Lisa Leonard Designs

Chapter two, Labor and Delivery

April 26th | older posts


I was admitted to the hospital at 5:00pm on July 2, 2002. They weren’t planning to begin inducing me until the next morning, but they wanted to monitor the baby. We had a HUGE room all to ourselves and they brought in an awful chair/bed for Steve to sleep in. The nurse placed the IV, very poorly, right on my wrist. I took a shower and watched TV with Steve. I kept hoping, by some miracle, that everything would be fine. A lot of people told us they had a feeling everything would be fine. *Just a note here, when someone is in crisis, don’t tell them everything will be fine. The nurse gave me an ambien sleeping aid and I rested well our first night in the hospital.

Early the next morning they began the inducement process. First they start with a topical gel. That didn’t do anything, so a few hours later they started a pitocin drip through my IV. The day went very slowly. There was a heaviness in the air. So many close friends and family were there. We felt very loved and supported, in the midst of the emotional strain.

At 5:00pm the nurse came to talk to us. They felt it would be better to stop the inducement and let me rest through the night. I was exhausted but I couldn’t imagine stopping. I didn’t want to rest, I wanted to get this baby out and get some answers. Stopping was not an option. I couldn’t bear to wait another day. The nurse wouldn’t budge. She tried to tempt me by saying I could have whatever I wanted for dinner. A pregnant woman will do anything for a good meal, so I agreed to stop the inducement. I gave Steve my order and he ran out and got me a bean and cheese burrito from El Burrito Jr. and a cinnamon roll from Hof’s Hut. While he was gone the nursing staff changed shifts. He brought the food in to me and just as I was about to take my first delicious bite, the new nurse came in and told me I couldn’t eat my precious dinner. She explained politey that if I ate it, I would poop on the table tomorrow during my delivery. I guess she didn’t realize that this burrito and cinnamon roll was the only thing standing between me and insanity. Plus, I reasoned, I wouldn’t be the one to clean up the mess, now would I? I looked her straight in the eye and took a bite. I wasn’t in a mood to mess around.

The next morning they started inducing again. Things went more quickly this time. Nurses and doctors bustled in and out of the room. At 3:30pm I was fully dialated and ready to push. Steve and Chrissie (and a whole host of doctors and specialists) were in the room with me and lots of people waited in the lobby. It only took about 5 pushes to get little David out. As he began to immerge, I felt panic well up within me. Would he look like a monster? What did the future hold for this little one? The room was silent. The doctors whispered. David came in to the world quietly. No crying or gurgling. The doctors quickly took him over to a side table to examine him. I heard whispers about his left hand and demanded to know what they were saying. After a few minutes Steve came over to introduce our new son to me. He wieghed 4 lbs. 2 oz. and was 18 in. long. His apgar scores were 8 and 9. He showed me his little hand. Steve explained that the doctors also notice his neck was short and he had extra hair. Extra hair runs in my family, so I wan’t worried about that. I touched his little hand. I felt overwhelmed by relief that he was so cute and sorrow that he was so different than I expected. This is NOT the baby we were supposed to have, I thought. First I prayed, God please don’t let this baby die. Next I thought, Maybe he will just die and we can start over again. Mostly I just kept thinking, why, why, why?

p.s. I didn’t poop on the table :)

20 Responses

  1. Brianna Heldt says:

    First of all that photo is really neat for some reason. Second, wow, what an experience. Reading it brought tears to my eyes even though I’ve heard it before. I can so picture feeling those same feelings and emotions, had it been me.

    (Oh, and I pooped on the table with both Anna and Kaitlyn! Sorry if that’s TMI, but let’s face it, childbirth is not for the faint of heart!)

  2. Karen says:

    What a coincidence – I had a two-day induction with Ben too. Maybe that’s why it was such a big surprise that when he finally came he arrived quickly – no doc was even there to catch him! I can definitely relate to your feelings when you first saw David.
    Our nurses weren’t tactful enough to whisper, however. Before I even saw Ben up close they actually were loudly pointing out all his physical imperfections and offering their opinions on his diagnosis (which turned out to be wrong anyway). I found that terribly insensitive and I will never forget it.

  3. Kristen Borland says:

    wow, lisa. thank you.

    and i’m so proud of you for eating your yummy dinner right in front of the nurse!

  4. erika says:

    I can’t even begin to comment on your story. I think I tear up EVERY time I hear it, whether or not others are around.

    However, I couldn’t help but think there is a life lesson here. Just go ahead and eat the cinnamon roll, regardless of the circumstances, and just let the.. (yikes, does this sound right here? :).. chips fall where they may! Sorry, I’d rather go for the “shake the head smile” than delete it :)

  5. chrissie says:

    Very honest, Lis. Brings back a lot of memories from that very scary and dark time. I love reading your story.

  6. Brenda says:

    Thanks for continuing your story! I’ve heard parts of it but not the whole thing in sequence. Very moving.

    I’m so proud of you for eating you dinner in the nurse’s face! Yeah! It is amazing how they expect us to do some of the hardest work of our lives while starving us! I sneaked in food during both of my labors.
    And as for pooping on the table…yeah, been there, done that…both times…

  7. michele says:

    I remember waiting in the waiting room for David…it was a huge room filled with sooo many people who love you guys.

    It would be really neat for you to make these posts into a book for David, with photos to go along with each section!

  8. annie says:

    I remember talking to you on the phone and one of my most vivid memories was you saying,”Why am I crying?? He’s just fine – it’s just my expectations that need to be adjusted.” At that moment and many after – I have thought – WOW!!

  9. Blomgren2 says:

    Lisa, I just found your blog through Nathan & Tricia’s and I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this story. I know that it’s a journey that someday God could have me on. I am blessed to be opened up to other people’s stories so that I can be praying for them and so that I can have a better understanding of things I have not experienced.
    -Kelly

  10. Andi says:

    I just found your blog, but I think I’ve seen your beautiful jewelry before.

    I pooped when I had my son & my doctor & nurse cheered for me- they knew I was pushing correctly. Don’t most women poop??

  11. Debbie says:

    The hushed whispers and concerned looks were abound in our OR when Addison was born. I will never forget seeing her malformed ear and just knowing.

  12. Shana says:

    The way you wrote your birth story made it so filled with emotion that I can almost feel what it was like in that room.

    Also, I cannot believe that the second nurse actually expected you to go that long without eating! Good for you for eating anyway. I would have too! Of course, in at least one of my births I hid food in my room and ate during my labor when the nurses weren’t looking. LOL.

  13. MissyMoo84 says:

    gee more tears and laughter. You are a funny one! Thanks for sharing your story in such a real and honest way. You are amazing.

  14. Joel, Ali, Levi, Jenna and Luke says:

    We delivered our first baby on June 22, 2002, seven weeks early, and we were in the NICU until July 18th(ish). Were you at Sierra Vista? Everything you are writing about is so similar to our experience. The nurses made us feel like we would harm our son by holding him too much and “overstimulating” him. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any friends who had been through this before, so we didn’t know that it was ok to stand up for ourselves. Everything turned out fine when we were eventually allowed to go home, but I wish we would have known how much the extra love and touch could help our little one. (I don’t even think any of our nurses had ever heard of kangaroo care.) Thanks for your story- love the jewelry, too! My husband got me one of your necklaces for Christmas this year and I tell everyone I know about your website…

  15. Melanie says:

    As I read about your labor & delivery and NICU experiences I just wanted to cry. I am a L&D nurse and I feel so bad that you did not get better care. It is so critical as a nurse to communicate with your patient clearly and compassionately. It sounds like neither of these things happened for you on behalf of the nursing profession I am sorry.
    Your son is so beautiful & appears to be such a gift. Good luck to you!

  16. carrie says:

    I also had a whole team of people in my room. The whispers and gawking…it was awful. I actually had to ask a nurse whether I had a boy or a girl. Everyone was so consumed with her “differences” that they forgot to tell me. The only reason I got to see and hold my little one was because my mother blocked the doorway and kindly told the nurses that they weren’t taking her anywhere until I got to see and hold her. Needless to say, they listened….I found it so ironic that just as I was becoming a mother, mine was there to protect me.

  17. Nina says:

    Dear Lisa,

    I’ve run into your blog accidentally but now I am very thankful for that. They didn’t notice any problem with my baby son till the delivery. He was born with unilateral microtia (right ear malformation) but he was healthy, heavy and brave boy. They hurt his clavicle (collar bone) during delivery and hadn’t inform me till the day we left hospital (with baby of 4,8 kg they should go for Caesarian).
    The midwife brought him to me after cleaning and all the procedure. She was afraid seeing his little ear and I have to comfort her because, for me, my child was and will always be the most beautiful and most precious life being in my whole life.
    So, Lisa thank You for being so brave and openhearted, giving me more strength for future.
    My son’s name is Dmitar, he is healthy 4 years old and we live in Serbia

  18. Jennifer says:

    Lisa,
    I can’t remember how I came across your website last year, but I did and I purchased a beautiful necklace from you that I cherish. After my engagement ring, it’s my favorite piece of jewelry. I intend to purchase lots more- when we have discretionary income once again.

    Through your site, I stumbled upon your blog and now I am a regular reader. Not only is your photography breathtaking, but your words are so inspiring. Each time I check in, I feel refreshed and grateful and I remember to slow down and as you would say… Be Still.

    I too am a mother, and I can absolutely respect how you felt and no doubt, continue to feel. Your writing is so eloquent and sincere. Thanks for sharing your life with a complete stranger. You should know that you’ve encouraged and inspired me to be a more grateful person and to appreciate all of the little things in my daily life.

    P.S. It’s also nice to have a place to come where another mother has a child with special needs. My daughter, Eliana arrived VERY unexpectedly 7 weeks early. She is 22 months old now and we still struggle with gross motor delays. It’s nice to be in such understanding company :)

  19. Sara says:

    First, I am in love with your blog. Second–holy crap, you are hilarious!!! I love that you showed that nurse who REALLY is the boss! Your strength and honesty touches me so much. Thank you for sharing your life with us. :)

  20. michelle says:

    wow, such honesty. you say things that are from your heart and seem unbreathable at times like this. thanks for sharing your amazing journey!

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