One year ago today, it was 05/21/2015, a sunny Thursday.
One year ago today I headed to work just like any Thursday.
I was more tired one year ago today, though, being 9 months pregnant and having stayed out til midnight the night before with my little sister, to catch the theater’s last showing of Cinderella. We had lots of plans for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend – pedicures, barbecues, walking a baby out. It was sure to be a fun, relaxing final week of pregnancy before the baby arrived!
The baby. Leonidas Owen. I dreamed about him, before I even knew I was pregnant. I dreamt about his name and about his birth – woke up in the middle of the night in a panic thinking I had dropped him after a very real, and very intense, dream. Three days later I tested and saw two little lines. After several months of waiting and hoping, it was finally our turn for baby #2! We were excited and looking forward to the second round of pregnancy, hoping it would be different than the first where I vomited for 42 straight weeks.
It was different all right.
- At week 6 I blacked out at my desk from severe back pain, and ended up in the ER. They said they couldn’t help me since I was pregnant, and sent me to the chiropractor and then home.
- At week 7 I was back in the ER, and this time they kept me for 4 days, thanks to a nasty bout of gallstone pancreatitis.
- Weeks 7-13 I was considered high risk and on a very restricted diet while waiting for the pregnancy to advance far enough for surgery to be reasonably safe for both of us. Lots of doctor appointments, and another 2 ER trips took place, and then finally, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal).
- 2 days before the 15 week mark, on the way home from a post op follow up appointment, we were rear-ended and our vehicle totaled. Back to the hospital we went. Ultrasounds showed a hematoma on the placenta (internal bleeding). I was once again high risk. The bonus was, they confirmed that we were indeed having a baby boy!
- Weeks 15-20 were frequent appointments to monitor both baby and hematoma, to ensure the former was growing, and the latter was not.
- At week 21 during our anatomy scan, they noted that the hematoma had resolved and I was no longer high risk. I was SO happy to go back to the nurse midwives I had begun my care with.
- Weeks 21-29/30ish were blessedly uneventful.
- Around week 30, after failing the 1hr glucose tolerance test, I spent a drab Saturday morning at the clinic in effort to pass the 3hr fasting test. Pass, I did not, but I most certainly fainted in the middle of the floor and came to with shouts of “We have a code down here!” They loaded me up on a stretcher and rolled me up to Urgent care where the kindly old doctor told me to go home and eat a nice big breakfast.
- A week or so later, after a flurry of appointments, I was given a diagnosis of “borderline gestational diabetes; diet-controlled” and a list of do’s and don’ts for the remainder of the pregnancy.
- Weeks 31-38 involved lots of finger pricks, dietary restrictions, and appointments.
- Week 39 brings us back to one year ago today.
One year ago today, we had a team lunch in the park. I had managed to waddle over with the rest of the team, enjoying the warm sunshine, despite the exertion required to walk the few blocks with a giant baby belly. We were enjoying a nice picnic lunch under the clock tower when a co-worker stopped on her way to the restroom and asked if I would like to walk with her. I answered “sure, why not! I don’t need to go, but by the time we get there I surely will.”
We walked over to the Carousel and made our way to the restrooms. Discovering they were the one-sie type, I waved her into the Ladies with a comment of “I’ll use the Men’s – I won’t be long so I don’t mind.” Except what I HADN’T planned on was my water breaking while I was in there. It happened as I stood up, and at first I thought that maybe I still needed to pee. I sat back down and it stopped. This happened about 4-5 times – a stream when I stood, then nothing when I sat. By this time I could hear a line forming outside the door, and a few people fiddling with the handle. A moment or two later, there was a sharp knock and a “this is a staff member! Is anyone in there?” I managed to squeak out an “It’ll be just a minute”, which quickly returned a shocked “It’s a FEMALE!!” response from outside. The looks on the line of male faces when I came waddling out a moment later were absolutely priceless.
I found my co worker patiently waiting for me, and quietly said, “I think my water broke!” as we began our walk back to the team. I didn’t know what to do or say, as I still wasn’t sure if my water had broken, or I had just peed myself. She made that decision for me as we arrived back to the team and she announced that my water had broken! Cue 15 people jumping to their feet and all talking at once. I called Oliver at that point and told him to come pick me up, while a couple of people walked back with me towards the office. The fluid started gushing out at this point, and I was relieved to know it was the real deal.
20min later we arrived at L&D to check in. The nurse asked the initial intake questions, including “what brings you in?” to which I replied, “my water broke!” Her surprise was hilarious as we turned towards our room and she saw the soaked legs of my jeans – “oh! Yeah it did!”
I got changed into the gown and we settled into the room, said hello to friends that were on their way out from delivering their baby the day prior, and then… Nothing. I felt GREAT. In fact, I felt better then than I had in months. The contractions that had been on and off for the past couple of days stopped completely. I was finally not nauseous. Other than the occasional gush of fluid and the giant belly, I didn’t feel as though birth was imminent. So we waited. And waited. We ate food, chatted with the midwife, and waited some more.
Finally around 6pm or so the contractions started to become a little more noticeable. Around 8pm I opted to soak in the tub, as my goal this time around was to wait until the last minute that I could stand it before getting the epidural, so that I could still eat and drink for a while. I’m not sure the timeline after that, as the 3hrs of active labor were a bit of a blur. I labored in the tub until the adrenaline and the shaking kicked in and then I decided I was ready for an epidural, in hopes that I could rest a bit before pushing.
There was no rest to be had, though, as I was in the throes of transition. The contractions came on top of one another with little to no break. The anesthesiologist took ages to go through the paperwork and consent forms. Had I been able to speak, the choice words rolling through my head would have come tumbling out in rapid-fire succession. I settled instead for gritted teeth and a few murderous glares, which Oliver quickly translated for me. Epidural placed, they rolled me side to side a few times, in effort to numb both sides, as I could very much still feel one and it was almost time to push.
Epidural or no, this boy was coming NOW. Fortunately for me, it kicked in on the first push. I was able to focus then on the task at hand, albeit with a few moments of panic just before he was delivered, where I said “I can’t do this!!” But do it, we did, and Leonidas Owen made his début at 10:55pm, pooping on his way out. He wanted to nurse within 10min of birth and we spent the first hour getting acquainted while the placenta was delivered and a small tear sewn up. They weighed him in at 8lbs 9oz and he measured 21 ¾” long! I had to ask them to repeat the weight twice, because I didn’t believe I had heard it right the first time. I knew he would be bigger than Olivia, but I wasn’t expecting nearly 2lbs bigger.
Leo’s name means “Lion-like Young Warrior”, and that he has been, from the moment he existed. Despite a rough nine months in the womb, and a tough first few weeks, he is the happiest baby I’ve met and always has a smile or a laugh for those around him. Currently, at 1yr old, he loves eating anything and everything, red cars, balls, Daddy’s computer, and outside. He weighs 20+lbs and is quickly catching up to big sister in size and strength. We are so glad that he is ours.
Happy Birthday Leonidas Owen, love you to the moon and back!