Thursday, May 11, 2017

Letters to Leo - Birth Story

Dearest Leonidas, 

For days leading up to your scheduled c-section, I kept losing more and more sleep.  The anticipation was hard to manage, as I couldn't help but worry about everything going smoothly, with your delivery and overall health.  I wanted nothing more than you to get here safely and for us to start celebrating as a family of five.  I think it's safe to say the night before your birthday, I probably got an hour or two of sleep.  I was wide awake when the alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. We needed to be to the hospital by 5:30 and I wanted to take a shower beforehand and curl my hair.  Daddy ended up sleeping in until 4:15 and then he got up too to shower and do his morning coffee routine.  We ended up leaving the PHFB a little later than anticipated, close to 5:00.  

We pulled in to the Women's Pavilion and daddy dropped me off at the door with all of our overnight bags.  When he came back we continued our tradition of taking one last photo before heading up to the 2nd floor (Labor/Delivery).  To this day that specific entrance gets me super emotional.  Daddy and I have had some special moments there leading up to the births of you and your brother and sister. 


Once we arrived to Labor/Delivery, one of the nurses took us to a receiving room where they began to prep me for surgery.  I changed into my gown and used the lovely heated wipes to ensure I was extra clean.  The nurse then hooked up a heart monitor to my belly to monitor your heart rate and any contractions.  When I first was hooked up, I wasn't having any contractions.  Then she started my IV and within a few minutes the contractions started.  I couldn't believe how intense they were getting and fast.  We were just in awe of how this naturally happened once I was relaxed and all prepped for surgery.  It's like you knew it was time and you were ready to get things rolling.  Auntie even came and stayed with us while we waited.  It was so nice to have her there as we chatted and it definitely was a distraction for me versus sitting there worrying about what was to come.  Next. Dr. Powell came in and reviewed with me what I should expect once getting in to the OR, followed by the anesthesiologist.  A little after 7:15 a.m., it was time.  A nurse escorted me to the OR and things sure got real, fast.  Walking in that OR is truly one of the scariest things I've faced. It's bright, cold, and there are about ten people waiting with their mask covered unfamiliar faces.  Dr. Powell wasn't in there yet and Daddy wasn't able to come in until they were ready to begin the surgery. 

I sat down and within minutes the anesthesiologist was standing behind me giving me instructions.  I had a nurse on each side of me holding my shoulders still as I hunched over and he administered the spinal.  It was taking longer than normal and my heart was beating faster than ever. The nurses draped a couple of heated blankets over me as I was shaking from it being so cold.  And then...my whole right side of my body jolted! It felt as thought I had been electrocuted (let's just imagine I know what that feels like..ha).   The nurses needed to brace me strongly to prevent me from moving further.  Later on the next day when we spoke with the anesthesiologist we learned he had hit a nerve which explained what I had experienced.  

I then laid down and continued to wait for daddy.  As we got closer and closer to starting the surgery, Dr. Powell told me she was going to start testing my abdominal region to see what I could and couldn't feel.  It definitely took longer than my previous c-sections to become numb.  The anesthesiologist even tilted the bed back so my head was directed towards the ground to help the meds move further up my body.  I heard one of the nurses say she was going to get daddy and within the next minute Dr. Powell made the incision.  Daddy came by my side, which was such a relief.  I started crying because I was so scared and with daddy there I finally felt like I could breathe. 

It wasn't long before Dr. Powell said they were almost ready to pull you out.  Dr. Powell lowered the blue part of the shade and left a transparent shade up, one in which I could literally see her pull you out of my tummy.  This was the first birth I actually was able to watch this part happen and it was absolutely amazing. I will never forget that moment that I saw you for the first time. You instantly started crying...maybe I should rephrase that...you started screaming. You had such a high pitch scream, all the nurses and doctors were giggling about your set of lungs.  The nurses took you over to the other side of the room to make sure you were doing okay, determine your weight/measurements, and clean you up.  Daddy was right by your side watching, taking pictures, and he was able to cut your cord.  You were born at 8:02 a.m. weighing in at 8 lbs 4.8 oz and you were 21 inches long. 





It was just a few more minutes and the nurse was able to bring you over to me.  She put you real close to my head and I just kissed your cheeks and felt you beside me.  I was in absolute heaven.  Baby boy you made all of our wildest dreams come true.  Never in a million years did I think I would be this blessed to have not one, not two, but THREE beautiful and healthy children.  That feeling in that moment was indescribable and one I will never forget.  




From that point on, daddy held you while Dr. Powell continued to sew me up.  My chest really started hurting and it became more difficult to breathe.  The anesthesiologist explained that it was because of all the pushing on my organs to pull you out.  I started freaking out a bit and Dr. Powell assured me that my vitals were good and that everything was okay.  The anesthesiologist gave me some meds to help the pain and it slowly began working.  When Dr. Powell was all done, they moved us all to a recovery room.  We were there for about an hour and a half.  The first thing I was able to do when we arrived was nurse you for the first time.  Right from the start, you were amazing at nursing.  You knew just what to do and latched on very well.  It was such a relief! Daddy took a few minutes to text everyone the good news that you were here safe and sound! 
Recovery room - about 9:00 a.m. 

By late morning we made it to the room we would stay in for the next 3 days.  The first person to come see you was Auntie and everyone else made their way to the hospital throughout the day.  Everyone was so excited to meet you, especially your brother and sister! By the evening, our hospital room was FULL! We had yet to reveal your name and for very good reason were waiting for Aris and Dayne to arrive before announcing it.  Since they were coming from Neenah after work, it took a little longer for them to get to you.  The actual announcement is another moment I will not forget.  The look in your uncle's eyes when he heard that we had chosen to name you after him was so sweet and heartfelt.  We waited until the following day to ask Aris and Dayne to be your godparents and I wish you could have seen their reactions.  I've witnessed some pretty amazing moments in their life and being your godparents ranks as one of the happiest times I have ever seen them! 
Meeting your brother and sister for the first time 





Cousins!

Auntie couldn't wait to hold you 

Nonee love

 Namesake news

Proud Nouno & Nouna 

The next three days in the hospital with you was pretty wonderful.  Nonee brought Ari and Elle to visit you every day and many of your other family members came for second visits too! We nursed, took pic after pic, and snuggled for three days straight (with many naps in-between).  That time in the hospital with you was so special to your daddy and I. Leaving the hospital with you, was super emotional. I was so happy you were here safe and sound, yet so sad our time together solo in the hospital was over.  I actually cried on the way home as I said to your dad, "Leo's only time solo with us, is over." As we arrived home, it became very real that our time would now need to be shared between you, your brother and sister.  Please know there isn't anything else in this world that I would rather do, other than love you and your siblings.  I promise to give you my heart every single day. Your daddy and I have so much love to give and we are so grateful God sent us you. 












Love, 
Your mommy 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Letters to Leo - Happily Awaiting #3

Dear Leonidas Aristotle,

In what seems like a blink of an eye, 9+ months of carrying you has passed and you are now in my arms.  You are our second rainbow baby and you have already brought us so much joy in your short time with us.  Rewind to last July...Daddy and I were taking a road trip out to Cape Cod with the family.  We had lots of time to talk...believe me, hours and hours to talk and one of our topics of conversation included whether or not we wanted to start trying for another child.  I can't speak for daddy, but mommy was scared to try again as we had went through a difficult loss in the fall.  We decided we were ready to try again and realized it could take awhile to get pregnant again, considering the challenges we had faced in the past.  Without any hesitation, we looked at each other in the car and agreed it was time.  We were ready to start trying! :)
 The day we decided to grow our family (also the same day we visited Niagara Falls)! :) 

In August, a few days after Ari's birthday party I realized I was about five days late.  I didn't want to test as I thought there was no way possible I could get pregnant the first month trying.  It was the morning of a zoo trip I had planned that I decided to test and sure enough I was pregnant with you. Daddy and I were so excited and instantly new you were meant to be a part of our family so it had happened so quickly.  The timing was perfect and it was evident that God had it all planned out...you would be part of our family.
Quick pic of what would be our secret for the next couple months 

While the pregnancy itself went fast, I still had my fair share of morning sickness, aches, pains, and illnesses.  The combination of these things while trying to take care of your older brother and sister and also balance my responsibilities at work was tough at times.  Even so, I loved being pregnant! One of the highlights I will always remember is camping up in Door County that fall.  I had awful morning sickness and the weather was cold and rainy.  There were very few glimpses of sunshine.  But, on the way to Al Johnson's for breakfast we looked over the bay and there was a rainbow.  I knew then and there that everything was going to be alright and that you would find your way into our arms.  I still look at that rainbow everyday as it's printed and framed in my bedroom along with the saying "Always believe something good is about to happen." (Thanks Nicole!) I did believe and here you are.
 You will forever be my rainbow baby! 

 13 weeks 

 21 weeks

 23 weeks

 26 weeks

 28 weeks

 29 weeks

30 weeks

 32 weeks

 34 weeks

 37 weeks

38 weeks

Other highlights during the pregnancy include how much your brother and sister fell in love with you.  Every single night they showered you with hugs and kisses before bed.  Your sister would get out of bed at least five times every night.  She would show up at my bedroom door and when told to get back to bed she would say, "I just want to give the baby a mockie and a hug." I never could turn away a sweet request like that.
Snuggles with you before bed 

We were lucky and had many chances to see you via ultrasound.  This was the first pregnancy that mommy was of "advanced maternal age" so we had extra ultrasounds to check up on you.  Each time we saw you it became more real that we really were blessed with another healthy pregnancy.

About a month before you were born, Nicole and all of your aunties surprised me with a "Baby Sprinkle" to celebrate your soon to be arrival.  It was absolutely perfect and I was so touched that everyone came together to be with us!



You came into this world via a scheduled c-section.  The picture below was taken at the hospital just hours before you joined us! I'll be writing more soon to tell you all about your birthday.

39 weeks pregnant - April 24th, 2017


Love always, 
Mommy