08 February 2016

Leo's Birth Story

I'm a sucker for birth stories. I love hearing how each little person enters this world. I love birth stories because they remind me that everyone has a story, no matter how insignificant someone feels in the world.

During the last weeks of pregnancy, I began to develop some blood pressure issues. They were not as bad as they were when I was pregnant with Isaias, but they were concerning given my previous history. I began to have biweekly non-stress tests to check on Leo, as well as weekly ultrasounds. The one I had at 38 weeks apparently showed some abnormalities, such as low amniotic fluid. That, plus my inching up blood pressure convinced my doctor that it was time to induce labor. I am no stranger to inductions- both of my previous deliveries were inductions. Tuesday morning I got a phone call that I needed to be induced the next morning. Whew! What a whirlwind! I began to go into overdrive- repacking the hospital bag, snuggling with Isaias, doing MASS amounts of laundry. I took a Benadryl to help me sleep, but I was so excited! I got some sleep, knowing I had to be up early the next morning.

Last belly picture! 38 weeks 3 days
Wednesday morning, my mom dropped me off at the hospital on her way to work- she would come join me later, but we both agreed the induction would probably be pretty slow to start. As of Monday, I was 0 cm dilated, 0% effaced. After stopping by admitting, I headed up to the L&D department. It's a locked unit, so I had to call to be let in. "How can we help you?" the nurse asked. "Oh, I thought it would be a good day to have a baby". I was taken down the hall to start all of the pre-induction stuff: chatting with the nurse about medical history, getting an IV put in, getting labs drawn. I taped a picture of Isaias and Cecilia up on the board. Around 8ish, the doctor came in to begin the induction. For the first time, we didn't start with Pitocin, but with Cervidil. I had never had Cervidil before; it was awkward feeling, but it did start contractions. My friend drove into town to spend the early labor with me. I am grateful, because it was nice to have a distraction from the early contractions. They started out slowly, but regularly. The contractions were about 5 minutes apart for several hours, finally increasing to about every 3-4 minutes. I was SURE that I was dilating now. The Cervidil caused a lot of swelling 'down there', it was rather painful. I tried walking around the unit a couple of times. I liked getting out of the room, where I was thinking about how hungry I was. When the doctor came that evening to check me and remove the Cervidil, it was incredibly painful! It took 2 nurses and my mom to restrain me, just so she could check me. I was so disappointed to hear, that after contracting all day, I was still 0cm dilated, but about 50% effaced.

The nurses took pity on me, and brought me a boxed lunch. I had now been at the hospital for over 12 hours. After I ate, the nurse brought  me a sleeping pill and started a Pitocin drip. I was hopeful that NOW I would start dilating. I walked around some more. I slept for awhile. I sat on a birth ball (AH-MAZING, by the way!). Every hour for about 20 minutes I'd have to get back into bed so that the monitor would pick up the baby's heartbeat. I was loathing this time because the contractions were the most painful in bed. When I was a brand-new CNA, I hurt my back. Usually I can ignore this pain, but I was having some serious back labor and Leo had his head exactly on the spot I had hurt. I wanted to cry. As soon as I got out of bed, the pain would be relieved, but those 20 minutes in bed were the longest 20 minutes ever. I would watch my contractions on the monitor, they were consistently coming every 2 minutes and having multiple peaks. Around 4 am, the nurses let me eat again. I was so thankful for the plain sandwiches and apple slices. I needed that energy. At 7am, the doctor came to check me again. I was maybe 1cm dilated and still 50% effaced! I was so sad! Never had I ever labored for so long or so slowly. But, I tried to remind myself that I also had never started from zero- with both Cecilia and Isaias, I had gone into the hospital already dilated a little and effaced. Both of them had dropped and were engaged in my pelvis. I met my new nurse, and the new doctor came in (at my clinic, you get whoever is on-call. I had already met them all). The doctor said he'd be back at noon to break my water if it didn't break on it's own before then. I had now been at the hospital for over 24 hours.

I walked around some more. The doctor now decided I couldn't eat anymore, so I was distracting myself. The Pitocin was still running, and it was definitely taking it's toll. My walk around the unit took much longer because I had to stop and hang onto the walls more often. I saw my nurse from the morning before. She suggested going back to my room and laboring on my hands and knees to get Leo to turn and engage. She was a smart cookie: I headed back to my room and labored like that for awhile. The contractions were very painful, but that was taking the pressure off of my back. When the doctor returned at noon, I was only 3cm dilated, and the baby was still SO high that he could not reach my water to break it. I started crying. I couldn't believe that I was taking so long. I couldn't believe that I had labored so much, and I had barely progressed at all. The doctor left, and my water broke ten minutes later. He came back in, and lo and behold, I was finally on my way.

The contractions increased in intensity immediately. I could no longer tolerate them. I couldn't tolerate my phone going off, Hector checking in with me. I put it away and didn't look at it. I tried to walk to the bathroom, but barely made it. There was a lot of pressure- Leo was moving down. I was crying. He was sitting on that spot in my back again. The doctor called and wanted a strip of my on the monitor; I had to lay in the bed. I had labored for so long without an epidural, and I decided I had had enough. The nurse called for an anesthesiologist- she was in a C-section with someone else. In fact, all of the anesthesiologists were busy. My nurse set up the sterile table- she thought I wouldn't be much longer. I was begging to have hem remove my leg- it was hurting like it had when I first injured myself. Leo was very low now, his heartbeat was down in my pelvis now. All of a sudden, I felt him coming. My nurse paged the doctor; there was no more time. She called for help, and suddenly, my room was swarming with other nurses. They were trying to break down the bed and set up the stirrups. All of a sudden I just said, "He's coming!", and Leo's head was born. One contraction later and he popped out! I didn't even see which nurse caught him. He began to cry right away and the nurses put him up on my stomach. They waited to clamp and cut the cord until the placenta was delivered, about five minutes later.

Leo was born at 1:53 in the afternoon. My water had broke at 12:10 p.m. I had gone from 3cm to holding our baby in an hour and 43 minutes. About ten minutes after he was born, the doctor walked in. I greeted him by saying, "You're late!". The anesthesiologist I had cried for followed about five minutes after him. Upon his initial assessment, Leo had a sort of 'rug burn' on his sides from coming out so quickly, and he scored 8 and 9 on his Apgar. I had a couple of small tears, which the doctor repaired with stitches, but he didn't numb me enough and I felt them. After what I had just been through, I didn't care too much. My nurse helped me to get up and get to the bathroom and get myself cleaned up. I could barely walk. I hadn't felt so terrible in a long time. I had just birthed my second son without drugs. I couldn't believe what I had just done. Phew!

Leo was weighed about an hour after birth, after we had skin to skin time, and had nursed. He has a champion latch from birth. He weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and was 19.5" long. His head was 14.25" around- just slightly bigger than Isaias's was. He is quite similar to Isaias in many physical aspects, but he is a mixture of both Isaias and Cecilia, really. Isaias is quite smitten with his baby brother, and Cecilia can't wait to meet him. Hector and I FaceTimed as soon as I was cleaned up. He is so proud of his sons.

Now that Leo has arrived, we can concentrate on recovery and getting back to our lives in Mexico.


  1. Why is it lately that you are not mentioning baby girl? I thought she was part of your family even though she isn't your biological daughter? What a handsome baby boy!! I do see he is a spitting image of your big boy!! Congrats!!