*a little TMI. You were warned*
My first doctor’s appointment in Texas (we had just moved from Missouri when I was 32 weeks pregnant) was March 7th. It was that day we were informed that Brennan would be coming in just four (!) short weeks due to the large amount of fluid in his kidneys. This was surprising because our high risk doctor in Missouri did not think an induction would be necessary and also disappointing because this was not at all the crunchy birth I envisioned. We were also living in a hotel with no word on when we would get a house so my nesting instincts were giving me mild crazed compulsions…
Three days later we were blessed with a house that fit all our needs and then some. Liam and I began setting up the nursery while unpacking the rest of our belongings. On the 21st I had some odd cramping and was extremely dehydrated. We made the hour long trek (we chose a hospital to specifically accommodate Brennan’s needs should it be serious and thank God we did!) to the hospital to find that my amniotic fluid was pretty low but still considered safe. They got our high risk doctor to stop by on his way out of the office to take a better look. Much to my surprise, I was already 2 cm dilated and about 75% effaced at 35 weeks. For that I would like to thank running, my birth ball, primrose oil, and raspberry tea. He said I was fine to go home, but that he would push up my induction a few days, having me deliver around 36 ½ weeks. That was eight days away.
We immediately called my mother-in-law, who was planning on visiting that week anyway to let her know the crazy, albeit great news—she was going to meet her grandson during that visit! We also invited my mom to come down because we didn’t want her to feel left out, and knew she’d be able to stay awhile longer after Liam’s mom went home. We were not at all ready so ready to meet this baby.
Fast forward to the evening of March 30th. Liam is stuck working late, so my mother-in-law and I drive to the hospital to get myself checked in. They place an IV which I beg they keep hep-locked. They do. All is well. Liam comes about an hour later with Chick-Fil-A—he is met with ravenous eyes as the hospital doesn’t even bring their own food to the Labor & Delivery Wing. Around 8pm, my MIL goes home and the nurse inserts Cervadil to “ripen me up”. Liam begs her to bring me an Ambien since I don’t sleep well in random places. I drift asleep to TLC only to be awoken around 3am to the nurse saying I am 5cm dilated and 85% effaced, and to go back to sleep because 5:30am is go-time for the Pitocin. I make a sad face then try to sleep some more. I don’t think I slept all that well…
Bright and early Thursday morning they start me on baby amounts of Pitocin, as they are worried I would have the baby before 7:30am when the doctor gets in (hah!!). My MIL shows up with black coffee around 8 and things are moving slowly. My doula shows up around 9 which is also when the Pitocin was cranked to level “let’s get this party started”. I begin feeling real pain in contractions around 10am and try to take my mind off it by eating ALL THE ICE POPS. But I am freaking hungry. Le sigh. This is when my sweet MIL takes her exit and waits for my mom to get in from the airport in the lobby.
We go through all the breathing and slight walking during the contractions but since I am on Pitocin, I am hooked up to a continuous fetal monitor that made taking a shower, sitting or rolling on the ball impossible. By around 11:30 I am in too much pain to cry during contractions and just keep asking Liam to still love me because I was just that annoying. 1pm rolls around and I am in cold sweats, shaking like a leaf and spiking a mild fever. Even the ice pops can’t help me now as the contractions are consistently about 3-4 minutes apart. My doula tells me that it’s normal for the body to go into a mild state of shock while in labor. NO ONE TOLD ME THAT. I felt like I was going crazy. The doctor comes in to check me out. 100% effaced but only 7cm dilated. So pissed. Then she broke my water. SO PISSED AND OUCH. Cue 2pm and I ask Liam if he’d hate me if I got an epidural, even though that was the number one no-no on my list. We talked about it with my doula and she kindly reminded me that if I didn’t make serious progress in the next 12 hours, they would likely take me back for an Emergency C Section. Nothing against C Section mamas but I was not about to waste this day of pain only to get surgery. The epidural was the best chance I had to get some actual rest and feel well enough to push and now was not the time to be prideful and stubborn.
I got the epidural around 3 and made a new pact with myself—not to press the button. *Spoiler: I actually did accomplish that goal AND got it removed before I pushed. #humblebrag. Anyways, I slept for about 3 ½ hours and by the time I woke up I was fully dilated! 6:30 pm meant that my OB was off duty, but she was kind enough to introduce me to her partner before she left. The next 45 minutes were spent finding a comfortable pushing position. Around 7:15 enters the baby nurse(s) and a NICU team just in case. We find their L&D nursing staff was low but I was not about to wait. Our L&D nurse was fabulous, but he had a few other mamas to take care of, so when the doctor arrived, she put Liam to work. (My doula was pregnant at the time and couldn’t do much heavy leg lifting.) I was all about the idea of keeping our eyes on each other (not about that mirror life…) but Liam was oddly eager to assist in the birth of our child. I began pushing (this part really wasn’t too bad!) around 7:15 and Brennan took his first breath earth-side at 7:41pm.
When the doctor put him on my chest I cried for Liam to take him since I was shaking so much I thought I was going to drop him. The nurses helped him wrap Brennan in a blanket and I was able to witness Brennan open his eyes for the first time and stare right at his daddy. *Cue ugly tears. At that very moment I thought, I can’t do this just once… *Cue baby #2…. I took Brennan back to begin breastfeeding and the doula went out to get our moms. Our moms came bearing balloons and cute gifts, but most importantly FOOD. I think I ate about five rolls of sushi and a box of gluten free sugar cookies. I still can’t think of a better tasting meal…
Brennan Mackley weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces (but can be easily debated due to all the fluid in his kidneys that he lost) and was 20 inches long. There ya have it, folks. #kidneybaby will be saved for another post, or posts, as the dude has awoken from his nap and therefore needs my immediate attention.
**So much happened following his birth I really only remembered names of the people we hated, none of which were in the L&D department =]