I've been wanting to write about Penelope's birth story for a while now, but it never quite felt like the right time. Now that she is one year old, I thought it would be good to get my story written before I forget any more of it. When I was pregnant (and even now) I loved reading about other bloggers' birth stories. It is such a scary and anxiety-ridden time and so I took such comfort in reading about other experiences. I've also been thinking so much about that time last year and just cherishing those special moments, even if they were riddled with pain and some expletives at times.
It feels so surreal in many ways. Mostly in the, OMFG-I-can't-believe-I-did-that! kind of way. Seriously, I think back to being in labor and giving birth and am in awe that I did that. As my doctor said to me a few weeks beforehand, No one else can do this for you, but you won't be alone...you and your baby will do it together. I thought of that through the entire process. That no matter what, my sweet baby girl and I were in this, and would get through it, together. And honestly, I can't help but be proud.
It's also pretty wild that this was a whole year ago, and yet only just a year ago. It was a mere year of my life, which isn't so much time in the scheme of things, and yet it truly was a lifetime ago.
Following Christmas in 2012, I had one thing on the brain...the arrival of my sweet baby girl. My due date was January 30, which gave us plenty of time to recover from the holidays AND see all of the Oscar nominated movies prior to her arrival. (Note: If I can make one recommendation to expecting parents...go to the movies! You won't be going for a long time after that baby is born, so make sure you do it now!)
Being as I have a great job and family-friendly managers, I was able to avoid trudging into Manhattan and riding the Path (underground) by being allowed to work from home as of January 15.
Each day I'd settle in with my computer and phone, taking a break to walk a few blocks to Dunkin Donuts - you know, to get the baby moving and all ;) I was too afraid to walk too far from home, just in case my water broke and I'd have to get back. Shaun drove to work each day so that he could get home in a pinch should it be go-time.
As I arrived at the week she was due, I'd field the same text messages each morning from family and friends...Anything yet? How do you feel? Do you think you'll go on your due date?
I truly didn't mind though. So many women told me that they were annoyed by so many questions and of playing this waiting game. I actually really enjoyed being pregnant and so I didn't mind going to or past my due date, or fielding the same questions. It was such an exciting time, and it made my heart feel so full knowing that so many people cared so much.
I tried my hardest to soak up the calm before the storm. That may have included sitting on towels everywhere (on the couch, in the car, etc) and making Shaun drive over pot holes in Jersey City to get things moving.
My due date of January 30 came and went. I wasn't surprised. I felt nothing moving, outside of some menstrual cramping and light spotting. Since that was a Wednesday, I was hopeful that I'd have the baby on the weekend. But as Shaun continued to tell me, if I didn't have her over the weekend, that didn't mean we didn't get a baby. So I remained patient and continued to wait. And at my doctors appointment that week, he scheduled me for induction a week later since it seemed like nothing was doing anytime soon.
On Friday, 2 days past my due date, my mom and sister Christine came up to Jersey City to take me to lunch. We went to Houlihan's in Secaucus. I ate a huge plate of nachos and chicken fingers under my mom's disapproving gaze (worth every calorie though!)
At this point, I was having some random pulling sensations going on which I assumed were contractions. But since I had never done this before, I wasn't totally sure (though, as they say, hindsight is 20/20, right?). I probably got 3 or 4 of those contractions throughout the day, so let's just say that I wasn't exactly running to the doctor or even taking much notice of them. After lunch, Christine and I walked across the street to Dunkin Donuts for a treat to take home. I got a brownie batter donut but was way too full to eat anything at that point. On the way home, my mom drove over the same potholes on Tonnele Avenue and something just told me I was going to have this baby in the next day or so.
That night, I ate my delicious brownie batter donut for dinner. Since I was also in crazy nesting mode, I insisted that we put together the mamaroo swing that my aunts had given us.
It was the very last thing that wasn't quite set up yet, so at 10 months and two days pregnant, I assembled it before collapsing in bed at 9PM.
Somehow, I knew that I wasn't going to be getting a full sleep that night...
...to be continued...