Brielle Riann’s Birth Story
Born: January 25, 2013
Time of Active Labor: 4 hours
I had my 39-week appointment (one day early) on Thursday, January 24 in the afternoon. The midwife checked me and said I was 4cm dilated! I was excited because this meant I was almost half-way done with dilation already, and I hadn’t even had any real contractions! While some women hang out at 4cm for several weeks, I felt fairly certain that I would be having a baby before my due date.
I went home that night and went into crazy nesting mode, knowing I didn’t have long left. I got the house cleaned, did laundry, washed the carseat cover finally… and then laid down to bed at 11:30. I didn’t sleep well, but I hadn’t been sleeping well for the whole week prior as I constantly felt a lot of pressure down low.
Around 4:00am on Friday, January 25, I realized I was having contractions, and by 4:30, I decided I wasn’t going to be able to go back to sleep. The contractions weren’t awful, and they were fairly inconsistent, but along with the low pressure, I wasn’t able to sleep. Ben woke up at 5:30, and I had gone back to bed for a few minutes to see if I could sleep (which I couldn’t). I told him to keep his phone on him at work because I was having contractions and thinking that we might be having a baby that day.
I got up at 6, when Ben left for work, and began making sure everything was packed. Sophie woke up early at 6:30… she must have heard me, but I didn’t mind. I wanted to enjoy her since I thought it’d be the last day with just her. I called mom then, and she came down at 9 as she was going to take Sophie. I also had called Ben, and he was planning to be home at 10. My contractions were still fairly inconsistent. They were coming between 7-11 minutes apart for the most part, and they were between 20-40 seconds long. They didn’t hurt much, but I did have to breathe through them a little.
When Ben got home at 10, Mom left, taking Sophie to her house. I called the birth center, and they told me to wait until my contractions were a little longer in length and then to call back. I was worried because I was already 4cm dilated, we live 45 minutes from the birth center, and I was Group B Strep positive which meant I needed time to get antibiotics into me. At the same time, I didn’t want to get there and it be false labor. So we waited.
I realized they were starting to get further apart, and I decided I needed to do something to take my mind off of the contractions. So Ben and I went to Walmart and Aldi to get groceries and roamed around Lowes as well. They continued to become further apart. When we got home, we took a nap. During the two hour nap, I only had three contractions, so I figured all of the contractions had just been false labor.
I got up at 4pm. My friend Abbey and I had been trying to get ahold of each other all day, so I called her around 4:15, and she picked up. I had just started noticing I was having contractions again, and so I paid attention to them while I talked to her. I realized they were coming about 3 minutes apart, and they were feeling more intense. I mentioned it to Abbey, but I wanted to make sure they were going to stick around, so we talked for 20-30 minutes. By time I hung up, I felt sure that we should head to the birth center. I called in, and the midwife agreed that I should come. Ben and I grabbed our things, and by 5pm we were on our way. I texted my sister, Nikki, who was coming along to help at the birth.
At this point, I was a little worried about getting there in time to get the antibiotics, and I also was bummed that I had to go through contractions three minutes apart that were getting more intense while strapped in the front seat of the van. I was glad, however, that they were progressing, and it seemed like this was the real deal. We got to the birth center at 5:50pm. We dropped our things, and I the midwife set up the bed for me. She then checked my temperature and my blood pressure. She checked my dilation, and I was at 6cm (I had been guessing 7cm), so I was glad to hear that I was definitely in labor and progressing but wondered how long I would have to go through contractions that were close together, and they were certainly only getting more intense.
My midwife, Julia, began setting up the IV in order to give me the antibiotics for the Group B Strep. I labored through a few contractions standing up, and I breathed a sigh of relief when each contraction was gone. When Julia was ready, I climbed into the bed, and she looked at my veins and commented on how tiny they were. Everyone always comments about my small veins, and whenever I have had to have an IV put into me, the first attempt is almost always messed up, so I expected that. Unfortunately, I didn’t expect nearly an hour of it. Julia ended up calling the backup midwife, Tina, and even though Tina had worked years in the ER, she struggled as well to get a vein, and they ended up going to the OBGYN office across the driveway (where I had all of my prenatal appointments) to get a smaller needle. By time they finally were able to get the IV in, I think I had been poked around 7 or 8 times. Thankfully, needles don’t bug me. Laboring in bed for an hour was difficult though. I breathed through some pretty heavy contractions that came every 1-3 minutes during that hour. At this point though, I was just so thankful the antibiotics were going in. While the baby contacting the Group B Strep from me is fairly uncommon, it was just one less thing I had to worry about.
She checked my dilation once the IV was in, and I was hoping she’d say 8cm. I was surprised when she told me I was in transition, and that I was over 9cm dilated. Transition definitely was feeling more bearable than with Sophie (but, of course, don’t get me wrong- it was painful and took a lot of concentration and controlled breathing).
Once the antibiotics were all in, I was able to get up from the bed, and my plan was to get in the birthing tub. I had already communicated with the midwives that I wanted to get in, and since I was close to pushing, it was good timing. I had been feeling pressure during my contractions while the antibiotics were dribbling their way into me and was really wanting my water to break. By time I got in the water, I was feeling stronger pressure and realized that I was beginning to feel the need to push. With Sophie, I never felt the need to push (I just had to push each time I had a contraction), so it was such an odd sensation to not only feel like I needed to push, but also to not be able to control the pushing. It was 7:25pm by time I got in the water. The midwife called the birthing assistant as well as having Tina come back because she was afraid the birthing assistant might not get there in time. This was encouraging for me to hear, but I was still remembering pushing for 3.5 hours with Sophie and wasn’t going to get my hopes up that it would go too quickly.
At 7:30, my water broke. At 7:37 Julia checked me and told me I was complete and could push (I was glad because I already was feeling the need to do so). I pushed whenever I felt the need to, and I could feel progress each time. While I hated pushing, I was so encouraged that I knew she was coming much faster than Sophie did. At 7:59pm on January 25, 2013, I pushed out a beautiful baby girl.! She weighed 7 lb 7oz and was 20 ¼ inches long. I was able to enjoy holding her in the bathtub for half an hour. Delivering at the birth center was truly a peaceful and enjoyable experience. Welcome to the world, Brielle Riann!
(Thanks to Nikki for taking many of these pictures)
- I had a very enjoyable hospital birth, overall, with Sophie. But I loved the birth center! Now that I’ve had a baby at a birth center, I never want to go back to a hospital!
- I feel very grateful that my babies come when they do. Sophie came just one day after her due date, and Brielle came exactly one week early. With wanting to deliver naturally, I’d be willing to wait two weeks after my due date if I had to, but thankfully I haven’t had to.
- Second babies rock as far as the labor aspect goes- much faster!
- I’m glad I got to deliver in the water. It was a very neat experience. While pushing is never enjoyable, I think doing it in the water made it a little less awful (oh, and probably that it was 3 hours shorter this time helped too).
- Nursing is going WONDERFULLY! I really struggled with getting Sophie to latch in the beginning and ended up having to use a nipple shield. I am so thankful that Brielle is latching really well (and did right from the beginning!) and swallowing well. Of course, it’s still a bit painful, but it’s so much less stressful knowing she’s getting good feedings. (And good feedings = better sleep).
- Sophie is doing well so far. She’s definitely shown some signs of jealousy, but she also has gotten excited about the baby a few times. She was very confused at first when we told her that Brielle was the baby in my belly and that now she was out. She stared at the baby and my belly for a long time and then said, “Stuck… all done!” (She used to always say the baby was stuck). I know adjusting is going to be a little rough on her, but I’m also excited to watch her experience all of this.
For Sophie's Birth Story, Read Here