Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ho Ho Ho, Penelope Is Here

Guess what I'm doing right now. It involves an uncomfortable hospital room recliner, sore boob-parts, and a teeny baby. Give up? It's pretty special really. I'm nursing our new baby girl, Penelope Leigh.

I had our baby last night! Say hello.

I went into labor early Tuesday morning. Contractions started coming regularly around 6am. I labored at home all morning while JD ran last minute errands and my sister in law watched Beatrice. Since I was 2 days past my due date, I had an ultrasound scheduled for noon to check on the baby's size, fluid levels, and overall well-being inside my uterus. The contractions were stronger, but not increasing in intervals so I kept my appointment. Baby was measuring right on track at 40 weeks and doing great, thank God.

My family has a history of huge babies - 12 pounders - so my OB was not thrilled with leaving this baby in for much longer. Because of my strong desire to labor and deliver naturally and med-free, I spent the greater portion of the past week praying fervently to go into labor on my own. Induction scared me and JD and I had decided that as long as the baby was not in danger, we would not agree to it. Thankfully, God decided that Tuesday was an excellent day to have a baby. So we did!

At my appointment, I was dilated to 3 cms when my doctor checked me. She said that by the way I was breathing through the contractions and able to talk immediately after them, I was not ready to go to the hospital and have the baby until later that night. That was the weird thing about this labor: I managed the contractions so differently than I did with Beatrice. I breathed and groaned through them instead of tensing up my body and holding my breathe. It really helped. I felt great after each grueling labor pain. I found that breathing and focusing on what was happening to my body was surprisingly helpful and made the contractions so much more manageable. I handled the pain completely differently and had a really great recovery period in between the contractions. To everyone that witnessed my first childbirth experience, this time probably seemed like false labor.

After the ultrasound appointment, JD and I headed home to eat. I had some toast and ice water. The contractions started picking up so we packed the last of our bags and headed to the hospital around 3:30. I was admitted and dilated to 5 cms. I was so tired and really wanted to sleep, but with contractions coming every 2 minutes or so, that wasn't possible. I really started wondering why natural childbirth was so important to me. Sleep seemed like the better option at that point. But my wonderful husband and nurse encouraged me to keep going according to my birth plan. Stupid birth plan. So I did.

I quickly progressed. From 4 o'clock to 6, I advanced from 5 cms to 8. The OB on call came in to talk about breaking my water. I agreed and that's when the party started. The sucky, terrible pain party that take you to a place of no turning back. Contractions come at you every 30 seconds or so and birth is imminent. There is no relief from the pain and you better get your head in the game if it's not already because it's almost time to expel a human from your loins. Don't go to that party if you can help it.  

Within an hour I was ready to push. Throughout the entire labor, I groaned and made a ho ho ho sound. Every couple of ho ho hos, JD would chime in with a "Merry Christmas." He's funny, that guy. As soon as I felt the urge to push, all ho ho hoing ceased and I became a savage animal-woman. I raged from deep within my belly to GET THE BABY OUT. I was not kind about it, I did not wait to be told to push, I decided that I had had enough of laboring this baby and it was time to GET HER OUT. And that would have been fine with everyone except the bed wasn't ready. While the nurses scrambled to prepare the bed and the biohazard bags, I began pushing out the baby on my side with nothing but everyone's shoes under my now disassembled bed. I regret to announce that no one's shoes made it, not even mine. They all got slimed. With uterine guts, blood, and poop. Let's just leave it at that...

I somehow managed to get on my back and after 7 minutes of pushing, Penelope Leigh's tiny little body came out of me. Pushing her was hard and painful. I remember feeling lots of pressure with Beatrice's exit from my body, but this time I felt stinging, burning pain. Like I was ripping from the front to back. Thankfully, it only felt like that. I didn't rip anything. Thank you Lord Jesus. I like my loins the way they are, intact and not mangled by people coming out of them.

She came out and I shouted, "Thank you Jesus, it's over!!!!" I promise you, that is probably the best gift of natural childbirth: the second that baby emerges, the pain stops. Instantly. It is awesome. And of course, there is the baby!

Penelope got to stay in our room for over an hour before the nursery folks took her for measurements and a bath. I nursed her right away and spent the next moments kissing her tiny face and introducing myself to her. JD and I were the only ones in the delivery room and it was such a special time for us. We loved having the time afterwards to ooh and ahh over our newest baby girl, just the 2 of us. Soon everyone arrived and took turns holding her and congratulating us. We are blessed.

It has been a whirlwind few days. JD has been staying at home with Beatrice at night while I stay at the hospital alone with Penelope. They come during the day and stay with us, but I am so ready to be home with my big girl, the new big sister.

Penelope is my petite baby weighing in at 8 lbs 4 oz. She is 20 3/4" long. She is tiny and precious and wonderfully made.

Once again, recovery has been a breeze. I am pretty sore in the pelvic bone region, but my doctor says that is normal for second pregnancies. I had a lot of pain in my pelvic bone during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy so the pain is no real surprise, just unwanted. Otherwise, I feel great and happy and blessed. I love my babies.

Everyone keeps asking me if this birth was better or worse than my first. I can't really say. It was definitely quicker and I handled the pain so much better this time, but I didn't feel the same sense of accomplishment as I did after having Beatrice med-free. This time felt like less of a personal thing and more of a necessary process. Also, with Beatrice I relied so much on my faith and God's strength to get me through. I relied on Him in a different way with Penelope's birth. There was more faith in the fact that He would bring Penelope naturally without an induction than His ability to not let me die like I thought I would with Beatrice. I knew I would live this time, and thankfully, I did. And tomorrow I get to go home and live with 2 beautiful little girls and their wonderful daddy. Life is good and God is really, really great. Now if you'll excuse me, an itty bitty girl needs her milk for the bazillionth time tonight.


  1. Holy moly she is PRECIOUS!! Congratulations lady! Having two is such an adjustment but it is so amazing!

  2. Congratulations!! You, and Penelope, and your family are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your birth story!

  3. YAYAYAYAYAY!! I had a feeling this post was coming. Congratulations, Rockstar! She's amazing and so are you. I love reading these inspirational stories because I am planning a med free birth in 3 months:-)

  4. Wow congratulations girl! Seriously did you just have a baby??? You look fab!

  5. Congratulations! She is beautiful!! I haven't commented before, but I have been following you since around 20 weeks or so. I am expecting my second little boy in 4 (very long) weeks. I have laughed and commiserated with you on so many occassions. I can't wait to be where you are now, holding and loving my precious one.

  6. Congratulations! You have such a beautiful family :)
    And I remember that feeling of being so anxious to get home to my bigger baby, but enjoy some quiet, restful time at the hospital.

  7. Congratulations! My 4th niece was born on the exact day as Penelope - what a special day/week! Enjoy!

  8. Congratulations again! She is beautiful and I am so glad to hear you are both doing great!

  9. Aww :) this made me cry. She is precious! I love hearing birth stories so much! Thanks for sharing! :)

  10. Congratulations! I love those First Family Photos ... so precious!