Today is a special day on the Birth Stories Blog as we celebrate my nephew’s first birthday! To commemorate this very special boy’s very special day, I’m happy to share the story of how Bryson Thomas Studnicki came into the world and captured the hearts of my sister Victoria and her husband Bryan. Victoria’s advice to any expectant parent is simple but not always easy to follow: trust your own instincts. “Amid the overwhelming feelings of being a new parent, you may not realize you have them but they are there.” Equally as important: listen to your baby; even though he or she may not be able to talk for quite some time, babies have a lot to say.
On this day a year ago, my husband, Bryan and I gave birth to a baby boy named, Bryson. Although he captured our hearts long before he was born (we were privy to his gender and already calling him by name), I knew the day we brought him home from the hospital with a smile across his face he’d be spreading his wonderful energy to everyone he’d meet. And he has never ceased to amaze us throughout the past 365 days! I can only imagine how much better it gets. Needless to say, it has been an action packed year but I have never forgotten the night this little boy came into our lives.
It was May 6th, the day before Bryan’s birthday and I was 4 days overdue. The last trimester was a difficult one. Baby was sitting on a nerve so I had lost feeling in my left thigh and my legs and feet had extremely swelled up. However, I was determined to induce myself into labour. I was already 3.5 cm dilated at the time. So we took the afternoon to walk 10 km from our condo to the Kensington Market and back again. If I was aching from the excursion, I definitely couldn’t tell it apart from my regular discomforts. It didn’t quite matter though as the only thing on my mind was having to bear another night of sleeping upright in bed…and the hemorrhoids! Ugh.
I should clarify that despite my woes in the final weeks, being pregnant with Bryson was a wonderful experience. Just don’t let my appearance fool you. I am what some might consider a “late bloomer”. I married when I was 37 and became pregnant a year later. Despite being diagnosed with oligomenorrhea, I was able to get pregnant within 7 months of trying. I feel truly blessed beyond measure that I had the opportunity to embrace the beauty of a natural and mature pregnancy. And by ‘beauty’, I mean all the good and the bad.
Anyhow, I digress. At 1am, I decided that I wasn’t going to sleep well the rest of the night so I started bouncing on an exercise ball in the nursery. Bryan retired early as he was expecting to work in the morning. A few hours passed and I felt that I could perhaps give sleeping on my side another go so I went back to our bedroom at 4am and after settling on a decent position, I felt something go POP as if a water balloon had just hit the bed and me. I shook Bryan and said, “I think my water broke”. Very soon after, contractions hit me before I could even brace myself for them. Ironically, I had asked every single friend of mine, including my own sister, who had given birth before what contractions felt like but nothing could have prepared me for this! I just sat on the toilet with my legs spread apart and my head between them (classy) as it was the most comfortable and safe position I could attain. By this time, Bryan had called the taxi and was coaxing me to put my coat and slippers on. All I could say was, “I can’t. I can’t move.” Somehow, I made it into the elevator and down to the waiting taxi. Bryan made jokes on the way to the hospital about Bryson being born on his birthday and taking the spotlight away from Daddy.
At 6:30am on May 7th, we arrived to admitting at Sunnybrook Hospital and I measured in at 5cm dilation. They barely finished asking me before I said “yes!” to the walking epidural. I had told Bryan that I would try my best to go without as long as I could but even as someone who has a high tolerance for pain, I just couldn’t muster it any longer. Bryan was more than supportive about my decision. Unfortunately, I had a contraction during the administration of the epidural but Bryan was my focus and my calm during the whole process, which lasted only seconds. After a few minutes, I could feel the pain grow more and more faint as each contraction passed. Soon after I was texting family to let them know we were in labour.
It seemed like a very long wait before I could begin ‘pushing’. The walking epidural seemed to have lengthened the time in between contractions and they weren’t as intense as when I first arrived to the hospital. As a result, I was given pitocin to help speed things along. Bryson was a little monkey even in the womb. My OBGYN came in 3 times during the course of 2 hours to turn him over in the right position but he kept turning back. I was told I had a frisky one on my hands.
At about 7pm, I was asked to start pushing with each oncoming contraction. It was the toughest and most tiring job I’ve ever had to do. I pushed for what seemed like 3 hours but nothing seemed to move the labour along. My regular OBGYN had completed his shift so the doctor on call advised me to rest and we’d try again in an hour. During the wait, the nurse came to check on me and discovered I had started to run a fever and Bryson’s heart rate increased. Apparently, I contracted an infection during the course of labour and we had to act fast.
The doctor on call gave us a choice between forceps and a C-section. This was a no-brainer for Bryan and I. We just looked at each other and nodded. So, I was prepped for entering surgery in the next hour and was given the talk about the effects of the anesthesia. The only thing that I feared was not being fully conscious or too nauseous to bond with my son as soon as he was born but I was okay with Bryan holding him first as it would be the most memorable birthday gift ever! With Bryan by my side and my hand in his as the effects of the anesthesia began (I was freezing and just wanted to throw up), I tried to close my eyes and concentrate on preparing to meet my baby boy. I was also very aware of the big clock in the room. It said 11:58pm and I thought just maybe, Bryson might make it here before midnight. It turns out Bryson wanted his own special day as I distinctly heard a baby’s cry at 12:02am. At that moment, I felt as if a million butterflies took flight in my heart and I began to cry out of pure joy.
Bryan was asked to look over the curtain that was separating us from the lower part of my body. Bryan was first taken aback by all the blood and the wide-open gape in my abdomen but it was only for a moment until he laid his eyes on his son and I heard him say, “he’s beautiful, Vic”. The doctor on call came to my side and congratulated me. She said the C-section was a wise choice because Bryson weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs and 15.5 ounces…a half an ounce shy of 10lbs! I was just happy he arrived healthy, strong and passed his APGAR test. It was the moment Bryan laid Bryson on my chest that my whole world felt complete.
Daddy and I love you more than you will ever know, Bryson…at least until that day you find yourself in a delivery room welcoming your own little one. Happy first birthday kiddo! xoxo
Victoria Wong | BonetPetit.com