It was Monday afternoon September 28th. Chris and I were both feeling anxious and slightly disappointed that Leo hadn’t arrived yet. That sounds a bit silly thinking that because my due date wasn’t until October 5th. But my incredibly discerning husband knew that the Holy Spirit had spoken September 28th or 29th to him. I used to roll my eyes at Chris when he would pull out dates “from God” like that. But after the Lord told Chris our wedding date would be August 30th when we didn’t even have his visa to come to America yet, I’ve started taking his “gut” feelings seriously. (If you didn’t already know, we got married on 8/30 and got his visa in 8 weeks when the process is supposed to take 9 months. Ok anyway…J) So back to Monday the 28th. It was early evening and still no Leo. We are both thinking “welp…didn’t quite hear God this time” ha. But when 8:00pm rolled around, we just about freaked out when my water broke. I was sitting on the couch (on a towel #prepared) watching the Voice. I stood up and gave Chris this stunned look. I was speechless and he was like “What?!” I said “Uhhh, I think my water just broke” and we both just laughed and didn’t know what to do. I wanted to be sure that it broke before calling the hospital so we gave it about ten minutes to see if the sporadic gushing stopped. It didn’t. (Did you know only 8% of women’s water breaks spontaneously?! Never knew that.)
So I call triage. They tell me to come in immediately and that I would be having a baby in 24 hours or less! I felt so unprepared in that moment. If you know me at all you know I’m always prepared, for every thing, every scenario, way ahead in advance. So it was a bit hilarious in that moment I had no idea what to do. I don’t think it became real to me that I was having a baby until then. Sounds crazy – but seriously. That was a real moment. PTL for pre-bought maxi pads.
At this point I still hadn’t had any contractions. We got to the hospital at about 8:30pm and I was told to walk around to try and get them going. Our room was so nice. It was big and had lots of room to move around. We kept it dimly lit since it was nighttime and we wanted to create a peaceful atmosphere. A few hours passed and still no contractions. Let me remind everyone in case you didn’t know, I was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced about two weeks prior to this. So to be that far along and have broken waters, I was pretty stoked that I was almost half way there without any pain or discomfort. But I was also surprised that I was so far along and still no contractions. My mom drove up from Loveland and my Dad and Toni drove up from Greeley as soon as possible. It was nice having them there with us while I was laboring. They walked around with me and we all did what we could to take in every moment that was happening. It was an awesome experience soaking in those moments as a family before Leo came. We really really missed Chris’s family in Australia.
The Docs ended up giving me Pitocin at midnight to move things along. Lets just say things went from incredibly easy and laid back to incredibly painful and uncomfortable within a matter of minutes. Contractions started with a vengeance and I was literally doing full body convulsions with every contraction. This went on for about 3 ½ hours or so until I grabbed Chris and told him very firmly that I needed an epidural as soon as possible. I told him this wasn’t the experience I had been looking forward to. I knew it would be painful but it started becoming unmanageable. At this point I just hated every moment that passed.
The Anesthesiologist arrived within 10 minutes. He came and handed me a consent form as I’m convulsing and I gave him this “Are you kidding me right now?” look of annoyance. That was the messiest signature ever. Ha. The next 4 ½ hours were so restful and peaceful. I was able to get some sleep and spend time with my family. I went into this with the mindset I’d do things naturally. But the epidural gave me the peace I needed before Leo came. I didn’t want him born into a moment of my agony and pain. And I’m so glad that didn’t have to happen. (Random side note: the epidural actually didn’t work well on the right side of my body, and I was still able to move and feel my legs. But it did provide incredible relief from the pain even though I could still feel.) One of my favorite moments of the laboring process was when Chris was cold and wearing my leopard robe. He came and laid on my bed with me and cuddled me. He held me close and whispered encouragements and declarations in my ear. He told me I was strong and that he was proud of me. He knew exactly what to say and when to say it. He was so sweet, comforting, and caring the WHOLE time. He was so amazing. I will never forget those moments together getting ready to welcome our sweet baby boy!
It was surreal when my doc came in and said “Ok are you ready to push?” It was pretty anti climactic and I just looked at Chris like “weird, ok, this is really happening.” The nurses came in, and we were about to have a BABY. They detected some fetal distress and the Doc decided to have me start pushing on my side. I didn’t even know you could do that. It was later discovered that the cord was wrapped around Leo’s neck. My Doc started explaining how I would probably have to spend some time learning how to push since I had gotten an epidural and may not be able to feel myself push. Almost like preparing me for this long pushing experience. I just looked at her and thought, “ Forget that. I’ve got this.” It was all happening so fast. It didn’t just feel that way, it actually was happening SO fast. The next contraction came, and within the first push Leo was crowning. I had a mirror set up to see things happen and it was an out of body experience seeing a baby, MY baby, coming out of me!! The mirror helped my pushing at times and then at other times didn’t help. I was still feeling a lot of pain and so sometimes I had to look away to help my mind manage it. My Doc looked up with a smirk and said, “Ok forget everything I just said about learning how to push. He’s coming quick.” Within 3 more contractions and less than 10 minutes later, Leo was here!! The emotions in the room were thick. Chris shouted “LEO!!” as soon as he came out and me, Chris, and my mom were all crying. Here was this tiny BEAUTIFUL baby boy lying on my chest that I immediately got to call “son”. He was crying and the nurses were wiping him off and I was trying to wrap my mind around what had just happened. He was this incredible little being that I had already felt so close to, yet was just meeting for the first time. It was awesome having Chris and my mom by my side. Things seriously happened so fast. I had a SON!! The docs were doing all their routine checks to Leo – cleaning him off, prints, tests, the whole she-bang and here I was over here bawling and in complete awe of the moment. What a miracle. Words can’t describe it and you never fully understand that statement until you’re in that moment.
I got to feed him for the first time. Hold him and talk to him face to face and look into his beautiful blue eyes. Surreal. (I hope they stay blue!) There were so many emotions. The whole family was in our recovery room. Chris, my Dad, Mom, Toni, Jon, Matt, and Stef. Nana and Grandaddy. It was awesome having those closest to me there to share Leo’s first few hours with. It was really hard not having our Australian family with us. Chris’s parents and three brothers were introduced to Leo via Skype that day. We were all smitten and in awe of him. He had finally arrived. He was HERE in the flesh, real, healthy, BEAUTIFUL, and perfect. Leonardo Christopher Pace. 7lbs 4oz 19 1/2 inches long. 7:54am on 9.29.15.
Here’s a small slideshow of the day 🙂