Published on June 23, 2020

The new mommy diaries

Stormy start to delivery leads to a more normal finish

Why not just write and file a story between contractions?

By Stephanie Johnson / The Bulletin

My phone went off, warning of a severe thunderstorm above us. The thunder and lightning already delivered that message. I was in the hospital with contractions and was also trying to deliver - in a different sort of way.

I got hooked up to the monitors and went to use the restroom. Then the power went out. I was in total drarkness. Then they came back on. It was nice to be able to see again. That’s how it all started - my birthing experience.

I woke up that morning and felt fine. But I was having some contractions the night before. I had a doctor’s appointment that same day. The sun was shining bright. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It looked like a perfect day to have a baby - for a while.

I was told that if I had any contractions, go straight to the hospital. But I wasn’t too worried. I came home from my appointment, went to walk my dog, ate lunch, and hopped on the Angleton Chamber of Commerce’s virtual luncheon. Then the contractions started again.

I tried to finish the program.The guest was Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and the questions were interesting, to put it mildly. Then my doctor called and told me that my blood pressure was a little high and that I should go to the hospital as soon as possible. It didn’t go up because of the questions. It’s been high for a while.

I was taking notes for a story, but it was doctor’s orders, so I hopped off the call and did as I was told. My husband, David, and I already had everything packed in the car and ready to go at a minute’s notice. We did our homework as first-time parents.

I stood in line at the hospital to get checked in, and we also had to get our temperatures taken. We were given masks. The contractions were becoming more frequent; it’s a good thing we went when we did. Thankfully, they weren’t that bad, or else this process would have been miserable. We finally made it to the labor and delivery ward.

They used a COVID-19 nasal swab on me. It felt like they were trying to scratch my brain. Negative, but my blood pressure was way up, and they diagnosed me with pre-eclampsia. This is serious. I looked it up. It can be dangerous to the mom and baby.

I was now scared. Because of my condition and because I was in my 39th week, I was going to have a baby in a few hours. They didn’t say how many hours. That’s a good thing.

They started inducing. I began feeling larger contractions, but I wasn’t in pain. I finally knew what real contractions felt like, and at this point, they were not living up to their bad name. But it was still early in the game.

While we waited and between contractions, I wrote my story about Speaker Bonnen’s perspective and update on the corona virus and sent it in for editing.

I heard many times that my mom filed her stories from her bed at home and called the publication to make sure they were received before she headed to the hospital to deliver me.

I didn’t plan to do it this way, but I think that filing a story from my actual delivery bed gets top billing.

If this is what delivery is like, bring it on. This is a piece of cake. After filing my story, I fell asleep.

Five minutes later, it felt like a water balloon popped inside me. It was a really weird feeling. I called the nurse. My water had broken naturally on its own.

No one had planned on that. It was all over the place. This time it was for real - no damp patio furniture cushion around to trick me - like a few weeks ago.

The nurses called the doctor. There are four doctors in the practice I have been going to. Of course, the doctor on call was the one I had never met.

The contractions turned strong and hard. I’m glad I wrote my story earlier. These contractions lived up to their name. A nurse described them as “monster contractions.” They were increasing in time and length.

“Do you want the epidural?” asked the nurse.

Music to my ears. No, I want to suffer some more. Get that thing going - fast, I was thinking.

“Yes, please,” I said.

I was going on 15 hours of labor, granted not all of it was this bad.

“The anesthesiologist is in surgery right now, but he can come once he is done,” the nurse reassured me. That was a game- changer, but I handled it. The next hour and a half was miserable, but I tried to think of nice things - things that weren’t painful.

The anesthesiologist finally walked in, much to my relief. He did his magic, and I started feeling much better. I don’t know how women did this before all these great anti-pain inventions.

It was finally time to start pushing really hard. But where was the doctor? The nurses started without her.

It was the fourth quarter of the Superbowl, and I had put a lot of hard work into this. It was time to win this game. They let me take my mask off. They could tell I was struggling with it. I could now breathe better now.

The doctor showed up. We had a short meeting while I was pushing. David was there also. They let him in the room for this marathon. He was the cheering section.

I was pushing as hard as I could for two hours. If my blood pressure didn’t go through the roof before, it did now. It was the hardest and longest workout of my life.

Help me out, little one. We’re almost there. Turn the other way so the nice doctor doesn’t have to use any instruments to get you out. We can do this together, you and I. I push, and you turn. Let’s do it one more time.

That’s what he did. He turned around, which made the pushing more effective. The doctor was impressed. I was giving it all, everything I had. There was not much more left in the tank, so this better work.

And then it happened. They plopped him on my chest. I was in shock, emotionally and physically. I laid there motionless. Hello, baby. Nice of you to drop in like this.

I couldn’t believe he was here - the little human who was in my stomach for nine months - was now laying on me. It was instant love.

Welcome to the world, Brantley, born at 7:11 a.m. on May 28, 2020. We have been expecting you.

(You can reach Stephanie at stephanie.bulletin@gmail.com. Or by writing to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)