Quick and Unexpected Labor and Delivery
Brooke’s journey to motherhood seemed to happen quickly — from having baby fever to rushing to the hospital to giving birth! As a first-time mom, Brooke wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when she and her husband began trying to have a baby. Figuring it would take some time and special planning to get pregnant, she downloaded an app on her phone to track her cycle and bought a pack of pregnancy tests. However, very shortly after, her baby fever turned into a reality!
One day, Brooke’s cycle tracking app notified her that it might be time to take a pregnancy test. She took the test and to her surprise, two pink lines appeared!
“I took the first one and thought, ‘this can’t be right!’, so naturally I took two more. Sure enough, she was pregnant! I went from feeling really excited to really overwhelmed within the span of a few seconds. It was good excitement, I just needed my husband’s reassurance.”– Brooke recalling the moment of surprise
Brooke felt great at the beginning of her pregnancy, with her only early symptom being morning nausea, which was relieved by over-the-counter remedies recommended by the physicians of Cherokee Women’s Health.
Her pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated until halfway through her second trimester, when her lower legs and feet started to swell.
“The swelling never went away. I’d wear compression socks all day long, every day, and I still swelled. It wasn’t a medical concern, just very uncomfortable! The care I received from everyone at Cherokee Women’s Health was great, especially the sonographer, Rachel. Every ultrasound was so fun and exciting with her.”
Braxton Hicks or the Real Thing?
As a nurse at Northside Hospital Cherokee, Brooke was still active and walking a lot before she went into labor. She felt cramps the day before delivery, but they weren’t consistent and were at least ten minutes apart. She figured they were Braxton Hicks contractions.
“I wasn’t even willing to call them contractions because they weren’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. I even met my husband at Olive Garden for dinner that night!”– Brooke recalls of her contractions
That same night, at 38 weeks pregnant, Brooke was up every other hour with slight pains. Since she had been experiencing similar feelings the prior two weeks, she wasn’t alarmed. “I wasn’t waking up and thinking, ‘Oh, I’m having contractions’, I was just waking up and thinking, ‘I must have to pee because I’m nine months pregnant,’” Brooke said.
It was around 5 a.m. when the pains became stronger and closer together, although they were still 10 minutes apart. She still wasn’t too concerned and knew she didn’t want to go to the hospital until she absolutely needed to. Then suddenly, her pain started to feel like contractions and went from 10 minutes apart to four minutes apart in the span of an hour.
“It was around 7:30 a.m. when I woke my husband up. To this day, he still laughs when he recalls that I had no urgency in my voice. He told me I just woke him up and said, ‘Hey, you might want to throw some stuff in the bag for the hospital,’ giving him the impression we’d have the baby in the next 24 hours.”
As Brooke’s contractions intensified, she leaned against the bathroom countertops for support. The day before, she explained the 4-1-1 rule to her husband Brice, which is that you should go to the hospital when contractions are regularly coming four minutes apart, each one lasts at least one minute, and they have been following this pattern for at least one hour. With this in mind, Brooke’s husband looked at the app she was using to time the contractions and noticed they were much closer together and lasting longer than she thought. It was time to go to the hospital!
Time to go to the Hospital
Around 8:30 a.m., Brooke and Brice threw everything they needed into the car and headed to Northside Hospital Cherokee. They arrived 15 minutes later and Brooke was already in so much pain, she was unable to walk so her husband brought her a wheelchair, and they rushed into registration. Brooke’s contractions were two to four minutes apart at that point.
“I was gripping the arm of the wheelchair at registration and told her my contractions might actually be closer than two to four minutes. Then I told her I thought my water had just broken. She said since it was my first baby, my water most likely didn’t break yet and then asked me to stand up on the scale to check my weight. After I stood on the scale, I saw a puddle of water in the wheelchair and on the scale. They quickly moved me to a delivery room.”– Mom-to-be Brooke, moments before giving birth
On the way to delivery, Brooke was asked if she wanted an epidural. She answered that she wasn’t sure just yet. When they arrived in the room, the option for an epidural was taken off the table because Brooke was already nine and a half centimeters dilated!
Midwife Susan Fischels Delivers Baby Carolyn
Certified Nurse Midwife, Susan Fischels of Cherokee Women’s, was there to deliver Brooke’s precious baby girl. Brooke felt like her body kept wanting to go her left side, which she didn’t anticipate. Susan assured Brooke that moving positions was okay and to do what her body felt like it needed to do.
With no pain medication and with Susan’s support, Brooke welcomed her baby girl, Carolyn, into the world at 9:52 a.m., exactly 55 minutes after arriving at the hospital. Carolyn weighed 6 lbs. 6 oz., which was ironically Brooke’s birth weight as well.
“Susan was so fantastic. Her voice just cut through the chaos in the room. When she gave me directions, I locked in on them and followed her direction. As a first-time mom so far into labor and not having anything for pain, I was so pleased with my labor experience.”– Brooke shares about her labor experience with midwife Susan Fischels
Brooke’s Advice for Other Moms
“My advice to other soon-be-moms would be to have a Plan A but understand that there’s an entire alphabet that follows. One of my labor and delivery nurse friends told me, ‘It is totally okay, and it is great to have an idea of what you want your labor and delivery to be like, but it’s also important to go into that day with a mindset of, whatever is best for me and baby, whatever needs to happen, that’s what I want to happen.'”
Brooke adds, “Luckily, Carolyn was born head first, but if she had been flipped to a breech position, I absolutely would have taken the expert’s advice on how to proceed, because they know best.”