Monday, August 16, 2010

Leo's Birth Story

It all began on Monday, July 12.

By then, Leo was one week past his expected date of delivery -- July 5. While I hadn't wanted Leo to be born early, I was certainly ready by July 5. So, as July 5 came and went, and the days passed, I got increasingly anxious about going into labor. Where would I be? Would I be alone? Would it be scary? But, even though I was anxious, we were both very excited to meet our little guy.

Us the Saturday before Leo was born ... getting ice cream at the Plush Horse
Let's jump back one day to Sunday, July 11. I woke up at 4 am with cramps and thought for sure this was going to be the day. I presented a plan to Adam: we should go into the city (where my hospital is) and spend the day... see a couple of movies, go out to eat ... take all of our bags, of course ... in case the little guy decided to make his debut. The cramps, I thought, were certainly a sign of the big event.

Adam says "Will you come today?? Or maybe tomorrow??"

We saw two movies (Despicable Me and Cyrus, both pretty good) and ate some Lou Malnati's pizza. But no baby action.

As we drove back to Oak Lawn, past the hospital, I told Leo that he had one last chance to bust out, but nothing. I whimpered a bit during the drive back home because I started to worry I would be alone when I went into labor (i.e. Adam would be at work).

Back to Monday. The work day came and went. Adam got home just as I was finishing up my work day. I started to feel a little funny, so I ate a bowl of Life cereal, knowing that if we went to the hospital, I wouldn't be able to eat anything. I started to have what I thought were contractions (based upon this description from Adam's mom: contractions will start in the back, move around to the front of your abdomen, and "crescendo"... start mild, get worse and then pass). So, I pulled out my iPod Touch and launched my contraction timer app. Sure enough, they were contractions. They started to get worse -- I felt like I couldn't sit down but I couldn't walk either. So I told Adam he should probably eat dinner because we were going to the hospital.

I didn't want to come home to a dirty kitchen so I insisted that we unload/load the dishwasher before we leave. This was kind of funny because I would go from taskmaster to evil woman every time a contraction came. But we completed the chore and off we went to the hospital. Luckily, it was about 6pm. So we had no traffic from our house into the city and made it to Northwestern in about 35 minutes.

Us on July 5, my due date... love Adam's face in this photo... hee hee

We checked into triage and I was dilated two centimeters. This was progress from my last appointment three days earlier, when I was only dilated one centimeter. However, doctor's orders were for me to walk the halls of triage for a hour. If I was in true labor, my contractions would worsen (fun!). If I was in false labor, they would die down and I would go home.

So, we walked for a hour. That was one tough hour, I will say that. Sure enough, contractions got worse and when the nurse checked me, I was dilated to four centimeters. It was time to go up to labor and delivery.

Now... I will *attempt* to a make a long story short ...

I was admitted. I got my epidural around 11 pm and I felt so much better. I remember telling the anesthesiologist she was my most favorite person ever. I give props to women who can give birth drug free, but for me, it was the way to go. The epidural allowed me to rest and gave me relief from my contractions, which had started to make me shake and feel nauseous. Throughout the night, the doctors broke my water and then continued to monitor me and check my progress.

There were a couple of scary things that happened. At one point, the doctors determined that Leo had his first bowel movement in the womb. This meant that a team of pediatricians would need to be present for the delivery so they could suction any stool, called meconium, out of the baby's airways. They warned us that we would not hear Leo cry until the pediatricians were done suctioning the little guy. In addition, there were two times where nine or ten doctors/nurses rushed in the room because the little guy's heart rate dropped. They would have me change positions on the bed -- at one point, they asked me to get on all fours... very difficult when you are numb from an epidural -- until Leo's heartbeat was normal. Luckily, a friend had told me that this happened to her, so I did my best to stay calm. Everything was okay.

When I made it about eight centimeters, my doctor came in to check things out. Leo's head was in the perfect position, but I wasn't dilating all the way. To make things more difficult, when they would increase my pitocin in order to strengthen my contractions, and help dilation, Leo's heart rate would decelerate. So, the doctor said he would let me go one more hour, and they would increase the pit slowly to see if they could get me to ten centimeters. If not, I'd be having a C-section. I told the doctor, "You're the boss". While I didn't want a C-section, at that point, I wanted Leo out safely. Plus, even with the epidural, my body was tired and ready to be done.

When the doctor came back an hour later, Leo's head had continued to drop into the perfect position and I was nearly ten centimeters dilated. After a couple of pushes, the doctor helped me a little so I was fully dilated. Hooray! Almost time to push! He suggested we turn down my epidural so I could feel the "urge" ... so they did just that and I started pushing at about 10 am on Tuesday, July 13.

Three hours later, Leo was born! 

The pushing was tough and after two hours, Adam said he heard my doctor ask one of the other people in the room (there were about nine or ten) if the operating room was ready -- meaning, I wasn't progressing enough with my pushing so he was considering a C-section. However, Adam said that was the point where I piped up and said "Hey! My epidural has kicked back in and I can do this! I feel good!". Turning down the epidural had helped me to feel the "urge" I guess, but it also made me very uncomfortable and unable to focus on pushing. So I had asked them to turn it back up so I could focus on my pushing instead of the pain.

I kept my eyes closed the whole time. Adam was right there with me and he was a great support person. I did open my eyes at the end, when Leo was born, at the urging of the doctor. So I got to see the little guy right when he came out. It was amazing. I was relieved it was over, and Leo was out safely. They whisked him away to get checked out. Everything was just fine.

Some pictures from the big day:

Leo minutes after he arrived
Clean and swaddled
Big foot!
Peanut, ready for his close-up
Tired but happy momma with baby
Proud papa with baby
Meeting Grandma and Grandpa Nemec for the first time
Aunt Katie and Uncle Joe stopped over to meet Leo too

Leo's birth was an amazing experience. All in all, it took about 19 hours. But he was well worth it! It was definitely one of the best days of our lives. I don't think either Adam or I will ever forget that day. We love him very much.


Kathie said...

I know this sounds crazy, but I think you stopped us going into Target in Orland Park several days after we had our asked how we liked the Graco Snugride.

Harky's Soulmate said...

Carole! I love the birth story. I have heard it before, but reading it was so great too. You looked AMAZING after having him. Thank you for sharing pictures with us too. Love the videos. Time flies way to fast!!!!!


Alexandra & Family said...

I love your birth story, thanks for sharing all the details. You are such a trooper, I know it had to be tough. So happy you got to experience the miracle of life--it's totally life changing in so many ways. Can't wait to see you, Adam and Leo in September! xoxo, Gina