I’ve been wanting to write Case’s birth story out before I forget the details. But, I’ve been putting it off because 1. Busy getting snacks for a screaming toddler with a newborn hanging off my boob 2. It was bad and I don’t want to frighten anyone who may be headed to the maternity ward sometime soon and 3. I’m afraid I’ll get super emotional and freak out from reliving the trauma. I’m not exaggerating as I normally tend to do. It really was terrible.
But, it’s a story and I’m a story teller and so I’m going to do what I do. Seriously, though, this is your warning: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant one day, squeamish or disgusted by details about childbirth, you should go ahead and click on outta here now.
It started off pretty much like I thought it might. I was laying in bed around 10:30pm, mindlessly scrolling around on my phone trying to get tired enough to fall asleep. I had gotten all cranky earlier in the evening when I found out Spencer was going to Tulsa the next day for work because I was scared I’d go into labor and he would be three hours away. So I went and pouted in bed and had fallen asleep for a few hours. And now I was awake when I felt my water break. I knew Spencer had just drifted off to sleep because I could hear his sleep breathing.
(Jumps to full attention) “What?!”
“My water just broke.”
“Yes. I wouldn’t wake you up to joke about this.” (But wouldn’t that have been funny?)
When my water broke last time, I wasn’t for sure that’s what had happened. This time, there was no mistaking it. There was a lot of fluid once I started moving around. I am so extremely glad that did not happen earlier in the day when I was at Wal-Mart with Jack. (Although, I did see my mom’s life-long bff and another family friend while I was there so I guess I would’ve had help. But still.)
So, we alerted the troops and my mom came over to stay with Jack while we headed to the hospital. I was pretty nervous on the way there because I was 95% sure there was meconium in the fluid but kept telling myself that I didn’t know all there was to know about these things so maybe it wasn’t. It was. But nobody was acting like it was a big deal so I asked our triage nurse who said “Well, it isn’t ideal but it’s not that bad.” Thanks for the super helpful explanation and reassurance, lady.
So, I got moved to a labor and delivery room and they said they would start pitocin at 4am if I hadn’t progressed much by then (I was dilated to a 3 at that point). I went ahead and got the epidural pretty soon because as my one nurse who I actually liked during this whole ordeal said “If you’re going to get one, might as well get it now.” My sentiments exactly. But I didn’t take it well. While the anesthesiologist was doing her thing, I could feel weird pressure on the left side of my spine and it freaked me out because last time, I really hadn’t felt anything like that. Anyway, I sat still and in a few minutes I had relief from the contractions.
Sometime around then my brother and dad showed up. My dad went and sat in a chair by Spencer where they snored and my nocturnal brother came and sat by my bedside and made me listen to obscure artists on his ipad until I started feeling horrible pressure on my…well…let’s just say it- my butt. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. Which is how it felt last time when it was time to push. But the nurse checked me and said that we still had a ways to go. This was very bad news because the pressure was getting worse and worse. And I could tell that she was starting to not believe me about the pain. She kept saying “Is it pain or is it pressure?” To which I replied “It is pressure that is painful!” And then she would look at me skeptically and check me again only to tell me yet again that it would be some time.
Then there was a shift change and I got two nurses this time. I think one of them was in training but I’m not sure because no one bothered to tell me. The one in training was very nice and sympathetic but she wasn’t really allowed to do anything except sit on the edge of my bed and nervously rub my leg which I repeatedly had to tell her not to do. I tried to remember to say please because she really was very nice. Eventually the other nurse whose name I never learned discovered that I was experiencing an “anterior cervical lip” which is something about the edge of your cervix not dilating completely and getting out of the way for the baby’s head. Same exact thing happened with Jack. But with Jack, it didn’t hurt this badly and the nurses left me alone and advised me to try different positions to get him to move and the cervix to open. Which they did. But that’s not how it went with Case.
This is where things started rolling downhill at the speed of lightning.
They started making me push while one of them inserted her hand and tried to push the cervix around Case’s head. Yes, it was just as horrifying as it sounds. She kept saying “Sometimes it feels better to push” to which I kept replying “Well, this is not one of those times.” Looking back, I wish I had just refused to push and not been cooperative at all and they would’ve had to do things the way I wanted but hindsight’s 20/20 and all that. I started getting scared and asked if he was stuck. She looked at me like I was the biggest moron in America and said “I don’t know. There’s no reason to think he’s stuck.” Well, I had a reason and that was because I could FEEL HIM BEING STUCK. But, no one believed me and they all seemed to think I was overly dramatic and pretending to be in pain because, after all, I had received an epidural.
By this point I could see that I was in trouble so I asked Spencer to call my mom and tell her to start praying. I wanted to call everyone I knew and tell them but I couldn’t because I was trying not to die.
Some time went by and I’m not sure exactly what all happened but the doctor on call came in to deliver the baby. Not having my doctor there was another terrible surprise. I hadn’t realized that the doctors in her practice just took turns being on call and so it was just a roll of the dice as to who was going to be handling one of the top two most important events of my life. By my wonderful luck, I managed to draw the meanest, most unsympathetic drill sergeant of a doctor that has ever lived. My mom was already there by then and she was holding my hand, I think, and Spencer was pacing around saying supportive things and the doctor and nurses all kept asking him if he was ok. For some reason, it seems like there were about 37 various health care workers in the room with us but I can’t be sure of the exact number. I felt like there were about 12 people in scrubs all touching me and looking over me. Maybe they were giving a class on the most unpeaceful delivery ever.
Now. I have done a lot of complaining about other people (which I plan to continue in a moment) but I was no hero here. I was screaming and begging for help the whole time. I mean, if there was anyone else on that floor, which there obviously was, they knew Heather Brown was in pain. Specific things I recall sobbing out: “Jesus help me!” “I can’t!” “NO!” “Dr., please stop!” and “Why is no one listening to me?!” This is so vastly different from Jack’s birth that I can’t even fathom it. I didn’t make a peep except maybe like one groan when I pushed him out. But I felt so trapped laying on that table with my legs in the air and nurses holding on to each one with a doctor’s arm all the way up me like I was a cow getting preg checked, that I was in a total panic.
They wouldn’t let me breathe in between pushes so I kept getting light headed. I knew I was panicking but I couldn’t get ahold of myself because there was no time and I just wanted to breathe for a second. And the doctor kept getting all stern with me (which I do not handle well in any situation anyway. Seriously, don’t scold me.) like she was a football coach or something and telling me to look her in the eyes and be quiet and that I was wasting energy with all my noise making. I literally, sincerely considered kicking her right in the face once. Case, like Jack, was sunny side up and instead of letting him be born like that (which he was anyway) like they did with Jack, the doctor insisted on putting her arm in there and trying to turn him over. I cannot describe how painful that was. I was screaming and begging her to stop but she wouldn’t and I really almost kicked her in the face. I kind of wish I had so they maybe would’ve knocked me out or something.
At some point the anesthesiologist came back in and put something else in my IV but I couldn’t tell you that it made any difference. I will tell you that at Mercy when my epidural had worn off right before I was pushing, they offered to give me a whole new one because they wanted me to be totally pain free. I didn’t take it but the offer was nice. I also got a shot of lidocaine in the birth canal when I had Jack. I sure wish I could’ve had the presence of mind to request that this time. Not that they would’ve given it to me. I literally heard one of the nurses say “She had an epidural but she’s just extremely sensitive.” No, jerk. There is a huge baby stuck inside me. That’s not sensitive.
Can you tell I’m bitter? I can’t help it. I don’t want to be and I keep reminding myself that they kept me and Case safe and delivered a healthy baby to me. But dang.
I asked over and over and over for a C-section but they just didn’t do it. Finally the doctor told me I had two options. One was to let her try to vacuum suction him out and the second was a c-section. I asked for the C-section. She insisted on the vacuum and said that if it didn’t work after two or three pulls then they would be forced to do a C-section. Eventually after my energy for arguing had worn out, I said “FINE!! Do whatever you want!” or something like that and so she did. My spirit was broken. I knew she was going to do things her way and was probably only offering me options because she was required by law or something.
Then the respiratory team came in the room in case the baby breathed in any meconium so now there were even more witnesses to this circus of agony. I’m not sure how the vacuum worked but I saw some white rubber suction cup thing and felt it pop off a time or two as she cheerfully said “Oops! That was my fault.” OMG OMG OMG. If I ever wanted to kill someone it was then. Then everyone got all excited about his blonde hair and I got super annoyed that they thought I should be excited because hello, if all you can see is his hair then that means the head nor the shoulders are out yet.
Anyway, they got him out and suctioned his nose and throat and he was just dandy. Then they laid him on my chest and it was just awkward and I couldn’t even hold him because he was so long. So they took him to weigh and I was in a haze but I saw a flash of Spencer with tears in his eyes and I thought “Oh, it’s really over. Whew!” Then someone said “Heather, nine pounds eight ounces!” and I yelled out “Holy S*&%!” I mean, I think I made it through that whole ordeal without cussing but that just sent me over the edge. We had no idea he would be so big and I kind of felt validated for my histrionics. I wanted to say “Ha! See! He was huge! That’s why I was freaking out!”
So, at 8:55 in the morning, Case Don Brown entered the world at 9lbs 8oz and 22 1/4 inches long with hair the exact same color as his daddy’s. What a bruiser. Of course then family was in and out of the room getting a look at our new bundle and it was the sweetest when Jack came in to meet him. He kept putting his hands up to his face and exclaiming “He’s soooo cuuuute!!”
So, in summary, we got our Case and that makes me happy and it also made me happy not to be pregnant anymore. I’ll try to write soon about what it’s been like having two little ones and some things I’ve learned already. And just because I know you are wondering, not one single stitch. Thank you, perineal massage (it really shouldn’t be called “massage.”)