On the Day You Were Born, Part III

Sorry I've left you hanging on this! It's been a busy few weeks, and admittedly this post took me a lot longer to write than I anticipated. In case you missed it, you can also check out Part I and Part II of the story. When I last left you, I was being admitted to the hospital at 5cm dilated...

At almost 5cm dilated, my doctor gave me the epidural speech. He said that they don't recommend either way (to get one or not) and the choice was completely mine. But if I did want one, I should take into account that once I decided, it would take about an hour to call the anesthesiologist, prep everything and get the epidural. Up until this point, I was doing well but really beginning to struggle. By the time I was up and walking to the room where I'd deliver, it was a serious shift from manageable to barely making it down the hallway. In my head, I was prepared to walk the halls while I labored, however things had taken a turn and I suddenly felt like my hips were being ripped apart (which I guess in a sense, they were).  I distinctly remember the nurse walking ahead of us with Shaun just in front of me and stopping in the dark corridor to get through a contraction. I wasn't sure how I'd even make it to the next room. But I did. And told the nurse that it was epidural time.

I should note that I did always plan to get the epidural if necessary. Shaun and I had discussed it in advance and my ultimate plan was to make it as far as I could naturally and then get the epidural if and when I felt it necessary. And by then, I felt it necessary.

I put on my gown (so so uncomfortable. So scratchy and chafing...) and worked through some more intense contractions. I tried to just breathe through them but at this point, they were bringing tears to my eyes from the pain. Shaun coached me through to just breathe and I distinctly remember thinking there is no way I can do this.

When I was sure that I couldn't take much more of the hip-ripping pain, the epidural arrived. This was actually the part that scared me the most, however, by the time it was happening, I didn't care. Labor hurts, people! I made sure to not look at the needle and did exactly what they told me to. Contrary to what I thought, Shaun was able to stay in the room with me. I swung my legs to one side of the bed and leaned forward. The nurse held me in place, which was surprisingly comforting. My biggest fear was that I'd have a contraction while the doctor was inserting the epidural, I'd jerk, and ultimately end up paralyzed from a botched insertion. #isthatreallycrazyortotallypossible

I had dreaded this part so much and it was such a piece of cake. They numbed the area first and so all I really felt was pressure but no pain. As the epidural kicked in, I was able to relax a little. (Oh and yes, they do then insert a catheter which felt like nothing by this point also)

{Here I am, looking glamorous :\}

Not much happened for a while after this, or at least I don't remember much. I know my parents and sisters came to keep us company. I remember Shaun and my mom watching Food Network. As time passed and my water didn't break, the doctor recommended that he do it so that labor would continue to progress. Again, I dreaded this part as well because it seems like it'd be awkward and painful, but I couldn't see what was going on and so I just went with it.

Actually, this is a good time to address that. Before giving birth, I was of course anxious and scared just as I assume every woman is. It is scary to not know how things are going to feel or what is going to happen. I read many other birth stories of women arguing with their doctors over what was best, whether to break their water unnaturally, whether to fight off a c-section (since in my experience, books and our baby instructors recommended avoiding this at all costs...seems so silly now in hindsight). I decided early on that I would approach labor a delivery with a 'take it how it comes' mentality. I knew I couldn't plan for anything...that anything could happen. I wanted to avoid a c-section but knew that if that what was best for the baby and me, of course I wouldn't argue. I had this discussion in advance with Shaun in case I wasn't of sound mind during labor...I preferred to push this baby out than be cut open, but I would do whatever they say is best or necessary.

After my water was broken, I recall my mother telling me that I looked so swollen. I could feel my face puffing up. I don't think swelling is abnormal, but this didn't feel right. We called in the nurses and they thought that perhaps I was having a reaction to the epidural. So a Benadryl drip was started.

In all honesty, the IV in my hand was more painful than the epidural. Just sayin'.

Once I was given the Benadryl, I rested and even slept for a little while. But as the day wore on, I was getting impatient...I was ready to do this thang!

Around 4pm, the nurse checked me and said it was time to push. I had never been more ready for anything in my life. The nurse gave me the rundown and the next 40 minutes were filled with screaming, panting and lots of 'I can't do this.'

Oh and side note - they totally turn the epidural off at this time so while I was blissful for a little while, make no mistake that I felt it alllll by push time. In fact, I said to the nurse "Um, I can feel my legs now...is that supposed to happen?"

After lots of pushing and sweating, I was finding it tough to breathe and I yelled to Shaun that I just couldn't do it. And I started wondering what would happen if I really couldn't.

The nurse gave me an oxygen mask to help me get some air, but I couldn't handle anything on my face. When the nurse finally said that it was time to call in the doctor because this baby was about to arrive, I found that last bit of strength to get 'er done. The doctor arrived and I gave a few more big pushes before my sweet P was out into the world at 5:21PM. They put her right on top of me and I just remember repeating 'oh my God, oh my God' as I struggled to hold all 7 pounds, 2 ounces of her close to me.


She was so tiny and skinny but she had her eyes open immediately, wondering what the heck was going on. After a few glorious yet surreal moments, Penelope was whisked across the room for her weigh in and check up. Even in my foggy state, I told Shaun to go and take lots of photos while the doctor stitched me up. I wasn't sure how I would ever move again honestly, let alone get out of the hospital bed.

The nurse asked if we had a name for our little girl...and I asked Shaun if he wanted to tell them.

"Penelope Jane", he said. And I smiled.

Eventually, they brought her back to me so that I could nurse her and we could have a few moments alone as a family of 3.

 

My family had been hanging out in the waiting room for most of the day and couldn't wait to see us. Shaun went out to tell them they could finally come in and to make a few calls to his family.

It was such a great moment to have everyone there with us, delighting in our sweet baby love who would forever change our lives.

No better sight than seeing my husband with his baby girl:

He even wore pink for the occasion :)

After our gaggle of visitors left us for the night, Penelope was whisked away to the nursery for some cleaning and her first shots, while Mom got to stretch her legs and get cleaned up as well. The doctor didn't recommend showering for the first night, so I cleaned up as best I could (and that was a doozie). I was then wheeled into the room we'd be staying in and we ordered in some pasta for dinner. Penelope was brought back to us for some snuggling and we watched the snow fall from our window.

2 days later, we were ready to head home. While we were all a little scared to be leaving and on our own, we were super anxious to get back to our own digs...

 

Mostly, we just felt thankful that we had a good birth experience and had our healthy baby girl to show for it. 


And that, my friends, is how it all began.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and that if you are an expectant Mom, you found this helpful. I loved writing this story and hope that Penelope will enjoy reading it some day!