Updated: Dec 12, 2020
Hello my friends. I am so excited to share this very monumental piece of my life with you all. Two weeks ago today I gave birth to the most perfect beautiful little (err...not so little) girl. She has 10 fingers and 10 toes and a full head of perfect hair. She is amazing and absolutely the most perfect thing I have ever accomplished in my 31 years. Now that I have had some time to establish a routine with her and adjust to this new motherhood gig, I have a few moments to sit down and write out our journey to each other. Now, this is going to be all raw and real, as it always is. I am not going to hold back and will share every detail of her entrance into the world. So if you aren’t here for that, you may not want to continue reading. I wanted to write this for mamas who are scared of labor and delivery and to empower them. Also, to give a real experience: my experience. Instead of reading about it in a textbook. (The text books are helpful! But nothing really prepares you for what's about to go on down under) I was terrified of birth and I came out on the other side! (as most do) So, here is my experience:
But first, a little more backstory...
As I had described in my last blog about my experience with pregnancy,I took a break from Facebook. I am so glad I did. It taught me a few lessons. 1. There is a difference between “worried” and “nosey”. Most people saying they are “worried” are just nosey and taking shit. Once I deactivated my profile, it took about 4-5 days for the messages to come in saying: “Hi Brittany, I am looking for baby pictures? Hope all is well” , “I can’t seem to find your profile? Did you delete me?” “I was really hoping to see baby pictures, but it looks like you aren’t on Facebook anymore.” I even had one of my good friends message me and make me feel bad for deactivating because “So many people” were following my journey. Well this wasn’t about anyone but me and keeping my sanity, I assure you. I shook my head at everyone and simply sent the link to my blog in return stating that I chose to take myself off Facebook until she comes. Some responded curtly, like they were completely irritated that I would do such a thing to them, How dare I. Some I did tell that I had instagram and they could follow me to the hospital and beyond there. Which brings me to number 2. Being off Facebook brought me back to my absolute love for Instagram. Not everyone has Instagram I understand, but it’s always been my favorite platform that I’ve never needed a break from. I had forgotten how much I love IG stories and those who follow me there, got to see my behind the scenes journey the last few weeks. @TheBrittanyFuller. The third thing being off facebook taught me, is that 3. Susans don’t even realize they are Susans. I had so many people message me apologizing for sharing information that I had asked for hoping they weren’t a Susan. No, honey you aren’t a Susan if you are realizing this. I have learned that Susans are clueless. Because while there were not as many Susans on my instagram, there were some and they kept being a Susan to me even AFTER reading my last blog. The moral of the story is, sharing any part of your journey on social media opens you up for attack from the internet people. Sharing your journey is a privilege and your right as an American. But, you do NOT have to take shit from anyone and you have to do what is best for you. Sharing your journey does not make adult bullying acceptable and you absolutely have the right to shut that shit down at any moment. Protect your sanity and take care of yourself because, no one is going to do that for you. It’s the same thing as willingly going to a restaurant and ordering a meal and receiving something you didn’t ask for. If the kitchen screws up your order, what do you do? Send it back and ask for what you ordered. If you don’t get what you want after asking for it, you leave. You willingly went in, you willingly went out. Same concept. What you allow is what will continue in your life and that applies to much more than pregnancy.
The last few weeks of my pregnancy were pretty brutal for me. Weeks 38-41 to be exact. They are for any mama but especially those of us “First Timers” We have a LOT of unknowns ahead of us. It really doesn’t matter how many books you read or how many friends you ask and hear their stories, nothing can fully prepare you for what you are about to experience. Because only God knows what is going to happen and how your story is going to unfold. It really is terrifying. Yes, it is a beautiful thing what our bodies can do as women and to think this tiny human grew inside of me for nearly 10 months, is truly a miracle. It doesn’t make it any less scary to experience. It’s like jumping into dark water at the dead of night not knowing what is in there.
My frustration and impatience was through the roof. Mostly because I was literally a walking time bomb, except I didn’t have the timer. Was I going to go into labor? What did labor feel like? How would I know if I went into labor? I had no idea what it felt like. Everyone says: “OH YOU WILL KNOW”, but like will I? Every ache and stitch of pain I felt from week 38-41 (there were many) I would instantly wonder: “OMG, is this it?” Everyday I would wake up and be like, okay Bria, is today the day? No….? Okay. And it was onto the next.
What made the last few weeks harder for me was the lack of consistency from my OB department. At my 38 week appointment, one of my very favorite Locum doctors walked in and said, Well you are still pregnant. I sighed and said: “Yes, please send help” half joking. She laughed and told me well, you can be induced by choice at 39 weeks. Which would have been the following week. My eyes lit up and my heart was so happy to hear that. (Now, before I get a ration of shit from the Susans / Karens here, I am aware that it’s best to go full term and inducing leads to all kinds of things. I did my reading.) She explained how induction worked a little bit and said that next week they could put me on the IOL schedule. (Induction of Labor) I was pretty happy about that because I had been in so much pain and my husband was leaving in a month for the Air Force and selfishly I wanted more time together. I also wanted to semi-healed up because well we have to move out of our 3 floor apartment before December 15th before he leaves. I am glad she did say this to me, because it helped me push through the last week of work and gave me a little more pep in my step than I would have had otherwise. I was pretty productive and got a lot done. It was good. Until my next appointment.
My 39 week appointment we went in fully expecting to be put on the IOL schedule and was nearly devastated when we were told that that provider does not induce until 41 +. To top it all off, they were even going to check me to see if I was dilated, I had to ask. I was 39 weeks pregnant and no one had even looked at my cervix since week 9 other than ultrasound. Of course we cannot make our babies get moving any faster than they are going to come, but I at least wanted to see what was going on if anything. I was even more disheartened to find out that I was only 1 cm dilated. (Some people progress fast, some can stay at 1 cm for weeks.) At this point I was in so much pain. Walking became so painful and Bria moved to press on my sciatica and I just couldn’t bear the thought of going another two weeks. However, I did what I had to do. Deep down I knew that this little girl was not going to come out until well after her due date. Even though every Susan, Karen, family and friend had said I surely would have her early. I had listened to people say “Oh you have dropped!!!” for literally months. Everyone had taken bets on when I would have her and they were all well before her due date. But, if I know anything, and if this girl is going to be anything like me, she will pride herself on proving people wrong whenever she is given the chance, and this… well, this was just the beginning.
I was so upset after my 39 week appointment. I cried so much. I cried because I was in pain. I cried because my husband was leaving soon. I cried because of the hormones. I cried because I had my hopes up and then was let down. My advice for the third trimester and final weeks is to see it through. Not that you wouldn’t or have the option to not. But, just take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, because the reward of all of this is really so great you won't remember any of it. As a FTM you don’t know that yet though and the shit sucks and it's scary.
At my 40 week appointment I was just spent. I went in and climbed up on the table. I patiently waited for a new locum to come in to see me for 5 minutes and send me on my way again. Everyone had said she was lovely. I was going to believe it when I saw it. It doesn’t matter how lovely someone is to you at this point, if they don’t say things you are praying to hear, it won't do any good. I was tired and also very proud of myself for making it another week. Despite my deactivating Facebook I still constantly got a slew of messages asking what was going on. I got to the point where I just didn’t respond anymore. Because I didn’t know what to say. I was too tired to be angry. I was just plain tired and over it. This lady doctor walked into the room and introduced herself. She had cool hair and a cool vibe. She was younger than other doctors that I had seen which made me feel better for some reason. She read through the notes from the previous providers and noted that I should be scheduled for an IOL at 41 weeks. She checked me and noted that I was still only 1 cm dilated which, at this point I wasn’t even disappointed. I had a feeling that was the case. I knew that Bria was going to stay put until someone forced her out. She swept my membranes again hoping to move something along, but I knew it wouldn’t. She explained that she would call up to Labor and Delivery and see what the schedule looked like. She came back in the room and said a week from that day I would come in at 7:30 AM and be induced. She also said that I was to call an hour before I was to come because if there were too many things going on upstairs (Women having babies naturally without needing to be induced or having emergencies) they would delay my induction. I thought, “ If they delay me I am showing up anyway! I can’t go over 41 weeks! I WILL NOT MAKE IT!”
Well friends, I waited out the final week. I had to take it hour by hour most days. I only left my 3rd floor apartment 3 times because I was terrified of my water breaking or something happening while I was not at home or away from the hospital. I spent my days sleeping and eating and watching predictable Christmas movies on Netlfix. I had exactly one meltdown per day. Some involved crying and screaming. Some just involved crying. I was anxious and tired and sore. A few of the days I felt pretty good, but most I did not. I spent a lot of time in bed. Brandon ended up moving our TV into the bedroom so I could be more comfortable because even though our couch reclines, it wasn’t doing it for me anymore. He took off the last few days of work to be with me because I asked him to. He didn’t really need to but I just didn’t want to be alone. He cleaned and did the dishes and cooked for me. He made sure I had what I needed. He kissed me and rubbed my feet and belly and told me how beautiful I was. Even though I was far from beautiful and at some points a total monster. I would not have made it through the last moments without him.
Monday November 23, 2020
At 40 Weeks +5 days I had a semi decent day. I felt okay in the morning and then had a meltdown which made me tired so I took a nap. I woke up and we went to dinner with Brandon’s Mom and sister. I did not feel like going and was terrified my water was going to break but once we got there, I was happy I came and had the best chicken fingers and fried pickles ever. Because at this point, let’s face it. My water was not going to break. I was not going into labor. Not until someone made me. I knew that. I had known that for weeks at this point. We came home from dinner and I laid down in bed and turned on some Kevin Hart. Because I needed to laugh. I’ve seen all of his specials 100X and still, they make me laugh until I nearly pee. So I watched an entire special “Irresponsible” and laughed so hard Brandon had to come in and check on me because he thought I was crying. I was crying but out of happiness. The hormones work all kinds of ways. They make everything more extra than it is. Anyway, the special ended and I put my hands on my belly and thought…. When was the last time I felt her move? Why wasn’t she moving? Bria has been a very active baby for the majority of my second and third trimesters. Every time I drank anything, ate anything, used the bathroom, shifted positions, she has made herself known. Her little butt moves from one side of my belly to the other frequently. And for the life of me, I could not remember feeling her all day. I had just eaten a big meal, no movement. I had been laughing for an hour straight and had no movement. She was always the most active at night time. I panicked and started gently pushing on my belly begging her to move. Nothing. So I came out of the bedroom in tears and told Brandon. He moved around the apartment quickly and got in the shower. I could tell he was scared and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know either. I made the mistake of googling decreased fetal movement after 40 weeks and all kinds of things about children being stillborn post term came up and I lost it. I frantically called the hospital switchboard and asked to speak to the on call OB.
I was not excited when I learned that it was one of the worst locums I had seen that had called me maternally obease in my after visit summary and never had the conversation with me to my face. But, I was desperate and in need of her medical knowledge so I quickly got over it and begged for her help. I sobbed out “My name is Brittany… you saw me a few weeks ago… I am 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I can’t remember the last time I felt my baby move.” I began to sob even harder. Her voice was soft and kind. She said: “ Okay, come on up to Labor and Delivery. We will put you on the monitor okay?.” I hung up the phone and told Brandon we needed to go. I got dressed faster than I had in months. I pushed through the discomfort of putting on pants and was ready in 3 minutes. Brandon got around quickly too and we rushed out the door to the hospital. He dropped me off at the entrance and went to park the car. He met me inside and we took the elevator up to the 9th floor. I began to think all kinds of things. “What if something is wrong? What if they take her out tonight? What if she doesn’t make it? What if I should have noticed this sooner and could have saved her and now it's too late? What if all of this is my fault because I was so stressed during the majority of my pregnancy? Mostly every bad thought flew into my mind. My head felt like a bat cave at night with terrible intrusive thoughts.
We approached the double doors of the locked labor and delivery unit and I pushed the call button. I almost got my badge out to see if mine worked on their doors to make them open faster. (Working in psych gives me access to a majority of the hospital.) The doors buzzed open and we walked into an entire nurses station looking at us with sympathy and also excitement. I could tell it was a slow night up there. It was around 8:30 PM. We signed in and had our temperatures taken. They showed us to an exam room and asked me to put on a gown. I did as instructed and waited for the nurse to come back in. She placed two bands across my belly, one to monitor contractions and the other to monitor the baby’s heart. The nurse asked me “What brings you in?” and I stammered: “ My baby moves a lot and she hasn’t today.” She asked me when the last time I felt her move and I began to sob : “I don’t even know”. Brandon sat across the room just staring at me. I knew he was scared but he kept his composure well. One of us had to stay calm. He had been the calm of this entire year and in this moment, it was no different. I was beyond distraught. It took what seemed like forever to find her, but her little strong heartbeat was finally found. I was so relieved. We both were. I drank some apple juice and water and eventually she started to move around. The resident said she is just getting bigger and running out of room and maybe resting up for her big debut. They validated my concerns and feelings and said they were glad I came in. I knew if I had not, I would not have been able to sleep a wink.
Ultrasound came up and measured the fluid and looked at some other things to make sure everything was alright. We got the clearance for discharge as we would be back in just a few days to be induced to meet the little one.
We got home around midnight and were exhausted, Brandon rubbed my belly and back and legs until I fell asleep.
Tuesday November 24, 2020
The night before I was induced I sat on the couch with Brandon and said: “This is the last time it will just be you and me. The next time we sit on this couch, we will have a baby too.” It seemed absolutely unreal even though we had 10 months to prepare, nothing really prepares you for that moment. My friend Nikki told me: “Brittany, you will go into the hospital as a couple and walk out, parents and everything will be changed in your life forever.” trying to help me understand that any time left in my pregnancy was precious and to spend as much time with Brandon alone as I could. Of course being 41 weeks pregnant, I was ready to be a parent. As ready as I could be.
Wednesday November 25, 2020
Finally, the day had come where I was scheduled to be induced and meet our little girl. I woke up at 5:30 AM. I made a cup of coffee and got things around to eat for breakfast, because once I went in, you can’t eat until after you deliver. They tell you to eat a big breakfast or meal before you go in because they essentially starve you on a clear liquid diet the whole time, and the “whole time” could be DAYS. But, that was the least of my worries. I was anxious and excited. Also terrified for what was about to happen to my vagina. I was also very concerned about calling and being told I couldn’t come in, and having to wait. If the unit got busy overnight, then I would have to wait to be induced because I was not considered to be an emergency. I half expected to call and have them turn me away, so I set myself up for disappointment so it wouldn’t sting as badly.
And, I was right. I called at 0600 and they told me that they had gotten busy and I would have to wait for a phone call later in the day. I was disappointed and hoped that I could come in that afternoon or evening, but wasn’t going to count on it. I decided to go back to bed and get some rest because I knew that I was going to majorly need it. I slept until the hospital called me around noon. They said that they wanted me to come in at 1930 for my induction that evening. Having a little extra time was nice, but the day seemed to drag on forever. As the time got closer I grew more anxious. I had read all the things but really did not know what to expect. Everyone is different, every birth experience is different. I thought of the best and worst case scenarios and prayed I would not need a section. I had already experienced an abdominal surgery and it was not fun to recover from. I did not have that kind of time either, I needed to be on the mend faster with Brandon leaving so soon.
Finally it was time to leave for the hospital. We live 7 minutes away but the drive felt like an hour. Brandon dropped me off at the doors with our bags and went to park the car. The hospital was quiet as it was after hours. We walked through the doors and found our way to the elevator and took it up to the 9th floor.
We walked into the unit as we had the day we were seen due to my lack of fetal movement. Everyone was so kind. The nurses swarmed around us and one of them led us to our room. We were in Delivery Room 6. It was a “suite”. The room was bigger than our apartment, which made for a lot more comfort. Our nurse came in to complete the admission. She went through a series of questions. They were similar questions that I had been asked the night I came in previously.
One of the questions that they ask is: “ Have you ever done anything or wanted to do anything to end your life?” I knew this was coming because they had asked it just a few days before when I came up to triage. It caused me so much pain to sheepishly answer “yes”. I wanted to add “ I actually wrote a book and travel and speak and now work in psychiatry here to help people and use my struggles as my strengths…”... but I didn’t. I simply said, “It has been 8 years, my attempt was in 2012.” Which of course they have access to my medical record and they could see what happened with a click of a button. It has been 8 and ½ years since my attempt and I truly have come leaps and bounds since that very dark day in July of 2012. I have overcome it and I share my story and have found my strength in it. But, in this situation, about to give birth to my first little baby, I felt so much guilt and pain. I felt ashamed of myself for the first time in years. I felt unworthy to have this little girl because of what I had done and my past. I have slayed all my demons and know my warning signs. I have healthy coping skills and know what to do if things go dark again. I am a published author and speaker and have used my struggles as my greatest strengths. I have helped others for years do the same. I mean, hell, I work at the Robert Packer Behavioral Science Unit as a therapeutic case manager helping those at their worst, just as I had once been. If anyone was a true testament to recovery it was me. I know that. But, for some reason, my heart ached badly when this came up. Because, I know why they ask these questions. I know why they need to know. They need to assess my mental well being to ensure the safety of my baby. Because it’s not just me anymore. I was just one click away from a psych consult. Of course I know how all of this works. I have worked as a part of the treatment team in Psychiatry at this hospital for nearly 2 years now. I know the protocol. I had been on both sides of consults. Their concern was mostly if it had been within the last year, which it had not. So they moved quickly to the next question. The nurse showed no judgement. For that, I was grateful.
The only other time that this had come up during my hospitalization was in Bria’s discharge paperwork under “Maternal Concerns”. It stated something like: “ Mother has previous psychiatric history”. That stung a lot to read but, it's true. I do have a history. A concerning history to anyone just reviewing my chart and not knowing me personally. My attempt was very serious. It wasn’t a superficial cut to the wrist or taking a few pills or drinking too much. I required emergency surgery and was intubated in the ICU. Now, more than ever I had even more of a reason to take the best, most superior care of myself to ensure that I would never ever fall down those rock bottom basement steps again.
Our nurse hooked me up to an IV. I ended up needing 3 over the course of my stay. The first one they put too closely to my wrist and it caused me so much pain I asked them to move it. (It’s funny I thought that this was painful...Joke was on me. I never really thought I was a pussy… but apparently...I am a little bit of one.) Then my second IV blew. Finally they got a good one in my other hand and it stayed. I also got a COVID test. It was negative.
The doctor and resident came into examine me and determine the course of treatment. The resident doctor was so nice, but unfortunately the second worst locum I had seen was the doctor on call that evening. She was rigid and had no bedside manner. It was a job much like stacking boxes in a factory to her. She spoke fast and sat across the room and assessed the resident. I actually felt bad for the resident, because he had such a bad mannered teacher. One of the nurses said that the doctor coming on at 0800 was Dr. Hope. I was so thankful that she was coming on. I prayed I didn’t deliver until morning because I did not want this witch to deliver my baby. Dr. Hope had been the best doctor I had seen during my pregnancy and the one I saw the most out of any other. She was kind and knowledgeable. She had a great bedside manner and heard my concerns. She validated me and made me feel safe in her care. That was more than anyone else had done for me, aside from my favorite midwife.
The resident examined me and found me to continue to hold strong at 1 cm dilated. The witch doctor examined me and said the same. They spoke about different medications to start to help dilate me like I wasn’t even in the room. They decided that the medication cidatec was what they were going to start. It was a small pill that they would place near my cervix to help get things going. The doctor came in and placed the pill and said that they could do another dose in 4 hours. It was about to be a long night.
And oh lord, was it.
One of the things I didn’t prepare for was hearing other mothers labor and give birth on the unit. Hearing the others scream out in pain was probably one of the hardest things I hadn’t prepared for. It scared the hell out of me because soon, it would be my turn. But, I was relieved because I was all about the epidural. I thought: “ Oh, I wont sound like that, I am getting medicine, I wont feel anything..”
God, Damnit, I was so fucking dumb to think that.
November 26, 2020 - Thanksgiving Day
During the last 45 minutes of the 4 hours I started to have bad cramping which they said were contractions. It wasn’t too bad. I mean it sucked but it wasn’t unbearable. They came back in to examine me and noted I maybe dilated another half a centimeter and decided to do another dose. It was early morning around maybe 0300.
That was the dose that put me over the edge from mild contractions to the worst pain of my life. Slowly the cramping and contracting began and with each 15 minute increment it grew worse and worse. People that had said labor feels like “period cramps” had lied. It straight up felt like someone was taking a rusty knife and gutting me with no meds. The monitor that had my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat on it looked like it was going to break. My contractions became constant. There was hardly any break in between them and for hours I writhed in pain. I screamed, and cried and begged for medicine. I am sure everyone on the unit could hear me. I wondered how people did this twice because in the moment I swore I wouldn’t live through it. I was checked and told I was only 2 CM and that they could not yet give me the epidural because it would wear off before delivery. I thought that the delivery part of childbirth was the most painful, not the contractions. What the actual fuck was happening. Was this normal? Was I dying? Because that is what it felt like.
Brandon was a hero this entire time. He stood by me. Held my hand. Remained calm. He never looked irritated or scared or uncomfortable. He never left the room or my side. He was my champion.
The nurse came in with the anesthesiologist and talked about the epidural and the risk factors about getting it too early. They nearly talked me out of it because if actual childbirth was worse than this, I would try to muscle it out. I sobbed. The nurse came back in and encouraged me to take it because my body wouldn’t relax enough to dilate if I didn’t. I agreed and told her to send him back in with that shit.
They sat me up at the edge of the bed and told me to remain still. It’s amazing what you can do when you know relief is coming. Through the worst continuous contractions I stayed calm and still and allowed him to insert the magical medicine port in my spine. They laid me back down and within minutes, everything went numb and I drifted off to sleep.
The nurse came back in and asked how I was feeling, because my contractions had not subsided, in fact they had worsened. I told her: “I don’t feel a damn thing”. And I didn’t. Before the catheter was put in, (because when you have an epidural, they have to cath you because you can't walk to get up to pee, much less feel your nearly bursting bladder.) I felt like I peed myself. I thought to myself "Jesus Christ Brittany, making these poor nurses clean up your piss on top of everything else they have to do today." I sheepishly said: " Am I supposed to pee myself?" Because like what else do you say? The nurse said, oh let me check. She was so nice. I will never forget how well mannered these labor and delivery nurses were. I LOVED every single nurse we had the whole time. There wasn't one I even half liked. I loved them all. After she checked she exclaimed: " Oh your water has broken!"
"Oh good, we are getting somewhere." I thought. It was surely nowhere fast but, somewhere indeed. It wouldn't be another 24 hours before I saw my baby.
We had the best nurse come on in the afternoon for half a shift. Her name was Marsha. She was an absolute godsend. She was calm and made me feel so comfortable. I hoped that she was on when this baby decided to come out. I felt like I really needed her to be there. To be the one.
Slowly but surely through the afternoon, I began to dilate and efface more and more. 4 cm. 6 cm. I began to feel some cramping again and the anesthesiologist came back in and gave me another push of medicine to boost me over the edge. He said that this is what he had warned me about. He also told me about this button that I could have been pushing that whole time to give me extra boosts. I thought: “ Well, that would have been helpful to know earlier....”
Dr. Hope came in to examine me and discovered I was about 8 CM. She said it wouldn’t be long. I didn’t know what to expect really. I had already felt the worst pain of my life, I couldn’t imagine it would be any worse, and with this epidural in, I was golden. Or, so I had thought.
Around 5:45 PM Dr Hope came back in to check me again. Everything happened so fast. She said, “Okay, you are 10 and floppy. It’s time”
I was like… “Wait, right now? Really? Like right now? I don’t have time to mentally prepare?” In retrospect I guess I had like 10 months to prepare but, holy shit. When it’s time, it is time. Marsha was on my right, Brandon was on my left. They put me into position. Other nurses came in with all kinds of equipment and set up like it was a set change at a theater. Within 5 minutes there was a whole OR set up at my feet with all kinds of things I couldn’t really see. Dr. Hope gowned up and said: “Okay it's time to push. The next contraction that comes, I need you to push for 10 seconds and do that 3 times in a row.”
So many things swarmed around my head. “ What if something bad happens? What if she doesn’t want to come out and I need a section? What if she gets stuck? What if I can’t actually take care of a baby. What if there is something wrong? What if I die?” I’m not sure if these thoughts are normal, but that is what I was thinking. Eventually within like a minute, I decided to push those thoughts aside and have this baby because I had been pregnant for far too long and was ready to enter the other side of motherhood.
At this point, the epidural sadly was not as effective. I felt a lot more than I had thought I ever would. I don’t know if it was worse than those devil contractions or the same. But with each push the pressure grew worse and worse. I knew one thing, this baby had her fathers head. Marsha had my right leg, Brandon had my left. I thought Brandon would have passed out but he watched the whole thing. Soon after I started pushing everyone said, “She has so much hair! We see her head and she has so much hair!” At this point the pressure turned into pain, I was pushing as hard as I could and felt like it wasn;t doing anything. Marsha was the best cheerleader and said that I was doing great, but God, I didn’t feel like she was moving at all. Dr. Hope asked if i wanted to feel her head or see it. “NO! I DON’T I WANT HER OUT!!” Marsha said that I was very close and just needed to push a little harder and she would be out. She kept saying: “This is your push, this is it!” I threw up at this point and thought I was going to pass out. I really didn’t think I was going to make it.
I looked over Dr. Hopes shoulder to collect myself before the next contraction came and there she was. She was beautiful, dressed in Ivory smiling from ear to ear. She was even more beautiful than what I remembered her to be at her best. Her whole face was lit up like a Christmas tree with her smile, much as it had once been when I was little. Her hair was in beautiful brown ringlets. She looked healthy and rested and whole again. It was my mama. She nodded at me as if she were to say “ You can do this”. Now, maybe I was hallucinating or just seeing things I needed to see in that moment to give me strength, but it was her and she was everything I needed to see and feel to see this through.
With all of the strength I had left in me I gave my 3 final pushes and I felt her slide out. It was 6:24 PM. Brandon cut the cord and the look on his face was completely priceless. We had done it. We had a baby. After so many months and so many struggles that we had faced and the complete bullshit that 2020 had thrown at us, we had this baby and she was fucking perfect. I fell in love with him all over again in that moment and knew that he was truly the love of my life.
She was put right on my chest instantly. Marsha was wiping her off and making sure she was breathing. She was warm and sticky and the most beautiful little creature I had ever seen. She had 10 fingers and 10 toes and a full head of hair. She had the most perfect little lips and a cupids bow that would be sure to steal the hearts of many in the years to come.
Then Doctor Hope delivered the placenta. That slid right now and didn’t hurt at all. Compared to what just came out the placenta was no big deal and much squisher.
Then I felt the stitching. I thought, well I must have torn pretty bad because I felt every single fucking stitch. Dr. Hope said that she tore me on the way out pretty good, but that it was inside and not on the outside. I don’t know what kind of tare is worse but those stitches… felt like well..what you would imagine stitches feel like on the inside of your vagina. At this point I did feel everything. What epidural?
Apparently, due to the laceration inside of me I lost a considerable amount of blood. Everyone remained very calm as Dr. Hope stitched but I heard talk of a transfusion. I thought: “Oh God am I going to die?” Once Dr. Hope finished the stitches, I saw another nurse pick up the bag that was catching all of the blood and fluid underneath me. It was clear and holy shit, I wasn't sure how I was still alive after losing all of that. Marsha kept asking me if I was okay, and how I felt. I was okay. I did survive so far. And despite the stitching and pain, I felt a lot better. The pressure on my pelvic floor that I had felt for months was finally gone.
They began to clean up and took Bria off of my chest to weigh her and wipe her off. She weighed a whopping 9 lbs and 2 oz and was 21 inches long. I was very proud of pushing her out of me after hearing that. Marsha pushed on my belly over and over again to get some more stuff out I am assuming. THAT did not feel good. They did that a few times over the next few hours.
I wanted to see the placenta before they got rid of it. They showed me from a distance and it looked as big as Bria. What an amazing thing the female body can do and create to create life.
The next few hours were a blur. They got me up to go to the bathroom. When I stood up there was so much blood that came out of me, I continued to think I should be dead. I tried to pee but couldn’t. I knew my bladder was full. I had to have a folly catheter to drain my bladder and it was indeed full. I overflowed the pan the nurse had and needed another one. I felt some relief of pressure after that but was still in a considerable amount of pain. The nurses hooked me up with those fancy mesh underwear, Ice Pads, Tuck pads and cream. It helped some, but God I never thought I would recover.
Brandon left and got Thanksgiving Dinner from his mom’s house and brought it back to the hospital for us. I don’t even know what I ate but I ate all of it and it was so good. Mashed potatoes and stuffing and apple crisp. I ate like I hadn’t eaten a meal in months.
I found that the hardest part was being in so much pain and wanting to take care of my baby. I wanted to hold her and examine her fingers and toes. I wanted to change her diaper and nurse her properly, but I was so banged up I could not just yet. I did learn to nurse within the first few hours. She wouldn’t latch without a nipple shield, but did end up latching with that. All of the nurses that were on after Marsha left were wonderful in helping me navigate breast feeding and making sure I had enough ice pads and IBuprofen to stay conscious.
I expected the vaginal pain, totally. I knew that was going to be a real bitch. I mean I just pushed out a 9 lb baby. Duh. But what I did not take into account for was the muscle fatigue and feeling as if I just ran a spartan race. I straight up felt like I did the day after my very first insanity live workout with Shaun T. Holy fucking shit. From the hair on my head to my toes, I was sore. Every muscle in my body ached as if I had done 1000 burpees. Which made moving around even more excruciating. I had to use a step stool to get back into bed. Oh, the beds are absolutely dreadful. The most uncomfortable things ever. I think they do that on purpose so you don't want to stay forever. Because the nurses make you want to.
Due to COVID we could not have any visitors at the hospital. Honestly, I was glad for this. In the shape I was in, I wanted to see no one. I wanted no one to see me. I wanted this time with my little family. It was a blessing in disguise. I knew we would have a few people chomping at the bit nearly waiting for us to get home on our stoop but, I had a little bit of time to prepare for that. It is hard dealing with people who want to see your baby so soon. It's like, "I just got her, she is mine. Give me some time." Also, it is easy to feel pushed aside. A lot of people, even family don't take into consideration what you just experienced. What your body just did. Just be mindful of that.
We stayed 3 nights total. Two after delivery. On the day of discharge I asked about being put on medicine because I knew I was going to have a hard time when Brandon left for Texas. At this point we had less than 3 weeks left together. I knew I was going to be a total fucking wreck. I had been off of medicine for years and had done well mentally. Even through all of the trials we faced this past year, I stayed well. But, I knew that I had a little beautiful girl to take care of and I needed to be on my A game. Being a mother is about knowing what you need in order for you to be the best you can be for what your child needs. Bria needs Mommy at her very best, so I chose to start meds. Needing meds and taking meds is not a weakness friends, it's a strength. There is no trophy for muscling through life unmedicated. Just like there is no trophy for natural no med childbirth. It doesn’t make you a failure. It doesn’t make you any less of a parent. It makes you strong and unfuckwithable. Never let anyone tell you any different either.
Two Weeks Postpartum:
Today I feel well and rested. I am pretty much healed other than those damn stitches. They itch more than anything at this point. I'm hardly bleeding anymore but still rocking these fancy Always Discreet diapers because they are AMAZING. I never want to put on real underwear again. Bria sleeps so well, I almost think it's too good to be true. She sleeps about 4-6 hours, then 2 and then another 2 overnight. She has a witching hour between 6:30 PM and 9 that is God awful where she cluster feeds and just can’t get enough of Mommy, but after that she sleeps so well. I have gotten about 8 ish hours each night for a week. Again, I know this is absolutely insane for having only a 2 week old baby. I am so grateful.
Daddy leaves us in 3 days. We have been soaking up snuggles and all the time with him that we can. We are so very proud and grateful for what he is doing for us, but its going to be so very hard to say goodbye. Aunt Shanny is coming with us to help me get through it and drive us home. It is going to be a very long 8 weeks with little to no contact while he goes through Basic Training. After that he will continue on to Tech School for another 10 ish weeks. We will be able to talk to him more then so it will be a little better, but still hard. When we are reunited Bria will be nearly 6 months old and a whole new baby. She will be starting solid foods and sitting up. It hurts me that he will miss that but we will take lots of pictures and videos to keep Daddy updated as much as possible.
I’m not too excited for Christmas this year. I wished for our first Christmas to be together all wearing matching jammies and snuggling on the couch watching home alone looking at our tree. Instead, Bria and I will be staying at Grandpa’s house for Christmas snuggled in the woods missing Daddy. Thankful we won’t be alone and that we have so much family support, but it still isn’t the same. However I do have the absolute greatest gift of all. There is not one thing that I want for. I've got a very handsome husband with the beginning of an amazing career and the most beautiful baby girl I have ever laid eyes on. I am doing my best to focus on the good.
I dread the thought of going back to work, but I still have some time left. I wish that I didn’t have to, as many mamas do I am sure. But, unfortunately I will have to return for a short time until Daddy comes home.
I do plan to kickstart my Beachbody business again as soon as I get the clearance to workout. If that does well enough to sustain just half of my income at the hospital, I will be able to stay home or only go back to work for a short time. There is a new 9 week program that I cannot wait to dive into with Aunt Shanny. I will stay very busy while Brandon is gone taking care of this baby and working on my body. I have never been so excited to get back into shape in my life. I hope to look like a totally different, better version of myself when he sees me again. More to come on that in the next few weeks.
Well friends there you have it. I did survive childbirth. For me, I did not forget the pain the instant she was placed on my chest. It still fucking hurt really bad, and for a week after. But, now, two weeks out, it is but a distant memory. I actually understand why people want to do it again. I plan to do it again, just not anytime in the very near future. I hope to wait until Bria is at least nearly 2. She needs a sibling to travel the world with as we will be in different places from here on out. I am very excited for our future as a family and to watch this beautiful little girl grow. What an adventure motherhood has already been.
Everyone has a different experience. No childbirth is the same, but I do hope that this was helpful to an expectant mama or two.
Thank you for being a part of my journey. As always, if you enjoyed this please share it.
Until next time,