July 4, 2016

She's Here! Leighton's Birth Story

I'm dusting off the ole' blog to share the birth story of our newest addition, Leighton Mabrey Stepp. She came fast and furious on Monday, June 28th at 1:28pm, weighing in at 7 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches long.

Leighton's birth was completely different from Crosbi's and possibly slightly controversial in that I had an elective induction. I read many pregnancy forums where women basically said it was the worst possible thing you could do to your baby. That makes a person feel great. But I knew early on that I wanted to induce and felt incredible peace about my decision throughout my pregnancy. I had several reasons for my choice:

*I knew for sure I didn't want to go past 40 weeks. Crosbi was five days late and nearly nine pounds, and the last two weeks of my pregnancy were so miserable. I was in so much pain and not sleeping at all. I didn't want to put my family through that again. We induced the day before my due date.

*We live 45 minutes away from my hospital with no traffic. Second babies are known to come quick (which Leighton did!) and I was not about to deliver her on the side of the road. 

*Our closest family members are a good eight hours away. My mom is even further in North Carolina and I really wanted to have a plan in place for Crosbi. Leighton's due date was so close to July 4th that I was panicking a bit that I would go into labor over the holiday weekend when friends are traveling or have other plans and getting to Nashville could be difficult with holiday drivers on the road or back-ups at airports.

*Lastly, I was lucky enough to experience a "spontaneous" birth with Crosbi. My water broke at home, I had contractions in the car on the way to the hospital and was able to have a completely normal vaginal birth. My doctor was confident that my induction would be smooth since it was by second baby. I wouldn't have even considered it if it was my first (as you may remember with Crosbi).

Back to the story...at 5:00am, Todd and I packed the car, kissed our sleeping Crosbi goodbye, and made our way to the hospital. I will admit that even though I was confident in wanting to induce, I was anxious on the way to the hospital. I second guessed my decision because it felt so strange to know I would be having a baby that day but not feeling any labor symptoms at all. 

At 8am I was checked in and the nurse started my IV and pitocin. The IV may have been the worst part of my entire labor. The nurse blew a vein in my hand (ouch) and had to redo it in my arm. My arm throbbed the entire day. By 10am my contractions were regular but manageable. Todd encouraged me to go ahead and get my epidural so I could sleep, but I was nervous because I wasn't in any real pain yet. I went ahead and agreed to the epidural so that I could rest. While I don't regret getting it early (as you'll see later), the epidural was pretty painful. Because I wasn't having strong contractions, I could feel everything. I was so distracted with pain during Crosbi's birth that I didn't even feel the needle. Not the case this time.

Once the epidural was in place, the doctor put in my catheter and checked me. I was dilated 4 centimeters. An hour later (yes, just an hour!), I asked that my epidural be checked because I could feel the catheter and it was making me uncomfortable. Little did I know that it wasn't the catheter, it was the baby. I was dilated to a nine and the nurse was calling for my doctor. I will never forget the look Todd gave me when the nurse said it was time to push. We were thinking we would have hours before it was time. My doctor arrived and with one push (more like one and a half) Leighton was here. Her incredible quick delivery was such an answer to prayer and affirmation that we made the right decision for her birth. My labor was so quick that there is a good chance I wouldn't have made it to the hospital in time for not just the epidural, but possibly her birth. In an hour I went from 4 centimeters to holding my daughter. It's still surreal to me!

We spent the next few days recovering at the hospital. Leighton gave us a couple of choking scares and turned blue twice. I was a mess both times. The doctor's think it was due to her quick delivery and not having a chance to get the amniotic fluid out of her system. The pediatrician encouraged us to stay an extra night to monitor her, and thankfully she was much better by the third day and we headed home. 

We are so obsessed with our newest family member. My fears of not being able to love two, although real, were unnecessary. I'm head over heels and seeing Crosbi with her sister is a joy I can't explain. She completes our family in the best way.

Welcome to the world, Leighton Mabrey. You are so loved.