I should’ve written this post ages ago. But with his NICU stay followed immediately by us moving, I haven’t had a second to gather my thoughts and emotions on Oliver’s birth. Now, I have.
Today is his due date. It boggles my mind to think I should have still been pregnant all this time. It’s crazy to think about and hard to wrap my mind around. I think because he was always meant to come when he did. The Lord knew we needed him here.
On June 24th, we threw Sawyer a birthday party. This was probably a mistake because I was supposed to be on modified bed rest and staying off my feet but the invites had already gone out, decor bought, cupcakes baked, etc. so I refused to cancel, I wanted to give my son a birthday party. The party was probably too much for me and being on my feet all day hanging decorations could possibly be one of the reasons I went into labor early.
That night after we put away all his new toys, I wrote and scheduled a few blog posts (including a pregnancy update that auto posted after he was born, which makes me laugh), and went to bed. I tossed and turned for a while and had just started to drift off around 2am when I felt a gush of warm water.
I shot up in bed and felt another big gush. Then another. Then another.
I frantically started calling for my husband to wake up. He is an extremely deep sleeper so, he didn’t. I stood up to get to the bathroom and the water just kept coming. Sawyer was an emergency C-section so I’ve never experienced any kind of labor and this was all new and scary to me. I screamed for my husband who finally woke up. He was groggy and I had to repeat myself multiple times before he grasped what was happening.
I had a small (read: large) freakout. I started sobbing because I knew what was happening. Because it was way too early. Because he was breech and I knew I would need another c-section. Because it was too close to Sawyer’s birthday (ha!).
My husband somehow made me calm down and we called my mom to come watch Sawyer and headed for the hospital. The normal hour long drive took my husband all of 20 minutes and we headed straight to triage.
I was there for a while. The nurses were insisting that they check the fluid to make sure I didn’t just pee myself. I knew my water broke but they wouldn’t take my word for it. Just as she lifted up my sheet to take the fluid sample, a bunch of water gushed out again. She quickly closed the sheet and said “well that is what we call a complete rupture. You’re in labor!”
She tried to start my IV but couldn’t get a vein. She called in another nurse who tried a few times as well. I was poked and prodded in both arms, after the second try it started to hurt bad. My anxiety was already at an all time high due to being in preterm later and I started to basically lose my mind. I was sobbing which made my nose runny which eventually blocked my airways, leaving me unable to breathe out my nose. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I wasn’t gritting my teeth to stand the pain and discomfort of the 1,000th try to get an IV. Every time they tried again I would grit my teeth and then basically stop breathing since my nose was so stuffy. My husband and the other nurses then started screaming at me to breathe resulting in only more sobbing and anxiety from me. I was a mess. Eventually, they got the IV and I was able to calm down. Then they gave me a steroid shot to help strengthen baby’s lungs. They wheeled in an ultrasound machine to check on the baby. He was still breech so a C-section was my only option. We schedule one for the next morning, they moved us to another room and we tried to get some sleep.
A few hours later, we woke up and the wheeled the ultrasound machine back in.
“Did you feel a really big movement recently?”
I had been sleeping so it’s possible there was one and I missed it, but I hadn’t felt anything.
He had flipped.
Completely on his own. Out of absolutely nowhere. Only 3 hours after we had last checked. He was head down.
My nurses and myself were shocked. And so happy! They asked me if I wanted to go ahead and try for my VBAC which of course I did! So we relocated to a delivery room to let labor progress naturally.
I was having consistent contractions but they weren’t very strong. My nurse kept asking if I was ready for an epidural but I didn’t feel anywhere near ready to needing it.
Finally around 6pm we started pitocin to help move things along. Even then I still didn’t feel much pain until a few hours later. They gradually got stronger and by 9pm they were starting to get painful. I felt them mostly in my back and actually felt a lot of pain/pressure straight up in my butt which was weird and super uncomfortable. Even though I was in pain, I have really fond memories of that night. It was just Kurtis and I, all alone in the dark hospital room, and he coached me through every contraction.
Around 10pm I was feeling a lot of pressure and asked them to check me. After 18 hours of labor I was only 1 cm dialated, which was so discouraging.
I ultimately wanted an epidural, but wanted to labor as long as I could without it. I don’t know if I’m every going to do it again so I wanted to cherish every second of labor and really know what it felt like. Around 11pm I couldn’t take the pain anymore and called the nurse for the epidural. It took her about an hour to get it and another half hour to administer it, so it was a while before I got any relief and I was miserable. I had another sizeable anxiety attack when the epidural was administered. The effects of preterm labor were just so stressful that my anxiety was constant throughout labor. Also the spinal tap I got with my C-Section for Sawyer was much different and much faster to administer. I was expecting the epidural to be exactly the same and it wasn’t. It was much more painful and therefore much harder for me to get through. My husband coached me through it, again but it was hard for me.
After the epidural I got some relief and we decided to try an sleep. I noticed really soon after that I felt a LOT of pressure. Not pain. Thank INTENSE pressure. They say it will feel like you have to poop, which it did but it also felt like I have just drank 40 gallons of water and had to pee so bad. It was the weirdest most uncomfortable feeling.
That horrible pressure lasted all night and made it impossible to sleep. I tossed and turned and tried to ignore it and I couldn’t. I had more medicine administered through my epidural and that would take the edge off for maybe half an hour and then it would be back full force.
Around 3am they checked me again and I was 4 centimeters. That was encouraging.
I kept laboring throughout the night, dealing with the uncomfortable pressure as best I could. At 6am they started doing rounds and I was checked again and was 10cm!
It was the weirdest thing. She goes “your at 10! Time to push” and then literally started grabbing my legs to get into position without giving me a single second to process the news. Kurtis wasn’t even awake yet.
My anxiety kicked in again and I started crying and telling them to stop. My nurse, who had been with me the whole time really vouched for me, told the doctor about my anxiety and that they would need to explain to me exactly the plan and let me do a couple of practice pushes. She was the best and I will forever be grateful for her.
They woke up my husband, explained to me exactly how pushing would work, what I would do, for how long, and then let me do a few practice rounds.
The short time I did sleep the night before I must have slept on my arms funny because they were incredibly sore. So sore I couldn’t hold my legs up. Eventually, I had to hold my legs in order to push with the force necessary, and Kurtis was massaging my arms in between every contraction. I don’t know what it was but they hurt so badly!
As things progressed my room filled up with TONS of people. St Joes is a teaching hospital so it was everyone necessary for a birth, plus a few of their students haha. I had a few nurses, a whole team of doctors, all their students, plus a NICU team. It was literally probably 15 people all focused on my crotch. So great.
I pushed for an hour and at 7:14am on June 26th, Oliver Zen Brown made his entrance into the world on the same day his big brother had.
I got to do immediate skin to skin and Kurtis got to cut the cord, 2 experiences we didn’t get with Sawyer and are so grateful for.
The NICU team took him pretty quickly to examine him. I had maybe 5 minutes of skin to skin, but even that, I’m thankful for. I required a few stitches so one of the doctors got to work on that while we waited to hear the NICU diagnosis.
He wasn’t breathing well on his own so they determined they would need to take him and just like that, my baby was gone.
Kurtis went with him while I got cleaned up. He updated our families who were in the waiting room and took them back to see him. I FINALLY got to eat and our family came back to see me with Sawyer. I was moved to a recovery room, ordered lunch and got right to work on pumping. A few hours had passed, I was beyond exhausted, but I was finally able to go back and see him.
Oliver ended up spending 2 weeks in the NICU before he was able to come home with us. He was jaundice, couldn’t control his own temperature, and required both a feeding tube and oxygen. The temperature issues resolved themselves rather quickly, and a few days under the lights took care of the jaundice. It was absolutely devastating to leave him there and by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. We worked hard on his feeding issues for those 2 weeks and were eventually able to wean him off of the feeding tube. He had to come home on oxygen but that’s a small price to pay. I can’t even begin to express how happy we are to have him home with us. He is such a great baby. He sleeps pretty well and eats great!
I can’t imagine my life without him. I’m so thankful for so many things. For my amazing VBAC. For the nurses who had my back. For my husband for coaching me. For the NICU team that ultimately saved him. For the NICU nurses that loved on him when I couldn’t. It was the biggest trial I’ve ever faced but I had so much love and support and I learned so much.
Happy due date, Oliver Zen. You are so loved by so many.