Brighton (my) Belle
Brighton Belle Schultz was born on October 29th, 2016 at 2:53 in the afternoon. My sweet, precious, little (tiny) bundle of love. I forgot just how much I love babies. Their floppy little bodies and skinny limbs; the way they curl up into your neck and could stay there for hours; the tiny cries and sleepiness. Every little thing about her is perfect and precious.
Brighton’s Birth Story
On Friday, October 28th, I had a doctor’s appointment first thing in the morning to check on baby’s growth and to make sure the baby was in the safe percentile for delivery since I was only 37 weeks. They knew they would be inducing me the next day because my blood pressure was getting higher and higher with each visit. I had planned to go home from that appointment, pick my boys up from school and go watch their final soccer practice later that afternoon, but the doctor insisted I be admitted to the hospital right away because she didn’t like my blood pressure in the office and she wanted to get some testing done before my delivery. It’s so easy to think you’re prepared for something until the actual moment it’s about to happen. I ended up crying to the ultrasound technician and the sweet woman who always schedules my appointments for me and having a complete moment of vulnerability right there in the reception area. They were so sweet and supportive (they do work in an OBGYN office, I guess they’re used to that kind of hormonal meltdown).
My mom picked up the kids for me and later transferred them to Stockton’s mom who had just flown in from Arizona, while Stockton made his way to the hospital to join me in Special Care Obstetrics where they would run an ultrasound of my heart to make sure it was strong enough and healthy enough for delivery. As it turns out, there was history of aortic dilation in some previous body scans I had done following my 2013 postpartum stroke, so the doctor wanted to be extra cautious that the dilation was back to normal. Luckily all looked within range and she cleared me for delivery. Upon completion of the ultrasound, she began a drug that is a ripening agent for the cervix since I wasn’t really dilated at the time of induction. That drug is administered every 4-6 hours and immediately induces contractions to begin the dilation process. It was evening by the time they started the drugs, so they slipped me a sleeping pill and encouraged me to try to sleep through the contractions while checking on me every few hours to see how it was coming along. By morning, they were ready to begin Pitocin.
Once they started the Pit, things started moving along pretty nicely, and my doctor decided to break my water early in the process stating that once the water is broken your cervix dilates faster and more efficiently, which was fine by me! My family joined us sometime mid-morning and kept us company in the delivery room which was a welcome distraction. At around noon I sent everyone out to get some lunch and so I could labor a bit by myself. It was a quiet, emotional and spiritual hour for me as I listened to my Labor playlist on my phone which is mostly comprised of worship and Christian music. It was an amazing feeling to be listening to songs about my creator as I was literally watching his creation come to life through the birth of this baby. When my family came back in the room, I was in as much pain as I could tolerate. Add to that the emotions of the last hour’s worship/labor, I was more than ready to get an epidural and take the edge off (this was at 1:00pm).
My nurse called for the anesthesiologist and they began the process of the epidural in a mostly quick fashion (if you’ve ever had an epidural, you know it isn’t exactly speedy). The epidural was done by around 2:00. Earlier in the day we had all placed bets on what time the baby would be born and all of the guesses were in the range of 5-7pm. After my epidural was administered, my nurse said “I think I’m going to change my guess for birth time. My new guess is 2:30.” I was SHOCKED to hear her say that! Within the next 45 minutes, the baby’s heart rate was dropping very low with each contraction. They called in the laborist who pushed fluid back into my uterus to give the baby some cushion and comfort to try to stop the decelerations. That didn’t work, so they had to attach a heart rate monitor to the baby’s head so we could get a more exact idea of her heart rate. It wasn’t good, so Dr. Millen was called in and they decided it was time to push. I was only 9cm dilated at the time, so thank goodness our girl was small. She was out within 3 pushes with an official birth time of 2:53pm.
I can’t explain the fear of that last half hour or the joy of the delivery when our nurse announced to us that it’s a girl. Such polar emotions, it was a shock to our hearts to feel so much angst and elation all in such a short amount of time. Stockton and I both started bawling when we heard her big strong cry. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life (comparable only to the birth of Brighton’s big brothers, both of which were filled with the same magic and joy).
They placed her on my chest and we stayed like that for about an hour and a half. Stockton took out the card which each family member had placed bets on (there was an “It’s a Boy” card, also) to announce it to our family.
And then Maddie, who baked a cake when she found out I was in labor, frosted it in pink icing. I guess you could say our Brighton is the icing on the cake of our sweet, beloved little family.