Birth Stories

“For the first time, I gave birth without any shoulder dystocia complications” – Brielle’s birth story

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Birth story shared by Portia

“A little over a week ago I gave birth to our sweet baby girl: Brielle Isabella Gorman. But Brielle’s birth story doesn’t actually begin with her. It begins with her oldest brother Blake.

Blake was born with a mild case of shoulder dystocia which is when the baby’s head comes out during a vaginal delivery but the shoulders get “stuck”. In Blake’s case, with a little help from the nurses, he was just fine- no complications or injuries. However, in severe cases, shoulder dystocia can result in the fracturing of the baby’s collar bone or nerve damage. Bryce my second son, was also born with an even milder case of shoulder dystocia but just like his big brother was born healthy and without complications.

Due to my history, I was under a lot of pressure from medical professionals to undergo c-section. In order to avoid that, my OBGYN scheduled me to be induced at 39 weeks in hopes that it would be easier to push out a smaller baby as both boys were born at 41 weeks.

I smile as I write this- the day of Brielle’s induction a sunflower that had sprung up on its own bloomed in my backyard. I knew this was the Lord’s way of calming my fears and letting me know it was Brielle’s time to bloom and be born.

Brielle’s Sunflower

While I hadn’t gained more weight during my pregnancy with Brielle my stomach was noticeably larger. For the first time, I received a lot of unwelcomed commentary from well-meaning friends and family about how large I was. Complete strangers asked if I was carrying twins a lot during the last month. One stranger in the elevator even told me “I still have my shape but to try eating less.” Gosh!!! The truth is I was larger and it was weighing on me not just emotionally but physically- my back hurt, I really believe I spent 30% of my day trying to urinate- sleeping was so difficult. I was relieved it was FINALLY induction day.

Induction Day

I brought chicken empanadas and mashed potato meatballs from a local bakery to the hospital for the doctors, nurses and medical staff that would be helping with my delivery. I had packed a matching mommy robe & swaddle as well as pink headbands for Brielle and me. I packed “big brother superhero ” capes for the boys for when they came to see their sister and my husband’s daddy scrubs. I even prepared spaghetti in advance for the kids for the 2 nights I’d be away and had my father make enchiladas for the day I came home. I was ready.

Well, what we didn’t expect was to spend the first 2.5 hours in the hospital trying to find her heartbeat. In the end, my room was changed and the equipment in the new room worked fine- Brielle’s heartbeat was strong. I also didn’t expect the midwife to tell me I was only 1 cm- my OBGYN’s assessment had me at 3.5 cm. I was told to relax and given some medication to begin the induction. Before the medicine was even administered I began having strong contractions and they only got stronger. Unable to relax, I cuddled up with my husband on the cold and tiny daddy couch where my husband’s heartbeat and warmth helped me fall asleep- at least intermittently as my contractions woke me up from time to time.

[READ also: This mom had her son at 22 weeks, spent 4 months in the NICU but they made it and here’s her incredible story]

After a few hours, Brielle kicked me and my water broke. This was the first time I felt my water break which was kind of a gift to me. The doctor checked me and I was now 6cm and given an epidural. My parents arrived shortly thereafter and we passed the next couple hours having a karaoke session singing the soundtrack from “A Star Is Born” and gospel songs. What a good time and way to lighten the mood.

A little after 10am I was 10 cm and ready to push. I asked my mom and husband to touch and agree with me in prayer before the delivery began. The nurse asked if she should leave the room or stay and pray with us. We invited her to pray with us and she said she felt so inspired by our prayers. My mom held my hand. After one push the top of Brielle’s head was out. The doctor grabbed my hand and rubbed it gently against Brielle’s full head of hair. My husband was my cheerleader and coach. He rubbed my head and encouraged me with a lot of, “you’re amazing- you’re incredible- keep going honey” etc. After 2 contractions and about 7 pushes, I felt Brielle leave my body and our daughter was born. She was placed on my chest where she began nursing immediately. I cried. We were so thankful. For the first time, I gave birth without any shoulder dystocia complications. The Lord’s mercy is so great. Brielle weighed 8 pounds and 3 oz and was a little over 19 inches.

Hours later Errol’s parents arrived with our sons. We had a gift exchange planned where the boys made pictures for their sister and they opened their present from her which were “big brother superhero” capes along with a book all about how big brothers are superheroes. They were amazed. Bryce kept trying to show his sister his Spiderman watch. Both boys held their sister. Blake asked if I could play “hide and seek” and hide Brielle so he and Bryce could find her. We all felt really good about the sibling bond that was already clearly strong and full of love and wonder.

The next afternoon we were discharged and I began the postpartum recovery process which is a whole other blog post. I’ll just say I am thankful for Ibuprofen, icepacks, and a supportive husband and family. Inspired by the British Royals I planned a hospital leave photo op as well. Yes, I’m super extra- LOL!
We are over the moon about adding a precious baby girl to our family. A few things about Brielle: she’s a good sleeper, for the most part, she can already lift her head during tummy time, she is adored by her big brothers and all of us.

We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers.

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