Thursday, August 23, 2012

Forrest Gray Russ: My Birth Story

While my son is sleeping on me, I am going to grab an opportunity to type about his birth story, and cherish this forever in my memory. Being pregnant and giving birth are on top of my five best things that have ever happened to me in my life. 

Stu and I arrived at Bellin Hospital for our scheduled induction at 7 am. I was full of nervous energy, not knowing what to expect, and feeling anxious to meet our son. I had thousand of emotions coursing through my mind. This was no turning back. Stu mirrored my emotions with every step of our way into the lobby. We met with my ASL interpreter, C, and went straight to the maternity floor. We were ushered to room #304 where I was going to be delivering my son and recovering from the birth. We met with our first nurse, Melissa, and she had me to change into a gown. I stared at my pregnant belly for one very last time and teared up right there. Soon or later, I was going to meet my baby. I went to the bed to be hooked up with two external monitors to monitor my son's heartbeats and intensity of my contractions. Prior to my induction; I had contractions all weekend that remained inconsistent and unproductive, and because of that, I had to be monitored. My contractions immediately showed up on the piece of feeding paper as soon as I was hooked up to the external monitor. Melissa questioned Stu and I for our family histories of health. Mom and Aunt Ro showed up during this time. 

After questioning and explaining about induction process, Melissa checked me and found I was 100% effaced, but still at 2 cm. Then I had an IV inserted into my forearm for saline water and the drug pitocin at 8 am. Bobbie showed up at this time and I encouraged Stu to go and grab something to eat with Bobbie since we were not sure when Dr. Mbah was going to show up. Sure enough, Dr. Mbah did show up while they were eating brunch. She confirmed what Melissa had said and decided to break my water. At this point; I was getting rather nervous to have my water breaking so early in my labor because I worried that if I had not progressed enough then I was going to have a c-section. Dr. Mbah went ahead and broke my water. It was the strangest sensation to have my water breaking, and it hit me that it was the point of no return. Fortunately, I had a supportive crew to keep my mind off this anxiety.

Here we come; parenthood and meeting our son.

Melissa explained that since my water was broken then she was unable to check me frequently to prevent from introducing unwanted germs to my unborn baby. I was quite glad for this because I did not want to be discouraged if I had not progressed far enough every time I was checked. 

For about 4 and half hours; I was feeling pretty good despite the climbing intensity of my contractions and increasing crampiness that came with them. I was able to laugh and joke around with my family and Stu. Melissa came in to check on me around noon and explained that if I wanted an epidural then I should request for one while I was managing pain well. The reason was because the set up for an epidural was going to take between 15 to 30 minutes and it may be difficult for me to wait if I was in extreme pain. I declined with this knowledge because I did not know how dilated I was and did not want an epidural to stall my labor. Also, I was feeling pretty good between the contractions. Melissa remarked on how well I was handling the pain. I thought to myself, what pain--this is nothing. 

I spoke too soon. The intensity of contractions began to build up more frequently and closer together. It was like terrible period cramps second-folded. It was when I began to feel rather nauseous and experiencing the shakes. I laid on my left side and held on to the bed railing while squeezing Stu's hand. That helped me to get through my contractions because I was not focusing on the pain, but the squeezing itself. Melissa came again at 12:20-ish and checked me. She found that I was at 5 cm! I was thrilled despite being in pain. The contractions continued to come closer and stronger. I ended up not really enjoying my "breaks" in between and had my eyes closed. I stopped smiling and laughing at the jokes that Stu made. All I wanted was back rubs from Mom and Aunt Ro and to hold Stu's hand and have him rub my head. Melissa returned once again and suggested the birthing ball. 

I had brought one myself and decided to try it. It turned out the birthing ball I had was kind of too small, and I did not like it. Melissa decided to give me a bigger ball. I sat on it once again and told myself to at least ride it out for three contractions. If I had hated it then fine then at least I gave it a shot instead of giving it up right away. The pain became even worse when I tried to bounce or roll my hips around. I ended up calling it quits and wanted to go back to laying on my side. I ended up doing just that. At this point, I was pounding my fist on the bed railing, moaning, and punching at the pillows. I could not get comfortable. The pain consumed me. I was unable to concentrate. Little did I and everybody else knew at that time, I was in the transition of the labor, and for those who have gone through vaginal births would know this meant the end was near in the sight. Thinking I was still at 5 cm, I tapped in and asked for an epidural. Melissa left to get the epidural kit and alert the anesthesiologist to come to insert the epidural.

When I was able to open my eyes between my brief breaks, I longed for time to go faster and for the pain to just end. Waves of contractions continued to grip me; I screamed, moaned, pounded my fists, and found it nearly damn impossible to relax. The pain ripped me apart inside. Nothing alleviated me at this point. In sheer pain, I jumped up on my fours and leaned forward in hope to help reduce the insane pain I was in. Suddenly, I felt a tremendous pressure in my bottom, and I knew it was an urge to push. I told C that the baby was coming. She cautioned me to wait to push while everybody else were not sure if I was really accurate with my statement. Melissa walked into at this very moment and dropped the kit when C told her what I had said. She checked me and sure enough, the baby was right there ready to be born! Melissa paged the team of nurses and pulled the emergency cord behind my bed.

What happened next was a blur. It was as if there was a swat team running into the room. Meanwhile, Bobbie saw Dr. Mbah running across the parking lot to the hospital when she entered the room with Aunt Ro. Melissa flipped me from my knees onto my back to prepare me for a childbirth. A nurse put an oxygen mask on me. I had no idea why. Later, I learned it was because I was not taking in enough oxygen from weeping. Other nurse and C pulled my legs toward me. I wept from pain, sheer confusion, mild fear, and wanting to push badly. I begged for an epidural. C shook her head and assured me that women have been giving birth for hundred of years and got through childbirth just fine without drugs. There was no time for anyone to remove my socks or convert my bed into the birthing bed. The pressure increased, and I really wanted to push. Suddenly, Dr. Mbah was in front of me and she said to push. I started to bear down through my tears. Stu leaned to me and said that he saw a head of hair. The next two pushes got the head and shoulders out. The third and fourth pushes ended up bringing my son out into the world. My son was suddenly on my belly. He started screaming and I started sobbing because it was the most amazing sound in the whole world to hear my son.

Stu leaned toward me and said thank you for giving me our son and told me how strong I was. He started to cry. It was a very emotional moment for us. Everybody in the room were crying except for Dr. Mbah because she was focused on delivering the placenta and had to sew me up. I ended up with a second degree tear since my baby came out so fast. Stu cut the cord right away. We were in awe. I was so exhausted at this point from tumultuous emotions, and a physical act of pushing. I held my son on my chest and was told I could breastfeed my son. So I did. It was a beautiful birth, and perfect in every sense.

Forrest Gray Russ was born at 1:14 pm on Tuesday August 21st. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 oz, and measured at 21 inches long! It was no wonder why his foot was in my rib cage the whole time! Forrest passed the Apgars Score with nearly perfect scores. He was pronounced to be healthy. I was able to nurse him and have a skin-on-skin contact time with him before he was whisked away to be bathed. I encouraged Stu to go with Bobbie and the nurse to bathe Forrest. I was too exhausted from giving birth and was extremely sore. I needed some sleep. Besides, I wanted Stu to bond with Forrest since I had whole nine months with my baby.

I did have a brief health scare after I woke up from my nap. I had to go to use bathroom, and slowly got up on my bed. I felt pretty good enough to be able to walk despite having stitches and being sore from delivery. C and Melissa escorted me to the bathroom and helped me to use toilet. Before I could do anything, I started feeling really dizzy and out of breath. I saw myself in the mirror and I looked extremely ashen. The last thing I remembered before passing out was saying to C that I could not breath. I was retrieved once, but slipped back into unconsciousness. So once again, room #304 had the emergency cord to be pulled, and a team of nurses came running to assist me. Fortunately, I was retrieved by smelling salt while laying on my bed, and was able to stay conscious. I simply had lost too much fluids, blood, and my blood pressure dropped. With eating dinner and some sweet food, I started to feel a bit better, and was able to nurse Forrest for rest of the night.

Thankfully, both Mama and Forrest were declared to be in good health by end of the night. We were extremely blessed to become a family that day. It was honestly one of the best days of my life.

I continue to look at my son and feel my heart swell. Forrest means the world to me, and I feel lucky to be his mama.



  1. This is such an amazing story! A bit scary to read the pain parts---glad you are okay!! But you have a beautiful little boy now! You are so strong and going to be a great Mama!!! :)

  2. Ash I'm so happy for you! It's a beautiful story and I'm so glad everything went well and you're both in good health. Love you babe!

  3. Ash I'm so happy for you! It's a beautiful story and I'm so glad everything went well and you're both in good health. Love you babe!

  4. What a beautiful story Ashley! So happy for you and your family!

  5. How incredibly beautiful! Congratulations on an amazing son!

  6. He's beautiful! Congratulations! Glad you're all doing well. -Ashleigh

  7. So happy to be the C in your story! Thank you for making my week so enjoyable and choosing me to share this amazing experience with you both. You and Stu are already fantastic patents. Forrest is a lucky boy! :)

  8. yay!!!!!!! isn't is so exciting not to be pregnant anymore & to be holding your little baby in your arms? the best feeling for me was when i looked him in the eyes & he looked at me so calm and peacefully....melts my heart. the labor was worth it!!

  9. Thanks for sharing Ashley! Congrats on the labor and I am more impressed that you were able to write this with a brand new baby! Can't wait to hear more stories.

  10. Congratulations! He's adorable! I am so happy for you and your family, and what a wonderful birth story! You are a strong woman to endure labor and delivery without an epidural. I know I couldn't do it, so I am in awe of your accomplishment!

  11. He is beautiful, congratulations!! What an amazing birth story!