Hello Harrison Bruce – A Birth Story Part 2

Harrison Bruce birth story part 2

In case you missed it, you’ll probably want to check out Part 1.

So, where were we?? Ah yes, the emergency room check-in desk.

11:18 p.m.

The receptionist gets us our wristbands, and calls up to labor and delivery to get someone to come escort us upstairs. She asks if I want a wheelchair, or if I want to walk. “I can walk,” I say (why why why? I was clearly still in denial). Jesse asks “Are you sure you don’t want a chair?”

“Yeeeeahhh, I think I might need one” I say, squatting down all the way to the ground with the next contraction, wincing and ignoring the emergency room full of people. I felt like something could come out at any minute. Surely not the baby (that would either be crazy or far too logical), but SOMETHING…and it just felt right to squat.

Roughly 11:20 p.m.

They pull out a wheelchair, and the receptionist says she’s going to go ahead and start us down the hall to meet the nurse from L&D. Off we go, and the receptionist hands me off to a nurse who wheels me around the corner and into the elevator. I suddenly was super grateful for the wheelchair, since the contractions were nearly one after the other, I’m white-knuckling the arm rests and couldn’t actually sit straight, much less think about walking on my own two feet. The doors open to the fifth floor, and the nurse takes us to our assigned labor and delivery room. She (apparently – I wasn’t focusing on much other than the contractions at that point) stopped the chair right in the doorway and left. Jesse had to drop everything to wheel me the rest of the way into the room, and I managed to step off the wheelchair as he was bringing bags in and the nurse came back.

We’ll say… 11:23 p.m.

I remember everything at this point in short, panicky spurts that were the few seconds between contractions. As I was stepping out of the chair, I realized I was SO parched, and said “I need…” Jesse said “what do you need?!” … “water”.

The (less than helpful) nurse asked if I could give them a urine sample, I said (grunted) “I think so”, she dropped a cup and a hospital gown on the bed and left the room again. I grabbed the gown and made my way across the room to the little bench where Jesse was unloading bags and pillows. I managed to get my shoes and sweatpants off, and then my sweatshirt. Jesse was sitting on the bench and I leaned over on him, nearly crying, through a contraction while he tried to awkwardly put pressure on my back. He was like “Is this helping at all?” And I was like “ugghhhyeeeeessssnooooo Idon’tknooooooowwuggh”

Once I was through the contraction, I put my arms through the hospital gown, looked around the room, and panicked.

Kelly: “I don’t see a ball!” (the exercise/birthing ball was a life-saver through labor with Henry, and it still had not occurred to me that I may be anywhere close to delivery, so obviously I needed a ball to sit on, STAT).

Jesse: “The ball’s in the bathroom, I’ll get it!”

Jesse runs to the bathroom, brings the ball back and kind of tosses it to me as a new nurse comes in, apparently the one that was on duty to help us. I vaguely remember Jesse was helping me tie the hospital gown behind my back as I was doubled over leaning on the bench, and the nurse Rebekah greeted us from across the room.

11:25 p.m.

“So tell me what’s going on?” Rebekah asked cheerfully as she was logging into the computer.

“Well, I’mhavingsomepainfulcontractions, they’recomingprettyclosetogether”, I spit out as fast as I could before the next painful wave hit.

“Ok, do you know what you’re having?” She asks, apparently also not realizing the urgency of the situation. I stopped answering her at the point, and without thinking, dropped to my hands and knees on the floor, bracing myself for the pain.

Jesse took over for me, and told her “We’re having a boy, our second”.

“Oh, how exciting! Well, when you get a break,” she says, “I need you to get up on the bed so I can get some monitors on you.”

I heard Jesse say “She doesn’t like the bed, it really hurt her back last time.” (thanks babe) and right then in the middle of the next contraction came a gush of liquid as my water broke.

11:26 p.m.

“There’s my water!!!” I apparently felt the need to narrate, which led into a pretty loud (I imagine), guttural scream as I dropped down further to my elbows.

I’m not sure I even had a break to breathe, and as the next contraction hit I yelled “HE’S COMING OUT!” (which in hindsight is kind of hilarious, because I said the exact same thing with Henry, but he was not. at all. coming out.)

This time though, I was pretty sure of myself as I let out a second scream, and reached down between my legs and felt a tiny little head in my (not yet removed) underwear. “HIS HEEEEAAAD!”

I heard Rebekah yell “Can I get a doctor?!” (finally, we all could agree that there was no more time for small talk) and I saw a couple other nurses rush in as Rebekah ran across the room and slid in behind me. She pulled down my underwear, and said “Can you give me one push?”

So I gave one push, and heard Rebekah say “Hi, baby” as I looked between my legs to see her catch our baby boy. He cried immediately, and I looked up at Jesse who was kneeling in front of me. I’m pretty sure Jesse said “What the f*** just happened?!” And all either of us could do at that point was look at each other with tears in our eyes, and laugh. We really had no time to get emotional.

I heard one of the nurses in the room declare “11:28!” time of birth.

11:28 p.m. on February 6th.

Almost exactly two and a half hours from the first contraction.

NINETEEN minutes from the time that we were backing out of our driveway, he was here.

Newborn Harrison Bruce

Rebekah asked Jesse, “Dad, would you like to cut the cord?” He had to get up and step over some goo on the floor to get to where he could cut the umbilical cord. The nurses then whisked the baby away to the other side of the room to clean him up a little bit and put him on the warmer, while Jesse helped me up off of the floor and the awkward OB doctor (awk doc, we’ll call her) sauntered in. I’m kidding, I’m sure she didn’t saunter. Probably. I don’t really remember noticing her reaction to the situation, but she did ask me if I would like a new, clean hospital gown since the one I was wearing was soaked in amniotic fluid. I said yes please, although if they brought me one I never put it on (who needs a cover up at that point? The hard work was done, and all modesty was out the window). They asked me to get up on the bed so that they could actually get some information, finish check-in, and the doctor could deliver the placenta. So I’m basically naked, with a decent length of umbilical cord hanging between my legs, and I remember having to pick it up to hop up onto the hospital bed. Awk doc said “That’s just your umbilical cord”. Um… yes, I know. Thank you.

I was able to get comfortable on the bed under some blankets, and the doctor stood next to me and tugged on the umbilical cord, but apparently the placenta wasn’t quite detached. She kind of giggled, and explained that sometimes it takes a few minutes before it is ready to be delivered. She checked me out and said that I didn’t tear (thankfully!), so I wouldn’t need any repairs. The nurse also gave me an IV, and they explained that with a precipitous birth (I had to google it later, but basically a SUPERFAST labor/delivery), you can lose a lot of blood. They wanted to make sure I was getting plenty of fluids to replace what I would be losing. I also finally got that big hospital water bottle that I was hoping for before shooting out a baby.

Kelly and newborn baby Harrison

The nurses brought the baby to me, swaddled up in a blanket and with a little hospital hat on. I held him for a few minutes and Jesse and I looked over his sweet little face, while I waited for the placenta to be ready to go. Finally after about 10 minutes, the doctor asked me to help push a little bit and was able to slip it out. I didn’t know it at the time, but they injected some Pitocin into my IV to help my uterus contract back down and control the bleeding as much as possible.

While we were admiring our new baby boy, Cortney arrived, shocked and a little bit disappointed (but impressed, nonetheless) that I already had a baby on my chest and she had missed the crazy birth. She had parked in the hospital parking garage, and told us she went to three different doors that were all locked (thank god we decided not to chance it)! Even though she wasn’t able to help us through labor, she did surprise us with a bottle of champagne to celebrate.

Doula Cortney and Kelly

Dad Jesse popping champagne to celebrate baby Harrison

She asked us if he had a name, but we honestly were so unprepared that we really hadn’t gotten serious about narrowing down our list to make any decisions. She joked that we could name him “Brut”. Jesse mis-heard, and said that his grandpa’s name was Bruce. Not one of the names we had in mind, but not bad. We decided that we probably needed to sleep on it, and would name him in the morning.

I asked the nurse if I could do skin-to-skin, and they helped me unwrap our baby and nurse him for a bit. He latched on like a little natural. We decided he was adorable, but looked very different than Henry did. He had a perfect little head (definitely smaller than Henry’s and not quite as much dark hair). He was 6 lbs, 1.2 oz – just a little bit smaller than Henry was, but also 2 weeks earlier so actually slightly bigger on the growth charts. Let the endless sibling comparisons begin.

Jesse and newborn baby Harrison

Our nurse Rebekah made a call to the lab, and Cortney overheard her saying something about an “explosive birth”. We all laughed, because… yes it was. As it turned out, she was actually saying “exposure birth”, because as I was screaming on the floor, she didn’t have time to put gloves on before catching the baby. She explained that they would need to draw some extra blood, just to test and be sure I wasn’t carrying anything dangerous that she might have been exposed to.

Jesse helped me get into the shower, and we decided we were ready to move into our recovery room and try to get some rest for the night. Our sweet nurse Rebekah was such an angel, she helped me get cleaned up (not to get too graphic on you, but the blood gushed and gushed and gushed some more), get dressed in some mesh undies and clothes, and she even carried my champagne cup down the hall to let me push the bassinet.

We decided there was no need to wake up our families to share the news until a reasonable hour in the morning. So the three of us got settled in our room, and Cortney wished us a good night. Even though it was about 2 a.m. and we thought we would get plenty of sleep (especially considering I fully expected that I would still be in the middle of a long hard labor at this point), I was so jacked up on adrenaline and disbelief that the next few hours flew and I was only able to sleep for about a half hour at a time.

I know this isn’t the craziest birth story out there (far from it), but it was for sure one of the wildest nights of our lives. It’s crazy to think that if we would have waited just a few minutes longer to leave the house, we easily could have had an accidental home birth. If we happened to live any further away from the hospital, or had tried to park in the parking garage, we would have had a station wagon baby, a garage baby, or at the least an ER or hallway baby. After my first child birth experience, I had a conversation with a friend about getting induced vs. going into labor spontaneously. She and many other moms-to-be wonder “what if I don’t know I’m in labor?” and in the past I have said “oh don’t worry, YOU WILL KNOW.” And now I officially have to retract that statement, because this time I really wasn’t sure, probably until we were in the car, in the middle of a one mile drive, less than 20 minutes from meeting our baby. Somewhere in there, I think I finally accepted the fact that it was the real deal, but still was sure that I had some long hours ahead of me. We were fortunate to have made it to the delivery room, though there was no time for a urine sample, a cervical check, monitors, a doctor, gloves, or for me to even think about pain management.

Was it painful? Yes, but for such a short amount of time that I hardly remember it. Was it traumatic? Not at all, fortunately – I felt great, and we were both perfectly healthy with no issues from the insanely quick delivery. Given the choice, would I do it that way again? ABSOLUTELY. 10 out of 10, would recommend. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s basically as if our baby… fell out.

Jesse Kelly and Baby Harrison

The next morning, we made calls to our parents and siblings to let them know he was here and happy and healthy. Jesse and I reviewed our list of names, and finally decided on Harrison Bruce. The first name had been one of our favorites for several months, but the middle name was something we had hardly considered until he was born. I changed my mind and/or forgot what it was that I was seeing the night before, and decided he did look quite a bit like newborn Henry.

Later in the afternoon, Jesse’s parents were able to visit, since they were headed to Denver to get on a flight out to their cruise the next morning. Jesse picked Henry up from daycare, and brought him to the hospital to meet his new baby brother. I was anxious about how Henry would react, but as usual, he amazed me and made it one of the easiest and sweetest moments ever. He couldn’t stop smiling as the nurse wheeled Harrison’s bassinet in, and we all took a few minutes to hold him and talk about him on the bed. Henry remembered his name after hearing it only once, and proudly told everyone that is was “Hew-i-son Bwuce”.

Henry meeting baby brother Harrison

Dr. L from my 38 week appointment was on call as promised that day, and she came in to check on everything. Still bubbly and excited, she said, “See, I knew you would be here soon! You could have waited for me!” And I gave her a quick recap of the birth and assured her that Harrison was not. waiting. for anybody.

One of the nurses joked that if we do this again, I better not sneeze unless I’m at the hospital. We had to laugh and tell them that we’re pretttttty sure we’re stopping at two. Unless of course we change our minds and decide that a. we need to try for a girl, or b. to stop now would just be a pure waste of ridiculous birthing talent.

We shall see.

Jesse Kelly Henry Harrison family of four
Willow & Spruce Photography
Henry and newborn baby Harrison
Willow & Spruce Photography
Newborn baby Harrison
Willow & Spruce Photography

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