My contractions started around 6:30 pm on Thursday, January 14th. With my due date (finally!!) approaching, my mom had been staying with us for a couple of days. We had been to my doctor that morning and to the grocery store, and she was making Barry and I dinner. We started timing my contractions via some website I have since forgotten. Once they got 5 minutes apart, we called my doctor's office and were given the green light to proceed to the hospital. We left our house around 8:30 or so and made the 15 minute drive to Presbyterian.
My mom and Barry got me up to the 8th Floor--Labor and Delivery--and we went through the process of getting checked in. I was in triage for a while, not really progressing. They told me to go walk around for an hour, so we went out to the lobby to hang with my mom and my dad and brother, Blake, who had both arrived while I was being poked and prodded in triage. We went back to triage at midnight. We finally got a room about 1 am. I was glad to finally be in THE ROOM, the one where I would give birth. This was one step closer to us meeting our baby boy, and we were so excited! I was given a mild pain medication to help ease the contractions a little and hopefully allow me to get a little sleep. Well, that didn't happen. Barry slept. My mom dozed off. I was wide-freakin'-awake. All night. The one time I really needed to rest up and save my energy. My girlfriend, Tracy, who had just had a baby 6 weeks prior and knew I was in labor texted me while she was feeding at 4, and we talked for a little while. Everything was fine--I wasn't really in pain. I watched some TV, tried to rest.
Early the next morning, around 7, my nurse came in and checked me (not much happening) and put me on Pictocin to speed up my labor. I was over 3 inches dialated, but had decided to wait until 5 to get my epidural. BIGGEST. MISTAKE. EVER. But, we'll get back to that. So, I'm on Pictocin, hanging out, having still not too bad contractions. Sometime around 10 or so, my doctor came in and broke my water. Yay! We were getting a move on. Surely, Branner was going to be on his way soon since my water was broken and it looked like things were progressing.
HOLY HELL! HOLY HELL! THE PAIN! After my water was broken, what had been just a nagging, not-so-bad, very tolerable pain became THE WORST PAIN I'D EVER FELT IN MY LIFE. I cannot even begin to describe the intensity of my contractions once my water was broken. I literally could not talk. I just laid in my hospital bed and cried and tried to breathe through it like my prenatal yoga instructor had taught me. She had 3 kids naturally, so I could make a few minutes until I got my epidural just using my yoga breathing, right? Biggest crock ever. I did make it, but I also came to the conclusion that my yoga instructor was a whack job/masochist. I think this went on for 30-45 minutes before the anesthesiologist came to my rescue. Oh, but when he did, I wanted to kiss him. Instantaneous relief!! I told him he was a Godsend, and at the very least, someone should name a street after him (I really did, you can ask Barry and my mom). Ahhhh. Couldn't even feel the contractions anymore. It was great.
Now, it was about lunchtime, and also time to start pushing! I was actually excited/terrified! But hell, I couldn't feel anything, so time to get this show on the road! The nurse would tell me when to push, and I would. I pushed and pushed and pushed with all my might. Nothing happened. Upon further pushing/checking, it was determined that Branner was "sunny-side-up," or facing upwards instead of down. I was told it would take me a little longer, but I could push him out. No need to worry at this point. Pushed and pushed and pushed some more. Finally, after 2 1/2 hours of the most grueling physical activity I had never done (and going on literally no sleep since 5 am, January 14), there was a conference. Barry talked to the nurse and doctor. He came back over to me and said they might want to look at other options. WHAT??!!! Excuse me, but NO. I wasn't having a c-section. No way. I was going to do this. I HAD to do this. The doctor hadn't confirmed anything at this point with me, so I wasn't completely devastated yet. Then, the bomb was officially dropped by my doctor. All that hard work I had done for 2 1/2 hours? You see, it hadn't done a thing. Not a damn thing. So, I could either proceed with a c-section or keep trying to push and still, more than likely end up having one, anyway. I was devastated. I broke down into tears. I cried and cried to Barry and my mom, but in the end, I knew what I had to do. I had nothing else to give. I had no more energy.
Back came the anesthesiologist. I was given more drugs. Barry suited up, hairnet and all. I was wheeled into an operating room and the procedure began. I really didn't feel anything but a little bit of pressure, and at 3:12 pm, I heard my sweet baby boy's cries for the first time. I cried tears of joy. Then, the kicker. They took Branner over to be cleaned off and weighed and measured. 9 lbs, 12 oz and 23 inches long. Wait! What? Hello, I'm 5'4 and I'm small! That couldn't be right. But, it was! My doctor said there is no way I could have pushed him out, anyway, even if I had tried. He was simply too big for me to birth the natural way. So, him being "sunny-side-up" and all my hard work resulting in no progress were really blessings in disguise.
I was stitched back up. Barry wheeled Branner out to meet our family and friends who were at the hospital. I went into recovery and finally got to hold my precious baby for the first time! All's well that ends well (with an epidural and pain meds)!!!
To this day, I am still disappointed that I was unable to birth Branner the way I had envisioned. I am still trying to move past it and mourn the birth I had planned that didn't pan out. It has been hard on me. I still cry when I think about it. But, I have to get over it. Branner got here safe and sound and at the end of the day, that is all that really matters. Obviously, this is the way it was meant to be according to God's plan, and I constantly remind myself of that. But, I will always wonder what it would have been like to have had things go my way.