Brook’s Birth Story: An Ending & A Beginning

When my first son was born, everything was so exciting and new.

Picking out the crib.

Fighting morning sickness {or all day nausea}.

and the birthing process.

While it was new, everything went pretty much the way it should. One labor induced French toast combo, resulted in a ten-pound baby boy. Easy peasy, except for the ten-pound part.

Fast forward three years later and EVERYTHING had changed.

My second turned out to be another boy, which rocked my world. It took a while to warm up to the idea. It also took my husband a while to warm up to the idea of having two kids instead of one. We were all adjusting, and trying to wrap our heads around this second pregnancy. On top of all the emotions swirling, I was finding it difficult to connect with this little life growing inside me, because I was so busy at work and running after boy number one, and fighting that all-day nausea again.

At 22 weeks I received a wake up call.

That morning when I went to the bathroom I noticed blood, lots and lots of blood. We rushed to the emergency room, and with tears streaming down my face I sat in Labor and Delivery praying for him to move. Just one little movement to tell me everything was all right. Eventually, the bleeding subsided, and after thorough examination I was released to go home. The baby was fine. It was just a small tear in the placenta that clotted on its own, but I was ordered to take it easy. No heavy lifting or strenuous activity.

When I asked my OB about it later, she said that if the bleeding would have continued I would have lost the baby. “At 22 weeks there’s nothing we could have done,” her words hung in the air a reminder to be grateful, and cherish every moment.

After that day, my heart opened and I was ready to let this little one in no matter what the risk. The remainder of my pregnancy went swimmingly until spring.

It was April, and spring had sprung. I was getting closer to my due date. Baby boy number two would be making his appearance at the end of May, first part of June. We had plenty of time to get the nursery ready, wash onesies, unpack the breast pump (oh joy). Or so I thought…

With spring came blooming trees, grass, weeds and other allergy-inducing greenery so of course I immediately attributed my itchy hands and feet to spring hay fever. As I was rubbing my bare feet on the floor under my desk, I quickly emailed my OB to inquire whether I could take Benadryl for allergies. I needed something to STOP the itching and help me sleep.

Her response, “I need to see you TODAY.”

What? Well, ok …

I sauntered into her office later that day without a care in the world – other than the extra twenty pounds I was carrying and a foot in my ribcage. When I saw her face I knew something was up.

She said she thought I had Cholestasis, a condition in which the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder is affected by the high amounts of pregnancy hormones. It may increase the risks for fetal distress, and is common in people of Swedish decent (that’s me!). Then the clincher – I would need to be induced three weeks early.

Boom! There went our plan.

Amidst the chaos, there was a plus side – NSTs (Non Stress Tests). Twice a week I sat in a recliner crunching on ice chips while watching trash TV with a heart rate monitor on the baby. With everything going on, it was nice to turn the world off for a bit.

Then we received the news about my dad. He was coming back to the UI Hospitals because his infection was getting worse. Before he was transferred I told him I’d visit him at the hospital the next day after my NST.

It was a nightmare trying to find the ICU the next day. I just kept waddling around the hospital and finally after 20 minutes I found my dad. Unfortunately, I was two minutes too late because they had already intubated him. I’m not sure if he knew I was there or not, but I left him a note and told the nurses to read it to him.

That was a Tuesday and on Thursday he passed away.

Immediately I thought. “We just needed two more weeks…just two and he could have met his second grandson.”

In the days following, my husband was painting, moving furniture and setting up the crib. Meanwhile I was on the phone with my family and the pastor making funeral arrangements.

I went to Target in an attempt to find a black maternity dress and an outfit for Edison to wear to the funeral. There was nothing. No black. I started hyperventilating in the store and left thinking, “screw it. Dad won’t care what we wear.”

Before we traveled three hours to the visitation and the funeral I had to OK it with my OB. She said I would be fine and not to worry…um…yeah she doesn’t know me very well.

I remember every moment of those two days.

Once we returned home, life kept going. E went to preschool. I went to work. We even had our maternity photos taken. The rooms were done, and things were coming along. But…I was scared. More scared than I was when I had Edison.

Brook's Birth Story: An Ending & A Beginning

I heard horror stories about being induced; long painful labor, emergency c-sections plus the risks of delivering three weeks early.

We arrived at the hospital on the morning of May 12 before the sun even came up. Our birth suite overlooked the football stadium. Had I been thinking I would have taken a picture, instead the hubs and I watched movies and episodes of Chuck.

It was around lunchtime when they broke my water. Thinking it would be a while my husband headed to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. Ten minutes after he left my contractions increased and I felt like an alien baby was trying to escape. “Epidural please!”

Immediately I rang his cell phone and he arrived two minutes before the Anesthesiologist. I hunched over holding my husband’s hands waiting for the prick and the pressure (wait isn’t that what got me here). Then there were issues getting it in … Really! About this time seeing all the wires and tubes, made me think about dad and I started to panic and get sad. Then it was in and done…freak out averted.

Back to watching TV, snoozing, visiting with my delivery nurse. Whose name was Rachel, the same as my OB, and the OB resident, which proved quite confusing so we numbered them.

It was getting close to 5 p.m. and I wanted to make sure my OB would be able to deliver the babe. (FYI … that’s one of the MAJOR benefits of being induced).

“Are you ready to have a baby?” she asked.

“Yep,” I said smiling.

I pushed, and then chatted with the doctor and delivery nurse. I pushed harder, chatted some more. According to the monitor I was having one long contraction, but thanks to the epidural I had no clue.

I pushed again.  “He has red hair,” exclaimed the OB.

“What? Wait. Where was I nine months ago,” joked my husband.

I laughed one of those belly laughs and then boom little G popped out.

I cried. I laughed. THE HUBS snapped pictures.

Brook's Birth Story: An Ending & A Beginning

They weighed him and much to our astonishment he weighed an ounce shy of nine pounds. Imagine how big he would have been had he cooked three more weeks? YIKES

My second born snuggled into my chest as tears filled my eyes. Then they asked what his name was. I told them Grant and his middle name would be Benjamin after my dad.

Brook's Birth Story: An Ending & A Beginning

And so it goes, one life begins while another ends.

In one precious moment the sadness of the past month was erased by our little redheaded bundle of joy. 

There are so many ways to become a mother. Read other stories in our series, “How I Became a Mother.”

How I Became a Mother: My IVF Story

How I Became a Mother: Through Foster Care and Adoption

How I Became a Mother: My VBAC Story

How I Became a Mother: My Induction Story

C-Sections: Again and Again

My Accidental Natural Birth

Brook’s Birth Story: An Ending and a Beginning

How I Became a Mother: A Series of Transformative Events

 First Comes Love | My Non-Traditional Path to Motherhood


Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


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