. Hallelujah. Immediately as I started to feel the pain subside I started to relax. Eric was on top of things with the button pushing for the epidural, pretty much making sure I was maxed out constantly on what I could have. He was doing everything he could to lessen the pain :) haha. My nurse, and later my doctor, knew that I had wanted an unmedicated birth and so when I got the epidural she tried to reassure me to not feel bad. Truth be told, I didn't feel bad about it at all. I felt like I went as far as my body could go. For reasons that I didn't know at that time, things had reached a point where I couln't get Jaden where he needed to be for delivery. If I thought enduring the pain of the contractions would have gotten him here, I would have continued. But after over 6 hours of that it didn't seem to be the solution. So I didn't feel bad at all that I pushed my body as far as I could before getting assistance, and once it was necessary, the assistance was welcome.
As the epidural took effect, Eric said I became very much more pleasant! lol. Which I'm sure is true since I wasn't in pain and became conversational. It was at that time as well that Eric snuck me some Club crackers. I hadn't had anything but ice ships since 3 am that morning (it was then about 7:30pm) and I can't even explain how delicious those crackers were! Manna from heaven. For real. After about another hour, the nurse came in to check me again and what a blessing it was to hear that I was nearly fully dilated and that the baby was dropping further. By 8:30 everything looked good to go but was told that the doctor wanted to wait about another 30 min to let the baby get in position a bit more before we started pushing. By this time I obviously couldn't feel anything so was just fine with hanging out for another half an hour. This was also the time that I found out why things might have stopped progressing earlier on. The nurse thought that the baby might be posterior, just meaning he was face up instead of face down. Positioning like that could have been preventing the proper part of his head from engaging in the birth canal and could explain why he was stuck. Sure enough, when the doctor came in, she confirmed that he was posterior. I had started to push before she got there, but the first thing she did was try to turn Jaden into the proper position during a contraction. As I was pushing, she had to reach up and push him up a little bit before turning him and allowing my pushing to hopefully lock him into the correct position. In the end, that didn't work because he was indeed born face up. However, while the doctor was trying to turn him, she did accidentally create an internal tear that ended up bleeding quite a bit. But since I had the epidural I couldn't feel anything at that point and I only knew about the tear because the doctor told me.
All along Eric and I had talked about him not watching the baby being born, mainly because I just don't think he wanted to see all of that happening. But in the end he couldn't avoid it since, due to the numbness of my legs from the epidural, he had to help hold one of my legs when I was pushing. So he got to see ALL of what was going on. I think he may have been a little discomforted by watching the doctor try to turn baby because according to him, she was in up to her elbow! lol. All I know is I couldn't feel a thing except for the actual movement of the baby, so I was all good. Pushing was pretty uneventful, just focused on pushing when the nurses and doctor would tell me to since I couldn't tell. Was it a little weird when as Jaden was crowning the nurses said they were just sitting there playing with his hair? A little, but it made me laugh. After about 30 minutes of pushing, at 9:23pm on September 8, 2012, Jaden was finally there and crying his little heart out. The doctor put him up on my belly (which didn't seem to have shrunk at all, by the way, even though a human being had just come outta there) as soon as he was born and there he was, my little boy, all slimy and squishy faced and cone headed haha. It was the weirdest sensation to finally see him and know that he was actually mine. But immediately I loved the little guy even more than I already did during the time I was carrying him.
I held Jaden for a few minutes and helped get him all wiped down before they took him to the other side of the room to finish cleaning him up and to get him weighed and measured. He came in at 7 lbs 13 oz and 21 inches long. The nurse then came over to tell me that they were going to take him to the NICU because he was having some struggles breathing. She really made it sound like it wasn't a big deal and that it wasn't necessarily an uncommon thing, so I honestly wasn't that worried about it. And especially since Eric didn't seem to be too worried, I stayed pretty calm. Eric left with Jaden to have him taken care of and the doctor and her student doctor lady worked on getting me stitched up. I guess besides the internal tear created by the doctor I had a 2nd degree tear from pushing Jaden out. Again, here I was happy I couldn't feel anything! It was at this time that the doctor told me if I decided to have a natural birth on the next go around, it should be much easier and go more smoothly. Most babies aren't born posterior, so she didn't think that would happen again, and my body would just be more familiar with delivery. So we'll see if next time I give it another go at delivering unmedicated. I really think I could have done it this time if things had continued to progress as nicelly as they had in the beginning. In the end, my body was just too tense to allow anything more to happen. The stitching up took a good little while and once that was all done and everything was all cleaned up, I finally got to have something to eat! The nurse had come in earlier in the evening and had me order something before the cafeteria closed so I could have something to eat later on, and ocne again the food tasted SOOOO good, possibly because I was extremely hungry and just physically depleted of energy. After I was done with dinner they moved me on down to the mother/baby floor where we stayed for the remainder of our time in the hospital.
Before the nurse took me downstairs, so took me to the NICU to stop by and see Jaden. So sad to see the little nugget all hooked up to tubes and things when all I really wanted to do was snuggle him. We stayed for just a bit before moving on to our room. Eric was back with me by then and he was pretty tired and fell asleep pretty quick once we got settled in. I stayed awake because despite how tired I was, I was so anxious waiting for them to bring Jaden. They said they would bring him in once he was all done in the NICU. Finally, at around 2am, they brought me my little boy and I really got to hold and snuggle him for the very first time. Eric was still sleeping, so it was just me and Jaden enjoying our first moments together like that. I can't even describe how much I loved having this little guy with me. He was beautiful and perfect and he was ours.
The rest of the hospital stay was pretty uneventful. I do have to say though, I don't know what the bum rap is about hospital food because I thought everything I had was very delicious! Also, it was interesting how much the belly DOESN'T go down after the baby is born lol. During the couple of days we had the hospital Eric and I were able to enjoy some time getting to know little Jaden. Eventually Eric was looking out for me and made me send Jaden to the nursery so that I would sleep because as long as he was in the room, I wouldn't really sleep. Not because he was crying or anything, just because I liked to look at him too much to sleep. When it was finally time to go home, I had more mixed feelings about that than I originally thought I would. I always assumed I would want to get home as soon as possible, but when the time finally came, there was a part of me that wanted to go and a part of me that wanted to stay. I wasn't worried about taking Jaden home, despite him having jaundice and going home half a pound lighter than his birth weight. It wasn't anything like that. I think I just felt taken care of in the hospital because the whole ordeal was more emotionally draining than I had accounted for. The morning of the day I was discharged, Eric had to leave to take the girls to school and Jaden was in the nursery getting checked out by the pediatrician so I was going to be all alone. As Eric was about to leave I just started to cry. He asked me what was wrong, but there wasn't really anything wrong. The best way I can describe the sudden rush of emotion was that I, and we, had just gone through one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but we did it. We had our baby. And everything worked out. I was just so grateful for Jaden's arrival and for the enormous support of my husband. I know he thinks he didn't do much, but my goodness he did exactly what I needed, and that was just to have him there holding my hand. He told me he was so proud of me and that I bore more than he would have been able to and that of course just made me cry more. I am so lucky to be married to such an extraordinary man.
What an amazing couple of days it was. Going through labor and delivery was definitely one of, and probably the most, difficult experience I have ever gone through. I admit that during the middle of it all, I was really questioning whether I would want another baby. But I'm so grateful to be able to say that everything, every contraction, every tear, every pain was worth it once Jaden was here. What a special and happy baby boy we have been blessed with. And after all is said and done, I can confidently say there will be more children coming from Eric and Brittany Brady!