Our Sweet Baby Penny
The Saturday before Penny arrived was a bit chaotic, her birth story definitely begins there. I was trying to make it at least through Saturday because we were having a birthday party for Gabriel that day and he had put so much thought and planning into everything, I wanted to make that happen for him. So Saturday morning we got up early to go see the Grinch (know that we also had our 11 month old nephew that day), so we were testing out having two children and going to Ponce City Market because we are crazy. Well, after waiting two hours and it was our turn, we were told that the Grinch was going to lunch so we had to wait another hour and a half even though we were next in line. Gabe had to go to a friends birthday party and we were already late, so I kneel down and explained to Gabe how I messed up and we couldn’t see the Grinch and then we both started crying. My hormonal tears and Gabe’s cute little pouty lip got us two seconds with Mr. Grinch and then we were on our way to the friend’s party!
After the party, I was trying to be super mom and walk with my nephew, Gabe, and my purse on the wet pavement and I slipped. This is what I believe would be the beginning of getting ready for baby girl because while I didn’t fall, I really hurt my inner thigh, pretty sure I pulled a muscle. So for the rest of the day, I was hobbling around trying to host Gabriel’s birthday party at our house with 15 kids all over the place and in quite a bit of pain from the muscle pull. But it was a success, we got through the chaos of Saturday and I think with the hurt muscle and my finally relaxing after we made it through the day, Sunday morning I woke up at 6 am with my first contraction!
You should know that Gabe took 36 hours of labor to join us, it was traumatic for me in a lot of ways and the month or so after he was born, I was still in a state of shock. So I was in no rush (aka denial I was even in labor) to get to the hospital. So I relaxed in the tub, built a lego set with Gabe, and timed my contractions, fully planning to go sing at church that morning while Tyler preached. Tyler, however, saw that my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and believed we would have the baby soon, so he got the backup plan for Sunday morning going and we were headed to drop off little man and then go to the hospital.
We arrived at my in-laws house pretty quickly and Gabe started playing with his cousins, happy as a clam! I was still pretty stubborn, not wanting to get to the hospital too early and end up being a day or more away from meeting baby girl. I couldn’t really walk either because of the pulled muscle from the day before, so taking laps around the hospital was the last thing I wanted to do that day. I wanted to bounce on the ball or take baths somewhere I felt comfy, not in the hospital.
But after prompting from family, I called the doctor to see if I should come in, and even though contractions were 3-4 minutes apart, they didn’t seem TOO painful so they said I should stay home for an hour and then reassess. Well, I took that opportunity to hop in the bath where those little contractions definitely picked up their tempo. After about 20 minutes of laboring in the tub, I gave in and was ready to go to the hospital. The ride there and check in was a bit blurry for me, answering questions in between and during contractions is not fun (which is why I handed the answering questions reigns to Tyler most of the time anyways). As soon as we got checked in, we got a sweet text from the congregation that was a selfie of everyone there that morning saying they were praying for us. I started to feel so much confidence then that this birth story would be different this time, and was able to rest in knowing people were praying for us!
I bit my nails for the moment of truth…would i be staying in the hospital having this baby today or am I still super far from the finish line like I experienced with Gabe? Needless to say, I was about 7 cm, thank goodness and we were admitted at 12:30 pm!
The next hour and a half was off and on pretty painful. Without pain meds this time, I felt more in control of my pain in a strange way. Yes, the contractions hurt, but I also came down from them in such a wave of relief, it was almost euphoric. I labored mostly on a ball, but still had limited movement in my legs, so I couldn’t go very far even if I wanted to! Apparently I only said it once, but in my head I knew I said it a million times, but I looked at Tyler and said “I am not sure I can do this anymore,” knowing that I had to still and his response was encouraging, he believed in me even though I still was in denial baby was coming. I was still playing this mental game with myself that I was going to be in labor forever and not to get too excited about progressing.
At some point during that time, my midwife broke my water and said to me, “you have to let baby come down.” That is when the entire game changed, I realized I was tensing up, thinking it would be painful forever and not letting baby girl come out. After that moment, I relaxed into each contraction despite the pain and let my body and baby take over. After a few contractions that way, I stood up and immediately crashed into the bed, scaring Tyler to death so he called for a nurse. When they walked in, I was already feeling the urge to push and couldn’t help but start pushing while they were still getting ready. I knew I needed to relax, but baby was coming and it was just not possible! After only a few pushes and that lovely “ring of fire” you hear so much about, baby girl was here! My mom says she got there just then, she had heard me scream down the hall and then baby scream by the time she got to the door haha.
Tyler and I were so in love with our precious girl, I didn’t feel much more pain after that, just love for her. We named her Penelope Elena, which means “Weaver of Light,” and our greatest hope for her is that she will bring together goodness and light in a dark world. We had a few hours of skin to skin time, just staring at this miracle that somehow I was able to bring into the world, it’s still a mystery to me how it happened but I know prayer and encouragement from Tyler had a lot to do with it. My legs in my muscles were even worse off than the day before, but I still felt awesome and was able to walk after she was born! I felt alert, hungry, and just oh so happy this time, ready to enjoy the tiny human we made together.
My postpartum journey has been about the same of that health and happiness I felt after she was born throughout this first month, a completely different story from last time and it feels like Penny has always been a part of our little family. We are still getting the hang of two kids, I’ve only ventured out once by myself with the both of them, but we love our miss Penny and her sweet self. Her favorite thing to do is to look at the beams in our den, snuggle with mommy, and cuddle in the ring sling. We are working on a little routine these days and eagerly await her first smiles at us and not the ceiling!