It’s become a tradition in our home that I share the story of Brynn’s birth with her at bedtime on the eve of her birthday. Since the next telling is scheduled for tonight, I thought it finally time to document the tale in our little corner of the internet. It’s been 5 years. 5 years, yet I bet I recount this story with stunning accuracy. So here goes. The story of Brynn Jordyn Raney…
Brynn was born at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, an hour and 45 minutes away from the small town of Carroll, Iowa where we lived. You read that right, we drove nearly 2 hours for the big event! While Carroll housed a great hospital perfectly suitable for giving birth, this big city girl was all too nervous to deliver her first child in a town with a population of merely 10,000. First babies aren’t born in the car they said. Go ahead and drive to the big city they said. This seemingly simple decision paved the way for this incredible story.
On the night of July 22nd, 2011, I woke up in active labor, literally falling out of bed with my first contraction. All too excited to get this party started, I grabbed my phone to start tracking contractions. They came in hard, strong waves from the very beginning. I logged 3, each exactly 2 minutes apart before waking Trey. He played 20 questions with me, asking in several different fashions how I was certain this was the real deal. I finally convinced him with an emphatic “because I KNOW!!” and we scurried around the house grabbing all the necessities. I specifically remember going down to the basement to fetch my computer and dropping down on all fours to pant through yet another contraction. I knew it was time to trust what I’d meticulously packed weeks prior and get the heck in the car. After all, my O.B.’s instructions were to head to the hospital when contractions reached 5 minutes apart. Mine continued to come like clockwork every 2 minutes. I wish I could tell you this was the point we made the decision to throw in the towel on the big city birth and make the 5 minute trek to the local hospital. But alas, I was both stubborn and a first time mom with absolutely zero clue how close I really was to delivery. All aboard the crazy express. Choo Chooooo!!
We backed out of the drive at 1:15am and stuff got real 15 minutes into our drive. What had started as a strong, hard rain turned into a torrential downpour. My contractions, though still 2 minutes apart, intensified dramatically. I was so not zen. Per our birth classes, this early into the labor, I was supposed to be at home, mildly glistening on an exercise ball while Trey rubbed my back and we preferably sang Kumbaya. Instead I clutched the oh crap handle above my head like it was my lifeline and tried desperately to breathe, pray, and scream at hubs to drive faster. At one point, Trey attempted to talk logical pace-yourself-this-is-a-long-drive man nonsense at me to which I responded in hysterics, “I need you to talk to me like a child. Don’t talk to me like that.”
The rain was coming even harder now and we could barely see through the windshield. I should add that we’re driving 2-lane, non-lit backroads and I’m starting to get very fearful. A raccoon jets in front of our car and Trey smokes it, easily going 70mph. Yes, we had to replace the bumper days later, but that was the least of our concern in the moment. More screaming, crying and storm ensue. Minutes after passing through the small town of Perry, there is a huge flash of lightening. From the rearview mirror, we see the entire town of Perry go dark! We press on.
To Trey’s credit, he shaved 15 minutes off the drive and we pulled into Mercy Hospital on 2 wheels, deserting the car in the drop-off lane. We pass several moaning, waddling preggos in the hallway that appear to be fighting a gas bubble. Being my first labor, it never occurred to me that I’d somehow skipped that entire stage of labor and delivery was near. My mom labored for 12 hours with me and 24 with my sis. I assumed I’d experience roughly the same amount of this agony as her. Hence, my crazy car theatrics.
Once I am finally situated in a bed, the nurse checks me and declares I’m already dilated to a 7. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and pant, “that makes so much sense.” Finally it hits me that delivery is likely very close though I’ve only been laboring a couple hours. My relief is short lived as the next contraction hits and I begin begging like a crazy lady for an epidural. I am told that there is only one anesthesiologist in the hospital at this hour and he’ll be relieving a momma laboring with baby #3 before getting to me because first babies don’t come this quickly (a mantra I soon learned to hate). In lieu of an immediate epidural, they agree to give me Fentanyl “to take the edge off.” Nurse leaves me with the remote to the TV and instructs hubs to move the car and bring up our bag. All of a sudden, we’d made it to the place I’d built up in my mind to be my safe haven and yet here I was alone in the room, just a few short breaths away from hyperventilating. No time to sulk though. The Fentanyl does the trick. I pass out. My slumber is short lived. I wake full force with another contraction and ride the wave. Then pass out for another 90 second slumber. I float back and forth between zombie land and consciousness.
When hubs returns to the room with our bag, I plead with him to understand how bad the pain is. He calls the nurse, who checks me again and declares, “Whoops, it’s show time!” Except, she hasn’t even phoned my doctor because, yet again, first babies don’t come this quickly. So I’m way too late for my epidural, I’m fighting strong urges to push, and I’m told doctor is “just” 20 minutes away! At this point, several nurses are in the room. They pin my legs together and roll me onto my side, strongly warning me not to push. I’m going to just go on record here and declare…there is no pain like holding in a baby for 20 minutes that is doing everything possibly to see the light. I beg and plead for the nurse to deliver, but she will not.
Doc finally arrives. Somehow my water has not broken through all of this. Doc breaks my water and it immediately bursts all, and I mean ALL, over her. Yeah, small victory for me. I am told that there is a bit of meconium (fancy talk for baby poop) in my water, which means they’ll need to examine baby prior to letting me hold it. I push once, twice, three times, then once more and…crying. Beautiful, beautiful crying. Trey would add that an exorcist scream escaped my lips prior to that cry, but at this point, can you blame me?! Baby is whisked away and I lay shaking in shock. I wish I could say I remember the excitement of hearing “IT’S A GIRL!!!” for the first time. Sadly, I do not and I’m strongly to process what just happened. I vividly remember doc confirming what I was feeling, “there’s a little more blood than usual; I’m just trying to determine where it’s coming from.” It felt like an eternity while I waited for doc to finish her examination and watched hubs from across the room with our baby that was being thoroughly inspected. And then it happened…
They laid her in my arms. She was so tiny and so warm. She was Brynn Jordyn Raney. And she was mine. I said hello to her and her eyes opened so widely in recognition of my voice. In that moment, I knew. All of the events leading up to this moment, the raccoon, the storm, the pain, though immeasurably terrifying, were totally worth it. And, oh what a story to tell!
Happy 5th Birthday Baby Girl! I can’t wait to tell it again with you tonight!