Monday, November 7, 2011

Brook's Birth Story

While I'm basking in my new baby's sweetness, I've asked some friends to share their birth stories at This Heavenly Life.  Today's story is from Brook of Redhead Reverie.  She's honest and kind and funny -- be sure to visit her blog and get to know her!

It was April, and spring had sprung in Iowa. I was getting closer to my due date. Baby boy number two would be making his appearance at the end of May, first part of June. We had plenty of time to get the nursery ready, wash onesies, unpack the breast pump (oh joy). Or so I thought…

With spring came blooming trees, grass, weeds and other allergy-inducing greenery so of course I immediately attributed my itchy hands and feet to spring hayfever. As I was rubbing my bare feet on the floor under my desk, I quickly emailed my OB to inquire whether I could take Benadryl for allergies. I needed something to STOP the itching and help me sleep.

Her response, “I need to see you TODAY.”

What? Well, ok …

I sauntered into her office later that day without a care in the world - other than the extra twenty pounds I was carrying and a foot in my ribcage. When I saw her face I knew something was up.

She said she thought I had Cholestasis, a condition in which the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder is affected by the high amounts of pregnancy hormones. It may increase the risks for fetal distress, and is common in people of Swedish decent (that’s me!). Then the clincher – I would need to be induced three weeks early.

Boom! There went our plan.
Amidst the chaos, there was a plus side - NSTs (Non Stress Tests). Twice a week I sat in a recliner crunching on ice chips while watching trash TV with a heart rate monitor on the baby. With everything going on, it was nice to turn the world off for a bit.

Then we received the news about my dad. He was coming back to the UI Hospitals because his infection was getting worse. Before he was transferred I told him I'd visit him at the hospital the next day after my NST.

It was a nightmare trying to find the ICU the next day. I just kept waddling around the hospital and finally after 20 minutes I found him. Unfortunately, I was two minutes too late because they had already intubated him. I’m not sure if he knew I was there or not, but I left him a note and told the nurses to read it to him.

That was a Tuesday and on Thursday he passed away.

Immediately I thought. “We just needed two more weeks…just two and he could have met his second grandson.”

In the days following, B2 was painting, moving furniture and setting up the crib. Meanwhile I was on the phone with my family and the pastor making funeral arrangements.

I went to Target in an attempt to find a black maternity dress and an outfit for E to wear to the funeral. There was nothing. No black. I started hyperventilating in the store and left thinking “screw it. Dad won’t care what we wear.”

Before we traveled three hours to the visitation and the funeral I had to OK it with my OB. She said I would be fine and not to…yeah she doesn’t know me very well.

I remember every moment of those two days.

Once we returned home life kept going. E went to preschool. I went to work. We even had our maternity photos taken. The rooms were done, and things were coming along. But…I was scared. More scared than I was when I had E.

I heard horror stories about being induced; long painful labor, emergency c-sections plus the risks of delivering three weeks early.

We arrived at the hospital on the morning of May 12 before the sun even came up. Our birth suite overlooked the football stadium. Had I been thinking I would have taken a picture, instead B2 and I watched movies and episodes of Chuck.

It was around lunchtime when they broke my water. Thinking it would be a while B2 headed to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. Ten minutes after he left my contractions increased and I felt like an alien baby was trying to escape. “Epidural please!”

I called B2 and he arrived two minutes before the Anesthesiologist. I hunched over holding B2 hands waiting for the prick and the pressure (wait isn’t that what got me here). Then there were issues getting it in … Really! About this time seeing all the wires and tubes, made me think about dad and I started to panic and get sad. Then it was in and done…freak out averted.

Back to watching TV, snoozing, visiting with my delivery nurse. Whose name was Rachel the same as my OB, and the OB resident, which proved quite confusing so we numbered them.
It was getting close to 5 p.m. and I wanted to make sure my OB would be able to deliver the babe. (FYI … that’s one of the MAJOR benefits of being induced).

“Are you ready to have a baby?” she asked.
“Yep,” I said smiling.

I pushed, and then chatted with the doctor and delivery nurse. I pushed harder, chatted some more. According to the monitor I was having one long contraction, but thanks to the epidural I had no clue.

I pushed again.  “He has red hair,” exclaimed the OB.

“What? Wait. Where was I nine months ago,” joked B2.

I laughed one of those belly laughs and then boom little G popped out.

I cried. I laughed. B2 snapped pictures.

They weighed him and much to our astonishment he weighed an ounce shy of nine pounds. Imagine how big he would have been had he cooked three more weeks? YIKES!

G snuggled into my chest as tears filled m eyes. Then they asked what his name was. I told them G and his middle name is Benjamin after my dad.

And the sadness of the past month was erased by our little redheaded bundle of joy.


  1. Oh beautiful! I'm sorry for your loss. This is such a joyful post, despite the sadness.

  2. Oh, such bittersweet timing. But how wonderful for him to be born on a laugh!

  3. What an amazing story...all I can think is that I don't know how you managed it? You are amazing. I am sorry for your loss and that your father did not get to meet your son. Hope you are enjoying your beautiful boy.

  4. I'm with Lucy -- the birth by laughter is such a unique detail that really shows hope and healing in this scene. What a powerful birth story this is for you and for your little one.

  5. Oh, friend ... I know. The bittersweet, it lingers. Thank you for sharing your birth story and all of the emotion surrounding it. I think your dad would have liked that after G was born, you smiled and counted the blessings.


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