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Brayden’s Birth Story

At 7:11am on December 19th, 2018, our lives changed forever. Little things that used to seem SO big to us have never felt smaller now that our precious boy is here with us. Colby & I have truly learned what it means to slow down and appreciate life during these past three weeks. THREE WEEKS. How has Brayden already been here three entire weeks? It seems like it was just yesterday that he was making his debut into this world 6 days late…

Brayden Joseph Hendricks was due to be born December 13th, 2018. However, our little man had different plans. His due date came and passed, but he was not set on making his arrival yet.

Due Date Has Passed

We waited 6 days past his due date until my OBGYN, Dr. Kil, made the decision that it was no longer for me or Brayden to keep him in there any longer. We met up at Mary Washington Hospital at 3:30pm on December 18th and started the induction process with cervidil. I didn’t do much research on cervidil because I didn’t want to psych myself out. I actually don’t deal with blood or health issues very well, so it was for the best. Therefore, I had no idea what to expect! Apparently, cervidil typically takes about 12 hours to break down your cervix so you start going into labor. Well, this was definitely not the case for me. We put the cervidil in at 4:30pm and by 10pm, the nurse came in to check and see how I was doing.

At this point, Colby & I had just been watching tv, playing games on our phones, and waiting. Just waiting. She asked if I was in any pain or needed anything and I told her I was completely fine! She then said, “Oh, well, I’ve been monitoring you for the past hour and you’ve been having contractions for the past hour. Nothing too strong though, and baby is doing just fine”! I couldn’t believe that I had no idea I was having contractions… how weird is that?!

Time To Make a Decision

The nurse left and told me to call her if anything changed. Well, ironically 10 minutes later (this lady definitely knew what she was talking about), I started having actual contraction pain. It was pretty insane that the pain went from 0 to about a 5 in 10 minutes! I called her back in to let her know what was going on, and then she called the on-call doctor to get approval for 2 options – 1. Take ambien to get some sleep since I wasn’t dilating yet or 2. fentanyl to help with the pain. I had no idea what to do so she left for a minute for us to discuss it together.

By the time she came back, my pain level was quickly approaching a 7 or 8, so I decided on the fentanyl. They started the fentanyl and I was able to get about 10 minutes of shut-eye. But then, I was awoken by contractions again that were SO severe. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

She checked my cervix again and I had FINALLY dilated to 4cm! YAY! That meant it was time for the epidural. Y’all, I couldn’t BELIEVE how excited I was to get a huge needle stuck in my back. Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about that. All I could think about was how painful it was and how ready I was for some relief. She called the on-call doctor for approval and paged the anesthesiologist…

This is when the stress kicked in. For 15 minutes (no exaggeration), he wasn’t answering his pager. I was freaking out because I was dilating very fast at this point and the nurse was concerned we were going to miss my window. I couldn’t even fathom delivering without the epidural at that point.

Epidural Time

The on-call anesthesiologist answered her pager and came in to start the epidural! Thank goodness!! I was having contractions about 45 seconds apart at this point and was trying to crack jokes to the nurses and anesthesiologist to try and make the mood a little more lighthearted. Colby had to stand behind the nurse (who was holding my hands) while they injected the epidural. I felt a rush of warmth throughout my back and then my right side of my body numbed.

My left side, however, wasn’t cooperating and we spent a good 30 minutes flipping me over and using this peanut shaped ball to try and move the epidural to my left side. They were eventually able to make it go to my left side as well. Praise the lord! Because it was one of the weirdest experiences to feel contractions on only one side of your body for 30 minutes, haha!

Contractions, contractions, contractions

After the epidural, it was SO much better. I dilated extremely fast from this point on and was even able to get about an hour’s worth of sleep! After that little nap (Colby & Courtney participated too), I had reached 10cm dilated and it was time to push. What I DIDN’T REALIZE about this part was that they had to take away some of the epidural for me to be able to push. You have to be able to feel when you’re contracting to know when to push. You’d think that’s common knowledge, but I had no idea. So they took the epidural down to 50% and the pain I felt was immediate and like nothing I’d ever experienced before. If I was doing that pain scale, it would’ve been a 20 out of 10. SO PAINFUL.

Around 5am was when I started pushing and his little self didn’t make his appearance until 7:11am. 2 hours of pushing later, our little man made his entrance into the world and has changed our lives forever. The 2 hours of pushing was one of the most frustrating and agonizing experiences I’ve had, but it was SO worth it. Just look at him – he is SO darn adorable and sweet. We love him so much and couldn’t be more thankful and grateful to have him in our lives. It turns out that he was still upside down (which is good), however, he was “sunny side up”, which is apparently problematic?

I didn’t realize that they had to face a certain way either… We tried to get him to turn for about an hour and a half. Pushing with each contraction, turning over in between. He finally turned and I was SO frustrated by the end that I looked up and was able to see his hair! I was so motivated that when the very last contraction came, I pushed so hard that I thought my eyes would pop out. They didn’t… but I did pop every blood vessel in my face and upper chest – LOL!

Welcome, Baby Brayden!

Finally, the doctor (not my OBGYN by the way, Dr. Kil) pulled him out and let Colby cut the cord. The look on Colby’s face when he saw our son for the first time is something I will never forget. I’ve literally never seen my husband cry in the 6 years we’ve been together. But he was crying when he met our baby boy. I’m crying now as I write this because I could just see how much he loved him already. It’s just so insane that you can love someone more than your partner and you’ve never even met them before. But that’s how it is. We both loved him so much and had no idea how he would change our lives until we saw him.

Then, the nurses placed Brayden on my chest and cleaned him up. We got to love on him and get to know our son a little bit. Courtney was there to document this entire experience and I’m SO grateful for her. Especially because it is SO hard to remember some parts of it because of how exhausting 2 hours of labor was on me! By the time we were holding him, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. I remember Courtney was taking some photos of our new families and I literally had to wait for her to say “3” to open my eyes.

All Worth It

We eventually got wheeled to the other side of the hospital to the mama & baby ward, and they took Brayden to get his first bath. They let us get some rest while they bathed him and had him in the nursery for a couple hours. This allowed us to recuperate and get a little rest. I was destroyed by that point, so it was much needed and much appreciated. But again, like I said earlier, it was so worth it. Every ounce of pain I experienced, every tear, every scream, every earthquake shake I felt… I’d do it all over again for this little boy. He is our world now and we are so happy to finally have our little bundle of joy with us.

To view more personal posts, check them out here!

Thank you so much Courtney Morgan Photography for documenting this precious time in our lives for us!

  1. Jillian Smith says:

    These pictures are phenomenal !! I’m so glad you were able to capture these precious Memories something that you can cherish forever. He’s so handsome and you are absolutely glowing beautifully. Motherhood is the most amazing thing in the world and you have been given such an amazing gift. Welcome to Motherhood mama I hope you and Colby have an amazing adventurous next 18 years. Xoxo Jillian,Josh,& Jax.

  2. Kristin Colozza says:

    Ooohhh my, these pictures are SO incredible!!


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Jessica Green Photography provides a full service portrait experience for busy mamas at her studio is located in Warrenton, VA. She serves the greater DC and Northern Virginia areas. She is also available for travel to areas including but not limited to Fredericksburg, Gainesville, Manassas, Alexandria, Stafford, Leesburg, Arlington, Reston, Herndon, Vienna, and Woodbridge. Jessica photographs simple, organic, and timeless newborn, maternity, family, and milestone photography in her studio and on location.