*NOTE: most all times are estimated as I don’t remember the exact time everything happened. 🙂
4:00 PM DECEMBER 3
At 4 p.m. on December 3rd, 2020, Casey and I walked into Lexington Medical Center with masks on and bags and pillows in hand. We informed the front desk that I was having an induction and were soon led to our delivery room. When we got into the room, I took a moment to take it all in.
There was a bed in the center that I would soon be delivering in, IV and monitors that would soon track my baby’s heart rate, and an incubator in the corner that would hold my new baby girl. After I got settled into bed in my hospital gown, two nurses rushed in and immediately got to work. One started bombarding me with questions (probably to distract me), while the other one drew my blood and put an IV in my hand. I’ve never had an IV before, but I didn’t have time to get scared before they put it in. Let me just say that might have been the worst pain of the whole birth experience… I mean OW!
Once the nurses left, Casey and I looked at the hospital’s dinner menu to try to find something to eat. Around this time, another nurse came to put in the cervidil. For those who don’t know, cervidil is a vaginal insert (ugh) that basically helps to get your cervix ready for labor. They wanted it to stay in all night and they were going to start the pitocin (medicine that induces labor) super early the next morning.
I was 0 cm dilated when I went into the hospital, so I was hoping the cervidil would help to speed up the process (SPOILER: it did not). Shortly after I got the cervidil was when the shaking started. It was probably a mix of anxiety and the medicine, but that was one of the most annoying symptoms of the whole labor process!
I was allowed to eat up until midnight so Casey and I put in an order of hospital food and turned on The Grinch. Pro tip: if you’re allowed to order food out from a food delivery service, DO IT. At the time, we didn’t know we were allowed to because of the pandemic and only after Casey had unwillingly scarfed down his turkey roast thinking it would be his last meal until the baby was born did we find out. Luckily, the nurse informed us we could order DoorDash before my meal arrived, so I put in an order for some chicken fingers and fries (sorry Casey).
Aaaaand then the contractions started. Cervidil doesn’t necessarily start contractions, but it can. I was having extreme cramping that lasted 30-60 seconds every 5 or so minutes. I may have a low pain tolerance, but seriously… IT HURT. I buzzed the nurse to inform her of my contractions and she said cramping was normal. She offered to give me morphine for the pain, but that scared me to take lol so I declined.
The nurse soon came in to inform me that the baby wasn’t responding well to my contractions. Every time I would contract (which felt like every single minute), the baby’s heart rate would drop. This was the first time it really crossed my mind that something could happen to my baby. My mind swarmed with what ifs. The nurse asked me to change positions to my left side and said she was just going to monitor it.
At around that time too, I started to run a 101 fever. Let me remind you I am still uncontrollably shaky. The nurse gave me Tylenol in hopes that my fever would go down. I tried to get some sleep, but it was no use. The pain was too bad for me to relax for one, and secondly I just kept watching the monitor seeing my baby’s heart rate dip almost every time I would contract.
The nurse took the cervidil out because the baby was still not responding well to the contractions. Oh and also, I was still 0 cm dilated even though I had been having painful and close contractions for hours.
I decided it was time for medicine. The morphine ran through my IV quickly and immediately hit me. I felt so dizzy. I remember looking down at my phone and then at the room and everything was so blurry… but it did help with the pain. I closed my eyes and got a few hours of sleep. Another pro tip I wish I knew: don’t be scared to take medicine for your pain if that’s something you want to do!
When I woke up, my nurse and one of the doctors on call were standing over me. Dr. Morton introduced herself and got right down to business. “Your baby is still not responding well to your contractions. Her heart rate is dropping. We’re thinking we may need to do a c-section.”
……… what? I knew a c-section was always a possibility, but I didn’t think I would have to have one. I was shocked. I mean I even skipped over that section on the birth class because the idea of surgery really scared me. I looked at Casey in fear and he grabbed my hand and reassured me it would be okay.
They monitored me and the baby for another hour until 4:20 a.m. That time is significant because 1. It is the time they came in and told me I was having a c-section NOW and 2. I found out I was pregnant on 4/20/20! Crazy.
A bunch of people came in all at once. The nurses, Dr. Morton and the anesthesiologist surrounded me and started spitting out information about the surgery while they moved me into a wheelchair. Casey collected our things and stood by my side. I remember them saying “if it feels like we’re rushing, don’t worry we’re not.” Yeah right! I think they said that to calm us down, but I was just so worried about Blakely and wanted her to be okay.
Just a reminder that I am STILLLLL uncontrollably shaking. They put a new mask and hair net on Casey and I and wheeled me down the hall. When we got to the OR, they wouldn’t let Casey in the room while they were injecting the spinal tap, so they made him wait outside on this “creepy bench,” as he describes it.
I know I said earlier that the IV may have been the worst pain of it all, but I retract that because this was definitely it. Lots of pressure and burning. The nurse held my shoulders while they injected it and kept reminding me to focus on my breathing which helped. When that was over, they laid me down on the table and hung up the drape so I couldn’t see what Dr. Morton was doing. I didn’t even have time to get nervous with how fast everything happened. I remember laying there waiting for Casey to come back in just praying. Lord, please be with me.
Casey FINALLY came in after what felt like forever, and sat down and grabbed my (very shaky) hand. He tried to distract me by talking about Christmas which really helped. Not even 5 minutes after Casey came in, a nurse goes, “okay dad get out your camera the baby is almost here!”
5:37 AM DECEMBER 4
At 5:37 a.m. on December 4, 2020 Blakely Addison Brabham was born at 5lbs 1oz. They dropped a flap in the drape and held her up for us to see. She was so beautiful and so tiny. I was overwhelmed with emotions and felt an all consuming sense of joy.
They took her away and we still hadn’t heard her cry. A nurse came back over to let us know her oxygen levels were low. I felt so helpless in that moment, laying numb and naked on the table. They let Casey go over to take more pictures and soon after, we heard her first cry. I was still so nervous I remember asking the anesthesiologist’s assistant if she would hold my hand while Casey was on the other side of the room. She felt like an angel in that moment.
One of the nurses brought Blakely over to do some skin to skin, but unfortunately I felt a wave of nausea. They gave the baby to Casey and the assistant immediately rushed some anti-nausea medicine into my IV. Thankfully, I never got sick.
It felt like forever that I was on the table after Blakely was born. The doctors completed the surgery and I was moved to a bed on wheels where I finally got to hold my baby girl. That was such a special moment. They moved us to a post op room for an hour while they switched shifts, and then we were moved to our postpartum room.
It’s really all a blur, but it’s a beautiful blur. The c-section recovery was TOUGH and I’ll go more into details on that in another blog post, but we ended up staying 3 more nights in the hospital.
Although my c-section was not planned, I wouldn’t change a thing. The only thing on my birth plan was a healthy baby and healthy mom. I hope I didn’t scare anyone by the pain, but giving birth is not easy and I didn’t want to sugar coat it. Looking back, I would go through it all a thousand times again just to have sweet Blakely here.