Today is the first feature to the Motherhood journey! SO excited to share one amazing mother with you today: Jen LaValle! She is the mama bear to this insanely cute and happy boy named Lorenzo!
I asked Jen to share her journey with me however she desired. What I wasn't expecting was such a scary, courageous, and incredible story...
"My husband, Mike, and I met in 2013 when I started a new job (he was one of the managers that interviewed me!). It took a few months for us to actually get together, but I had a crush on him from the beginning haha! We got married on June 13, 2015 and found out we were pregnant with a home pregnancy test on December 12, 2015! We had our first ultrasound on January 12, 2016 and found out we were having a boy in March!!
My Motherhood story starts out on August 16th 2016: The date of induction. I was due on August 3rd originally, then they said August 10th, so I was very much past my due date and they were concerned about my amniotic fluids possibly becoming less and less, but without any proof or testing they decided to induce me. Being a first time mom and not knowing much about induction, I was all for this, as I was very uncomfortable, sweaty, and swollen! 5:20am we left our house, headed for Aultman hospital in Canton. We arrived around 5:45, for our 6:00 scheduled arrival time. The nerves were insanely intense. I received a plethora of paperwork and "sign here, sign here, initial here" etc. from the nursing staff. I had my IV inserted, began to receive fluids to help keep me hydrated, and around 9:30am, received the Pitocin to begin inducing contractions. At the time of arrival at the hospital, I was around 1cm dilated, so not much going on there. I was 95% effaced, so they were glad with that progression! Time continued on throughout the day, lots of popsicles, ice chips, and doctors. Around 4:00pm, the doctors came to check me again: I was 3cm dilated, contracting often and intensely, and progressing but very slowly and not as well as they wanted me to at this point. At 5:52pm, I began a contraction that would be the most painful, longest, full body pain I have ever and will ever experience. This one contraction was at the maximum level of the monitors for the intensity and lasted until 6:43pm. That's when I begged for an epidural. The anesthesiologist came in at exactly 7:05pm to administer the epidural. My husband, who had been with me every single step and cry and pain of the way so far, had to leave the room for this part, so he went to the cafeteria to grab a quick bite to eat (they told us it would be 45 minutes until he was allowed back in the room).
The epidural process was a nightmare. I was having contractions the entire time, hysterically crying, hugging my nurse, Nikita, so tightly throughout the whole process. I missed my husband. I was scared and felt really alone...not to mention the astronomical amount of pain I was feeling from both the spinal tap that was happening behind me and the off the chart contractions happening in the front of me. The anesthesiologist was "just about done" with the epidural when I started to feel very light headed. More than just a little rush of pain killers. More than I had ever felt before. I noticed all of the machines begin to beep frantically. A kind of beeping sound you hear in movies or in medical drama TV shows. Then I heard "code blue room 432". I was in room 432. I started to black out. They had me roll onto my back and I saw the screen: my unborn child's pulse went from 165 to 35. My blood pressure went from 130/72 to 80/36. We were both completely crashing. We were both on our way out of this world. My husband came running into the room, panic on his face that I had never seen before in our 4 years together. The doctors and nurses came sprinting into the room. Gloves were flying. Needles were everywhere. My water was manually popped by Dr. Wang in an attempt to allow the baby to get his pulse back up and stop being under duress. I was told to get on my knees and arms and put my head to my chest and breathe. I received multiple shots (they told me at the time what they were for, but I'm not sure what...possibly to reverse the epidural?). So many things happening at once. I could barely breathe. I had an oxygen mask on my face. They were talking about an emergency c section. They had me get on my side.
It. Was. Frantic.
Then the beeping slowed. It was as if a calm wave of peace and normalcy just flowed into the room. Everything calmed down. My child's pulse went up to 150, my blood pressure was back up to 165/80. We were going to be okay. The fear and anxiety were very real at this point. It was around 8:15pm when they told me they were going to stop the pitocin and let us both chill out for a little bit. That was when I was told that the anesthesiologist pushed fentanyl into the epidural. FENTANYL. They say that fentanyl is worse than heroin. The remainder of the night from 9:00pm until 3:00am was mostly me getting checked every 15-30 minutes, the doctors putting fluid BACK INTO MY UTERUS, because I wasn't progressing and they shouldn't have popped my water, re-introducing pitocin again to get things moving, and then the pitocin continuing to cause my child's pulse to drop to anywhere between 40-60 with each contraction I was having. At 4:00am on August 17th, the doctors decided that the only option was to have an emergency C section. At 5:00am, they wheeled me into the operating room and at 5:34am on August 17, 2016, our little Lorenzo Joseph LaValle was born at 7 lbs 13oz and 19 inches long. The most incredibly horrifically indescribably magical 24 hours of my entire life!!
Lorenzo is breastfed. Breastfeeding came naturally at first for both he and I. I was really worried after having a c section that there would be too much time between birth and the first latch to have the connection that I dreamed about, but I was able to have him latch on within 25 minutes of his birth! The first few days were all about getting him to get a good latch and to stay on long enough to get what he needed. He's always been a good eater, so this wasn't too difficult for us!
About 3 weeks into our breastfeeding journey, there was an extremely violent pain every time he would latch. I had no idea what was causing this but it brought me to tears. We tried so many things to make it stop, but for some reason I just refused to stop breastfeeding. My husband offered to get bottles, formula, etc, but I refused and pushed through it. We took him for his 1 month check up (still in excruciating pain when latching) and he was diagnosed with Thrush. I didn't know what this was, but I also went to my doctors for my postpartum check up that week and was prescribed a cream for myself that I like to call miracle cream! After we made it through thrush, it has been smooth sailing ever since.
We have made it through my totally unexpected c section recovery, my gallbladder removal surgery, road trips to South Carolina, sinus infections for me, ear infections for both of us, and lots of other trials. But we have made it over 8 months with no end in sight!!
Most recently, I have began to donate my milk to another local mama who has adopted a baby girl. She had requested to have breast milk for her baby girl through a local breastfeeding website and I have since (about 3 months) been providing her with milk as well!
Breastfeeding has provided me with a bond with my son that is completely indescribable. It had provided him with nourishment, comfort, and so much more in the last 8+ months and I wouldn't trade it for the world!!"
UGH- all.the.emotions!!! Hearing Jen's story was a monumental moment for me. Not only did my admiration for her go way up, but just knowing us mamas are so incredibly tough. We would and will do anything to give our children everything. I'm so happy Jen agreed to show her story and her heart with me as I know it's a crazy, terrifying, yet beautiful journey we are all on...together! <3