Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Labor of Love

It's Logan's first birthday today. Woohoo!

I can't quite believe it has already been a year. And yet, it has. Everyone jokes about how I'll get to guilt Logan more than any other child in the world, due to the ridiculous crazy story of how he was born and the labor I went through to deliver him.

I've never actually shared My Labor Story, but I figure at one year later, now is as good a time as any....

So, here goes. Hold onto your panties!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Toward the end of the third trimester, a lot of women experience "nesting" where they start straightening up and organizing their life, their household, essentially getting ready for this new little life to enter their home and family. So, in usual Connally fashion, I take nesting to a whole 'nother level. Let's not just tidy up and paint a few walls blue. Let's BUY A NEW ONE.

Logan isn't due for another 2 weeks so why not move homes? I think it's a lovely idea, don't you Jon?

Yeah, let's do it.

I took off Thursday and Friday so I could pack up our little home. I had been packing a few boxes here and there before then, but these two days were dedicated TO PACK. Imagine my surprise, when I had a lot harder time packing up the house than I've ever had before. Before, I’d slam out a house-packing in a couple days flat, no problem. Now, I'm huffing and puffing and not breathing well at all (I was fighting a bit of a head cold). Plus, this whole BIG ASS BELLY THING is getting in my way.

I put on a belly belt to help hold the weight, which is a little better, but still quite heavy. So, needless to say, I got some of the house packed, but not enough.

Friday, 7 December
We (finally) got official word today that our loans had funded and we were on track to close that afternoon. So, that means we'd get to move into our new home tomorrow!!

I was a little frustrated at what little progress I made yesterday, and with only one day left, I was hell bent on FINISHING. I spent the entire day and night getting ready for tomorrow's move -- staying up until 2:30am in fact, packing up as many odds and ends as I could.

I finally got my BIG ASS to bed. Was I done? No. But, it was all I could do and we had several suckers friends arriving at 10am tomorrow morning to start loading up the trucks with all the big heavy stuff. I figured well, I'll just keep packing tomorrow while all the guys truck our stuff to the new home....

Saturday, 8 December
We spend the entire day, and night, moving from our small little 2-bedroom house into our gigantic beautiful new 3-bedroom home. I was so ridiculously excited and had so much energy it was great.

I'm sure a lot of my energy was actually nervous energy but hey, whatever. :)

After moving all day, we went out to dinner with everyone for Julie's birthday (on the 10th). I was extremely tired by the end of the day, and pretty damn sore. I've been having a barrage of Braxton Hicks for a couple weeks now, and by dinnertime I was having a LOT of cramping and contractions going on.

I had been demoted to a waddling duck, feeling so huge and uncomfortable. And fighting a damn head cold to boot.

BUT. We had our new home. And honestly, that's all I really cared about.

Sunday, 9 December
Jon and I spent the entire day unpacking, doing laundry and enjoying our new home. In my pregnancy journal, for this day, there was a note under the section "For Your Health" which read:

Don't push yourself right now. Just rest, eat well and nurture yourself as the baby's birthday approaches.


I unpacked our bedroom and a few items for the bathroom, living room and kitchen (just enough for us to get by for a few days). At the last minute, after much hemming and hawing and drawn out discussion with my Dad, I decided the room I had originally allocated for Baby Logan and the room for Jon's office, was all wrong. They needed to be swapped.

Dilemma. The office furniture was all piled up in Logan's to-be bedroom, and all of Logan's furniture was sitting in the to-be office. And, I wasn't quite in the position to help Jon move the furniture from one room to another.

Good thing for parents just down the road!

Dad and Jon swapped the furniture between the two rooms and Jon set up Logan's crib. I was feeling a little better.

The last thing I remember that night was relaxing on our futon couch in front of the TV in the living room, a few of the only pieces of furniture and electronics that we had set up/working. We passed out watching TV and woke up to stumble into bed. Good thing I remembered to make the bed with clean sheets!

Monday, 10 December, 4:30am
I woke up in the middle of the night already going through contractions. I was actually dreaming I was having contractions and the dream is what woke me up! So, I’m pretty sure I had started labor while in my sleep and just didn’t wake up until the contractions were more noticeable.

I was really set on staying at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. I didn’t want to be strapped to a bed, hooked up to IVs, and bored out of my mind. I also didn’t want to trek all the way there only to be told I was in false labor and to come back when I was really in labor.

So, I didn’t wake Jon up, but just started timing the contractions and wading through them on my own in bed. Jon was dead to the world, snoring by my side. I didn’t want to freak him out just yet, but wanted to be sure I was actually in labor first.

My contractions were pretty consistent -- about 40-50 sec long, 1.5-2 min apart. This threw me for a loop since they tell you in class “don't come to the hospital or call your doctor until the contractions are about 5 min. apart for an hour”

So I wasn't sure why mine were happening so quickly.

After 30 minutes of contractions regularly spaced 1.5-2 min apart, I finally woke Jon up.

Babe, I think I’m in labor…. But I want to wait until at least an hour has passed before we go to the hospital.

And, I’m really really hungry. But, I feel nauseous too.

I felt this overwhelming urge to POOP. And, as I sat on the toilet gripping the granite countertop riding through each contraction, I remembered Julie’s tip to me just days before “You’ll start pooping a lot right before labor” and I thought hmm. I must finally be in labor.

Contractions were still going strong, same 1.5-2 min apart. So, I got this GREAT idea to go take a shower! Remembering one of our childbirth class teacher’s mantra, "a shower an hour". The warm water was soothing, relaxing and distracting.

It was the first time I had taken a shower in our new house.

Contractions were getting stronger – to the point that, I just laid back in bed after the shower, too preoccupied with the contractions to even dress. I finally realized we better go soon since the contractions were getting more and more aggressive and soon I'd be incapable of dressing, getting into the car, walking, etc.

Jon was freaking out just a little that we weren’t at the hospital yet.

"Okay now? How about now? Can we go now?"

He thought I was going to have the baby in bed or in the shower or on the toilet.

Don’t be ridiculous. We're HOURS away from actually delivering!

I laid helplessly in the fetal position in bed, still naked with my robe wrapped around me. I couldn’t dress and needed Jon to help me get my clothes on. This is it!

I’m STARVING. Let’s stop at Jamba Juice first to grab a smoothie before we get to the hospital.

I actually don’t think Jon batted an eye at that point. Instead he just pulled into the nearest Jamba Juice, left the car running so the air could blow on my face while I panted through contractions and ran into the shop to get me some frozen whipped up sugar through a straw.


Seriously, how long does it take to get a fucking smoothie?

Ahhhhhhhhhh. Delicious Orange Dream Machine to the rescue.

On Hwy 17 to the Hospital.

Babe, stop jerking the car! Can you drive a little more carefully? I am seriously feeling EVERY. LITTLE. BUMP.

Jon called my parents to let them know we were on our way to the hospital. I could hear the giddy nervous excitement in his voice.

We arrived at the hospital. I barely survived the “bumpy rough” ride over. I was clearly in no shape to walk. Jon quickly parked in the first space available, jumped out to grab the first person he saw in scrubs and convinced them to come meet us at the car with a wheelchair.

This friendly ER nurse wheeled me into the Birthing Center while Jon parked the car. I was still toughing out the contractions as best I could, and trying to down as much of the Jamba Juice before the Nazi Nurses took it away.

They took away my Jamba Juice. Damn Nazi Nurses.

“Young Nurse” took my vitals and started hooking me up to a number of machines. She measured my blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate, Logan’s heart rate and contractions. I couldn’t move during the first set of tests so they could take a “baseline” of the contractions and Logan’s status. Those couple of minutes were excruciatingly long for me.

Jon arrived, nervous, breathless, excited, in love.

I told “Young Nurse” I better be in labor because I didn’t want her telling me I’d need to turn around and go back home.

“Young Nurse” did a quick exam to assess how far along I was. With WIDE eyes she poked her head up from between my legs and informed us that I was already 7.5cm dilated.

You’re joking right?


“Older Nurse”, who was in the room reading my vitals, said “Dear, you won’t be going home anytime soon. In fact, get ready to have your baby this morning.”


“Young Nurse” calls my doctor. Ummmm, you may want to get your ass over here pronto sir.

Jon calls my dad to let him know how far along we are. My dad asks if it’s okay to come visit. Jon looks at me, wondering what I’ll say.

SURE. The more the merrier. I really don’t give a shit.

(Funny how contractions will do that to a person.)

In the fetal position on the bed, puffing through my contractions while “Young Nurse” tells me I need to lay still for the machines to get another reading.


“Young Nurse” asks if I'm planning on getting an epidural.

Nope. I've gone this far already, I think I'll be fine thank you very much.

“Young Nurse” drills me with a million questions about my personal health history. Too many questions, hard to answer. Jon chimes in when I’m unable to. Do you really need to know if I’ve had X, Y and Z in the family?

Here, I know you’re in active labor right now but I just need you to sign a few papers for us.

Take a breath and ride the contraction out.

Ok, now sign some more papers.

My doctor arrives, quite calm and reserved as usual. We exchanged some meaningless howdeedoo chit chat and then he got down to business and examined me to confirm - yep, I was at 7.5cm.

With a bulging sack about ready to burst.

My doctor asked me if we wanted him to break my waters or let it break naturally. I said leave it alone and let it happen naturally. No sense speeding up this insanely fast roller coaster ride any faster.

My dad arrived, camera and all. I could hear him reading the machine which could “predict” when my next contraction was going to hit. I could hear him count down when the contraction was about to end. I was grateful he was there to help us out, even if he was clicking a few too many pictures while I was WRITHING on the bed in pain.

Another exam (or two, who knows). Progressing quite well, but my waters still hadn’t broken yet. Sack was B-U-L-G-I-N-G. I was definitely starting to feel the pressure.

Jon squeezes my hand and tells me he loves me. I love you too.

Oh no. Babe, I need to POOP!! What if I poop on the bed, during delivery?

Will you still love me?

(I didn't poop.)

My groans are getting louder and louder. I’m sure my neighbor in the room next door could hear. I didn’t really care though.

Several exams later, I was ready to push. I wanted to push. I HAD to push. The pressure was unbelievable. I need to get this thing OUT OF ME AND OUT OF ME RIGHT NOW.

I was about 9.5-10cm dilated, yet my waters still hadn’t broke. “Young Nurse” came in and said ok let’s have you do a few pushes to help break your waters.


“Young Nurse” and “Older Nurse” escort my father out of the room. Sir, you can wait in the waiting room now.

My father sits his butt down on one of the chairs in the hallway right outside our door.

My mom arrives, just in time to hear me screaming with my first push.

And boy did I scream.

I grip Jon’s hand and push with all my might.


My waters EXPLODED across the room. “Young Nurse” and Jon both enjoyed a refreshing bath.

We laughed for a minute.

Hey did you see how far the water shot out? Wow that was pretty cool. It just exploded all over the room!

Ok, back to business.

I thought before I really needed to push. BOY WAS I WRONG. I had this huge urge to push push push.

“Older Nurse” says,

"Now, it usually takes 20 or so tries at pushing before you can get the hang of it, so let's just try one now"

OK. Sounds good to me.

About 2-3 pushes later, AND THE LOUDEST SCREAMING YOU WILL EVER HEAR, Logan had descended quite a bit down the birthing canal – so much that, several nurses started running around in circles, calling for the on-call hospital doctor since they were afraid my own doctor wouldn’t get to the hospital in time (even though his office is literally across the street).

20 or so tries my ass.

Apparently, I’m a good pusher.

At the arrival of each new contraction, the “Young Nurse” coaches me through another set of pushes.

I hold my breath, push as hard as I possibly can, screaming at the top of my lungs at the same time.

In a single breath, the nurses tell me I’m doing a GREAT JOB pushing but if I blow out while I push, rather than scream, I’ll be much more efficient.

Thanks, but I’m in no mood for constructive criticism right now ladies.

My OB shows up right away and has me push once and immediately notices that Logan is breech. He mumbles a few things under his breath that I don’t quite hear, but I vaguely notice the commotion it causes as nurses go scurrying about. A couple of them go running out the door frantically, under his orders to find an ultrasound right away.

He looks at me and calmly, but seriously, explains that he believes Logan is breech and he’s not sure if I can deliver him vaginally or not, and that I may need to get a c-section.

Sweat dripping down my face, gritting my teeth at each contraction, and yet I somehow had enough clarity to recognize the situation and tell him I didn’t care and I trusted whatever he thought best for me and the baby.

Honestly, I just wanted him out of me and delivered as safely as possible.

Jon quickly stands up and whispers to me that he’s going to get my mom since he wasn’t feeling well. My doctor looks up from me, over to him and says SIT RIGHT BACK DOWN. You aren’t going anywhere. And orders one of the nurses to go get a wheelchair for Jon.

I suppose Jon did look a little green. I told him it was going to be alright, we were all going to be alright.

(Later I learned Jon was pretty upset by the news and apparently had visions of losing his wife and son all in one day).

While waiting for the ultrasound, I’m still pushing little Logan out as fast as I possibly can. And, at one point, the nurses are all so preoccupied with the current events, that they’ve left me “stirrup less” and I’m literally in the middle of a contraction with not a hand or body to PUSH against!

So, legs in the air, flailing to find something to get a hold of, I find my doctor’s instrument table nearby and with one thrust send it flying across the floor, and nearly kicking my doctor in the face in the process (while he looked up from my crotch to see what all the commotion was about).

We laughed for a minute.

A quick scan of my belly and my doctor confirmed that Logan was indeed breech.

The proverbial bells and whistles went off and all of a sudden our room was swarming with medical personnel.

Good thing those hospital beds have wheels. I was moved into the OR in a matter of seconds. It felt like a scene from ER. Doctors were literally jogging beside my bed asking me questions, prepping me for surgery.

I feebly waved to my parents as I passed them in the hallway, panting and pushing my way through each wave of contraction. My doctor noticed them and asked if they were my parents and if I minded whether he gave them a quick update. Sure, no problem.

He hung back a few minutes to let my parents know what all the hub-bub was about, while I continued down the hall toward the tall doors of the OR room. Jon was nowhere in sight, but the nurses assured me they would be bringing him in shortly (in his wheelchair).

My doctor consulted with the hospital OB about the situation – they were weighing the pros and cons of whether to allow me to continue to deliver Logan vaginally, or open me up and pull him out instead. There were risks to doing both at this late stage of the game.

Most everyone around me was serious yet alert and ultra focused. I knew that a breech baby was no good, but I don’t think I quite grasped the gravity of the situation. Even while lying there spread eagle in the OR.

I was too caught up in these contractions that had quite a hold on me.

“Doctor Clueless Anesthesiologist” soon realized how much of a hold those contractions had on me. As he asked me questions about my health history (again) and what allergies, if any, I had to any medications, I stared blankly in his face and held up a finger motioning him to wait.

I barely had the breath to push thru yet another contraction. I really didn’t have time to waste answering “Doctor Clueless’s” questions. After the contraction was over I’d answer a word or two, and then hold up another finger and say “hold on a sec” and push through another contraction.

And yet, he didn’t seem to get it. And kept asking me questions.


Looks like we’re just going to continue vaginally. Keep on pushing!

Bree, you’re going to feel a quick sting here.

Yep, pretty sharp sting doc. Not as bad as Logan’s butt pushing his way out though.

And now you’re going to feel a little relief in the pressure.

Ahhhhh. Who said episiotomies were all bad?

I feel everything. The pressure is insurmountable. I can’t push hard enough, fast enough, hard enough, fast enough. He wants out. I want him out.

The nurses and doctors look up and comment that Mommy is looking a whole helluva lot better than Daddy right now.

Jon was pretty pale.

We laughed for a minute.

I squeeze his hand and he kisses my forehead and tells me he loves me.

We’re almost there!! Logan’s butt comes out first.

He poops on my doctor.

I can’t describe the feeling, but it’s weird. I feel his legs flop down as they follow his butt. And I tear.

And then his chest, and then his shoulders slide out next. VERY WEIRD. I can feel everything. Every bulge, every pressure, every elbow and knee. His head is the last to exit my body. RELIEF.

Before I know what is happening next, I have this slimy little black-smeared crying baby on my chest.

Logan Avery is born.

I look over at Jon who is by my side and we are both welling up with tears. Pride. Joy. Love.

They wheel Jon out of the OR with Logan cuddled in his arms, to do all the initial baby assessments, weighing, measuring, etc. back at our room.

Meanwhile, my doctor was helping me deliver the placenta and trying to stop the bleeding. You think delivering a baby is painful? Try delivering a placenta while your doctor’s arm is inside you pressing as hard as he possibly can with wads of gauze stained dark red.

It took about an hour for my doctor to repair all the damage that was done, while Jon celebrated Logan’s first few breaths with my parents in our delivery room.

I was exhausted, but ecstatic, when we were finally done. They wheeled me back into my room so I could finally hold Logan in my arms.

And drink the rest of my Jamba Juice.

He was the cutest baby I had ever seen, looked exactly like Jon, and he was ours.

As I stared at his precious lips, his long eyelashes and marveled over his head of hair, memories of the past 6 hrs quickly vanished from my mind, forever.

Happy birthday, Logan. We couldn't have done it without you.


Luke Shipman said...

Wow - what a story!!! Happy Birthday Logan.

Jennifer said...

Amazing story! Happy Birthday Logan!

Choun Family said...

great story! I laughed I cried..

Elizabeth said...

I had to read this in spurts so that I wouldn't cry at work, but holy crap Bree...that's badass.

Susan Ping Wong said...

Almost one year after Logan was born, on 12-05-08, I decided there is nothing like looking back for a fresh view. So I went to Day One, determined to start from the beginning and re-read the full first year of Bree's web page. Interesting, I had no idea that Bree herself was going to tell her own one-year-later tale of Logan's birth. So in some kind of cosmic parallel, the two of us have composed upon the same momentous time and event. Here is what I wrote:

Let me tell a few tidbits from another corner of the room on this great day when Little Logan was born (December 10th, tax day!). When Bart and I received the telephone call that labor had started, we figured, well there's plenty of time ... we'll just kick back and get our heads ready for the new ride. I went to work, imagining the fireworks would not start until oh late afternoon maybe. I had hardly arrived before Bart called to say Bree and Jon were AT THE HOSPITAL, DILATED TO WHAT WAS IT, 8? Jeez! So I took off like a bat out of hell. When I arrived, Bart was already there. We were allowed into the labor and delivery-to-be room, which is the way it's done these days. They also now allow family to join, something new for us which we thought was most cool. Inside, Bree and Jon were very focused and serious, working hard with the contractions which were clearly rough. It brought back a wave of emotional memory for me, so I was tearing up right away with a lump in my throat. There was still space between contractions, so we connected briefly, but Bree was whipped and preparing for the next - and the next - so not a lot of chatting. It was fairly soon that we were asked to leave with the idea that delivery was right around the corner. There was this odd perplexity in the air, for while Bree was clearly close to delivery, the baby would seem to recede when contractions eased, and progress was not ramping forward at the rate expected. Still... out the door we went. Bart and I found a couple of chairs just outside the door so we planted ourselves there. I think we were supposed to go to the lobby, but no one was going to give us a hard time. There we sat. I think I took a picture of the door, for at that moment everything seemed to be auspicious. We could hear Bree's loud and urgent pushing (she was not demure). Time... (minutes?)... And we noticed more people coming in and out of the room, walking more quickly, their faces a bit more tense. Darned if they didn't start moving toward a real trot, and one worried woman came out with a mission on her face which I was peering at intently enough to read her lips... which said the single word: "Breach." Oh hell. The doctor arrived in minutes. After a short time, he popped out on his way to the Delivery Room. He quickly confirmed that the baby was in breach position -- Staff now RUNNING in the background -- The doctor
told us they were taking Bree to the Delivery Room, to prepare for a C-Section, though she was so close to delivery now, that the baby just might come naturally the old fashioned way. He said he had delivered breach babies, but some time ago - it happens rarely any more as most go cesarean. We were consoled that he was a older, seasoned dude, who had been around the block. Bart commented what a shame if a C-Section, since Bree so wanted a natural birth... The doctor agreed in a distracted sort of way and took off. BOOM, out they came with Bree in great stress and almost constant contraction - she managed to give us a look and say hi! ;-) Gone in a moment, and here came Jon... dang! he's in a wheel chair, dressed to kill in scrubs. He did look a little pea green in the face, and more grim than we had ever seen before. We went into the room just vacated, now still, silent and sunny - sheets, implements and supplies scattered about and a big clock on the wall, reminding that THINGS WERE HAPPENING at that very moment. I took some photos just so Bree could see them later - "Here, Bree, look: meanwhile back at the ranch, things were quiet and sort of empty. How was it in your neck of the woods?" It was a long 20 minutes or so - here comes the doctor: yep, Bree just delivered naturally. She was handling it well and things were moving fast, so they monitored closely and let it happen. Bree was a super champ. And this was the first delivered breach in ANYONE'S memory at the hospital. The word was out and grapevining its way throughout the building. "What!? Amazing." Later, visiting nurses and aides would comment: "Oh, YOU'RE the one we heard about. Awesome!" Back to our little labor room, everyone perkier and smiley. Bree and Jon looked like they had just swum across a tsunami - but relaxed and pleased. Little Logan took a safety pin posture - so cute - the first few times they straightened him out, BOING! - his little legs, straight as 2 arrows back up to the forehead. We learned later that just before deciding to head to the Delivery Room, Jon decided maybe he needed reinforcements, and was about to come out to get us, but the good nurses said no, just sit down. Which he did. They went by wheel chair because they didn't want any distracting mishaps with their critical player. Bart and I had the privilege of holding the new baby, and we were floating 2 or 3 inches above the floor (if you look closely at the photo, you may be able to detect that lift). Dear Logan, what a dramatic entry you made! If all the world's a stage, what oh what do we have in store ahead from this bright eyed little thespian? It begins.

Much love, from Mom and Dad, who have been titled Zafu and Zabuton on this 11th day of December 2008, one year and one day later.

Unknown said...

what a writeup!!

happy bday little dood!

Chelsea said...

Wow! You are Super Woman! I'm crying of course!

cabriana said...

OMG, this was the sweetest and MOST hilarious blog you have ever written!!!! I loved it! Even Dan was laughing!