Braylen’s Birth Story Part 1

I want to write all of this down before I forget any details {as some points during labor are already a little fuzzy!}.

It all started Wednesday afternoon, May 9th. I went in for my 38 week appointment and I had progressed to 3cm {never felt any pain yet} and my doctor asked me if I wanted her to strip my membranes. I was kinda caught off guard, so I said no immediately. She went on to tell that IF he is truly ready, this will simply help him come along, and if hes not- it won’t do anything. I left the office and called J and told him the detials. I asked if I should have had her do it, and he said “well- babe were not going to get any more ready in the time to come, so if you want to- do it, and he’ll come if hes ready”. I went home and prayed about it for awhile and made the decision to call the office back to try to get them stripped. They gave me an appointment later that afternoon! Immediately after she stripped the membranes, I instantly went to 4cm! Woah, this could really be happening! I went home, napped, and then headed to the airport to pick up one of my longest friends ever. We were supposed to go out to dinner and hang out all evening. Well, around 6pm, I noticed some cramping and thought that possibly my contractions were feeling a little different than my normal Braxton Hicks. I of course had my car on empty, my phone battery at less than 10%, it was storming, and we were about 45 minutes away from home. I told Jackie that we needed to head to my house just in case something were to really start happening.

We got home, had Pita Jungle takeout, and her and I went on a long walk that ended at Dairy Queen! Who doesn’t want a blizzard just in case they are going in to labor?! It was such a blessing having Jackie here, as it was amazing to catch up, and it totally took my mind off of the fact that my life was about to change incredibly. So glad that before she left I made sure to get pictures of us together, as well as a photo of me and J!

 She went home around 9, J and I watched some TV and he packed up his last minute things {still just in case though, I didn’t know yet if it was the real deal or not!}. We went to bed around 11:30, as I was thinking, if the contractions get worse or closer together they will wake me back up {at this point they were on average every 7 minutes}. I honestly thought I was just going to wake up again in the morning having the previous night be a false alarm! I had texted my Doula {Briana who was incredible} before going to bed and she said that if I woke up, take a bath and see what it does with the contractions. If its false, the bath could slow them down, but if it was the real deal- then they would keep on trucking. I told her at that point that I thought I was a rockstar, that if this was what labor truly was- then I was a serious rockstar at handeling the ‘pain’ so well. Well, I woke up at 1:30 because they were more noticeable. KEY WORD: noticeable. Still totally not painful! Praise God! I immediately went to make some brownies just in case the contractions continued, as I always planned to bring treats for the nurses. You know, just in case I was a miserable laboring patient! After a few hours of twiddling my thumbs I went to take a bath to put it all to the test. Much to my surprise, the bath actually made the contractions closer together, and I actually started to ‘feel’ them a little more. At this point there were on average about 4 minutes apart, and my doctor said I needed to head in when I was having them 5-6 minutes apart. I was Group B-strep positive so they needed at least 4 hours of the antibiotics to be in my system before delivery in order for Braylen to be protected. I woke up J a little before 4am, and we were out the door at exactly 4:12 {which I mentally took note of because that is our anniversary, yes I am a sap like that!}. I also called my doula and told her we were heading in and that I wasn’t feeling like such a ‘rockstar’ anymore! Haha, she said that was when she knew I was actually in labor! We took one last picture of my belly before heading out! This was at 4am, 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant:

 We went to Circle K really quick to grab some protein bars and J told the cashier that we were heading to the hospital to have our baby, and the guy literally said nothing! Haha! I think he was just hoping that my water wouldn’t break in his store!! Now we were on our way to the hospital, but I realized we had forgotten the brownies, so I told J we needed to turn around! Thats when everything took a turn. My contractions instantly became real to me. They were still totally and completely manageable with breathing through them and thinking of them as just pressure, but that was the first time that I KNEW for sure this was really happening. We got to the hospital at around 5, and I got checked to find out I was 4-5cm and now 90% effaced. Progress!

Then things got kind of scary for a little while. My doctor called me and said that she had a meeting with the NICU doctor that night {because she said she KNEW once she stripped my membranes that I would be delivering within the next 24 hours!}. 

This is a part of Braylens story that not many people knew about. At our 37 week ultrasound he was looking great, weighing 6lbs13oz and head down. The ultrasound took a quick turn when they started looking closely at his heart. They noticed the right side was enlarged. The u/s doctor quickly entered the room and took more images, and then apparently {not to my knowledge at the time} told the tech to switch from a normal u/s to doing an echocardiogram. They took about 45 more minutes of images, and told us they would let us know results soon. But of course, ‘not to worry’. RIGHHTT. I went to my 37 week apt. after that and my doctor immediately called the u/s doctor and he told her that our baby, our precious baby boy, could possibly have a coarctation. The hardest part of all of this was that there was nothing else they could do to test for it until he was born. So now it was just a waiting game. We were told though that it was actually a blessing to be aware of this, because the only time coarc’s get really scary is when they go unnoticed.

So now my doctor is telling me that she can have the NICU doctor come in and talk to us and give us all the details of what Braylens first few hours of life could look like. The doctor came in and was incredibly sweet and calm. He explained to us exactly what coarcation means and looks like {which we already knew because of the research we had done in the past week}. He then went on to tell us that because the u/s place had done an echo already and that he still looked like he had it, that they were pretty much going to assume that Braylen really did have it. He said they would let us have about an hour together after delivery {which my awesome doctor demanded for our sakes} but then they would have to take him to the NICU immediately, run tests, AND that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed him at all that first day. They would be feeding him through IV, in case he did have it and they needed to do surgery. They said that after running their tests, if he had it then he would immediately be taken over to Phoenix Childrens Hospital for heart surgery that night. 

Pause, I had to go snuggle my baby a little bit after writing that last part and realizing what a blessing he is.

The whole thing seemed surreal to me. I was afraid for him. Trusting that God had him. Selfishly so sad about not being able to breastfeed him that first day {much less the first hour like I had wanted}. It kind of took us by surprise too, because up until that point, we knew it could be serious, but not enough to where our doctor would be having meetings with NICU doctors about it. After that meeting we got moved out of triage and into our delivery room. I was so happy about that because I knew that being in the tub would feel so incredible. At our hospital their policy is you need to be monitored every 20 minutes of the hour, but the rest of the time you could do as you please. I instantly hoped in the tub when I could and man it felt so good. My contractions {FYI- Hypnobabies calls contractions Pressure Waves, and thats what we called them while laboring, but I am calling them contractions for yall just so its easier}. Some of this story is hard to tell because I purposely didn’t know the time at all once we got to the hospital, so I am sort of guessing and just asking J details he knows. After awhile of laboring in the tub they checked me and I was at 6-7cm. I was really hesitant to get checked because I knew that if it was a low number or not much progression, that it would totally bum me out. BUT I also knew that if it was a good number that it would be an incredible source of motivation. And for whatever reason, checks never really hurt that bad for me, as they do for some. After that I got back in the tub with a renewed energy. I was actually laboring without meds, and actually getting closer and closer to meet my sweet baby boy. I think I told J as this point that I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it. That I had every desire to go drug free, but that when it came down to me really doing it, that I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough. Well, the fact that I was already almost to transition {hypnobabies calls is transformation} and feeling pretty good {of course really focusing and breathing through contractions} was awesome. I also had a new motivation to go drug free just thinking about the fact that I had no control over what meds Braylen was possibly going to get within the first day of his life depending on his situation. 

I labored more in the tub until it was time to get monitored again, and this time when they checked me I was an 8! This was right after they told me I was an 8 {first photo was in between a contraction, second photo..not so much!}

Hooray. It still seemed so surreal and amazing to me that my body knew exactly what to do, and that it was doing it at a great fast rate. Once they realized I was an 8, they called my doctor in. My Dr. was great because she knew my birth plan and supported it. I also trusted her opinion immensely, to where if she told me we needed to do something different, I wasn’t going to wonder if she had mine and Braylens best interest at heart. After all, the whole pregnancy, she always told me that she was super confident in the fact that I could go natural {which she says she isn’t always with patients}. She came in sometime after they checked me {I think I was told it was about an hour later} and asked if she could break my water so that we could get things going a little faster to pushing. Even though I was at an 8 that whole time, I was still able just really focus and breathe through them..until she broke my water. Holy Crap. Things got intense REAL fast.

Part two here!


  1. says

    awww im sitting here with tears in my eyes im so so happy for u and i know how scary things can be when they suspect something is wrong…Bella to had heart issues which were suspected around 7months…super scarrrrry and ur right why tell someone not to worry it just makes it worse i say! In the end no heart problems but she was later diagnosed with Hemihypertrophy. I cant wait for part 2 lots of hugs sent ur way.

  2. says

    Adri!!! You make childbirth look easy and beautiful!! I am so proud of how you did everything. What an amazing story. I can not wait to read the rest.

    PS: I love Dr. Schwartz! Everything you have written about her sounds exactly like some of the conversations her and I had. Shes the best!!

    Congrats on your handsome boy!!!

  3. says

    I totally can’t wait to read the rest and I already know what happens! Haha. What an amazing thing your labor was. It was such an honor to be apart of it!!
    p.s totally teared up about the part where you paused to go snuggle him. It’s so true. He is SUCH a perfect blessing and miracle 🙂

  4. says

    Aww, I loooove this story! Thanks so much for giving us all the details! I love that you made the nurses brownies, you’re seriously too thoughtful <3

  5. says

    What a wonderful birth story so far. Can’t wait to read the rest! Sounds like you were a rockstar! As a mom of three (with 2 unmedicated births) I can totally relate to the feelings. You go girl. So empowering!

  6. says

    Your story is beautifully written so far! I am looking forward the next part you share. Thank you for sharing you life! I love reading birth stories and am so encouraged!

  7. says

    Well, I know he didn’t have to have surgery . .but still I WANT TO HEAR THE REST OF THE STORY! You are such a tease! And yes, you did amazingly, amazingly well handling those contractions like that all the way unti 8cm!


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