I cannot believe I have been a mom for two weeks now! I've been wanting to post before now but I haven't been able to find the energy to sit at the computer. I'll try to recap everything that I remember about Penny's birth and I promise that I won't be to graphic :) If it bores you to tears you can just skip to the end to see pictures of our little girl.
I also want to give a disclaimer. As a pregnant woman, I never particularly enjoyed when women would come up and tell me their horror stories about their experience with birth. If you are yet to deliver, maybe don't read this. If you do, just remember, anything "bad" that happened to me wasn't the norm and probably won't happen to you. Overall, it was incredible and so much easier than I thought it would be.
We went in to Glendale Adventist on January 20th at 1:30pm to be induced. I was pretty nervous but knew that I was in for a long couple of days. They checked us into our room and started me on an IV and all that fun stuff. As insignificant as it may seem, the bed they gave me was HORRIBLE. It was broken and I felt like I was laying on a cement slab. They started me on cervadil because I still hadn't progressed at all since my appointment. That was extremely uncomfortable. As it turns out, I was already having contractions 3 to 5 minutes apart. I had been having them for a few days as well as some more significant back pain, but I thought back labor and contractions were supposed to be way more painful so I didn't really think anything of it. I spent the day with my family and Jonathan's family. They came and visited me several times and we just hung out and laughed together.
By midnight my back was really starting to hurt and even though my contractions weren't unbearable I decided to call for the epidural. We were told by the nurse that the anesthesiologist that was on duty was really good so if we were going to get the epidural, we should get it in the wee hours of the morning before she went off of her shift. I have never ever been told a bigger lie!! The anesthesiologist was really not my friend. I don't want to complain, because over all it really was a great experience but this was not my favorite part.
I was told it would take at least an hour for her to come so I called early to mentally prepare myself for the epidural. She ended up being available right at that moment so she walked right in and said, in a very quiet but THICK Russian accent, "Sit up and arch your back, don't move or I'll kill you." Okay, she didn't say that last part but that's what it felt like. She even yelled at Jona for something. We weren't really sure what she said, but it was enough to scare us. I was trying to hold on to Jona and brace myself for the first stick. That was no big deal, but immediately afterwards I felt a knife enter my spine. I felt all of it, she didn't numb it properly because she said the "space was too deep". She yelled at me to arch my back so I tried, then yelled at me again for moving. Our nurse was very kind and was trying to interpret exactly what she wanted me to do. I was crying at the point and told Jonathan that I changed my mind and I don't want an epidural anymore. The anesthesiologist told me it was too late and that she had to do it all over again. The second time was much better but I was pretty upset from the experience.
I went numb pretty quickly and fell asleep pretty soon. I woke up a while later shaking like crazy and I vomited quite a few times. I know it sounds kinda bad, but it really wasn't. I couldn't believe that the process was really that easy. I wasn't in that much pain and the shaking and puking wasn't killing me. I was feeling pretty good. The second day was a little harder. I was progressing through the night and my contractions were 1 to 2 minutes apart. Things were looking really good.
I ended up getting a really bad backache and migraine from the bed and the epidural but my dear friends Rachel and Michelle helped my through a lot of the pain. At about 1pm the top of my neck was starting to feel numb and my entire chest was numb from the epidural as well as my blood pressure dropping so they turned off the epidural and I had to wait for the new anesthesiologist to come in and adjust it. That was supposed to take 20 minutes but it took almost 3 hours so I started to feel the heavy contractions. Even still, it wasn't that bad.
Around 3pm I had stopped at 7cm. Penny's head wasn't engaging so they started talking about a c-section. I prepared myself for it and was starting to get excited about the prospect of getting it all over with and finally meeting my baby. At about 6:30 the nurse checked me and told me that her head had dropped and that it would be a vaginal birth after all. I tried to prepare myself for that shift and was beginning to be ok with it again, when my doctor came in and said we need to do a c-section because my pelvis was too small and her head was too big. So we flipped again. They said the OR was open and I would be having my c-section in 15 minutes!
Jona got suited up and I was prepped. I got to see my parents and laugh a little bit and then they wheeled me into the OR. I prayed that God would help me to be calm and that I wouldn't feel anything. They made Jona wait for a little while and the new anesthesiologist (who I loved) started getting me ready. I threw up several times because of the big boost of drugs but besides that I loved the c-section. I shook a lot but was not in pain and I enjoyed looking into my husband's beautiful brown eyes as he stroked my face and wiped my tears.
At 7:35 pm, I heard the doctor say "here she is" and I saw Jona's tears. It was quite possibly the sweetest moment of my life to hear her sweet little squeaks and see my husband immediately fall in love with this little baby. Penny never cried, which worried me a little bit but it was just an indication of what a mellow baby she is. Jona cut the cord and got to bring her over to me and I got to kiss my little girl. Jonathan was able to record both of us meeting her and since her birth we have watched it probably 20 times with massive smiles on our faces.
Things went a little downhill from there as there was a drug mix-up in the recovery room. It's a long story, but basically, due to a drug allergy I wasn't given medication to help once the epidural wore off. I was in the worst pain of my life. I remember screaming as Jonathan tried to comfort me and hold my hand. It took about 4 hours before they got the situation under control and we had to deal again with the first anesthesiologist. Once everything sorted out I finally got to go back to my room and hold little Penny.
It was sometimes a little annoying during the pregnancy when I was told 5 billion times how worth it it would be. I knew that it would. I never questioned that. But, I had no clue HOW worth it. I held that sweet little swollen baby in my arms and my heart swelled with love. I didn't sleep for one second that night. I just stared at my little angel and thanked the Lord for her.
We stayed in the hospital for 3 more nights and were blessed to be visited by several friends and family members. We struggled a lot with feeding, but a few days out of the hospital we were able to get together with a lactation specialist and things are very slowly getting better.
I have never in my life been happier. I love this family God has blessed me with and I am amazed at how my love has grown for Jona as I have watched him love our daughter. I could write books about how sweet she is and how much fun we are having with her (eventually, I may try :)) but for now I'll just post some pictures.
Meeting My Little Girl
Penny meeting her Oma Zimmer
Penny Meeting Her Papa Zimmer
Penny Meeting Her Grandma Johnson
Penny Meeting Her Grandpa Johnson
Penny & Her Daddy
Pen & I Taking A Nap
We Get To Go Home!!!
Sweet Little Penny
I will try to write more soon about life as little Penelope Mae's mommy! Thanks for your prayers!