Baby Boy’s birth story

Well, hello there! Long time no real talk, huh? It’s 6 weeks postpartum and trying to carve out some time to share Baby’s journey here has taken a bit longer than anticipated. In between learning how to feed a mini human from my own body parts, how to soothe him when he’s hysterically screaming, how to put him on some sort of “schedule”, and mixing it in with my own survival skills ie: eating, showering, changing my own diapers (TMI I know but I really didn’t know about the diaper part so I thought I’d share for interested parties) and working, I’m realizing that time as I knew it has changed. Life now works in a set of designated time windows. Baby feeds every 2.5-3 hours, Baby opens his eyes for as long as he can, or rather, we try to put him down whilst he loudly contends before Baby sleeps, and repeat. And during those windows I have between 0 to + or – 2 hours to get everything I need to get done, and that includes running a business. Ai ai ai.

SO, what are we waiting for? No more time for chit chat, the countdown to the next feeding has begun…let’s go!

In all honesty, I wasn’t planning on sharing Baby’s birth story–I didn’t think it was any of your business. HA!!! Well, that’s not entirely true, sometimes I just don’t think that people are truly interested in hearing yet another blogger’s story that no one asked for. BUT, that all changed when I gave birth and realized that birth is the greatest story ever told BECAUSE A HUMAN COMES OUT OF ANOTHER HUMAN. It’s truly a miracle. And yes, I know, billions of women have done it and that fact continually shocks me, but it’s still such a novel idea even now that I’ve experienced it. The fact is that I was really hoping for such a serene birthing experience that I wouldn’t have anything to talk about because I wouldn’t want to make anyone jealous about how peaceful it was.

Bahahahaha.

But before I dig in, I want to preface it by saying that the fact that nothing went according to plan shouldn’t deter you any of you pregnant and future pregnant ladies who are reading this from prepping for the experience you’re hoping for. I fully believe that those experiences are possible. In fact, I believe my preparation for the birth was what got me through my experience and that’s why I’m sharing it here. It’s not to scare anyone or to provide a negative view on birth, but to encourage you to be prepared and be informed. I hope you gain the confidence you need to have a wonderful experience.

Ok, is that enough prefacing?

As you know, I miscarried a couple of years ago and we were really hopeful to get pregnant again. Thankfully, miracles happen and I did and I had a WONDERFUL pregnancy. I mean, the first trimester I didn’t want to eat much and/or nothing sounded good except for a 3 week stint of Taco Bell rice and beans and then another stint of French fries and other forms of potatoes.

The second trimester was a delight. My energy was back and I worked the whole time like normal. I really enjoyed it and tried to soak it all in, always hopeful that this pregnancy was going to last because once you’ve miscarried there’s always that pessimistic thought of “what if…”

At about 22 weeks I started attending a prenatal yoga class, one of the best things I did for my pregnancy. I didn’t miss a week if I could help it. I found it to be a wonderful way to stretch my body and focus and be around other women who were preparing for the same life event. My instructor was a great source of peace and energy and it was contagious. One time a week wasn’t enough so I would watch videos on YouTube during the rest of the week (these were my favorite). Cat/cows were a daily requirement. Listen, I’m no yogi, but it was just what the doctor ordered in order to feel like I was doing something good for both baby and me.

Then at about 33 weeks Paul and I took a hypnobirthing class. I had first heard about hypnobirthing about 10 years prior and it had always stuck in my brain as something that I’d want to do when the time came. For those of you unfamiliar, hypnobirthing is basically a way to mentally prepare yourself for birth by using your own biological tools as natural anesthesia. The classes taught me how to meditate, which I did on the daily, and practice positive birth affirmations to help me prepare psychologically for this life changing event. And you know what? It worked! Well, by “worked” I mean, I left feeling confident in the big event ahead. I didn’t feel nervous or anxious so I considered it a success. My goal was to implement those meditative tracks during an unmedicated birth at a birthing center with my midwives.

The third trimester was also just great though by the last month I was a swollen blimp. I just woke up one day and I couldn’t see ankles anymore. Hello cankles! The midwife group I was going to said that the only cure to the swelling at that point was to have the baby, which thankfully wasn’t too far away so I was fine with that answer. At one appointment they noticed that I had high blood pressure, but then they checked it again on another machine and then it was normal and it never read high again. A couple of times I noticed that my eyes were a bit blurry, but only a couple of times so I didn’t think much about it. I’m sure some of you are reading between the lines and thinking that these are signs of preeclampsia. My midwife, too, thought the same thing and kept tabs, but nothing else manifested so, no one thought much of it.

My due date came and went and I was a bit relieved as I was racing against the clock to complete some work assignments before he came. When you run your own company, you do the best you can, but there are always things that need to be done no matter how many check-off marks on your to-do list. Nonetheless, I tried to pack it all in as much as I could. I kind of think that that had some role in delaying my due date. Thankfully I have a wonderful team who has helped me prepare for this transition over the previous many months. Personally, it had always been a goal of mine to have a team in place when I got pregnant so that I could easily transition between working and babyhood. I feel really proud that that over the last few years the foundation has been set in place for that to happen. I’m so lucky to have such great people by my side who make things happen!

Once I sat down at church at 9am on Sunday, January 28th, I started feeling contractions. I was about 5 days late so it wasn’t out of the blue and honestly, I was excited. I knew I had gained the tools I needed to go through the experience. I knew that Paul had the tools that he needed to help me get through it and I had confidence in my midwives. I labored throughout that day until that night while we were watching Emma (the Gwyneth version 😉 and the contractions became stronger and I could no longer speak during them. I sat on my birth ball and focused inward before transferring to our bathtub for a good portion of the night. Thank heavens for bathtubs, God’s gift to pregnant blimps like me.

I actively labored throughout the night but didn’t feel ready to head over to the birthing center quite yet. As I write this I’m trying to think of a way to describe the pain of the contractions, but honestly, it’s only been 6 weeks since and I’m having a hard time thinking of how it works. Ha! I guess that’s how people have more babies….I will say that the meditations I learned really helped me focus and alleviate some of the pain. I mean, it wasn’t gone for sure, but it helped me get through it.

We finally headed over in the morning and arrived at around 7:30am on Monday, January 29th. I immediately threw up upon arrival–hello!–and quickly asked for a bath, surprise! I was measured at 7cm at that point so I was pretty far along and felt encouraged and ready to keep on going. I threw up a couple more times, but ain’t no thang! There are worse things that can happen…

…and that’s the last thing I remember.

I “woke up” a couple of hours later in a sun-lit hospital with a swarm of doctors and nurses around me. Nothing computed because, come to find out later, I was on magnesium sulfate, which makes you super groggy. One doctor explained what was going on and then Paul’s face showed up and translated: I had had a seizure.

A seizure!

Apparently, I had been transferred via ambulance to the nearest hospital for further treatment and in talking with Paul afterward, I was flailing my arms and legs like a crazy woman. I cringe to think about those poor EMTs who lifted a large, naked, pregnant lady.

It didn’t really make much sense to me as I had no experience with seizures or any medical issues, to my knowledge, that would lead to a seizure. That and I was really out of it so I already wasn’t thinking too clearly. The doctor explained that a cesarean might be necessary so it might be best to get an epidural, of which I approved. Then I was alerted that Baby Boy was turned posterior and kept on turning around so doctor said that the c-section was looking more and more likely, of which I wasn’t pretty insistent I didn’t want. Thankfully, Doctor also did not want that and did his best to do what he could to avoid it. He had a lot of experience with forceps and said that might be the next best option. Ummm, sure! I didn’t know at this point. Whatever you think is best, doc.

I was out again until 4pm that day when all of a sudden, from what I can remember, I’m encouraged to start pushing. I saw my midwife and doula and Paul putting pressure on my pressure points while I started to push. I didn’t really know what I was pushing because I wasn’t feeling much but “push” I did! I pushed for about 3 hours before he started to crown. Once that head appeared I reached down to feel and it became much more real and very motivating so I really started to go with all my might. Weeks later all I can envision is the doctor, whose name I didn’t learn until afterwards, inserting these medieval-looking tongs up my who-ha as if steering a race car turning this way and that around each corner. I mean, he looked like he was in his element and I appreciated the confidence. A bit later, a little human emerged and as you can imagine, I’m elated and relieved and just so thankful to be done.

Well, if it’s not one thing it’s not another, because once baby arrived he had to be rushed over to the respiratory unit because there was a worry that he had swallowing meconium in the womb after seeing feces come out of me prior to delivery. Once he was feces-free, he was all mine. Get that baby on me and let me give him all the snuggles in the world! Welcome home little buddy, you’re mine now whether you like it or not!

I spent the next few days in the hospital, as opposed to the 4 hours allotted at the birthing center, and I can’t imagine it any other way. Listen, I LOVE staying in hotels and though the hospital is no luxury experience, it certainly felt that way after what I thought was going to happen. I had nurses attend to my every need and soon my mom, who had driven from California that morning, arrived, I now had my mother’s touch, and Paul, of course. I felt spoiled. Ha! These nurses were God’s angels. I was so impressed with each set of nurses that visited, each better than the last.

The next week I spent on our sofa at home propped up on one side. In addition to the normal pain and soreness of a vaginal delivery, my arm was somehow sore and I couldn’t move it well, which I’m assuming was because I hit something or twisted it in a funny way during the seizure episode. Additionally, I had bit my tongue during the episode so it was severely bruised with a lovely shade of navy and plum for a good few weeks. Then weird postpartum after effects like getting hangnails on every single finger and then them getting infected–who knew that was a thing?! It felt as if every part of my body was somehow affected. I mean, a bruised tongue is really the least of all my worries, but it looks bad, eh?

ANYWAY, I’m now finishing this post 7 weeks postpartum and I’ve learned more about what went down that day because it comes out in piece meal the more I discuss it with Paul. Ultimately, I’m just grateful that baby and I are healthy, alive, and thriving–that’s really what matters. People ask if I was scared and well, no! Because I didn’t know what was going on. I was unconscious for the traumatic parts and when I was conscious I had confidence in my medical care providers and the help I was receiving. I wouldn’t say that I was anti-hospitals before this event–I just tended to have a “less is more” attitude when it came to medical care. This event changed the way I view hospital care. The doctors and nurses who tended to me were exceptional. Absolutely exceptional. I wanted to give them all hugs and kisses as if they were family. What a blessing for modern medicine and the ability to keep women alive during child birth.

At this point in the story, I have to give an award to Paul. He’s been the best partner anyone could ask for and approached the birth preparation and child rearing as an equal team effort. Well, as equal as we could be without him actually giving birth. When I say that I wasn’t scared, it’s because I was out of it but he was witnessing the situation and could see the the unknown and it was much more frightening and threatening. Fun fact: At the same time that he was caring for me, he was also updating everyone on my condition, but he only did so with short sentences through texts like “birthing center”, “7cm”, “seizure”, “ambulance”, “hospital”. MY POOR PARENTS! That’s no way to live!

Turns out, my seizure was an eclamptic seizure. Eclampsia is the most severe form of preeclampsia and it’s symptoms show up in the form of seizures. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan (I haven’t seen it yet personally), I’m told that Lady Sybil died of eclampsia, after a fit of seizures where she was unable to breathe. I’m just reading about her experience right now as I type and I’m realizing that what I had is even more serious that I thought–ha! Turns out, eclampsia is the the world’s #1 killer of mothers and babies in childbirth. Awesome. According to ABC News, “it is a multi-system disorder than can shut down the kidneys or liver, cause blood vessel spasms and even cause the placenta to detach from the uterus. In its worst form — the eclampsia that the fictional Lady Sybil suffered — it goes to brain and causes life-threatening seizures.” In addition, severe complications and injury such as massive blood loss, permanent disability, and premature birth or death of their babies may occur.

After reading about many cases of eclamptic seizures, I acknowledge that my case was not severe. I didn’t experience a shut down of kidneys or liver and my baby was not affected in any way so I was lucky. It’s still unknown what causes preeclampsia so unfortunately, it’s tough to know how to avoid if I become pregnant again. It’s not a helpful thought to know that I can’t necessarily do much to avoid it. I would suspect that they will keep closer tabs on my blood pressure and check my urine for proteins and other signs. I know I will definitely be more aware of what to look for and after telling other people about it, they will be more aware of it as well. Like myself, most people I’ve talked to hadn’t heard of it so it’s been a great learning experience.

More than ever, I feel particularly blessed to have a little baby, especially one that’s healthy and doing well. I feel empowered by my experience even though it didn’t go as expected because, I have said it before and I mean it more than ever, birth is a miracle. It’s absolutely miraculous. Every single one. I’m grateful for the preparation I made for my birth experience. I feel stronger than ever. I’m in awe of women everywhere who have given birth. I can’t help but think of the women throughout history who didn’t have the medical care we have today and still produced billions of babies. Women are incredible.

So, there you have it! There’s my story as of now and I’m seeing it unfold even more day by day. I have found the process of writing it down to be a nice way to make amends with everything that unfolded so I may pop in every now and again to update my situation as I go along.

Stay tuned!

19 COMMENTS

  1. Brittany, I am just glad you and the baby are doing well now! Congrats to you and Paul on your precious miracle of life. Enjoy all the moments even if you are exhausted, lol. Much love and happiness to your family.

  2. I LOVE that you shared your story!! I’ve had 8 kids and never, ever, ever get tired of hearing birth stories. My first was also a traumatic, unsuspected train wreck (natural labor that ended in an emergency c-section with general anesthesia- yuck) but those first babies tend to be a bit dramatic in opening the womb 😉 I also used hypno birthing and think that the preparation most definitely makes ALL the difference, no matter the birth outcome. Congrats on your perfect little guy!! You deserve all the happiness.

  3. I loved reading your story. Been trying to get pregnant for a couple years now (my son is 4 now) and for some reason, the way you described EVERYTHING really resonated with me. My first experience was everything I didn’t want to happen and I think I’ve been holding fear for next time. Your words inspire me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh my goodness! Wow- you made it through! Thanks for writing it up, I love to read birth stories. I’m so happy for you and Paul- enjoy the ride!

  5. The fact of giving birth is still nowadays, with all our knowledge and technologies, a miracle. Enjoy your little one and spend as much time with him as you can. Time flies and this is really the one thing all mothers in the world agree.
    Congratulations!

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. Hat baby was hard won in every sense! What a gift! What a miracle. So happy you are well and enjoying this next amazing phase.

    I too had multiple miscarriages and infertility before finally having mine. Birth plan out the window too. Makes me appreciate them even more and that too is a blessing.

  7. Oh my and God’s speed to you. I love how you shared your story and you will be a light to others in difficult pregnancies. Your story will continue to help others. Love, care and sleep to you and your family. Xo Leslie

  8. I had preeclampsia with my second baby and was bound n determined not to go through that with my third. My doctor perscribed daily low dose aspirin and I walked every day for a 1/2 hour. And..no preeclampsia! Hallelujah! So there is hope that you won’t have to go through it again. ? Congrats on your lovely baby boy. How ever they get here, no matter how crabby they are – they’re the best things ever.

  9. Wow, that’s an amazing story Brittany and so happy to hear everything worked out. Having experienced a not-so-fairy-tale birth story of my child also, I am too, very thankful for the medical system.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story! What an experience for you and your husband! I’m so happy to learn that you and your baby are okay. I totally agree with you that every childbirth is a miracle. I suffered from preeclampsia during my first pregnancy. I suspect that my case was triggered by the sudden weight gain (I gained a ton of weight around 7 months). I was living in Africa at the time, so around 32 weeks I flew home, which is Tokyo, Japan, for child birth. There my doctor asked me to be on low calorie, low sodium diet to treat preeclampsia. A week before the due date I was admitted to the hospital for a treatment with a special meal of 1200 calories per day. After a day of that diet I think my child felt that I wouldn’t survive for a week with that, so I think she decided to come out. I gave birth and preelampsia was over, too. With my second and third pregnancy, I was super careful with the diet (I tried to eat very healthy with low sodium) and the way I gained weight. I was fine. I hope you are recovering well and enjoying your bundle of joy.

  11. Congratulations and well wishes to you. I had my third child around the same time and am still astounded that birth is a common thing as it is truly the wildest, life altering event I have experienced. Common but no less miraculous. Thanks for sharing. I wanted to add in that I do wish the veil on women’s bodies postpartum and women’s health was lifted. Slowly we are taking but we need more research and we need to bring light to the darkness of shame of saying the ways are lives and bodies are altered post birth. I’m a different person now. I’m scared. I’m hopeful I will return to myself eventually. Sometimes I’m hopeless. Will I be able to do the things I once was? Again, birth is common so how is it that most women feel blindsided by the trauma of it? Even an “uneventful” births as all mine have been. I don’t know but I just want to send light and love to all the mothers out there. Congratulations again. You are strong and you are part of a miracle. ?

  12. Amazing birth story…… it IS a miracle every time!!!! I feel the same exact way! Each story is unique! But every single one a miracle. So happy that the three of you are okay! Such a blessing!!!!

  13. Thank you for sharing! I had preeclampsia with my first little guy and I didn’t really understand the severity of it. I had to have a c-section, and oddly enough my baby, Wylder, was he the one having seizures! (Completely unrelated to the preeclampsia). He is almost 10 years old and finer than a frog’s hair now. And since then, I have had two completely wonderful pregnancies with no swelling or signs of preeclampsia. I’m pretty sure it’s more common for your first pregnancy. Anyway, I hope that encourages you in thinking about having any other babies in the future.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. I have two young boys, and had two miscarriages between them. My boys and their births were my own miracles, and you articulated so many of the thoughts and feelings I have had around them. I too felt like I must have been the first to experience it all, and at the same time marveled at all the mothers over the millennia doing exactly as I did. I’m so glad your experience had the best possible outcome

  15. Dayum gurlllll! I’m a labor and delivery nurse and I am truly moved by your story. I’m so happy you are all healthy and doing well. Your poor husband must be a bit traumatized (and midwives too!) from that. The few times I’ve had a patient seize in my presence has definitely left an impression. That tongue bruise though! Giiiirlllll, you are amazing! Thank you for sharing and keep loving up on that sweet boy! Xo

  16. I, too, had eclampsia. My doctor put me on bedrest, NO SALTS and GALLONS of water. I was on bed rest for six months. Then was overdue by two weeks. My baby girl was born healthy but after forty hours of labor (33 hrs hard labor) I ended up with a C-section. This was in 1981 and never would’ve happened in this day and age. Actually, I BROKE THE STRAPS they cinch you down with in surgery. They could not medicate me because the baby was in distress. They cut me up and down, took the baby out and then medicated me. The nurse who refused to call the Dr because “he needed a break” got fired and my memory of that horror has somewhat dimmed. They gave me a little so I wouldn’t break the belts again but I FELT THE ENTIRE INCISION!! Every one has a story. Some are that they gave birth after two hrs of labor! It sounds like such a blessing that your Dr agreed to try to NOT give you a C-section and eventually you were able to deliver your healthy baby. Congratulations!!!
    *that tongue though!!!

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