Autumn's Birth Story

Autumn Michelle Brewer
October 21, 2009
Born at Potomac Hospital, 10:56PM
Delivered by Dr. Jenet
7lbs. 4 oz., 20 Inches

I don't really believe you can "win" when it comes to how your baby comes - if you don't have an induction, there's the constant wondering of "When is she going to come? Was that a contraction? Will my water break?". Then, in my case it was all the anticipation leading up to the induction. It was like Christmas! It was nervous but anxious energy I felt when I went to bed, knowing when I woke up the next morning I would be going to the hospital to finally have my baby.

The induction was scheduled for 7:30 in the AM, but I woke up well in advance at 5:30AM. I just couldn't sleep anymore! I had my "light breakfast and juice" that I was entitled to. Little did I know at this time that my granola bar and kool-aid would be my last meal for more than 16 hours.

We woke up the future Dad-to-be and headed off to the hospital. We got checked in with registration and headed off to Labor and Delivery! I handed over the necessary paper work to my new friend "Nellie". By "friend" I mean the nurse with the ability to dispense drugs and get this show on the road. I changed into my ever stylish patient's gown and proceeded to be poked with a number of needles.

Starting the process at 7:46AM, I was not dilated despite having minimal contractions on my own (that I didn't really feel). The pitocin was started and would be cranked up as the day went along, maxing out to "60" - whatever that means to Doctor folk. Again, little did I know just how long this day would be. They proceeded to up the pitocin throughout the morning and what turned into the early afternoon. Little to no progress around 10AM. At 11:12AM, the doctor broke my water.

Sidenote/Memory: The breaking of the water wasn't necessarily what I expected. It wasn't a gush - it's very much like laying a large water balloon on the floor and popping a very small hole in it. The water flows out slowly but in a steady flow.

At 2:05PM, I had only dilated 2cm. To pass the time, Adam and I watched movies and television - the "cable" in L&D was very disappointing. 12 channels lame, 4 of which were sports. I tried to rest, but they check you so often and you are connected to so many different cables that rest is difficult. Going the bathroom is even more of an adventure. Unhooked plugs from your belly monitors, IVs and the toting around of the drugs flowing into your system.

Throughout the day I'd been given an array of food choices - red, purple or orange popsicles. To drink? Ice chips. The popsicles grew old rather fast. It would be a long while before my meal selection would expand. In about 7 hours I'd only dilated 2cm and was 80% effaced. "Nellie" wondered if I'd even have the baby before midnight. She seemed more concerned about getting off at 3:30 than when I would be delivering my baby.

Sidenote/Memory: "Nellie", while not rude... not the most encouraging or friendly. I felt like she was going to roll me off the bed to fend for myself when I immediately didn't understand her instructions of how to position myself in the bed. "Put your shoulder towards me. No your shoulder. No, this shoulder. To me. Now put your body in the middle. No, your butt. Over here. Put it HERE." Her shift ended at 3:30. Later Nellie.

"Roberta" was my next nurse - a grandmother with more tact and a warm, compassionate spirit for a first-timer. We laughed, I asked questions about not only me but the other patients as well. I was curious about them seeing as how from ear shot some of them were being hacked open with butter knives during their deliveries. The screaming was loud and clear. Yelling obscenities at your Doctor regarding his instructions - probably not the best way to get your baby out faster. Just like yelling at your waiter will only get you saliva in your food.

"Does that girl not have an epidural or...?"

"Well, I'm not sure what her problem is... Some girls just don't expect the pressure and can't handle it."

At this point even though I was only headed towards 3cm, I was feeling uncomfortable. Not in excruciating pain, but uncomfortable. I hadn't felt much of the contractions prior, despite how "substantial" they were being described to me, but as slowly as things were progressing I did start to feel them - all in my back. After rocking back and forth on the bed on all fours during contractions to try and move her down and change the positions of my contractions, the epidural man was on his way. There's no trophy or additional popsicle flavors for going natural - I saw no point in being more uncomfortable than I needed to be, especially without an end in sight.

At 4:10PM the man to whom I plan to leave all my possessions to in the event of my death arrived. He had the good stuff! They asked Adam, who throughout this process had been by my side occupying himself with his laptop, had to move to the other side of the room. Everyone makes such a big deal of the epidural process - luckily mine was between contractions, I never saw the needle, and even being numbed was cake. I felt immediate relief and could finally relax.

2 hours later, no real progress.

At 7:22PM I was convinced that the pressure I was still feeling was progress. Nobody had physically checked me since right before the epidural so I'd asked if my doctor could stop in and check me. After his conversation with Adam about Windows 7 (released the same day as my induction apparently) and Mac vs. Windows, I learned I was only 4cm. My first thought? Still no food. So hungry...

I was feeling quite a bit of pressure in my bum and my legs were pretty mobile so they called down another anesthesiologist to pump up the drugs through my epidural. I was given two different medications - however, due to "the way I was possibly lying when the drugs were administered" my legs became completely numb (to the point where I almost slid off the bed unable to catch myself) but I could still feel a great deal of pressure in my bum, back, stomach and happy parts during contractions.

Around 9:12PM things started moving. I started to shake uncontrollably and I had a huge wave of nausea. This is where I almost slid off the bed. My legs had been lowered to allow gravity to do its thing but I needed to be on my side to throw up. Adam did his best to help turn me, but the complete lack of the ability to control my legs made it really tough. After vomiting, I really thought I was going to pass out. They put me on oxygen (which stunk - the plastic of the mask was not the "Febreeze fresh" scent I'd preferred) and yes, I was still "tweeting" all the way up to 8cm. Had to let my "fans" know what was going on!

The time here gets sketchy since I don't have any tweets to back up my time line, but I think it must have been around 10:10PM.

Forgive me, but I'd been awfully paranoid about having a bowel movement throughout the day or possibly during my delivery (Roberta calmed my fears earlier when I'd asked about it but I still worried I would be included in the 25% of those that do, even if "what happens in labor and delivery, stays in labor and delivery!"). It was at this time that the pressure in my bum was so intense I felt I either really needed to push whatever was in there out or pass gas - so much so that I asked Adam to give me a good ten minutes to give me some privacy. I was already worried the process of birth would deter him from ever touching me to have children again - a bowel movement on the table during pushing wouldn't help!

Well, he gave me some time to "do my thing" - but didn't leave me the call button remote to call my nurse. During the first contraction after he'd left I tried to "do my thing" and it was quite painful. I began feeling all around my head and back for the call button, but I couldn't turn over due to the numbness of my legs. I had only sent him away for "10 minutes" so I thought I could wait him out - all the while silently cursing him in my mind. The second contraction came quickly and I almost called out for Roberta. Adam returned seconds later.

"You didn't leave me the call button," I whimpered. "I need my nurse."

He ran out to the nurses station and brought Roberta in. I told her either I had to take a really big dump or something I was going on because it was very painful and very frequent. She rolled me over and found a head was within reach - no bowel movement, just my child's head.

It was finally time to push. I want to sob from happiness at that statement as I write even days after the process. Just an hour earlier I'd been told/feeling it wouldn't be until the middle of the night and here I was at 25 minutes after 10PM, about to begin pushing.

All sorts of visuals were painted to help, but "elbows out and up like you're rowing a boat" was the most memorable as well as "crawl into a C". Adam was called over to help hold my legs (I couldn't lift my legs at all they were so numb - pulling at them actually felt rather pointless). It was then that the nurse noted how pale he was... He complained that he was light headed and nauseated. They instructed him to take a seat near the wall - anyone could help hold a leg but he kinda needed to be present for the actual process.

At 10:56PM, Autumn Michelle Brewer was born. 16 hours of labor, but only 25 minutes of pushing. Perhaps they say this to everyone, but I am a "good pusher" for a rookie according to the Doctor and multiple nurses. No screaming, no butter knives - I simply took my breath during the build up of the contraction, sucked it in, closed my eyes and pushed my chin into my chest and pushed - silently. I went about 5 times per contraction. If I still had air in me, I pushed. Inbetween contractions I didn't breathe hard - I just laid there, calm and silent with my hands on my stomach, trying to relax for a few seconds. I was quite proud of myself just how well I made it through the process - I'd always said I'd never be like those crazy screaming ladies on "A Baby Story" or like the butter knife girls down the hall. Adam was proud and in overall awe.

Sidenote/Memory: I always try to keep things lighthearted and my delivery was no exception. Roberta was helping Autumn's head along by moving things around down there which was uncomfortable, but tolerable. My doctor comes in and basically takes two giant fingers and JAMS them into place - I tried to laugh through a contraction - "Holy crap - what are you doing with your fingers?"

There's no way to describe how it feels when she finally comes out and that pressure is finally gone unless you've been through it. It's not so much the physical release of pressure, but an end to (in my case) 41 weeks of pregnancy and all that came with it. Autumn didn't scream, didn't flail - she looked right up at me and just stared at me, almost as if to say, "Hi mom. I recognize you." I didn't even sob like I thought I would - this coming from the girl that sobs at any birth moment on TV, even if I only catch the birth mid-flip from another station. I was just so in awe and calm - I really felt blessed by my Heavenly Father.

Autumn is such a joy. She never cries, sleeps soundly for hours on end (to where I make sure she's still breathing) and stares in awe during the brief moments she is awake. I'm not sure why everyone feels the need to tell me "That won't last," or "Just wait!" when I mention any positive behavior. I'm not naive or ignorant to the fact that there will be bad days or that my baby won't scream with the best of them but I firmly believe how I choose to handle those days plays an equal part in just how "bad it gets" or what kind of temperment my baby has. For now, I'll take each day in stride, counting my blessings everyday for such a beautiful spirit I've been given - sleeping or screaming.


  1. Kelli, this story was so beautiful. I'm surprised with how much you do remember from that day-thank goodness for technology! I've been checking your blog everyday since she was born, to see this story! :) I loved it. Congratulations, Kel! You're amazing and I knew that you would do well. I'm glad that Adam made it through okay, too. Lol. Your family is beautiful and I'm so happy for you. Congratulations, Kelli! You made it, now just sit back and enjoy her for the rest of your life. You deserve it! :D Loves, Heath.

  2. You're a MOM!!!! Membership card for BME on its way. =) Can't wait to meet Autumn next month!! Everyone in the NC Mattingley household thinks she's adorable!

  3. I'm scared about the 'BM' during labor too. ;)

    Thanks for writing such a detailed account. It's nice to hear 'the real story' from someone who's gone through it. And so recently!

    I hope I do half as well as you, girl!

  4. Shes beautiful Kelli..Congrats to you and Adam

  5. Congratulations again. I still can't believe how much hair she has. Did you have a lot of heartburn? That's apparently the old wives tale. I always wondered if that was true. We can't wait to see her in person.

  6. I can totally appreciate your last comments about the future of your child. I seriously, for months, talked about how easy Josh was...and he was easy! It is all about how you deal with the hard days. He WAS a nightmare from like 14 months - 18 months...but all in all he is a great kid and I wouldn't want him to be any different.

    Congratulations Kelli!! Enjoy these sweet times, because, unfortunately, they go WAY TOO FAST!


  7. Good work kel! It's always fun hearing others birth stories - my 2 were so different from each other. Glad to hear you've got such a good baby. I found my sleepless nights weren't so bad with 1 kid, especially when I could nap with him during the day - but when I had the 2nd and they both woke me up...that stunk! Congrats she is beautiful...enjoy her tiny while it lasts!

  8. Kel, Your birth story is amazing! 25 minutes of pushing... no fair! I'm so glad she is a good baby. I really believe first time moms deserve a good baby for their first. She is so beautiful!! I'm just so happy for you, and you already look great after a couple days!