Leyton’s birthday

by Katie on March 20, 2013

Don’t worry, we won’t be getting too graphic here or anything. But our girl’s arrival had too many little memorable things to not document for posterity.

Her story really starts roughly 24 hours before she made her debut. Just to be sure her mama was sufficiently sleep deprived before she even got here, I’m convinced.

Anyway, about 12:45am on February 1st, I made what was probably my third trip to the bathroom that night, and had a weird, strong, crampy feeling. I wondered if it was a contraction. I mean, I had never done this before. Who knows what they feel like before you have them?

But at 1am, there was another one. And 1:15. And so on every 15 minutes. Until 2am when it turned into 10 minutes. At some point before 2, I sent my sister a text (I knew she was up, unfortunately my nephew was in the ER getting fluids) asking if what I was feeling could indeed be labor. You know, the thing I knew for 9.5 months was going to happen, that my doctor had told me three days prior was very likely that week, but I still had a hard time believing it may actually be happening.

My sister said it sounded exactly like what she experienced the day my nephew was born. Which equally excited and terrified me.

Things pretty much stayed the same for the next few hours, with the time interval slowly becoming shorter. By 5am, I was timing at six minutes. My doctor had said to head in when I got to 3 to 5. And the minute he said that, I had decided I would get as close to 3 as possible before going in, since I was fully convinced I would have a full day of labor there anyway and wanted to make my stay as a patient as short as possible.

So anyway, 5am. Six minutes.

I knew Brandon had a hay truck to load at 7am, so I finally awakened him from his peaceful slumber, let him know what I’d been doing since 1am (he never even knew I had gotten out of bed), and suggested he try to load his truck at daylight, just in case we would need to go have a baby that morning. Again, I wasn’t fully convinced this was actually labor yet.

But Brandon called his truck driver, who happened to already be parked at our barn, and set out to load him. In the dark. Because we were having a baby soon.

He called to check in after he got the truck loaded, and I told him to keep working, things were the same. And half an hour later, he called again. And again, I told him to keep working. After about the fourth cycle of this, I finally told him I would call him when he needed to head home. Until then, carry on, business as normal.

Then, around 11am or so, my time intervals got inconsistent. Meaning that I would go six minutes, then 12, then four, then eight. At this point, I chalked the whole thing up to false labor. And by noon, everything had just stopped. Ceased. Like it never even happened. Like I had wasted the last 12 hours of my life thinking I was fixing to have a baby. I sent Brandon a text that said, “Work. No baby today.”

Which he was bummed about. Why? Because having a baby that day would have worked really well with the farm schedule.

I wish I were joking. But if you know him, you also know I am not.

After attempting (and failing) to nap some, I finally actually started my day around 1pm.

I got myself put together and dressed, did some work in the office for the farm, and gathered up things to run errands in town for the farm. On a whim, I pulled into the nail salon I pass on the way into town and decided to treat myself to a mani/pedi. In my mind, after all, I had just completed 12 hours of fake labor.

Little did I know, that “fake” labor was very much real. Just stalled.

So, I proceeded to do all the things any woman in stalled labor does:

  • Got my mani/pedi (which, for the record, I’m still sporting the remnants of six weeks postpartum)
  • Went to the bank and post office for work
  • Purchased my hunting license at the feed store
  • And pulled into Sonic across the street just for happy hour, but left with a Route 44 cherry limeade slush, small vanilla Coke, tater tots and Quarter Pound Chili Cheese Coney. And promptly went home where I consumed every last crumb and drop of that Sonic goodness. Oh yes I did. (Also for the record, that Coke was one of maybe three I will drink in 2013. And that coney is the only one I will consume in 2013. Both of these purchases were completely out of character.)
  • To balance that Sonic, I put my running shoes on and headed out for my evening walk. Where I proceeded to walk (waddle) 3.5 miles – an entire mile longer than the previous day – I was going to show up that false labor.

Our evening went as normal, with Brandon razzing me about my chili cheese coney (which he could not believe I purchased, much less consumed every last bite).

Around 9:20, while we were both camped out on a couch watching Duck Dynasty (Brandon’s latest obsession), I had another one of those “fake” contractions. I said nothing. I mean, I had already put the man through six hours of thinking we were having a baby that day, no need to go through that again. 9:30, 9:40 and 9:50 each brought another one. Still, I said nothing. We headed to bed around 9:55, but 10:00 had me shooting back out of bed and into the living room. (I found out later that again, Brandon never even knew I had left our bed.)

I decided I was in significantly more pain than that morning, but the feeling was the same type of thing, so I figured it would all be over in a few hours again.

Well, it was all over in a few hours alright…

Anyway, I proceeded to handle my pain in the living room, going from the couch to my exercise ball to a thousand trips to the ladies’ room, all the while not disturbing my husband’s precious sleep. The frequency and intensity of things continued to increase, getting under that magic five minute mark, but then around 11:30, everything got inconsistent again, just like they had that morning. Which again led me to believe I would have the same outcome. I was timing things at four minutes, then two, then six, then back at four.

But (thankfully) for some reason, I woke Brandon up at midnight and told him we should probably get ready to go. I’m pretty sure I told him something along the lines of, “We don’t have to hurry or anything, but we should probably load the car and get ready to go.”

So we did. And I know I asked him at least twice, “Are you sure you won’t be embarrassed if they send us home?”

He told me to knock it off.

Knowing what happened once we got there, it is comical that I was concerned I would be turned away.

So we loaded the bags I had meticulously packed a month earlier. Because, in Brandon’s words, I had nothing but baby on my brain after January 1st.

Before we even got to the freeway, Brandon looked over at me with big eyes, and said, “Katie, these are really close together, huh?”

I was slightly distracted in the passenger seat, and time meant nothing to me at that point, so I hadn’t even noticed.

Halfway to the hospital, he said, “If you tell me to pull over, I’m flooring it.”

Turns out, he had a much better grasp of the situation than I did. He swears there was a contraction at every freeway exit he passed. Translation:  every mile, traveling at 75 mph. You do the math.

At some point, I remember saying to him, “I wonder how much worse this gets. I mean, this hurts, but I could take more than this.”

Words I would later regret, Friends. Because I found out how much worse it got.

I also asked him on the drive if our current scenario was what he had pictured when he planned on driving his wife to the hospital. I don’t remember what his answer was, or if he answered at all frankly. He was a bit focused on getting us there. Good thing we had gone over the directions 17 times in the last couple months.

So this brings us to 12:45 or so, when we approached the hospital. I whipped out my handy little parking map I had printed off days before in my neurotic preparations, and had Brandon turn into the appropriate entrance. Then I remembered it was the middle of the night, and we would probably need to use the ER entrance, so I promptly instructed him to make a U-turn. And then we sat in the street trying to determine where the ER entrance was; me frantically searching my map, Brandon scanning the lights and signs on the street.

Eventually, we found it. And for some reason, we both agreed to him going in alone to see if that was really the entrance we should use. Mistake #77 in this whole ordeal. Longest wait of my life. Brandon finally returned, stating we indeed needed to enter the hospital there, but had to park the car first. I rode along to our parking spot. Mistake #78.

At this point, we were approaching 1am as we entered the hospital doors. And I think as a cruel joke, you have to walk approximately 63 miles from the ER entrance to the wing where they let you have babies. We had to stop no less than 11 times on this walk for me to bear through another contraction. I think this was the point where I realized I was probably in real labor. Good timing, Katie.

We made it down the never-ending hallway and entered the triage check-in area. I was pre-registered (of course) and (mistakenly) assumed that meant it would be a quick process. Beyond able to handle anything myself, I threw my neatly put together hospital expanding folder at Brandon, told him my ID and insurance card were in the front pocket, and to Handle. It. The lady at the window told him to have a seat while they completed this little transaction. I am certain I rolled my eyes at this. I mentioned the wait in the car was the longest wait of my life? I was wrong. This was longer. After what seemed like an eternity, a triage nurse behind the door finally took pity on me and went ahead and took me back with her.

The first place they have a laboring woman stop upon entrance, in case you’re curious? The scale. As if you aren’t in enough pain already.

After all the necessities were taken care of in the triage room, the nurses there quickly decided I was ready for a real room, and I overhead one of them instructing the other to call my doctor right away. Brandon finally entered the room, where I told him we were leaving with a baby, or so I had inferred by this point. He probably already knew that. I mentioned something to him about grabbing one of our bags from the car (the one I had packed for my 26 hour labor, not to be confused with the post-baby hospital room bag – I told you, neurotic) – since, you know, when we went in, I only had him bring the folder, since “we might not be staying.” Right.

The nurse overheard this, looked at Brandon, and said emphatically, “If there’s a bag to get, you better go get it. Now.”

So off he went, making the massive trek back to the car, and off I went back to a real room. I really don’t know how Brandon kept finding me, because I had no clue where I was, but thankfully, he made it to my room fairly quickly. My doctor arrived soon after, and pretty much said to get the show on the road. That quick. So we did.

And soon enough (or not really, from my point of view), at 2:16am on February 2nd, we had a beautiful baby girl in front of us.

This is where Brandon’s most memorable event comes into play. Just like in the movies, he was asked to cut the cord. But as soon as I heard that, I instructed him to get the camera and take a picture of that big moment. This went back and forth for a minute, with the doctor telling him to cut the cord, and me telling him to get the camera. Why I was even concerned with that at that point in time, I do not know. In Brandon’s words, “I was stuck between my wife, who had just birthed my baby, and this big man of a doctor who was getting fired up.” Brandon says that the doctor finally looked at him and forcefully said, “Cut it. NOW.”

So he did.

And off she went to get presentable. As soon as they placed her under the warmer thing a few feet from me, I looked over at her wailing, thrashing little body, and exclaimed, “My toes!” Because when you look at a baby and the first thing you notice is the length of her toes, she definitely got them from me. So yes, that is the first thought I had about my baby. Her toes.

Brandon says I told him to “go be with her and not leave her alone and take lots of pictures” after that.

So he did.

Then, when both of us were all fixed up, they handed her to Brandon, and he brought her over, and we took our first picture as a family of three:


Luckily, this picture does not show my bloodshot eyes and face. Just a couple of proud new parents. And their still-screaming baby.

After this photo opp, Brandon said, “So, what’s her name?”

Because the week before, when no other progress had been made on this subject, we had finally made a deal. I sent him a master list of somewhere around 30 names I liked. He chose his top five. And the final decision was left to me. I told him I was a little overwhelmed at the moment and it would have to wait.

He then said, “The nurses in here were making a big deal about you. But they see ten women every night do this.”

This is when I let him know I had not received any pain medication prior to birthing his baby. A little detail he had missed in all the excitement.

“Oh. I kept wondering why they kept telling me how strong and tough you were. I thought they were just being really nice and encouraging.”

He then began calling our family members, some of whom I spoke to, although I can’t really recall which ones. And then the text message went out to extended family and friends. And then all the replies saying, “NAME?????” came in.

Somewhere around 12 hours after she was born, things finally settled down enough for us to have a conversation about her name and make a decision. But all our hospital paperwork says, “Baby Girl Leister” and we didn’t get the big welcome announcement they give at the nurses’ station when you enter the recovery wing with a new baby. Because apparently your baby has to have a name to get an announcement.

Around 5am, Brandon’s family made their way in to meet our girl, and around 10am they came back with his sister in tow. His sister who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, and upon receiving Brandon’s call at 4am, had ran out of her house with nothing but her purse, driven to the airport in Denver, and boarded the first flight to Phoenix.

At some point that morning, when everyone was gathered around my bed, Brandon said, “It’s a good thing you got those toes done yesterday. Everyone has a good view of them right now.”

The rest of our 36 hour stay was a blur of baby and nurses and family and phone calls, until we made it home on Super Bowl Sunday for the best watch party I have yet to attend. Because few things are better to a new mama’s heart than watching her husband hold their baby girl.

So there you have it.

Our girl’s birthday.




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