Flash back time! I’m writing this experience probably for more of a record to myself. Since it has only been two and a half years, it’s still fresh-ish in my memory. I’ve heard people say that as time goes on, you forget traumatic experiences. Although, I wouldn’t say Leilah’s birth was in any way traumatic, there was definitely a fair amount of pain. All-in-all, it was actually a pretty smooth ride. Samara’s on the other hand…stay tuned for that one!
I was VERY pregnant. I worked a desk job at an investment firm, so I wasn’t on my feet very much. I tried to walk at home or on my lunch break to stay active. But, during this pregnancy I had thrown all of my fitness to the side. I was very worried in the beginning because of our previous loss. So I decided to take it super easy this pregnancy to be on the safe side. Which, resulted in me gaining 40lbs. As you can imagine, that means my ankles were not happy.
I knew I was going to be a stay at home mom so I left my job at 38 weeks pregnant to be able to stay home and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy, while doing the rest of the nesting things. I had heard so many stories of women giving birth at 38-39 weeks with perfectly healthy babies, and I certainly did not want to go into labor at work. Little did I know that I was in for a much longer wait for Leilah’s arrival.
September 8, 2015
My due date. I was peeved. It was so hot outside and I was a miserable blob of sweat. I was walking 3+ miles every day. Squats. Lunges. Pineapple. Spicy food. You name it, I tried it. Leilah did not want to budge. Every time I went out to run errands and someone asked me when my due date was, and I had to say “last week”, I wanted to burn them with my eyes. If you’ve ever been overdue, you know what I’m talking about.
My doctor knew how uncomfortable I was getting and said if I didn’t go into labor by 41 weeks that we could schedule an induction. I was thrilled at this. GET THE BABY OUT! She was healthy, I had done it. Now she had to make her way out, and I guess she needed to be evicted. Should have taken this as a sign of Leilah’s personality…never doing anything unless SHE wants to.
September 16, 2015
We were told to be at the hospital at 4pm to get checked in and start the induction process.
I cleaned the house, made sure everything was spotless, the bed was made, our bags were packed, everything for baby was in place, so off we went.
When we got checked in they said I was not even one centimeter dilated. So my body was not anywhere near labor. I was tightly shut like a vault. No babies were escaping on their own. So I had to be started on Cytotec and have a new dose every 4 hours. This was to prep the cervix and give minor contractions. So, getting all hooked up to the monitor, having the IV shoved in my hand, and being given the Cytotec so frequently made for a very restless night.
I think that first night I only got an hour of sleep. AND THE BABY WASN’T EVEN BORN!
I wasn’t in any pain during that night. It was uncomfortable mostly. Being so giant, and in an awkward gown, with the beeping, babies heartbeat on the monitor, Shahbaz snoring on the chair next to me. HA! I tried so hard to force myself to sleep because I knew I was in for a load of work whenever things got moving. But it was no use.
September 17, 2015
At 6am they said I had a favorable cervix but was still barely dilated. So, the doctor decided to start me on Pitocin. By 8am my contractions were getting really close together and making it so hard to speak. I couldn’t find any comfortable position. Sitting on the bed, birthing ball, walking…it all hurt! (Obviously, it was labor.)
Since the hospital was really far away from our families, my parents decided to come early on just in case things progressed quickly. Which ended up being a good idea. I believe they showed up around 10:45am and came straight to the labor and delivery room to keep us company and help with whatever they could. They took one look at me and knew I was in a crazy amount of pain.
By this time I told the staff that I needed an epidural ASAP! I was struggling to breathe through contractions and was already getting exhausted. They were coming so quickly but not really changing my cervix at all. I was only about half a centimeter dilated when I got my epidural at 11am. When I felt the tingling start in my legs, I knew it was going to be smoother from there on out.
I laid down in the hospital bed on my side and the nurse put this peanut shaped ball between my knees to help speed up dilation. Since I had an epidural so early in labor, I wouldn’t be able to get up and walk around. So the peanut ball is what helps keeps your hips open to keep things moving along. And it did just that. I was moved from one side to the other every 45 minutes.
Shahbaz and my dad decided to go take a walk and get some food before it was time for me to start pushing. My mom stayed with me, braided my hair, and sat next to me while I took a nap. Everyone told me that if I had an epidural, I should try to use that time to conserve my energy. Which was such a great idea. Since not getting any rest the night before, I really felt like I needed that time to recharge. After that, I was going to push this baby out, and have a newborn to take care of.
By 12:30pm I was 6 centimeters dilated! The nurses were pretty shocked with how fast I was progressing after not dilating at all on my own before the epidural. Shahbaz and my dad were still walking so my mom started to call and text them to hurry back, just in case I kept progressing and needed to start pushing. She couldn’t get ahold of either of them for some reason. I was starting to get pretty worried that they wouldn’t make it back in time…when they finally showed up. Phew! Thankfully, nothing crazy was happening yet. Then my water was broken by the doctor and from there things seemed to fly by so quickly!
The staff decided to check me again around 1:30pm and I was already fully dilated! I heard that after your water is broken things will move faster, but that was crazy to me considering how my body did not want to cooperate at all before the epidural. I was so in love with it at this point. I was feeling literally nothing, and my contractions were off the charts. HECK YES! However, they told me to labor down and wait until I felt the urge to push. Basically, letting the numbing medicine wear off slightly so I could have more sensation. That helps you stay in control and have more successful pushes.
So, around 2pm the nurses decided to have me do some practice pushes. My doctor wasn’t at the hospital yet, but she was on her way. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous that Leilah was going to be born without my doctor there. However, I had such great labor and delivery nurses that I was very confident they would be able to handle the delivery all on their own. Thankfully though, my doctor showed up after about 10 minutes of pushing.
I had absolutely no feeling in my legs, so they were like dead weight. But, I could feel the tightness of the contractions and a little of the ring of fire. Shahbaz was holding one of my dead legs and a nursing student was holding the other one. I had felt like I was making no progress at all. Everyone kept telling me she was coming and to keep pushing harder and harder. Literally, like you’re trying to take the biggest poop of your life.
Finally, at 2:41pm, out she popped! Shahbaz says that she basically shot out. They immediately put her on my chest and she was the softest, purest thing I had ever seen. She took her first breaths right by my ear and started crying. Of course, I started crying too. I had imagined hearing my baby’s first sounds and it was amazing. There is no other feeling like it. She was my rainbow baby. The calm after the storm. We were in love.
After she was on my chest for a while, Shahbaz went with her to the other side of the room for her to get cleaned up, weighed and measured. I had to deliver the placenta now. It was taking quite a while and my doctor was mashing on my stomach so hard! My legs were still numb, but I could feel everything above them at this point. Nothing was making the placenta budge. My doctor was worried I might have to get a D&C, so before resulting to that, she used her hand to scrape the placenta out. Let me just tell you, this was AGONY. Shahbaz looked over at me and said it was like a horror movie. The amount of blood on the floor, and the doctor trying to retrieve the placenta was the craziest thing he had ever seen. I don’t know how he kept the shock off of his face, but I had no idea that anything was out of the norm until all of that was over.
After what seemed like an eternity, she finally retrieved the placenta. That part of the delivery was the by far the hardest! I got to hold my baby again, and my family finally got to come back to the room and meet their first grandchild. By this time, my brother Andy had made it after work, and got to hold his first Niece. Everyone was smitten.
I remember her tiny, wrinkly hands holding onto my finger. Her sweet little mouth looking for something to latch onto. I still remember laughing because she was born with the grumpiest face I had ever seen. She basically had a permanent frown on her face the moment she entered the world. And, for those who know her now, know that it is so fitting. We should have taken that as another sign of her personality to come. HA!
Now, enjoy a ton of throwback pictures.