What a gift: The birth of Leo

By Published On: September 28th, 2015Tags: ,

It was really hard to believe that we were going to have our second child any day. I was in disbelief; it had gone so fast. I wanted to savor every second I could, have a little bit of a life, and enjoy my time with Ivy—giving her maximum attention—because that would be gone soon.

The few days before Leo’s birth, we decided to have people at our cabin, risking going down to Yankton (which was just an hour and 15 minutes away) for one last getaway before baby arrived. I figured we would be safe; I wasn’t due until the 18th. We enjoyed the weekend filled with boating, hanging out at the beach, grilling and tons of playtime!

On Sunday, John and I decided, what the heck, let’s just stay for one more night because Monday was my 31st birthday. (EEEK!) We thought we could celebrate it by boating and basking in the sun. It was a risky decision because I had thought I had a couple tightenings going on, but it was too hard to tell. I thought, hmm, maybe these are some signs of labor moving in, but, we decided to stay anyway! I just wanted to be on the boat!


Of course, I woke up at 1 a.m., and sure enough, it was a contraction. Because my labor with Ivy was quick, I decided I better stay awake and monitor/time them. We would certainly need to head back home soon if they progressed. Well, they didn’t progress or get closer. They were 10 minutes apart, then 5, then 20—sort of all over the place. So maybe they were just Braxton Hicks. I don’t know. I didn’t have any with Ivy, so I was unsure—but something was going on. I decided to let everyone keep sleeping, and I’d go shower and start packing us up to head home to Sioux Falls.

We left around 8:30 a.m., stopping for a quick Starbucks, and I drove us home while John answered a bazillion voicemails. The contractions still weren’t bad or close together. They were getting a little more uncomfortable—but nothing major.

We got home around 9:45 a.m., and John headed to his office to get a bid out quick because I was sure I had a couple hours. The contractions still weren’t close together or bad (in denial … good strategy, haha).

Then by about 10:20 a.m., they were all of a sudden unbearable, strong and a minute apart and lasting for a minute. WHOA. That came out of nowhere! John got home, and we quickly packed our bags, which we hadn’t done yet (a really bad decision)! I couldn’t think with my contractions so strong and close. I don’t even know what I threw in there!

Anyway, my mom came over to take care of Ivy at 11 a.m., and we were at the hospital by 11:15. The contractions were rough and uncomfortable, but I was breathing through them.


They offered me a wheelchair, and I declined, remembering with Ivy that I probably still had an hour or two of labor. Well, I was wrong. As we were walking upstairs, all of a sudden I felt like I needed to start pushing! EEEK! So I took the wheelchair offer, and we booked it up there! They brought me to triage, and I sort of panicked and told the nurses, “No, I don’t need to be here—I need to push!” They assured me that they had to check me, and sure enough, I was dilated to 10 and ready to push! HOLY CRAP.

The nurses raced us to the delivery room. The doctor got scrubbed up and all ready—and told me I’d be having this child any minute. What?! I was still in shock. With Ivy, I had labored for an hour and a half at the hospital, then pushed for an hour before she even arrived. So I was expecting something more like that again. WRONG. Well, just four hard pushes later, and we heard Leo cry that sweet sounding newborn cry … the best cry ever. He was here.

They laid him on me immediately, and John and I just looked at each other like, did that just happen?! We could not believe it. We were both thinking, whoa, that was close.


If you know Ivy’s birth story, you know we had to go to the NICU because of fluid on her lungs. Leo came out very blue, and I panicked and begged the doctor and nurses to suction him out really well. I asked about his color, and they assured me that it was a normal color and that he was already turning pink and looking great. No NICU this time? Thank goodness. What a huge relief.

We had it our way this time. A perfectly healthy little baby boy … on my birthday!

I soaked up the skin-to-skin—exactly what I had been looking forward to since I was robbed of it with Ivy. I held him so tight—glancing over every baby wrinkle, counting fingers and toes, enamored with his adorable looks and falling in love with our new little baby boy. It was just how I wanted it—how each mom deserves to have it—cuddling with their new, perfect, healthy baby.

I could not have been more happy at that moment. We finally had him—our baby boy. What a spectacular birthday present!

It was an insane 20 minutes of birth. I only tore “skid marks”—I guess that’s what they call them—so I needed just one stitch. I have healed up much faster this time and barely had any swelling. I remember them asking me later if I had scanned in a birth plan, and I laughed. Nope. My birth plan was to wing it, and that’s exactly what I did. The doctor was hilarious. She told me I “dropped it like it’s hot!” I apologized for rushing them and told them that next time, I’ll come in sooner, but she just laughed and said, “That’s how every birth should be! We love these kinds!” I actually did, too—just walk in and have the baby. It was pretty nice, and I’m so thankful!

Later that evening, I couldn’t wait to see Ivy and introduce her to Leo! She strolled in with Daddy, and I immediately started crying. I was so overwhelmed with feelings and emotions! I was incredibly happy to give her a sibling, but also a bit sad for having to share time now. She crawled up onto the bed and wanted to see him right away. She was so adorable with how tender and loving she was! Swoon. She gave him kisses and really wanted to hold him. I was captivated by their interaction, and visualizations of their time together in the future danced in my head. Siblings really are the best.

And that’s Leo’s story. Fast and furious. Exactly how I imagine him to be.

Read more about Kaylee’s adventures as a mom of two at appleofmyivy.com.


Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!

By Kaylee