…But here goes nothing.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 was just a rough day.
All the signs were there, but, of course, I paid attention to none of them. At the time, I was the Director of Client Services for a local crisis pregnancy center in the Denver metro area, and one of the lesser “perks” of my job was taking the ten minute walk from the parking lot to my office…while I was 39 weeks pregnant. Did I mention it was July 30th!?
(above: This is me at 37 weeks. I just got bigger. And angrier.)
That day I was just in a FOUL mood. I kid you not, I swore the entire walk from my car; the epitome of grace and class. When I finally did reach my office, I plopped my beached whale size self in my desk chair and just sat there. I sat there for probably the good part of 15 minutes. I didn’t check my voicemails. I didn’t check my e-mails. I didn’t even unpack my bag. I just sat. Finally, garnering any motivation I did have, I began my work day….slowly and reluctantly.
Around lunch time I was growing more and more uncomfortable, and feeling a lot of pressure in my belly… So I swore some more… Then I thought to myself, “Hmm… maybe I need to pee? …Yes, I probably need to pee, that’s it.”
I had just barely reached my office after having used the bathroom when WHOOOSH, a huge gush of water left me and ended up on my office’s CARPETED floor.
“holy hell, wait, was that my water!? Did my water just break!?….orrrrrr did I just pee my pants….?”
Yep. It did. It broke.
And that was all it took. With that, the strangest and most eery calm settled over me. I’ll never be able to explain it, but it washed over me like a wave. Even though my heart was beating and my adrenaline was running, I was calm. I called Robert and as soon as I shared the news, I could hear the very same calm settle into his voice as well. It was an unspoken “we got this.”
After Robert, I called my midwife, and after my midwife I called my boss. Annnnnnd the conversation went a little something like this:
Me: “Heyyyyyyy…. SOOOOOO…..it turns out my water just broke all over the office floor….SOOOOO I’m thinking that maybe I should pack up for the day and head home…. ummm…what do you think?”
Boss: “YOUR WATER BROKE!? AS IN, YOU’RE GOING INTO LABOR!? I’M COMING TO YOUR OFFICE RIGHT NOW!”
As I was waiting for my boss to arrive, Anna- the girl at the front desk, knocks on my door and out of no where begins to tell me how thankful she is for me and how much she has enjoyed volunteering. She then dives into how important she feels our line of work is and her passion and heart for the cause, etc etc…. Now listen, I’m probably as empathetic as they come, but when you have amniotic fluid running down your legs, you’re a lost cause. I just starred at her. I STARRED AT HER! This girl is pouring her heart out to me, and I go all deer in the headlights! Finally, I snap to, manage a few nods and an “Awww thank you Anna!”
And then… she went in for a hug….
I squeezed my legs together, waddled in, and gave her the stiffest hug of my life….oh it was awkward. SO awkward. Poor girl, she had no idea what had just happened moments earlier. I guess she missed the huge puddle pooling in the middle of my floor…
Finally my boss arrives. She packs up my bag for me, locks up my office, hands me a towel, and drives me to car (WIN!). Another awkward hug is exchanged, but one very genuine “Good Luck!” and I drove home.
When I walked through the door, Robert and I were like two 15 year old kids at a school dance. We didn’t know how to interact, or what to say, we just smiled at each other and tried to play it cool. We ate some dinner, skyped with his parents, I took a bath, and we went to bed.
(above: a photo outside our apartment on 7/30/2013)
Around 11:00pm, the birth pains began. Slow and manageable at first, but steadily increasing in both pain and number. By 4am on July 31st it was time for Robert and I to head to the hospital. Truth be told, due to me and my need to curl my hair at 4am?, we probably should have left about an hour earlier, because as soon as we got in the car my contractions were on top of each other. No break. Just one right after the other.
At one point Robert, God bless his heart, was trying to do anything he could to distract me from the pain. So, as the early morning sun began to rise over the mountains as we drove, Robert turned to me and said, “Brie! Look! Look how beautiful the sun is! You can see all the rays!” However, I looked at HIM, put my hand to his mouth, and in concordance with my breathing techniques gave him a “SHHHHH! SHHHHH! SHHHHH!”
We reached the hospital in one piece. As soon as we were checked into the room, I threw up… twice. The next few hours were somewhat of a blur, but this is what I can tell you:
- I was in and out of the bathtub more times than I can count.
- At one point I looked at Robert with tears in my eyes and said, “I don’t want to DOOOOOO this anymore!!!”
- I had no break in my contractions
- I chose no forms of intervention
- I was dehydrated
- A nurse, who kept calling me “Bunny,” was trying her best to give me fluid through an IV for my dehydration, but she couldn’t find a vein, so she just poked me for 30 minutes
- My dehydration started to cause me to see 4 of Robert, and for my eyes to begin to roll back in my head
And that is when things got real.
When your midwife and the nurses begin to whisper over you, and when you notice that your husband has been etched to the outskirts of the room, you know something isn’t quite right. Before I knew it, an MD whom I had never met before was looking at me dead in the eyes and saying,
“Brie, I need you to listen to me. We do not have time to do a C-section. Your baby’s heart-rate is dropping faster than we would like. We are going to use forceps and a vacuum to get him out. The risks to your baby of doing this are minor external eye trauma, possible skull fracture, possible bleeding within the skull, possible seizures….”
She kept talking, but all I could think was Is this lady kidding me!? I cut her off mid sentence and looked HER dead in the eyes and said, “NO! We are NOT doing that.” I looked at Robert, bore down, and within 15 minutes, at 10:24 am, River Daniel was born, no forceps or vacuum included.
Born: July 31, 2013
6lbs, 7.7oz; 17 1/2 inches
It is true what they say, the moment that baby is born, everything else fades into the background. You forget the pain, the fear, the furry, and you melt into him. You are his, and he is your’s. You vow a million things right then and there; some you will be able to hold up to and some you will fail at, but the one thing you know you will never fail at is loving him, protecting him, and if it comes to it giving your life for him.
So, my son, HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY. It is beyond beautiful to be able to sit here one year later and reflect back on one of the most monumental days of my life. There is nothing like watching your child take their very first breath of life, open and close those tiny eyes, and feel the warmth that radiates from that tiny little hand in yours.
I love you. We love you. That is a forever thing.