Thursday, October 30, 2014

I wanted to tell my birth story on this special day. Even though it was only a year ago I feel like if I don't get it down now, I will forget. I never want to forget.

I went to a routine checkup on October 29th, 2013. During the checkup the nurse looked at me strange and asked if I felt anything? No. Are you sure? She said. I was confused and scared, I said yes why? She explained that I was already 3 cm dilated and was super surprised I hadn't felt not a thing. She let me know the baby was coming very soon and sent me home with pads to wear in the car incase my water broke.

That night I couldn't sleep. There was a constant ache that I didn't feel was strong enough to be a contraction, but strong enough to keep me awake. Around 1:30am I finally started to feel something that was a constant. I knew I was in labor, but I remember the midwife telling us to wait as long as possible at home. So I quietly slipped into the bathroom letting Ornan sleep and sat in the bathtub for another hour. When I got out, I woke him up and told him I was in labor. From that time to about 11:00am he and I walked back and forth down the hallway until I felt it was time to go in.

Before they let you in to Labor and Delivery they check you to make sure your really ready. The nurses left us in the room for a long period of time because I didn't look like I was in any visible pain. Finally she came and asked a bunch of questions and looked like she was ready to tell me I needed to wait longer before I could be admitted. She decided to use the machine to measure my contractions to double check. Her eyes opened in surprise and she said "Honey! Your five centimeters you need to go in now!"

When we did get admitted that staff ask me if I was sure I wanted to do a natural delivery. That I couldn't change my mind once I reached 6 cm. I said I was sure. I wanted to be able to eat, I wanted no drugs involved with the birth and I wasn't in much pain anyway. They looked at me like I was an alien and said "Okkkayyyyy". I progressed pretty quickly from that point to 8cm. During that time I was eating sandwiches, hospital meals, ice-cream, talking to Ornan, my sister and my mom. My water still hadn't broken. I remember they all called me an alien because I was still kicking back having normal conversations with them while I was 8cm dilated. I felt proud that I was really going through with the planned natural delivery.

At 8cm the nurses came in and told me that my water still hadn't broken and that was a problem. In order for Penelope to come my water needed to break. Did I want them to break it? I asked if there could be any harm done to her if they did. They said they didn't think so, but me and Ornan went online and checked. The information mostly said there could be harm done to the baby by manual breaking so I called the nurses in and said no. They told me I would for sure be dealing with these contraction for hours, well into the next day probably, it had already been 7 hours at this point. I said I didn't care, I read the information I'll wait it out.

Two more hours went by and I barely dilated any more. The nurses pleaded with me to consider letting them do it. By now it was close to 8pm and I was determined not to have Penelope on Halloween. She would NOT have to share a day. We called our class instructor who was a very experienced midwife. She let us know that if she was already positioned with her head down it would be fine. I asked the staff to get me a machine to check. In the meantime I walked around to get her positioned correctly. It was so painful, the pressure of walking was intense.

When they came back, they checked and said her head was where it should be. I let them break my water, and right before the nurse asked me..."You can still get the epidural are you SURE you don't want it". I said absolutely not. She told me to get ready. When they broke my water, I experienced pain like nothing I've ever felt or can describe. The only way I felt I could manage it was by sitting at the end of the bed. I felt like scratching my skin off, it was excruciating. The only thing that got me through it was the kind nurse who's voice kept me in the world of sanity. My mind was black and all I felt was pain, all I could hear was her voice.

What seemed like an eternity but apparently shortly after, I was ready to push. The nurse left me and I looked wildly around because I didn't know how I was going to be able to deal with these contractions myself. She came back with the lady to deliver Penelope and after a few good pushes she was already coming out. I was squatted holding a bar and Penelope's head was already crowning, I screamed to push. The nurse was trying to tell me to stop but I didn't hear her, she screamed at me and said "ELIZABETH DARK, LISTEN TO ME NOW!!"  I immediately came to at which she told me I had to stop pushing and sit on her head. I refused to sit on her head so I held myself up backwards on my hands and feet and watched nurses run frantically in to deliver her. It was so tiring to push and one nurse said, doesn't this feel better? I said hell no. 

Then Penelope came and all the pain vanished. They laid her on my chest and I was flabbergasted that she belong to me. This was a part of me, a beautiful being that was all mine. But then I heard "She's hemorrhaging, I need this and I need this!" I couldn't focus and I started crying. I was being poked with needles and prodded inside and people were running around. I thought to myself, God please don't let me die now. Not now that I have her. I asked if I was going to be ok. The nurse said yes. And I was. Only minor complications but totally worth it to have this beauty I get to call my daughter.

Penelope really is the light at the end of the tunnel. She is beautiful inside and out. She is loving, she is caring, so intelligent, so joyful, so curious. She is life and the beauty that God blesses you with. She is the smile that's on my face and the bags that are under my eyes. I wouldn't trade it for anything. All of the stretch marks, the complications, the hard days, the exhaustion is an incredibly small price to pay for this incredible human being. Baby girl I love you to the moon and back. Happy day peanut.