Penelope’s Birth Story

Hey Friends! Today is January 1st, 2018 (at least when I started this post. Haha). What a crazy few days we have had and an amazing start to the new year. Today’s blog post is going to be all about our birth story of how we brought Penelope earth-side. Did we get to do everything we talked about in the last blog? What was my experience like as a first time mom? Keep reading this long post to find out. Plus don’t miss some super cute photos of our sweet girl at the end.

Everything started on Friday December 29th, 2017. I woke up at 4am with a feeling that something wasn’t right. I’ve never experienced that kind of intuition before and I can’t really explain it, but I just knew. So I laid in bed for about fifteen minutes and waited to feel Penelope move. She didn’t. So I went down stairs and drank ice cold water and laid on my side for another fifteen minutes. No movement. I then went back upstairs to our room and woke Phillip. We laid there again for another fifteen or so minutes. Still no movement. So at this point I called the doctor who told me to go to triage at the hospital, so we gathered everything up and headed that way. I finally did feel her move around 5:15ish on the way to the hospital. We got to the hospital and they started a NST (Non Stress Test) on her at around 5:30am. This test measures her heart-rate and any contractions that I have. After about an hour and a half on it, the doctor came in and explained to us that every so often when I would have a contraction her heart rate would drop and was having a hard time coming back up once the contraction was over. They explained that during a contraction the supply of blood and oxygen gets compressed to the placenta. Therefore the baby relies on what is currently left in the placenta until the contraction is over and the blood and oxygen start to flow again. My placenta wasn’t doing its job and passing that oxygen on to the baby during the contractions. Because of this they needed to talk to me about induction so they could monitor her heart rate during the labor. I was currently 40 weeks and 4 days.

If you know me, then you know I am very much against induction and really wanted to let my body work at it’s own pace. So this was something that I really struggled with. I spent all of Friday crying over the fact that I was going to have to be induced. I really was having a hard time coping with this change.

At 11am on Friday we were admitted into labor and delivery. They checked my cervix and I was only dilated to 2cm and was 50% effaced. They started me on pitocin (Synthetic Oxytocin). The way they did my pitocin was they wanted to gradually increase the amount just like your body would if it was doing it naturally. So they started at a 1 and would increase it by one point every fifteen minutes. At 4pm on Friday they checked my cervix again and I was at 4cm and still 50% effaced. I was happy to see some improvement. At this point I wasn’t feeling any contractions. At 9pm Friday I got another check and was still 4cm but had went up to 80% effaced. This was still improvement which made me happy, but I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t dilated more. At 10:30pm my doctor decided to turn the pitocin off. I had reached a 24 out of 30 dose on the pitocin with no progress and I still wasn’t feeling any contractions. I was able to eat, shower, and rest for the night.

December 30, 2017: At 9:40am I got checked to see where we were before we started anything for the day. I was thankfully still at 4cm and 80% effaced. I was very happy to learn that I hadn’t closed up after the pitocin was stopped. Since my body didn’t respond to the pitocin the day before, there was no point in keeping me on solely pitocin all day. It wouldn’t work. So at 10am we chose to break my water in the hopes this would jump start things. I was then given until 1pm to labor without any pitocin and to see if my body would start the laboring process on it’s own. I was very thankful to have been given the opportunity to try the natural way one more time. Again at this point I still wasn’t feeling any contractions.

From 11am to 1pm Phillip and I did everything we could to make lemonade out of lemons. This was the saying Phillip chose for this labor. Things weren’t going the way I wanted or hoped they would. I was struggling with coping with this. So being the amazing supportive husband that he is, he started saying this over and over to me, “let’s make some lemonade out of the lemons we’ve been given.” It really helped. We spent this time enjoying where we were in the laboring process. We danced together to the playlist he had created for me. We laughed. We were romantic with each other. We connected. It was a beautiful time after the last day and a half. This really helped to bring back my postive attitude. I could write a whole blog post about how amazing Phillip was during labor and I might do just that, but know he is the most supportive and encouraging person I have ever met. He was my hero during this process.

At 1pm I was checked again and there was no change. I was 4cm and 80% effaced…still. So pitocin was started again. This time it was increased by two points every thirty minutes. At 6pm on Saturday night I was checked again and I was still 4cm and 80% effaced. At this point I was starting to get very nervous about the idea of a c-section. It was very much on the table. I would learn later after delivery that at this point the doctors and nurses were very much considering this. My body just wasn’t reacting to pitocin.

Finally at 7:30pm I started to feel contractions for the first time. The pitocin was at 26 out of 30. We had almost maxed out again for the second time. I labored from 7:30pm -10pm actually feeling contractions. At 10pm I was checked and there was no change. 4cm and 80% effaced. I felt defeated. Why was my body not reacting? Why was it failing me again?

Those thoughts didn’t last long though because very soon after 10pm things really started to pick up. I was having very intense contractions that were coming every minute to two minutes and lasted about 30-40 seconds. I was not able to talk through them or focus on anything else during. Around 1am on Sunday the 31st my body started to show signs of transition. I didn’t recognize it at the time. Honestly I thought I hadn’t progressed at all. Some of the signs where that my body was shaking and I wasn’t cold. I also had a ton of pressure in my bottom. Let’s just be honest, I felt like I needed to poop. My nurse looked at me and asked if I wanted to be checked again to see where we were. I honestly didn’t. I didn’t think there would be any progress and I just didn’t want to hear that I was still at 4cm. She suggested that I might be further along than I thought. So I agreed to let her. The check was so fast and she looked at me and said “you are at a 10, it’s time to have this baby.” Phillip immediately started crying in relief and happiness. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I even looked at the nurse and said “Are you sure?” She laughed and agreed that yes it was time. She call the doctor and everything was set up.

Since I did not get an epidural I was free to push any way I liked. I chose to squat on the bed and lean over the back. The pushing phase was such an amazing experience. It wasn’t painful like everyone had told me. Honestly the contractions where the worst part pain wise for me. Pushing was a relief. I was so excited to be at that point and knew I would soon meet my sweet girl. I pushed from about 1:30am or so until she was born at 2:16am. Once she was born we did do the delayed cord clamping. My placenta also was delivered naturally without any tugging on it from the doctor. It was able to detach and come out on it’s own.

Once she came out, her little personally was in full force. They gave her to me and we all waited for her to cry. She was just so calm. Finally after what felt like forever she let out the tiniest cry. In these past several days she has shown us how calm she is.

I did tear and had to get stitches, but again this wasn’t as bad as everyone told me it would be. I didn’t feel the tearing at all during the delivery. While I got my stitches done, Phillip and I loved on our sweet girl. She never left my side per our request. We delayed all her testing and exams, etc. After they were done stitching me up everyone left the room and Phillip and I got to have some bonding time with her. Since I wasn’t on any pain medication we only had to be in recovery for an hour and then we would go to the postpartum room.

At the end of the day did everything go as I had planned? No. Did I still get to have my pain medication-free birth experience that I wanted? Yes. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! This birthing experience showed me that I can really do anything that I put my mind to. I labored and delivered a baby with no pain medication. That’s freaking amazing!! I am beyond proud of myself and my abilities. I feel completely on top of the world.

Baby Dust To All,

Cynthia

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