Life - October 26, 2022

Blake’s Birth Story

Brighton Butler Blake's Birth Story

The time has come. I’m ready to sit down and write out what happened the night sweet baby Blake entered our world. 

Call me dramatic, but it has been 19 days since she was born, and I *still* cannot wrap my head around what happened. I mean, I can. It’s just hard for me to believe. 

The good news is that I can now talk about it without getting sick to my stomach. For several days after she was born, telling the story (or even simply thinking back on that night) made my whole body tense up.

I thought I was prepared for another crazy birth story after my birth experience with Four, but honestly, there was no way I could’ve anticipated what happened with Blake. So, without further adieu, here’s the story of how I gave birth to my precious baby girl.

Blake’s Birth Day

Blake was born at 3:26 am on Thursday, September 29, 2022. I was 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant — so, just one day shy of 38 weeks. Because my son came so early, I was considered high risk for preterm labor with this pregnancy. 

From what I understand, if you deliver before 36 weeks in one pregnancy, you’re automatically considered high risk for your next. For me, this meant I had two doctors: my regular OB/GYN and a high-risk doctor I went to see every two weeks for an ultrasound. The upside was lots of ultrasounds. The downside was that I spent a lot of time at the doctor’s office! 

Throughout my whole pregnancy, I was under the impression that I’d probably have another preemie baby. I guess the high risk label in addition to my doctor telling me “history would probably repeat itself” left a strong impression on me. I even planned to take the entire month of September off work and not take on any projects because I assumed I’d have her a month or so early (my due date was October 14).

But as I got closer to the 36-week mark, I realized that there is actually no correlation from one labor to the next. Just because my water broke at 35 weeks with Four didn’t mean I’d go into labor early with my next baby. So, really… I had no idea when she would come, and I wasn’t showing any signs of going into labor early (not that you can really tell). 

Some people say you have a feeling. I had no feeling, seriously. I’d actually started mentally preparing for a full-term, 40-week baby. But I was very uncomfortable, as I know every woman can relate to during those last few weeks of pregnancy. 

Brighton Butler Blake's Birth Story

What Happened?

Let’s start with the facts. It happened VERY quickly. I’d heard second babies typically came quicker than first babies, but I had no idea it could happen this fast.

I woke up at 2:13 am Thursday morning with contractions. I’d felt all kinds of things leading up to this that were confusing, but I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was gas pain, mild cramps, baby moving, Braxton Hicks, general discomfort, etc. But this time, I immediately knew something was up. I texted Duncan (who was working on a big work project downstairs) and said, “Okay, something is happening.” He immediately came upstairs to check on me. 

I debated whether or not to share this detail (because it’s sort of gross), but information is power, and I think this could be helpful to someone else. You know how sometimes when you start your period, your stomach is a little… off? Like maybe you have to go to the bathroom more than usual? The contractions made me feel like I had to go to the restroom. 

They felt like a mix between period cramps and diarrhea cramps. Either way, my bowels were working overtime and it was very painful. I timed the next 4 contractions so I could get a feel for where I was in the labor process. This was very difficult to do because the pain never really let up. It was almost like an ongoing, continual contraction, so it was hard to know when one started and stopped.

A better metaphor is that it felt like I was running and then sprinting rather than sprinting and then walking. There seemed to be very little recovery time. Even still, I could get a general idea of the timing of my contractions, and they seemed to be about 2 minutes apart. At this point, it’s only been like 15 minutes since I first woke up — this was all happening very quickly. 

Duncan could tell that things were moving quickly and that we’d need to figure out a game plan for what we’d do with our first child while we rushed to the hospital. He started calling people, but since it was around 2:30 in the morning, nobody answered. Luckily, one of his sisters happened to get up to use the restroom and saw that he’d called her like 4x and called us back. PRAISE the Lord. She rushed over immediately (thank you, sweet Anna!).

Luckily, I’d already packed my bag! I grabbed my glasses and wallet and had Duncan grab all my stuff. He had to help me down the stairs because I was in so much pain. I don’t really remember how I got down the stairs to the car, but I did (thank you, Duncan). I remember I was sweating so much. And it was really uncomfortable to sit, so I stood outside the car while Duncan put what we needed in it (and while we waited for his sister to get to the house). 

By the time she got to our house, my water had broken, and I was out of my mind in pain. I was delusional and screaming slash crying, “She is coming. She is coming right now. We have to go!!!”

We rushed to the hospital, which might have been the most traumatic part for me. I felt so out of control. Everything was happening so quickly and there was nothing I could do to slow things down or catch my breath. The drive to the hospital is about 20 minutes from our house.

During the drive, I was legitimately concerned she might be born in the car. Just as we were pulling up to the hospital, I felt her head. I wasn’t pushing, but she was coming! One of my friends had told me about the “ring of fire” pain you feel as your baby comes out and I was certain that was exactly what I was feeling. Of course, I’m screaming at this point. Poor Duncan.

When we get to the hospital, Duncan rushes out the door and runs inside to grab help. Two nurses ran outside immediately with a wheelchair and rushed me to a bed. Luckily, the beds are only steps away from the entrance. Otherwise, I would not have made it. They ripped off my clothes, and she was delivered by the receiving nurse literally 30 seconds later. I think I only pushed twice because she was already ready to go. WOOF. It was nuts. And scary. I then delivered the placenta and got some stitches from the tearing. 

I was so relieved it was over, but my mind couldn’t believe what had just happened. I was in shock for a bit after she came. I know people talk about all the pain going away once the baby is born. And I guess that sort of happened? But the fear was still there for me. Even though the scary part was over, I had a hard time calming myself down – my central nervous system was on overdrive. I wish I could say that holding her made everything better, but that just wasn’t the case. I was so thankful she was healthy, but I was very traumatized. I’ve never had high blood pressure in my life, but after she was worn, it took three hours for my BP to go down. 

Not to mention the post-delivery cramps that were almost as bad as actual labor. Wow, I had no idea how painful those could be. The nurses told me they are worse with subsequent babies (because your uterus has further to contract). I can confirm that they are absolutely *much* more painful than they were with Four. I barely even remember them from last time (although the epidural could have helped?).

After a few hours, though, I was able to breathe a little and take it all in. I also got on some pain killers for the cramps (thank goodness!), which helped a lot. I didn’t sleep that entire day though (probably because of adrenaline)! Even despite everything, that was one of my favorite days ever; Blake and I had some of the sweetest moments that I’ll never forget!

The Day/Night Before

By the time a doctor came to my postnatal room (she never made it to the delivery room lol), the only thing I wanted to talk about was how to avoid this next time lol. Of course, she encouraged me to focus on this baby instead of worrying about the next. I was so confused as to how this could have happened. How were there no warning signs? Did I really sleep through labor? Is that possible? 

The night before, I went to sleep at 11:30 pm. So even if I did sleep through labor, that would have meant that my labor wasn’t that long? But when you’re that pregnant, it’s not like you go into a deep sleep! I went to our church small group that night and was out until 10:30 pm! I had zero warning signs. 

I will say, though, that Wednesday morning (the day before), I had some very mild period-feeling cramps around 10 am. They lasted on and off (not consistent at all) for about an hour and a half, and then they completely stopped. But these cramps were very mild. I would have felt so silly going to the hospital at this point. For context, I have a *very* low pain tolerance — I do not like being uncomfortable. This is why I don’t like to run… or do any cardio, for that matter! 

The last time I’d gone to the doctor was Monday morning. I was dilated 3 centimeters, but nobody seemed concerned about it. They said it could be another 3 weeks before she was here. Even still, I never would have imagined it would go so quickly. 

Even though I’d anticipated a crazy birth again, there was no way I could’ve expected this. If you’d told me my daughter would arrive 30 seconds after getting to the hospital, I would’ve told you that you’re nuts. But that’s exactly what happened.

Of course, all of the trauma was totally worth it. When I look at that beautiful baby, I’m reminded that (eventually) the trauma will fade, but we’ll get to have this angel in our lives forever. With that said, it was still a really tough delivery experience. I’m giving myself time to process what happened and am trying to be proud of myself for going through what I did. The female body is seriously AMAZING.