Friday, January 16, 2015

Penelope's Birth Story | March 22nd 2014

Picture taken right after we arrived and right before we checked in!
     My labor started on Friday, March 21st at around 11:15PM after my water broke literally as soon as I climbed into bed. I immediately called my mom and told her "I think my water broke but I don't really know!" and of course she was beyond confused because how could you not know!? Well, I basically knew but it definitely wasn't like the movies and I wasn't having any contractions and still being 6 days from my due date and with Penelope being my first, I was so caught off guard. My doctor had JUST told me 2 days prior that it wouldn't be crazy to expect to go overdue because that's normally what happens with first-timers. Needless to say, I got my stuff together, Devon packed the car, I'm frantically trying to do my makeup and I'm shaking like. crazy! Luckily, we live 15 minutes from the hospital so the drive was relatively short but I was so excited, I don't remember a thing from it. I got to the hospital, they asked me a series of questions and then I was put into triage around 12:30AM at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. They checked me, confirmed I was in labor but I was still still only 1cm dilated with no signs of contractions at all. Shortly after that, the nurses hooked up my IV and the waiting game began!
     We were in triage for roughly an hour before I was wheeled back to the delivery room where I started feeling slight contractions but nothing remotely terrible or unbearable. The doctor had said that if I didn’t start to dilate on my own, that they would start the Pitocin around 6AM and sure enough, that’s exactly what they needed to do. My contractions slowly started to pick up and eventually, I was at 3cm but that still wasn’t the best progress, so they upped my Pitocin and the contractions and pressure started to come on! I made it to 5cm dilated before I decided to go ahead with the epidural but I honestly only decided to get the epi at that time because I was afraid that if I waited it out until real pain happened, it would be too late and I’d have to give birth naturally and I had never planned on doing that - I had always knew that I wanted an epidural so I could enjoy the whole experience from start to finish. Thankfully, up until that point, the contractions were nothing more than “period cramps”. I definitely have a SUPER high pain tolerance and that was suuuch a beneficial thing to have during that time as I'm sure they could have felt a lot worse.
  Once I had the epidural, I went to sleep for about an hour and thankfully I did because after I got the epi at just 5cm, I jumped to a 9! The nurse checked me again about an hour later and confirmed I was at 10cm and that I would need to “contract down” to let the contractions push Penelope down the canal in order to minimize the amount of time I would be pushing. At about 4:45PM, I was told that I would start pushing in 15 minutes - Exactly 5 o'clock!! In that fifteen minutes, we went through every single emotion POSSIBLE.... Devon and I would have a family. We would now be responsible for another life. What an amazing feeling. If there’s a word for being terrified and ecstatic all at once, that’s exactly the word I would use to describe Devon and I in that moment. I KNEW that our lives were about to be changed forever - for the better. In that 15 minutes, we were preparing to close that old chapter of our lives and start a brand new one. We were about to take on an entirely different world. The feelings you have in that time are truly indescribable and I don’t think I have even thoroughly described 50% of the feelings and things you go through right before you welcome your very first baby into the world.

Around 5PM, it was officially GO TIME. The nurse came in and told me I should start pushing and I did that for about 10 minutes while she got everything prepped for the Doctor. My husband, mom and sister were the most amazing coaches during this time and I am sooo thankful they were all there to help me through it. I love y'all.
 Once Dr. Ward came into the room, that’s when the intense pushing began and ALL OF THE PRESSURE was to follow. I pushed for a solid 20 minutes or so before they put the oxygen on me and within two pushes from that point, I was told to stop as the cord was wrapped around Penelope’s neck (they didn’t mention that until afterwards, fyi but she was perfect and had a strong heartbeat the entire time!! My lil trooper!). I waited and I gave one more intense push and out she came! I don’t even remember her crying, all I remember was Dr. Ward asking me if I wanted her to be put on my chest and I couldn't say "YES" fast enough. Devon just kept telling me how proud of me he was. I couldn't stop looking back at him and starring at the look of awe on his face and then glancing back down at Penelope and saying, “Hi, baby! I love you!” I kept repeating "I love you, I love you" - those are the things that really stick out to me the most. I don't think I could ever forget her little eyes and Devon's happy tears.
Shortly after, Devon was able to cut the umbilical cord and Penelope was then weighed and measured right beside us.
 After 276 days of pregnancy and 18hrs of labor, our baby girl was HERE!!!! A perfect 7lbs 11oz and 20.5inches long. I have NEVER felt so accomplished and entirely in love. It really is INSTANT. There's no bond out there like that. My husband and I created the most perfect little soul. Perfectly perfect.
Picture taken in our recovery room
Just minutes old in this picture!
The day we got home from the hospital
My peaceful little sleeper xo

Rereading this story before I post it has brought back a flood of emotions and I can honestly say that not one of them was of fear. I was always so terrified that I wouldn’t want to have anymore babies because you always read about how traumatic births can be but I am here to say that I can't wait to expand our family. I would go through that experience a MILLION times. Those 9 months can be sooo long and feel so exhausting at times but I promise that when you’re in that hospital, time means nothing. We were finally in the home stretch to meeting the love of our lives. If I had to choose between my old self and who I am today, the person Penelope made me would win over e v e r y t h i n g.
I love watching her discover the world and having pure, simple joy over things that I took for granted before I had her. Something that seems so minor, such as a tree, is pure bliss for her, she will sit and watch the leaves for the longest time just blow in the wind and be in such awe at the dogs simply playing.... that’s what I love the most about having a child – they remind you of the smallest blessings in life. They teach you to appreciate the small things, which truly are the big things. They really do remind you of the best parts in everything.


**I wrote this down as soon as we came home from the hospital and I strongly advise that anyone expecting a little one do the same! Details fade and I am SOOO glad I have this to always remember her birthday and every last detail xo

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