Brooke + Marty | A birth story

If you follow my blog much, you may already be familiar with these guys. If not, all you need to know is that they are a family that are very near and dear to my heart. 

A few months back, Brooke asked me if I would be present to help support her through labor and delivery of her daughter. It was such an honor to be asked to participate in this miraculous event in their lives. A question to which I quickly responded, "yes!"

In the final weeks leading up to the due date, we all began to hold our breath a little. You will hear over and over again, no matter how true or not this is, that a second baby usually comes early, or at least on time, and much faster than the first. We started preparing for things to happen quickly, making sure child care was covered and bags were ready. I even began getting jumpy every time I received a text message or phone call. 

But in the story how Cecily arrived into this world, a quick and timely arrival was anything but true.  

The due date came and went without any sort of movement. 

As the next couple weeks progressed, I just recall being so amazed with how well composed and relaxed Brooke remained. You would think, being 40 + weeks pregnant with a toddler in tow and the excitement of meeting this little being that has been sharing her body all this time, that the anxiety would be getting the better of her. But she was holding it together beautifully. 

Finally, two weeks after the due date, it was time to call it on the waiting game. Induction was planned for the evening of May 19th. 

Of course when they called about checking in at the hospital, they were told they would have to wait a few hours for a bed to open. 

It was a beautiful morning in Portland when labor finally kicked off. Myself and Lisa, another friend of Brooke's, joined her and her husband, Marty, at the hospital just after breakfast. We passed the time by playing a game called Heads Up (thank you Ellen Show), taking walks, listening to music and just enjoying each others company. 

Yes, I am talking about labor. Yes, it was weird. It felt strange just hanging out and playing games while she was in labor. For both Brooke and myself, labor with our sons was anything but hanging out wait for things to progress. They were intense and all consuming. Playing cards was the furthest possible thing from our mind. Yet, here we were, laughing at winking tiger jokes and playing pop trivia games.

By the afternoon the tub had been filled to optimize relaxation and help relieve the pressure of contractions. The labor was becoming more consuming. The energy in the room began to calm and become focused on the work of contractions and lending our hands to the woman of the hour. 

After a couple more hours, we learned there had been very little dilation progression. An epidural was chosen to aid in conserving of mama's energy for what looked to be a long road to go. 

Through the rest of the evening, the labor seemed to continue to ebb and flow. It was beginning to look as though we would be there through the night. But by 10:30, things began to pick up pace once again. It was time to move on to delivery. I was so amazed by how much progression happened in such a short time of resting. 

But this was only the beginning of the real work. 

The next few hours are a bit of a blur; all the energy of those present being entirely focused on supporting this woman bringing this baby girl into the world.

There had been hopes of avoiding a c-section, as this is how the Brook and Marty's first child was delivered. But after numerous hours with no sign of progress, a decision had to be made. In the end, Brooke was moved to an operating room to deliver the baby by cesarian. There was no reason to feel it was a bad outcome or disappointing route to take, it was merely another way of having a baby.

I was shuffled off to a waiting room where I took full advantage of sitting, and took a nap. 

At 3:30 am the Midwife came in. She shared photos from Marty's phone of Cecily. She had arrived. Beautiful, health and happy. Everything and everyone was perfect. 

By 5:00 am, driving across the bridge towards my bed, I had the most radiant view of the sun rising from behind Mt. Hood. It could be related to sleep depravation but there is something quite magical about watching the sunrise after being up all night. As far as all-nighters go, this one was certainly one of the most humbling and gratifying. It's not everyday you get to experience the beginning of life. 

Welcome to the world Cecily. 

Photo credit for the final two goes to Brooke and Marty. Lack of sleep got the better of my photography brain by 4 am.