Penelope's Birth Story: Part 2

5:54:00 AM

Picking up where I left off...

After walking the hallway for what I think was a few hours, I was checked to see how I was progressing and discovered I was only 2cm dilated. This was a bit devastating considering the amount of pain I was in, so I asked to labor in the tub as my last resort. 

Now, I want to warn anyone who plans to labor in the tub that you do not get to be fully submerged. It's not like being in a pool, you are not weightless. For some reason I thought this was the case and the harsh reality of having warm water up to my waste only was awful. I only labored in the tub for about half an hour before I couldn't stand it any longer. I went into this with breathing techniques, my lovely husband constantly refilling my diffuser with lavender essential oil, my sister-in-law wonderfully lending me her lava stone bracelet and stress relief essential oil, and a calming music playlist. Despite all this, being induced was just too much for my pain threshold and I asked for an epidural. 

Joe was asked to leave the room when the anesthesiologists arrived; he was told it would take 10-15 minutes. It took one hour, 3 insertions of the needle, and a WHOLE LOT of patience on my part considering I had to sit perfectly still while having extremely painful contractions and feeling the needle in my back. Apparently if you have a slightly curved spine, you need to let the anesthesiologist know or they won't be able to properly insert your epidural, regardless of their expertise. My poor husband, who was already exhausted, re-entered the room with his nerves shot, thinking something had gone wrong. Thankfully, all was well and I had managed to dilate to 5cm at that point.

I believe I drifted in and out for a few hours after the epidural, but came to realize that it was wearing off on the left side of my body. I spent dilation from 8-9cm feeling contractions on my left side. My original anesthesiologists attempted to numb it, but did not succeed, so 2 more were sent in, one of which was the woman who had finally gotten my IV in the day before in triage. I knew I liked her and the other anesthesiologist was my OB's brother. As my doctor told me I needed to start pushing, her brother ran over and put a medication in my epidural catheter and my left side went mercifully numb (side note: if you are thinking "What the heck? Epidural catheter?", you should know that there are new epidurals you can have that involve a catheter, which allows a constant flow of medication to numb you. No need to worry about it wearing off before baby comes... it was AMAZING). 

The next 45 minutes felt like they went by in 5 seconds. Joe held my left leg and coached me through along with my amazing doctor. There was pressure and exhaustion and excitement... that room was filled with so much encouragement and anticipation it was tangible. My mom ran in briefly to see how I was while I was pushing and I couldn't help but smile at her; her grand baby was so close. I can't fully explain how supportive and encouraging my husband was during this time. I could see how amazed he was by the job I was doing and it only gave me more strength to continue. At one point he turned to the nurses/doctor and said "I could NOT do this. I could not do this..." and we all laughed. 

The pressure turned to pain in the final 2 pushes and then our sweet girl entered the world. The doctor and Joe told me she was so anxious to see me that she was actually wiggling her little head and helping me during those final pushes. What happened in those few minutes after Joe and I became parents is something I can't describe and I will never forget. I'm so humbled to have shared those moments with my husband and know they are between only us. I truly could not have brought our daughter into this world without him.

If you made it this far, I'm proud of you. I hope this was helpful for some, entertaining for others. If anyone has questions, please comment! The depth of our love for this little life is infinite.

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