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Cooper’s Birth Story

  • November 25, 2014
  • By Brittany
  • 21 Comments

This is a long post and it is pretty honest.  If you don’t want TMI, stop reading now!  Also, most of it was typed one handed on minimal sleep!

Cooper was scheduled to arrive on November 13th but I was convinced he would be early.  In fact, I was so sure he would be here the first week in November that I was feeling really disappointed by the time the week of my due date rolled around.  The 13th came and went–no baby.  The calls and emails came flooding in from friends and family wondering if the baby had made its arrival yet.  The Hubs and I spent the weekend trying to take our minds off things.  We went for a long walk in Central Park on Sunday and grabbed some lunch.  I took a nap in the afternoon and we started researching a trip to Napa for next year.  We decided to make some chicken quesadillas for dinner (one of the Hubs’ favorites) and headed to bed around 10:30pm.  

I woke up at 1:30am with that familiar urge to pee.  I sat up in bed and all of a sudden a huge gush of liquid came out.  I immediately headed to the bathroom to check out what was going on.  I noticed that the liquid was slightly yellowish, which made me feel a little nervous.  I cleaned myself up and put a pad on only to have a huge gush again necessitating another change.  I spent the next half hour trying to clean myself up (a losing battle).  

I woke up the Hubs and told him what was going on.  I called my doctor who told me to monitor for contractions.  Knowing this could be another few hours, I crawled back into bed with a towel only to start feeling crampy. It kind of felt like one continuous menstrual cramp rather than a rolling contraction so we spent the next hour Googling contractions.  We both decided to shower and clean up the apartment a bit.

By this time we were pretty sure I was having contractions lasting about 30 seconds each and five to six minutes apart.  We used the app Full Term (highly recommend) to time them.  Around 5am, we moved from our bedroom to the couch to watch the news.  I could barely focus on what was going on.  The contractions were much stronger now.  Whereas before I could lie in be and sort of move my legs around and squint my eyes to get through, now I was in serious pain.  Everytime I felt them come on I had to get up off the couch and walk around.  I was leaning on furniture, squatting and just trying to walk through the contractions.  Some were so strong I couldn’t help but cry out in pain.  The worst part was that I started to feel incredibly nauseous, which made it much harder to focus on getting through the pain.  Friends had told me that in between contractions I would feel fine and it would help me prepare for the next one.  Unfortunately I just felt residual pain and really sick.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours with my contractions lasting about 45-50 seconds and about 4-5 minutes apart.  This was the most difficult part of labor for me because we needed to make it to one minute, 4-5 minutes apart for one hour.  I was so happy when we finally hit that mark and the doctor told us we could go to the hospital!  

leaving for hospital

I waited in the lobby of our building while the Hubs went to get our car.  It was about 8am on Monday morning by this time, which meant that the lobby was full of people going to work and school.  I just walked around the lobby trying to silently have a contraction.  We finally made it to the hospital and I went to check-in while the Hubs parked the car.  I walked into L&D and told the lady at the desk I was checking in.  

“Are you in labor?”  

No, I got this place confused with the Four Seasons . . .   “Yes.”

“Are you in pain?”  

Pain? Why would I be in pain? Last I checked childbirth is completely painless. “Yes.”

We finally got checked in and into the L&D room.  Where I tried to hold out on the epidural as long as possible.  I wanted to make sure I was between 4 and 6 cm before getting one but once you tell them you want one, the hospital staff are pretty on top of things.  They kept asking me and getting everyone ready to give it to me so I finally just said ok.  It worked out because my OB came in to check me right after I got the epi and she said I was just about at 4cm and that this was a good time to get one.

hospital

Let me tell you, the best part about this whole process aside from the obvious (the baby), was the epidural.  Oh relief, sweet relief.  I went from feeling the wave of a contraction start, build, peak and slowly subside to, at the peak of the contraction, feeling a slight twinge.  I said to the Hubs: “I think I’m having a contraction.  Am I having one now?”  Meanwhile he is looking at the monitor and seeing this huge mountain indicating this massive contraction.  Haha.  At times I didn’t even feel a thing.  My right leg was so numb that it accidentally fell off the table and I needed someone else to put it back on.

Unfortunately the thing with epidurals is that they often slow labor down and that happened in my case.  My doctor suggested that I take Pitocin because my contractions had become so irregular that I wasn’t really progressing anymore.  I was apprehensive because I really wanted to avoid Pitocin if possible but I also knew I needed to keep going in labor.  I agreed and they gave me a low dose.  Turns out the Pitocin didn’t bother me at all.  it is supposed to make your contractions come on stronger and more painful but I was in la-la-land with the epi so it didn’t bother me at all.  In fact my contractions picked up right away and got a lot stronger and closer together.

During this time, the Hubs and I were relaxing in the room and watching House of Cards.  I was actually starting to drift off to sleep when the nurse came in and asked me to move off my back and onto my right side.  She then turned me on to my left side.  I started to panic a little.  I knew that being on your back during pregnancy makes it harder for the baby to get oxygen and nutrients from the placenta and the best position is on your left side.  She had me on my hands and knees and was paging the doctor on call when there were suddenly five people in the room and my husband was on the other side near the windows.  I was trying not to cry when the doctor on call told me that the baby’s heart rate had suddenly dropped and they had been trying to reestablish a normal rate.  Everything was fine she told me and my OB was called (at the time, the nurse didn’t know who to call or something and had just paged the doctor on call).  

It was very scary because I knew the issue had something to do with the baby’s heart or oxygen level but no one was telling us what was going on.  I was scared that something bad could happen in those moments.  Luckily my doctor reassured me that this was only for a very short period of time and if something like this had been happening for 30 minutes they would be concerned but it lasted only a minute or two.  In fact, the nurse had noticed something was wrong because they watch the monitors even when they are not in the room, which is something that was not commonly done in the past.  As a result, issues that are actually probably pretty common but not often addressed are picked up more frequently.  

minutes old

My doctor said the cause of drop in heart rate was most likely due to the fact that the Pitocin caused my contractions to come on so strong that my uterus never had a chance to relax and it was like one long contraction.  I went off the Pitocin for an hour to give my body some time to recover.  Luckily I started contracting pretty regularly again.  Unfortunately it was midday and I was still only 4cm dilated with no change since I was admitted in the morning.  After an hour my doctor put me back on Pitocin to encourage further progression.  Luckily I was still feeling good except for some nausea, which they gave me something for.  The Hubs and I could do nothing but wait and watch more House of Cards.

Just before 4pm my doctor came in to check me again.  I’d been having big contractions so I was excited to hear about my progress.  That is until I found out that I was still 4cm. Despite all the contractions, I had not progressed at all.  At this point my doctor broached the subject of a C-section.  The baby’s head was swelling a little from trying to move outwards plus he was still a little high.  I  had been in labor for more than 13 hours and because my water had broke, there was always a risk of infection. Based on these facts, we made the decision that I would go in for a C-section.  It was disappointing, something that was not lost on my doctor, but I knew it was necessary.

at the hospital

After that things moved quickly. I was given more medication and prepped to go.  All of a sudden I had a team of doctors surrounding me and I was wheeled into the OR.  This is when I started to feel really scared.  I’ve never had surgery and I was nervous.  Not to mention that I truly had not considered that I might actually need a C-section. One of the nurses came over and told me it was going to be ok.  I couldn’t help but start crying.

There is some comic relief.  I’ve had a ton of swelling, especially in the final few weeks of pregnancy.  I actually haven’t been able to remove my wedding rings for weeks.  NBD except that apparently I could start to swell a ton and the rings could cut off my circulation.  If this happened, they may have to cut the rings off me!  So in addition to worrying about surgery, now I’m worried about my rings!  It took three doctors and about 15 extra minutes to get these babies off and man oh man, did it hurt!

Britt & Coops

Finally the C-section started and if felt really weird.  I could feel them pushing around my belly.  I also noticed that if I looked to my left (where the Hubs was sitting), there was a glass cabinet and I could see my reflection in the cabinet, meaning I could see behind the curtain. I actually kind of saw my tummy wide open, which was really disturbing.

It seemed like only a short time later that I suddenly heard my baby’s first cries.  I immediately started to cry myself.  I saw him for a few seconds before they started cleaning him and testing him.  He was so frustratingly far from my view!

All of us

The rest of the surgery was uneventful although after Cooper was born, I became so tired I was struggling to keep my eyes open on the operating table.  All I wanted to do was sleep!  The doctors finally brought the baby over to me so I could kiss his soft little cheek.  My husband got to hold him and before long they were taking me to recovery.

In recovery Cooper got to meet Mimi and Poppa and talk on the phone to his relatives in Australia.  I also finally got to hold him!

Car Seat

We ended up being in recovery for about four hours instead of the required two because for some reason my urine output was bad and my blood pressure was high.  I was informed about all the lovely complications this could mean so I tried to remain calm and will my blood pressure down.  Eventually at about 1am, we finally made it to the maternity ward.  I had been awake for 24 hours at this point and was beyond exhausted.  Unfortunately mommy bootcamp had already started with constant wakeups throughout the night to check me and the baby (who went to the nursery because he was gurgling amniotic fluid–totally normal but needed to be monitored by coherent people).

Overall, the experience was very different from what I envisioned.  I don’t love the fact that I had a C-section, but at the end of the day, both the baby and I were healthy.  I went into the birth without a grand plan and I think that really helped me stay flexible and less upset about things going differently.  And, of course, the end result was pretty great! 

Oh and because all of this was going on last Monday, I didn’t get a chance to pick a winner of my Under Armour giveaway.  The giveaway winner has been emailed .  Thanks so much to everyone who entered the contest!

By Brittany, November 25, 2014
  • 21
21 Comments
  • Holly
    November 25, 2014

    Whoa–That is one wonderful story and one wonderfully cute little baby (takes after his parent’s cuteness)!

  • Allie
    November 25, 2014

    I don’t even know where to begin!? I’m so incredibly happy for you and love that you shared so much with all of us. I was tearing up and getting goosebumps and just feeling for you because I had a similar experience. After 20 hours of labor I had a c-section and I remember how everything suddenly became very urgent, and I was surrounded by doctors and then that awful feeling when they cut into you! I cannot believe you could see your open belly in the refection!!!! OMG that is insane!
    I’m just so glad it all worked out and, 99% of women have a different childbirth experience then they expect so you’re in good company.
    Cooper is so beautiful and you both look so good and so happy! Congratulations and just enjoy it ALL!

    • FitBritt
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Allie! I didn’t know you had a C-section as well. I’m sure you know how scary it can be suddenly being whisked to the OR. Luckily we decided early on to avoid an emergency situation but it was still stressful. The best part is the end of course!

  • Emily R
    November 25, 2014

    Congratulations on becoming a mom and welcoming Cooper into this world! I hope you both are doing well with all the new adjustments.
    I too had a C-section at 38 weeks has my son had stopped growing. I was so nervous about the whole thing as I had never undergone surgery but at the end of the day it was to protect my son and was the right decision. My midwife was also on board and this made me feel even more confident. After all said and done I couldn’t wait to meet my little Peanut and when I finally heard and met him, it was love at first sight. I had my husband to do Skin on Skin as I was still on the operating table and wanted to didn’t want to waste any time! The first night in the Maternity Ward was a bit rough but the nurses did a wonderful job with placing my son into my arms for feedings and to make sure we were both doing well!. Recovery was what I was afraid of after having my son, but with continuing in my daily workout routine of Physique 57, Pilates and Running I found that each day and week got better and better and by four weeks post partum I back to doing Pilates and Physique 57, 3 times a week.
    With such a fit and healthy pregnancy you lead, both you and Cooper will flourishing sooner then you think ;0)

    Congratulation again, Cooper is so beautiful =0)

    • Emily R
      November 25, 2014

      Sorry I should have proof read this before posting. Just too excited for you ;0)

    • FitBritt
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks for sharing Emily. It is so good to know that I will be feeling more like myself in just a few short weeks. I’m already beginning to feel a bit better. Glad things worked out so positively for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    November 25, 2014

    Wow! Reading birthing stories is so interesting to me, and also freaks me out a tiny bit… BUT, it also reminds me how incredibly strong women are. I totally can understood why you’d be disappointed with a C-section, but YAY for a healthy baby and mama! That’s all that matters in the end.

    PS – Love that pic of the 3 of you standing – Beautiful! You should frame it for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

    • FitBritt
      November 26, 2014

      Thanks Nicole! I was totally freaked out before going into labor but it isn’t as bad as it seems. You kind of just get through it because you have to.

  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat
    November 25, 2014

    A c-section is the craziest thing, right!?! I know it’s not the ideal way to give birth, but it sounds like you and Cooper did really well and the most important thing is that mom and baby are healthy. I hope your recovery is going well! I had a really hard time with mine, but I had some complications, so that certainly didn’t help.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and I hope you guys are able to get some sleep. Sleep deprivation is NO joke! ,

    • FitBritt
      November 26, 2014

      I’m hoping that despite the complications you and the babies are doing well. I don’t know about you but I’ve found that being home from the hospital definitely helped me get more sleep! At least only the baby is waking me up now, not a million doctors, nurses and other people!

  • Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure
    November 25, 2014

    I loved reading about your birth story, especially now that I have some experience from the medical side of things. I’m glad to hear that everyone is happy and healthy!

  • Terri
    November 26, 2014

    congratulations! sending you lots of healing thoughts. the postpartum recovery is no joke! thanks for sharing your birth story with us.

  • Melanie @ Happy Being Healthy
    November 26, 2014

    Oh, I LOVED reading your story! I’m so sorry you had so many complications and needed a C-section though. Your little Cooper is beautiful and I’m so happy he’s healthy! I would have been freaking out about the heart rate thing too.

    My first baby was a C-section because he was breech. It totally threw me for a loop because I read everything I could possibly read about childbirth, except I always skipped over the C-section stuff! I was able to have the rest of my kids V-back though. I hope you’re surviving the newborn stuff and can sleep a little. Congrats!

  • meggie
    November 27, 2014

    Congrats, Brittany!! So happy for you and your new family! Cooper is adorable! (Sorry also to stalk you on social media but I wanted to see pictures and say congrats!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I can’t wait to meet Cooper! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Kim
    November 29, 2014

    I’m sorry that you didn’t get to have the baby the way you had hoped but like you said – everyone is healthy and that is the most important thing. I hope that you have recovered well and are feeling much better now!!!

  • catherine gacad
    November 30, 2014

    i really enjoyed reading every single detail of your birth! a beautiful post. congratulations. so happy for you and looking forward to reading even more!!!

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