It feels surreal to say that Leah Hannah has been in our lives for a little over a month now. It has taken me a long time to be able to write her birth story, mostly due to time, learning how to be a new mom and wanting to make sure I give the story the attention it deserves. I don’t know if I will ever be able to put into the words what I felt the moment she was born. The experience was nothing what I expected but everything I could have hoped for.
On Tuesday, February 21st, without me knowing, Leah’s birth story began.
I had a Dr.’s appointment that day and since I had heard that first babies usually show up late ( Leah’s due date was March 6th), I wasn’t overly surprised when the Dr. told me I was only 1- 2 cm dilated . I had stopped working the day before and figured I might as well get the membrane sweep . By 10pm that night I had some serious cramps and Chris and I got excited that it could be the start of something.
But by the next morning, I was pain free and still pregnant.
The rest of the week was pretty low key, I did what I could to enjoy my first week off work and tried not get too impatient.
Around 10pm on Sunday , I started to have intense back pain that would come and go every 10 minutes. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get myself comfortable. By Monday morning, I was exhausted from not sleeping and starting to feel a little zombie like. I showed up to my Dr.’s appointment sure that I must in the beginning stages of labor. I was told I was only 3cm dilated but 100% effaced. The Dr. told me that she thought Leah would be born later in the week. The thought of being in pain and unable to sleep for another 5 days made me weak in the knees and I opted to do the sweep again.
By the time Chris got home from work on Monday , I was a mess. My back pain was out of control but I hadn’t felt a single contraction…. or so I thought. Around dinner time, I called Labor and Delivery out of desperation for a solution to the pain. The nurse highly recommended I stay home for as long as I could ,especially since it sounded like I was only having back pain and not actual contractions. Poor Chris, I think he saw me in a whole other light that night. I was in tears and there was nothing he could do to help.
Around 1am Tuesday morning ( now going on 36 hours no sleep) , I went to the bathroom and noticed I was bleeding. I immediately woke up Chris and we called Labor and delivery. This time they suggested we come in, if for nothing else than to get some morphine. I hated the idea of morphine. I had heard lots of stories about how it does nothing to help the pain and could hinder labor. As we packed up our stuff, I told Chris to not bother with the car seat since I was sure we would be home in a few hours. He brought it anyways.
Once we got to L&D , I was checked an amazing nurse, Nikki who Chris knew from school. I was hooked up to the monitors and checked for labor procession. Nikki explained that if I wasn’t four or more centimetres dilated, I could choose to have morphine and go home. If I was four or more centimetres, I would be staying in the hospital. Chris and I chatted and decided that even though it went against everything I wanted, I would get the morphine just so I could sleep. Nikki came back and checked me and I prepared to go home.
“4cm, maybe 5cm” she said. I couldn’t believe it! Nikki told us we were checking in and to get ready because we were having a baby that day! I can’t explain the feeling I had in that moment. Even though I ( obviously ) knew I would eventually give birth, it felt unreal to know it was actually happening!.
We moved to the delivery room and Nikki asked if wanted the epidural. Remember that post from a while back when I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if I wanted the epidural? Ha! That was funny. Course I wanted it but ever since Nikki told us we were having a baby that day, my pain seemed to disappear. Nikki told me I was probably on an adrenaline high and HIGHLY suggested I get the epidural sooner than that later. Smart women.
It took 3 attempts to get the epidural in. The anesthesiologist discovered I have minor scoliosis which made it difficult to find a good spot of the needle.
For the next hour my contractions were monitored. I was put on oxytocin to try to get my contractions into a more consistent rhythm. Around 6am, I was about 6cm and Nikki guessed baby would show up sometime in the afternoon.
7am shift changed happened and we had to say goodbye to Nikki. We met our second nurse, Andrea who was just as amazing ( seriously, I can’t say enough good things about the ladies on L&D). Andrea checked me and said she would recheck me in an hour.
For the next hour, I visited with my Dad and Chris and lived the epidural dream. I felt nothing from my rib cage down.
Andrea checked me again and gave me a look a will never forget. She calmly told me she could feel a head and she was getting the Dr. So much for a few hours until I would be ready to push! I gave the epidural button one last press before it was yanked out my hand ( hey, I was scared to go from zero pain to holy f*%k! I can feel this baby !
* This is the point when things get a little teary for me*
I remember looking at Chris and seeing the biggest smile on his face and his eyes get watery. I felt so lucky to have him beside me and keep me calm. I have always known Chris would be a great Dad and the look of excitement on his face was indescribable.
The Dr showed up and told me it was push time. All of our plans for Chris to stay up by my head went out the window. To my surprise, he didn’t hesitate went the nurse asked him to grab a leg ( he later told me it didn’t even phase him) I pushed for what felt like 20 minutes but Chris tells me it was more like 2 hours. The epidural never wore off so I was pushing blind. Andrea, Chris and my Dr. were so encouraging telling me how great I was doing ( these moments are the ones that really stuck with me).
After hours pushing , my Dr started talking about the possibility of the vacuum and then I saw the scissors. I panicked and I did the only thing I knew how to do ; I started wheeling and dealing. I convinced the Dr. to let me continue to push for about 15 minutes before she told me that if I let her do the episiotomy, Leah would be born right away. I was terrified of the idea but the though of meeting our daughter outweighed the fear. I caved and gave the okay.
One push later at 10:13 am, Leah Hannah Konynenbelt was born. She weighed 6lbs 9oz and made barely a cry. The Dr held her up to me to prove she was a girl (yep, I still had my doubts , even after the ultrasounds) and then placed her on my chest.
And then she looked up at me and my heart exploded.
I know this post was long and a bit overdue. Thank you for taking the time to read Leah’s story and for all the wonderful messages we have received since she has been born. I am excited to share more updates as life as a new mom and our new life!