It’s hard to put into words the unimaginable. That’s what my first birth felt like. Ways I didn’t know a woman could feel physically, mentally or emotionally. I can’t remember many stories of my life that happened to me and be able to tell them detail by detail, but this one I can. Brooks changed me and my entire perspective on life, birth, and being a mom. I knew it was special, but I wasn’t mentally prepared for how big it would really become…and I don’t think any woman is until it actually happens.
Here it is…Brooks Luca’s birth story.
Superbowl Sunday February 13th, 2022.. was when it started. 8:30 pm, during the halftime show. I got crampy, and I was 38 weeks exactly that day. I had false labor before, so I didn’t think anything of it because it sucks getting your hopes up every time you start cramping and then it fades away after 1-2 hours. Something in me knew that it was the real thing though.
We went home right after the half time show, with contractions happening 8-10 minutes apart at the time. When we got home, I made sure our hospital bags were ready to go, just in case. They had been packed for weeeeks, but wanted to quadruple check AGAIN. I cleaned up around the house (the nesting is 100% real when you go into labor) I told Chey to go to sleep while he can and we acted like it was a normal night. Took showers, got in the bed, he rubbed my feet and back, then we went to sleep. Well…he did. The contractions were still there after 2 hours, which was longer than my false labor scare so I knew it was happening. I’ve always wanted a natural labor, with laboring at home as long as possible without hospital distractions and interventions; so I tried to do that as long as possible. A few hours go by and it’s 1 am and the contractions are consistent now 5-6 minutes apart and I haven’t slept AT ALL. It was pretty painful with every surge. I could handle it, but being a first time mom I was told to do the 5-1-1 rule. If you have contractions every 5 minutes lasting longer than 1 hour, and lasting longer than 1 minute… go to the hospital. So I started timing my contractions and they did just that from 1-2:30 am. I was scared I would have a birth on the highway so I wanted to be cautious and head to the hospital asap. I woke Chey up and took a quick shower to get some relief while he packed the car. The 30 minute car ride at 3 am on a bumpy highway was NOT fun, but I made sure to keep my focus with my worship music playing and my breathing techniques. Chey was doing so great at keeping me calm with helping me breathe and rubbing my leg while I was sitting in the backseat holding on for my life lol.
Once we got to the hospital, the pain got worse. When you’re taken out of your comfort zone and put into a bright room that’s a tiny triage room and monitored for hours just to see if you’re really in labor… yeah not fun. It makes you focus on the pain and all I could think was please tell me I’m far enough to be admitted because this pain is awful. I had a cervical check and was 3 cm, and they said after 2 hours if I’m still at 3 cm and not progressing, they’d send me home. I kept hoping and hoping that all that pain was helping me progress. I was balling my eyes out thinking it was the worst thing ever. Later I came to find out, I was having back pain due to Brooks’ position. That junk HURTS. Not only did my contractions feel uncomfortable but it felt like my back was breaking with every contraction. Chey had to do hip squeezes and counter pressure and even that didn’t do the job. A few hours go by and I am getting to the point I need medicine, so I had to wait for the doctor to do another cervical check and that was traumatizing honestly. Because of his position, and my cervix being far back towards my back and not in the front yet…I felt so invaded, weak, traumatized by those cervical checks. I begged them to not do anymore, but they would only admit me if I was 5 cm or more dilated because of the lack of rooms and the high demand of moms giving birth. Turns out I was only at 3 cm still…which happens when you’re in an uncomfortable place. You stall in labor. It was so discouraging because I was so exhausted and in pain that I wanted medicine, but I had to go home and deal with the pain at home. They told me “could have a valentines baby and we see you tomorrow afternoon again, or it could be a week.” The only person that helped me stay strong through all of this was my husband. If it weren’t for him, I would have flipped my crap at the staff. I was so upset they were turning me away to go suffer at home, but going home was the best decision for me to progress.
We got discharged around 9:30 am Valentine’s day and I was starving!!! We got our favorite breakfast to go- first watch woop woopp! I ate alllll of it. I didn’t know when my last meal would be, so I ate when I could stomach things. This was my last full meal for about 24 more hours. My doula arrived at our place around noon, and realized that I had back labor, so we did spinning babies, miles circuit and different positions to help him rotate and find the proper position. Some positions made it seem like it was getting worse, and some positions helped! I tried to rest in bed after this, with meditation music and relaxation. I kept dozing in and out of sleep, but it felt more like a hazy dream. I never really slept, just rested my eyes between contractions while I could. It was the only rest I got for those first 24 hours.
Chey brought home lunch for us around 1 pm, and I could barely eat I felt so bleh. Sick to my stomach and just cramping, so I had a few bites and needed more relief so did more positions to help. My contractions were every 3-4 minutes after my “nap” and was like this for a few hours. I couldn’t believe I was laboring at home naturally just how I envisioned. I didn’t realize how hard it would be, or how painful it would be but I was so thankful I had my doula to help with the pain and knowing where to press and what to do. We decided to take a walk. I live on the 3rd floor so I knew climbing the stairs and dong curb walking would help him rotate and honestly that was the most refreshing part of my labor. I felt so peaceful and happy just walking with Chey and my doula and getting fresh air after being in a dark room all night and day laboring. We had to stop every 2-3 minutes when a contraction came on, but they were shorter…about 30 seconds long so I could handle it better. I continued resting through the afternoon with watching my fave netflix show at the time- Flash. My mom came to see me after work and bring me company, and we decided that since my contractions were every 2-3 minutes for hours, that I should head back to the hospital before it was too late. I took a warm shower which felt AMAZING on my skin.. I did not want to get out. I just swayed back and forth in the water and had Chey get in there with me to hold me. He just held me under the warm water for 20 minutes with each contraction. Again, I don’t think I could’ve done it without him. I put on my valentine’s heart PJ’s and said “I am HAVING this baby today and they ARE NOT SENDING ME HOME”. I will fight them if they do!!! I was in pain and needed rest and relief. I decided an epidural was the best option for me because I had been awake for over 24 hours, with hardly any food in my system or rest. I knew my body needed help to keep pushing.
We got to the hospital around 7:30 pm Valentine’s evening and they had to do a cervical check…AGAIN. Never ever ever am I allowing that again. Luckily they told me what I needed to hear, that I was 5 cm and they could admit me. Praise the lord, give me the pain meds PLEASE. The Bella I was before said, “no way am I getting an epidural, absolutely not!!!” HA. HA. I begged for medicine immediately not knowing when I would have a room to be checked in too, so they gave my IV meds and I felt soo loopy for 1 hour (it literally only helps for 1 hour lol) and they finally had a room for me. We transitioned into my room and the nurse and my doula set it up all cozy with my Christmas lights, diffuser and essential oils, very dim lighting, my pillow and blanket and worship playlist. It was the most amazing and relaxing environment I could ask for. We got so many compliments from everyone who came in!
The nurse came in and did the fetal monitoring and checking on me and at this point I was in so much pain that I was balling my eyes out again. She said the anesthetist had a list of order she was going through and she’d get to me soon and I begged her to prioritize me since I hadn’t slept in so long, and I was in so much pain. She finally came in about 30 minutes later, what a relief it was to see her face. I had to stay still during my 2-3 minute contractions which didn’t happen. As she administered the needle, my body jumped because of the feeling and having a contraction at the same time which is so dangerous…my husband got so upset because it can cause back complications or even worse…paralyze you if it ends up in the wrong place. Luckily, I had a great anesthetist and everything worked out. She was in and out and no problems. I was lucky. After it started kicking in within 45 minutes, my entire mindset and mood completely changed. It was literally DAY AND NIGHT. I was so talkative to my amazing nurse, and eating ice chips and watching tv..and rested peacefully. I knew my body needed the epidural honestly, and I don’t regret doing it no matter what any natural mom says to do. When they told me I was having big contractions and I didn’t feel a thing…wow what a freaking relief. They also let me administer the meds myself so if it was wearing off and I needed more, I could press the button for more. I appreciated that they trust you with the meds yourself so you know your limits and don’t have to continuously wait on someone else to administer it.
At 4:22 am I was told that I was 10 cm, but that I could wait to push when I felt ready so I waited because I felt nowhere near the urge to push. I can’t believe some hospitals force that when you’re a full 10 cm, because obviously my baby still wasn’t ready. Not to mention we were in room 422, and that’s Chey’s birthday and his favorite number. Oh just wait…it gets even crazier later on.
Once 6 am hit, It felt like I did need to start pushing…so before I did, I moved around and got on hands and knees to see if my lower half was strong enough with the medicine and it was! I was so happy I was able to try different positions even with an epidural because I wanted to prevent tearing at all costs. We started trying different positions, and it hurt really bad. That back labor pain was back and I could feel it all while on an epidural. I knew that the baby wasn’t in the right position still and he wasn’t ready to come out so after 1.5 hours, I asked to stop and take a break. I had enough pain physically and I was drained mentally to keep going. At this point I was on 48 hours of no sleep. I decided to sit up in a high inclined position to help baby come down properly, and it made my legs so swollen. Even more swollen because I had fluids in me. 8:30 am came around and I really felt like I needed to… ya know what they say… you feel like you have to poop and that’s when you know it’s time to push lol. I felt this pressure, so I was like okay let’s do this. My sweet nurse who had been with me all night decided to stay over her shift hours to watch Brooks be born and she was the most amazing person we could ask for. My midwife I have seen since I moved to Florida was on call that specific day as well, so it all seemed to work out perfectly because I had a familiar face delivering my babe. I started pushing and holy friggin cow it was HARD. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do physically and mentally. I cried, and kept thinking “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I want him here already get him out of me” and apparently every woman says the same thing when they’re in transition which is so crazy that it was real and it happened to me. I genuinely was over it. It took me 45 minutes to push the head out itself so you can imagine the physical labor my body had to go through. Luckily they got me a starbucks strawberry acai refresher because I was allowed to have that, so I kept taking sips between every push. Since I was running on adrenaline and no food in my system, I kept getting that sugar rush and said okay let’s keep going. Thank you God for starbucks lol!
I kept pushing and I finally saw his head. A head fulllll of hair and it was dark, I immediately felt motivated to KEEP GOING. He was so close to being in my arms, and I just wanted to see him so bad. I kept pushing with every contraction and YES I could feel them at this point because my epidural had worn mostly off to where I could feel the intense pressure and the ring of fire, just in a dull way so it was more pressure than pain.
At 10:22 am February 15th, I gave one last push and his head finally came out and his body flew out right after without needing another push. I was DONE and he was on my skin immediately. 10:22 am was our wedding date. I told you it kept getting crazy and crazy with these corresponding times and significant dates in our lives… all I could say is God knew what he was doing when he wrote my birth story out. The emotions that overtook my body were something I’ve never felt before. I would do anything for this boy. He was everything to me and it was the most amazing feeling. I was seriously on a birth high. A few minutes later they said the placenta came out and I didn’t even feel that so I was very happy about that! We got our golden hour where he just laid on me and cried. He latched and nursed immediately and me and Chey were just so overwhelmed with joy and happiness. The tears just kept coming because I couldn’t believe I had this little human finally out of me. I remember crying all third trimester saying “I just want my baby already. I just want to hold him!” and I finally got the chance to. My entire experience was insane, and I still didn’t sleep that whole day or night because of just running on adrenaline and wanting to stare at him. I was so in love and still am so in love with him. That made it to 72 hours of no sleep, and it didn’t get better when we got home. So future moms, just embrace yourself for the no sleep because it hits you like a bus.
Within 2 hours I was able to get up and walk around, and eat two full meals with ease. Since delivery, I was up and about and had to be forced to rest instead of doing the most. I was very thankful I was strong enough to be up and walking! We got to go home within 24 hours and go get to love on our boy and being parents. Welcome to the world baby boy.
Brooks Luca Neal
7 lbs 10 oz
10:22 am on February 15th, 2022
Photos taken by my Doula: Chaya Eaddy