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  • Writer's pictureHaley Wrisinger

Brooks' Birth Story

I have had a difficult time deciding how to share my sons birth story. There is so much pressure surrounding chiropractors to have a perfect natural birth and mine was amazing as a whole, there were also some pieces about it that have bothered me. I had to work through these parts of his birth on my own and at my own time because I know as a provider, pregnancy and birth does shape your nervous system. Before I get much farther, here is Brooks' Birth Story.

The day before Brooks was born I was tired, I mean exhausted. My body wanted to just be still and rest. My mom and I went to a boutique mall and walked around for a little while before I went home because I was 40 weeks at this point and just wanted to be still. I did not have any inclination that I was going to go into labor but I trusted my body and knew that my baby would let me know when they were ready to come (at this time we didn't know gender).

We went to bed that night and the next morning at 2:03am my water broke. It was exactly like the movies where fluid was gushing, which is actually extremely rare to happen this way. I can still remember the sound of my water breaking, it sounded like a rubber band snapping and then the fluid followed. I jumped out of bed and told Chase to get up because the amniotic fluid was everywhere. We looked at each other for a moment and you could feel the stillness in the air of us both thinking "okay, today is the day." I quickly called my doula Heidi to let her know my water had broken so she could start to prepare her family for her being gone. I then called my midwives and they told me to rest as much as I could. I thought this was funny because my adrenaline was going and I was shaking from the cortisol dump of the shock of my water breaking. I ignored my midwives (sorry ladies) and chose to shower first instead. I washed my hair and stood in the water for a while. I remember this was when contractions officially began to start. This was roughly 3:00am.

After my shower we rested on the couch with the fire going and the dogs on the ground by us. It was so peaceful. I was trying hard to decide when to go in because I knew that my contractions were picking up and getting closer together and I was very nervous about having a baby in the car or feeling uncomfortable on the drive over. We decided to head to the birth center when they were consistently 4-5 minutes apart. We quickly cancelled our plans for the day and arranged for our dogs to be taken care of and headed out.

We arrived at the birth center at 4:45am and I had elected to be checked at this point because I was curious what that felt like (in hindsight I would have denied this because it created difficulties for me later). I labored in our room with my husband and doula as the midwives periodically came to check fetal heart tones. We set up a calming environment and tried to dim the lights, play worship music, and made it as peaceful as possible.

I labored in various positions that my doula helped to guide me through to encourage baby down. Around 7:45am I got checked again because I was curious and then decided to labor in the tub for a while. It was around 9:50/10am contractions definitely increased and I felt a lot more downward pressure from babe. I remember asking my doula what it felt like when you feel the urge to push and if she could describe it for me because I knew my body was getting closer. I was really hoping for a water birth because they always look so beautiful and peaceful but I often overheat in a tub and so I was popping in and out for a while which I am sure everyone loved (haha).

Around 11:30am I began to feel frustrated because I was feeling the fetal ejection reflex kick in (aka the urge to push) but babe wasn't moving. I elected to get checked again and we discovered I had a cervical lip present. This is where I wish I would have denied the cervical checks all together because I believe getting checked contributed to my cervix dilating unevenly. At this point my midwife wanted me to do a forward leaning inversion to take pressure off my cervix and to avoid pushing. Trying not to push is like trying not to vomit, it is near impossible because your body is doing what it needs. It was definitely the hardest part of labor for me, trying to avoid my bodies natural instinct. I believe we stayed like this for about 30-90 minutes but time at this point was lost on me. I remember alternating between holding Heidi's hand and Chase's hand to offer support. This was the only time I remember audibly complaining about birth. I remember saying "This is really hard," because it was. Most of the time during labor I was pretty quiet and internal aside from when contractions would peak.

At some point I had the urge to throw up and Heidi knew we were getting close so she called the Midwives in. I elected to be checked again and I still had the slight cervical lip and they offered to manually move it over his head and I agreed. This was just the thing we needed. Labor quickly picked up from here and I felt my power come back on, I knew I could do this. We began getting into multiple labor positions to continue to encourage baby down. I remember seeing everyone start to get things ready because I was getting close. I remember rolling over onto all fours and needing help because my stomach was so heavy. Since my water broke, there was no fluid to support babe so he would move around more because of this when I would change positions.

As I was moving I could feel his head in my pelvis and not having as much mobility because he was so low. Once his head started to crown, the midwives asked Chase if he wanted to catch the baby and I think he was caught off guard because we hadn't discussed it at all. I remember asking the midwives if I was tearing as they applied a warm wash cloth. They said I was not and I was genuinely grateful because I did not want to tear. I slowed my breathing and did shorter breaths to listen to my body and breath him out. His head came out and I felt a huge relief knowing that he was almost here. At this point his shoulders were having a hard time getting out. I began to feel my midwife pull on his head to help him out and my heart sank. All my biggest fears as a provider have happened, tension on my babies neck before he could even fully enter into the world. I was having such mixed emotions knowing all the cases I have seen of babies struggling because of birth interventions, small or large. I told myself to dig deep and get this baby out and the next contraction he was out and quickly was placed on my chest. I remember as I rolled over I quickly caught sight of his testicles right as Chase announced "it's a boy!" He was so beautiful laying on my chest. I was stroking his tiny hands and feeling such peace in that moment. Our sweet baby Brooks was here at 1:42pm on a beautiful sunshiny day weighing  8lbs 1 oz and 20.5 inches long.

*Side note: Chase and I picked Brooks' full name while we were in college at Truman State University together once we knew we could see ourselves doing life together. If I remember correctly, it was around 2014 when we picked it out. It felt very fitting that we had a boy first because that was the first name we had picked out for our future children. We have several names for boys and girls and refuse to share them with anyone. To be honest, its probably the only secret I have ever kept, besides those I am legally bound to (ha!).

My placenta was having a slower time coming out and at this point all the blood was out of the umbilical cord and into Brooks, so the midwives decided to have me push with my next contraction and they pulled it out. To me it did not feel uncomfortable and just felt like a jelly fish when the placenta was birthed but I do remember being disappointed because I thought the placenta came out naturally. Honestly I did not research this prior to birth and now scares me a little knowing this could have cause life threatening bleeding, infection, or endometriosis (inflammation of the uterine wall). On the alternative, manual remove is sometimes necessary to keep a mother healthy but I don't feel that in my situation we tried all of my options like moving around using gravity or giving it more time. I don't know exactly how long we waited before manually removing because it can take up to 1 hour to birth a placenta. Perhaps it was needed in this moment, I just didn't know these options until I did my own research afterwards.

We enjoyed our golden hour together where Brooks and I were getting to know one another, uninterrupted. This was also where I began to mentally have some concerns as a provider with his latch because of the tension he had. He did latch but it was uncomfortable and I felt awkward trying to position him because I was a new and young mom. I knew about the different positions for breastfeeding and what each one is helpful for but I had never done them myself, it felt natural and unnatural all at the same time. I remember after he ate a little bit that I decided to give him his first adjustment, he was about 45 minutes old. I remember wishing this was dreamy and magical like everyone makes it seem but honestly I was just really struggling with it because I knew he was having a hard time latching because of his birth. His latch did improve after his adjustment which I was so grateful for and I was able to calm down and settle. I continued to adjust him daily after his birth to help his nervous system calm down and saw big improvements as well as having lactation support.

The next phase was pure bliss. We were hanging out skin to skin, taking each other in, admiring each others features. He was so sweet and tiny. Chase got to do some skin on skin time with him too and we talked about how we really thought I was having a girl and how excited we were now knowing we had a boy. We talked about all the fun things we were going to do with him when he got older and how we needed to move and get property for him to grow up on. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

After a while the midwives came in and they had made us a brownie cake and sang me happy "birth" day, it was such a kind gesture. Once we had all our documents taken care of, Brooks and mom were in good health, 4 hours later we were headed home to meet our dogs Bonnie and Clyde with our new baby boy to hang out under our Christmas tree together as a family.

I want to conclude by saying I recognize I had a beautiful unmedicated birth and am so grateful for that. I also cannot deny that even in a natural birth center setting, there are circumstances where I did not realize I needed to advocate for things that were important to me. I think it is SO important to research all birth interventions and possibilities so you can feel confident in your birth. Birth shapes you as a mother and will never leave you which is why I am so passionate about serving moms in my office with the hopes of providing them with resources to help them feel empowered.

Some amazing resources/tools I love when preparing for birth:

  • Doulas - they are SO experienced and well educated on the process of birth, interventions, positions to help you and babe not stall in labor, and so much more. I used Heidi with BLOC Births and cannot recommend her and her team enough.

  • Evidence Based Birth - she has a podcast and resources on her website to help you feel empowered to birth based on research which came about after her own negative hospital experience

  • Hypnobirthing - helps you to relax and focus inward to prepare the body for birth

  • Positive birth stories - helps so much with the mental state to prepare for birth. Our bodies were designed to have babies and it's important to hear beautiful experiences going into birth

  • Take a breastfeeding class - this was so helpful for me, even as someone who works in the birth world. I am not a specialist in breastfeeding and because I knew that, I reached out and took the prenatal course with Nurture Lactation and was able to learn so much prior to babe coming!

  • Preparing for postpartum - the Frida mom postpartum kit is fabulous. My favorite thing was the postpartum underwear. I had one for everyday for two weeks because they are comfortable, compressive, and can easily be thrown away. I also had padsicles for the first week (pads + witch hazel + aloe vera + put in freezer = heaven). The silverettes for healing nipples during early breastfeeding are amazing. LOTS of snacks for in between meals for nourishment. Coconut water and LMNT electrolyte packets to support minerals and hydration.

  • Mom friends - I highly encourage having a mom friend who has had a kiddo within 1 year of you, having a mom friend with kiddos who are a little older, and having a mom friend with grown kids. This helps you because the most recent mother has all the most recent products, the mom with older kiddos has her tried and true methods, and the mom with grown kids has the wisdom and peace you need in tough times. This has undeniably kept me going.

  • Pelvic Floor PT - it is so important to work on pelvic floor before and after birth since you are straining it for 9 months carrying a baby. They will do a thorough evaluation of function and help you to regain strength or to decrease tension. For prenatal care and early postpartum care I went to Empower Your Pelvis. I then later went to the Perfect Pelvis for another internal exam still having some dysfunction 1 year after I had Brooks, and then just recently started the Mind Body Core Postpartum Program with Doc Lizzie PT to get into work out shape as I can tell I still have some slight dysfunction. If you are interested, code EVERGREEN gets you a discount with Lizzies programs, she is an angel.

  • Chiropractic - arguably the most important because mom and baby are connected neurologically and chiropractic care makes sure the mom feels calm going into birth, helps to ensure her nervous system is charged for birth, and helps her pelvis to be balanced for babes exit. Chiropractic care was my saving grace during pregnancy and postpartum. My amazing friend Mikayla with Flourish Family Chiropractic took care of me my entire pregnancy and postpartum. I am so grateful for her kindness and our chats during our weekly (sometimes more) adjustments still to this day.

I feel this post was able to officially heal me from my anxieties about Brooks' birth that I had honestly not shared with many. I struggled to share knowing that there is so much pressure in the birth world to have an amazing natural experience being a birth provider. I pray my sons birth brings others the healing they needed and the education to make decisions to move forward.

-Dr. Haley

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