Remembering Lakyn’s Birth Day

4 Aug


And, I added in some of the gross/cringe-worthy details.

Bit Bit’s birth month is here and now that D-Day is edging closer I find myself thinking more and more about the day Lakyn was born. I never actually took the opportunity to sit down and write out her birth story, so I’m going to do it now. This is obviously more for me, so I can look back on this when I can’t remember all the details anymore. And what a perfect time to reflect back on one of the best days of my life before I’m about to embark on another “best day of my life” soon.

First, some background info.

I was still teaching my second year of fifth grade at Pioneer Ridge Middle School in Gardner, KS. I decided I’d take the horrifying chance of having my water break in front of my class of 24 ten and eleven year olds (it didn’t) and was going to work up until I had Lakyn. Her due date was January 12th and the day had come and gone. I’ll never forget walking past a male co-worker in the office and he stopped to ask me when my due date was.

“Two days ago.”

I went back to my classroom and cried. Not because I was hugely pregnant and uncomfortable, but because I was so ridiculously ready to finally see and hold and love on my sweet baby girl. For the record, I think due dates are completely bogus. (Instead of a due date, we should have a due range!) I hate what they do to mom-to-be’s. Especially first-time mommas. We think, “Oh, my sweet baby will for sure be here by this date” like it’s some sort of expiration date or countdown timer. For me, I had it in my head that January 12th was it. I’d see her face by then. Of course, my doctor (have I mentioned how much I LOVE her?) tried to tell me numerous times that first-timers usually go late. I nodded my head but obviously thought that I wouldn’t be one of those women. My baby would be here by her due date. January 12th was circled on the calendar. So yes, at two days past my due date, anyone asking “You’re STILL pregnant?” would send me to tears. I had Lakyn on January 20th, a total of 8 days past her due date. I remember waking up every morning crying because I was still pregnant. It was hard, but she was worth every single second she made us wait to see her.

Going past my due date did have it’s advantages. At 40 weeks and 1 day we had a sono to check fluid levels (everything was normal) which meant that we got a look at our sweet bebe right before we got to meet her. The pictures from this sono continue to be my favorite. She looked like a baby, as opposed to her 20 week sono picture where she still looked alien-like. We could tell that she had a cute little button-nose, and chubby cheeks. She was beautiful. I stared at those pictures every day.

At 41 weeks and 6 days (Monday the 18th) I went in for another check-up. My doctor was SO surprised that I didn’t have Lakyn over the weekend. She told me she cancelled her weekend plans because she was sure I would have her after feeling how low she was and after stripping my membranes for the second time the previous Friday. …But no, the weekend had come and gone and I was still pregnant. At this appointment we set an induction date for Wednesday (the 20th).

Birth Day – January 20th

3:45 am - Woke up after getting a few hours of sleep. Showered, made sure we had everything in the hospital bags, ate a small breakfast.

6:00 am - We arrived at St. Luke’s South hospital in Overland Park, KS. I remember sitting in the car with Brandon for a minute before walking inside. I was very aware that the next time I got in the car we’d have another person with us. I took a deep breath, said, “Let’s go have a baby” and walked inside hanging on to Brandon’s hand like I needed it to survive. Room 7 was at the end of the hall and because of this was bigger than the others. Score! I changed into the lovely hospital gown and tried to settle in. On the third try, my IV was successfully in thanks to my veins bursting the two previous times. I’m still convinced the IV was the second most painful part of this whole experience.

7:30 am – Started pitocin.

8:00 am – My doctor broke my water and I was dilated to a 3. Let’s get this party started!!!

8:30 am – Jeane (my doctor) left to go back to the office to do paperwork and check on other patients. Said she’d be back around lunch to check on me. Said her guess was that we’d have a baby around 5pm that evening.


****contractions getting pretty intense, rather quickly. Thanks to the pitocin. Evil, evil pitocin.

10:00 am – Begging for the epidural.

10:30 am – Received first epidural. (Yes, I said first…) I remember thinking the process was taking forever. During, the  anesthesiologist was whispering to the nurses and then left to make a phone call in the middle of giving me the epidural, came back to finish then left. I obviously felt like this was not normal, but nobody said anything to me. I was dilated to a 4.

****I don’t have exact times for some of these because this is where everything started to move really quickly. Shortly after the epidural I noticed that I was starting to feel the contractions on my right side. A few minutes after that I could lift my legs up off the bed. If you’ve ever had an epidural, you know that you should NOT be able to do this. I started to panic a little, buzzed the nurse and told her what was happening. She said she’d get someone back in to help me. Um, yes, lets do that. NOW!

****Shortly before 12:00 pm - I started to feel lots of pressure and felt like I needed to push. Told nurse. Still waiting on someone to come in and help with the issue of me feeling my contractions again. Those contractions hurt man! I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

12:00 pm – Jeane came back to check on me. I frantically informed her that I was feeling lots of pressure, felt like I needed to push, and that my epidural apparently didn’t take. I’m sure she thought I was crazy! She checked me to see where I was at. Dilated to a 10, 100% effaced. I went from a 4 to a 10 in an hour and a half. It was go time, but all I remember of this moment was that I instantly freaked out and said, “NO! I can’t do it without an epidural. I can’t!” Jeane came over to me, put her hands on my cheeks and said, “Yes, you can. You can do this. We’re going to get someone in here, just breathe.”

****Shortly after 12:00 pm - Another nurse came in and added more “epidural medicine” (I have no idea what else to call it) to the catheter in my back. She informed me she gave me a lot and I should be good to go. I almost instantly went numb and couldn’t feel the contractions anymore. It was glorious! Now I could finally focus on the fact that very soon, my precious baby girl would be in my arms! I was ready. I watched Jeane get “suited up” and I watched Brandon put on the scrubs and gloves. I may or may not have started to get emotional at this point. :)

12:20 pm - I started pushing.

1:06 pm - Lakyn Kay Ratzlaff was born and my life was instantly changed for the better. This moment was absolutely perfect. Brandon got to help deliver her and he was actually the one that placed her on my chest (with the help of Jeane). I cannot put into words what that moment was like. I can only say that that memory will forever be with me and it will forever be my favorite moment of Lakyn’s birth. It was so incredibly special and so meaningful that Brandon was able to do that and that’s just another reason why I love my doctor so much.

During the delivery I had a second degree tear. Jeane gave me a local anesthesia and started to stitch me back up, but I could still feel it. She tried with the anesthesia two more times but I could still feel the stitches. For some reason, my body wouldn’t take it, so I gritted my teeth and told her to hurry! Luckily I had my little girl to help me try to focus on something else.

The nurses took Lakyn to clean her off and check stats and as soon as they took her from my arms, I wanted her back. She was 7 pounds, 9 ounces, 19 inches long, and absolutely perfect in every way. I remember all of the nurses commenting on her perfect mouth and lips. She looked exactly like her Daddy.

The rest of the afternoon and early evening were spent oohing and aahing with family and friends. By around 7 pm I started getting a headache and it progressively got worse as the minutes passed. A small headache turned into the worst headache I’ve ever had. (This is the most painful part of this whole delivery experience.) I felt so bad, and was kind of out of it. I felt really bad for the friends and family that were there because I honestly didn’t talk much, kinda just laid there like a miserable bum. I started closing my eyes because the light hurt so bad. The nurses brought me pain meds and soda hoping the caffeine would help. The pain from my head spread down my neck into my upper back. It was the worst pain I’d ever been in, and I just had a baby! It was so bad I couldn’t bend my neck to look down at Lakyn or look down to nurse her. All I could do was cry. The nurses suggested they take Lakyn to the nursery so that I could try to get some rest with as much pain as I was in. I agreed, but not without feeling like a failure as a mother. Already, I’m getting rid of my baby to get some sleep. Obviously, that’s something I still haven’t gotten over. The nurses brought her back to me when it was time to nurse and told me every time how good a baby she was. They said they all loved holding her in the nursery, and again, there were more comments on her lips!

Really, who looks their best after giving birth?! Definitely not I.

Morning came and with it the realization that my headache and neck pain was worse than before, probably amplified by the fact that I couldn’t sleep. Jeane came in to check on me and I instantly started crying when she asked me how I was doing. Brandon proceeded to tell her about my headache and neck pain and she called in another doctor to come talk with me about the pain. This guy was extremely nice and didn’t seem annoyed at all by my bawling while explaining what I was feeling. He then looked over my charts and informed me that instead of actually getting an epidural, I had gotten a spinal. Guess that explains the whispering and the phone call from the first anesthesiologist. What the doctor explained to me was that the anesthesiologist went too far past my epidural cavity. The cause of my headache and neck pain was because the medicine was inserted in my spinal cavity. He explained to me that most spinal headaches went away after 1-3 weeks. The thought of waiting that long with this pain made me start crying again. I couldn’t imagine it. He then told me another option would be to perform a blood patch. To do this, they would draw blood from my arm, then insert it into my spinal cavity. Something about the blood being heavier than the fluid in my spinal cavity takes the headache away. He then proceeded to tell me that the blood patch only had a 50% chance of working if performed within 24 hours of the spinal. It had a 95% chance of working if I waited 3-4 days. Again, the thought of waiting 3-4 days made me want to cry. I decided I’d take the chance and do it now. The doctor performed it just a few minutes after, giving me my second “epidural”. It was painful. He had to insert it in the same spot as my first one and I was sore. He then told me to lay flat for 30 minutes to help it’s chances. I didn’t move for almost an hour. I got up at that point and went to the bathroom and was so disappointed that it wasn’t gone yet. I crawled back in bed and took a little nap while Brandon spent some quality time with Lakyn. I woke up almost two hours later and I was pain free!!!

Praise the Lord, I was headache free! I wanted to find that doctor and kiss his feet. Finally, I could start to enjoy my beautiful little baby and get to know her.

The rest of the hospital stay was rather uneventful. We’d be back again in just a few days for Lakyn’s high biliruben levels (jaundice), but that’s another story.

As eventful as Lakyn’s 5.5 hour birth was, as long as she made us wait, it was worth every single second of it. She’s changed my life in ways I cannot express, in ways that no one else could have.


“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” - Elizabeth Stone


6 Responses to “Remembering Lakyn’s Birth Day”

  1. Jody August 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! I love reading birth stories and it reminded me I need to write Leah’s, maybe for her 2nd birthday. I also love the last picture of you and Lakyn, you look so happy and at peace! I can’t wait to hear about baby #2!

    • Afton August 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

      Thanks! That last picture is one of my favorites too! If you get Leah’s story done for her second birthday, you’ll have me beat! It took me to write this!! :)

  2. Tylie August 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    I love this story! For some reason I do not remember your spinal headache. So so sorry sweet friend. Is that experience with having an epidural going to sway you either way with getting one this labor? So excited to see baby girl and find out her name!

    • Afton August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

      I’ve been thinking long and hard about that question lately. Right now I’m going in with the expectation that I’ll stick it out and do what I can to deal/beat the contractions, but also with the knowledge that the epidural is there if I need it and also the realization that the same thing happening again isn’t likely. Does that make sense? I’m so ready to see her and hold her. I’m so curious as to what she’s going to look like!
      And I cannot wait, like it’s killing me, eating me up inside that we’re so close to meeting your little one and finding out his name!! :)

  3. Terri August 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I love that you wrote this all down! What a great story :) Sorry to hear about your spinal headache…that sounds awful! I had a spinal with Jake but luckily did not have the headache with it. I hope Bit Bit comes out quickly and relatively pain-free :)

    • Afton August 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

      Thanks! Quickly and relatively pain-free would be fabulous! (I laughed at the word relatively! As if there’s such a thing with labor and delivery!)

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