Wow! Looking back at these photos is so surreal! It seems like such a foggy distant memory being pregnant with baby girl. This was the last set of photos we got to take before Leilani graced us with her beautiful presence. Thinking back to my labor and delivery story is a bit hard for me, I've gone back and forth between wanting to share Leilani's birth story and not wanting to share, mostly because I had a hard time accepting the fact that it went completely opposite of what I had originally envisioned. Throughout my entire pregnancy I made sure to eat healthy (of course I sneaked in a treat here and there, I mean I was pregnant after all) but mostly, I maintained my healthy lifestyle, working out constantly (like 4-5 days a week) and staying active by walking a couple of miles a week. Looking back, I would definitely consider my pregnancy a textbook pregnancy, everything was great! I never had a moment when I felt desperate to have baby come towards the last few weeks either! I was actually comfortable in my skin which sounds absolutely crazy when I look at myself in these photos! It definitely looks like I was ready to pop!
Lani was born on a Tuesday, the weekend right before I was experiencing constant Braxton Hicks, totally normal during the end of pregancy so I thought nothing of it, until Sunday night came and they were coming on stronger and more frequently. Shawn and I were so excited we began to time them, I even downloaded an app to keep track! We decided to tidy up our house and pack the rest of our hospital bag because we were so sure that we were going to make a trip to the hospital that night! As the night went on my contractions (braxton hicks) didn't stop but never got worse and I was getting tired of waiting to see if labor would progress, it was maybe 2 in the morning and my eyes were so sleepy! I remember telling Shawn that I was going to bed, if the contractions got worse they for sure wouldn't let me sleep or stay asleep. My thinking was if they were that bad I wouldn't sleep and we'd head to the hospital. It turns out I fell asleep soundly and woke up feeling sooooo disappointed from false labor and both Shawn and I were tired from staying up! We were certain that baby girl was going to come and she didn't. Shawn took the day off on Monday and we took it easy. Tired from the night before, I went to bed promptly at eight o'clock. Like one does in the last weeks of pregnancy, I got up to use the bathroom at two in the morning, a totally normal occurrence. At three in the morning, I felt a little leak and it woke me up. I thought it was strange, since I had just gotten up an hour earlier but went to the bathroom anyway, peed and went back to bed. When I got into bed, that's when I felt it, another little leak. I got up and put a pantyliner on thinking nothing of it and went back to bed. The pantyliner was soaked by the time I got back to bed and that's when I realized my water had broken! I didn't really know how to tell Shawn who was soundly asleep but I kind of nudged him and told him. He swiftly got up and we got ready to go. I did my hair and he made our bed so we would come back to a clean place after our stay at the hospital. I was always told to eat something before heading to the hospital, so Shawn made us protein drinks and I was happy to not leave the house hungry. When we got to the hospital I was already 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced! My contractions began on the way to the hospital, they were intense! I got sick to my stomach twice while getting admitted into labor and delivery. The contractions were so strong that I asked to be given an epidural as soon as possible! I was admitted into my room at five in the morning and was given the epidural about fifteen minutes later, which was heaven sent because those contractions were out of this world painful. The rest of my labor progressed quickly, and might I even add effortlessly. I was able to take a nap and rest, eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little girl. A couple of hours went by and the nurse checked me, I was six centimeters dilated. Shawn and I were so excited! By four in the afternoon, the doctor came in and I got checked again, she excitedly told us that I was at 10 centimeters and ready to push! I was feeling all the feelings! Excited, nervous, but ready to meet this little girl! I asked Shawn to record the moment Lani came into the world, I wanted to keep that first little cry forever! The doctor left but our nurse stayed and both she and Shawn coached me through each push. I couldn't believe we were about to meet our little girl. I pushed for one hour, then two. Another hour went by, and then a fourth. By hour five I was so exhausted. I had pushed for five, yes FIVE hours by then and I was giving every push literally everything I had. I was getting so upset by that time, the nurse kept telling me I was doing great but I could tell in Shawn's face that I wasn't progressing. Baby's head was crowning but she wasn't coming out. The doctor came back in and checked me, my heart dropped when she said baby girl was doing fine but coming in at an angle and it didn't look good, she was basically stuck, it would be very difficult for her to come through the birth canal. My option was a c-section. I instantly burst into tears. I couldn't believe I had a textbook pregnancy, the easiest labor, and end up in a c-section! Something I was never worried about (and honestly didn't give second thought to) during my entire pregnancy. I was so confident that I would be able to deliver her naturally, so a c-section was terrifying because it wasn't in our plans and I knew nothing about it. Shawn and I both cried, I was feeling all the emotions, emotions of sadness and disappointment because I felt like a failure, anxiety because I was about to have major abdominal surgery, and scared. How was this happening?! My epidural started to wear off, making all of my contractions feel more and more intense and that's when they began to prep me for surgery. Everything else is kind of a blur. I remember I got prepped to go into surgery but I was so loopy from all the drugs they pumped into me. I remember getting wheeled into the surgery room and complaining because of how bright the lights were, it was also freezing in there! I was shivering so much! A doctor came by and took a cold ice cube to parts of my body to see if it the numbing medication was working, I still had feeling so they pumped even more meds into me. Finally Shawn came in and the process began. He held my hand the entire time! It was such a strange experience, I felt so much movement going on in my abdomen area. I could literally feel them swishing and moving things around. I was under so many meds that I thought I was screaming out loud in pain, later Shawn told me I was whimpering, not really screaming like I thought I was. In the distance I heard a little cry! Baby girl was officially here! Shawn says he repeatedly asked if I could hear her but I don't remember hearing him. I do remember asking if she was okay, however I don't even remember getting an answer. Shawn followed the nurse with our baby (later we met up in my recovery room), but I stayed behind to get sewn back up. I remember feeling the swishing again, things being put back into place and since Shawn wasn't there to hold my hand, I took someone else's. A nurse possibly? I remember asking if they could hold my hand and they did. I was so grateful for that person! When I came to, I was back in the recovery room. Shawn was sitting in the corner chair holding a little bundle in his arms. He walked up to me in bed and gently placed her in my arms and I cried. I cried because she was finally here. At 10:51pm on a Tuesday night in February, after nineteen hours of labor and an unexpected turn of events, our baby girl finally graced us with her presence.
I now understand why they say you should have an open mind going into labor, because the unexpected can and sometimes will happen. Leilani didn't come the way I thought she would but I wouldn't trade it for the world. She is my little love and I am so so in love with her. However, recovering from my c-section was difficult. I had to have assistance getting into and out of bed, was swollen from all the saline that was pumped into me through my IV for TWO whole weeks afterwards, and I was heartbroken because it was so so hard to even hold my baby the first few days. I was SO SORE!! It hurt to sit, stand, and walk. The first couple of days Shawn did everything! From rocking her to sleep, to changing her diapers, and soothing her whenever she cried. Slowly, I recovered. As the days went by I began to feel a little better and better. Now we are three and a half months in and it's crazy how distant of a memory it all is. I would do it all over again for my sweet baby girl! She is everything I dreamed she would be and more! My heart literally tripled in size the moment she arrived.