Tomorrow is Penelope’s second birthday and I really wanted to share her birth story on the blog. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and it brought Tony and me closer together. I can’t wait for you to read more about the day that changed my life forever.
I’ve talked about my pregnancy journey before, including the prepartum depression and anxiety I had. Being pregnant wasn’t the best experience, it was an emotional rollercoaster and physically taxing. A months ago I wrote about having gallstones and gallbladder attacks the entire time I was pregnant. Needless to say, it was a rough ten months and I couldn’t have been more excited to meet her.
At the beginning of my pregnancy, we made the decision to go with midwives instead of an OB. There are so many reasons which I will include in a future blog post, but the main one was because I knew they were going to be at the birth no matter what. When you choose an OB they are usually so busy with other patients there is a high chance they won’t make your birth. We needed needed someone that I could count on because of the struggles with my mental health at the time.
About a week before my due date I started having bad period cramps, my belly would harden and then it would stop. Thankfully one of my friends gave me the low down on what I should be watching out for. One thing I recommend to any expectant mom is to download the Contraction Timer App so you can time your contractions. From using the app, I was able to gauge when it was time to call my midwife.
Tony made it home from work, and miraculously I managed to fall asleep. Around 2 am I was woken up by painful contractions, and I knew there was no way I could fall back asleep. I had a warm bath trying to take my mind off of it and even tried to watch some tv because I didn’t want to go to the hospital too early. My contractions were so painful and 3 – 5 minutes apart by the time I called my midwife.
By the time we got to the hospital it was 6 am and sadly I wasn’t dilated enough. I was so scared because the contractions were so bad that there was no way I could handle any worse.
The worst was our small hospital only had one doctor who had a horrible bedside manner and was rude to our midwife. He refused to release medication and told us there weren’t enough nurses on staff to give an epidural. When we got home I got a call from the doctor saying I would need to come to stay at the hospital if I needed any pain medication. I said no, and our midwives gave me the option of staying to giving birth without an epidural or drive to another hospital an hour away with more staff.
So we waited, but the next morning the pain was horrible. We made the choice to drive to the other hospital and I will never forget how funny the drive was. I was literally screaming, doing my makeup and Tony was blowing through stoplights trying to get there as fast as he could.
The funniest part was when we got to Orillia and I was starving but knew when I got to the hospital I wouldn’t be able to eat anything. I made Tone stop at Popeyes to get me fries and a biscuit. Of course, there was a line and it was taking unusually long to get my order. Tony panicking and yelled “my wife’s in labor in the car can you hurry!”, they must have thought he was joking. He had to tell them again, “she’s in labor and made me stop to get Popeyes”. Well, I got my order really quick after that!
The waiting game
Once we got to the hospital we knew from the lack of progress that we’d probably be there for a while. My midwives didn’t tell me then but most labors weren’t this bad. I was having a hard time and my body was fighting each contraction, which was why we were almost at 20 hours. But by that time I was exhausted, my body was worn out and I was still in excruciating pain. I had two options, either I wait it out and risk a c-section or get an epidural and hope for the best.
Grandma’s here to meet Penelope!
The next few hours were a blur, I just remember wanting my mom there. I’ve wanted my mom with me when I had my first baby, she’s a formal NICU nurse and there’s no one I would feel more comfortable with. Mind you my parents hadn’t planned on driving home from Florida for a few more days. I called them when I first felt the contractions, giving them a 12-hour headstart to get here as soon as possible. After all, it was in my birth plan for her to be there!
Well, she walked through the doors 36 hours after my contractions started, and on February 18th, 2018, at 4:20 pm Penelope Frances Gibson was born. She had a full head of dark hair and these beautiful big brown eyes.
One thing I will never forget is holding her for the first time. Feeling her tiny body in my arms, and watching as she saw the world around her first time. That was the hardest thing I have ever done and I would do it all over again and again. Holding your new baby is the most magical feeling in this entire universe, there’s no way to explain it. Tony never left my side. He was right beside me, rubbing my bad and giving me strength when I had none and I couldn’t have done it without him. He held Penelope skin to skin while the midwife helped me shower.
I wanted to also share what happened next because I feel like it’s important and you’ll know why in a second.
After you have an epidural the hospital wants you to wait 24 hours to go home, and at that point, they check you and baby over. Penelope was fine until the 24-hour mark when her breathing was getting a little strained, nothing crazy but definitely noticeable. There NICU doctor said she had jaundice which is normal for some babies, but her breathing was either a side effect of the anti-depression medication or it was because I had a long labor. Thankfully she was completely fine after 24 hours and got to come home.
I just wanted to include that because I know from all the messages I got that a lot of pregnant women are going through similar experiences. I knew side effects on my baby were always going to be a concern when taking any kind of medication, but the anti-depression medication was a necessity. It 100% helped me and I was able to be happy with our new baby. Without that medication, I don’t think I could have.
I hope you enjoyed Penelope’s birth story, let me know if there is anything specific you want me to go into or any questions you have?