Thursday, October 18, 2012

Penny's Birth Story Pt. 1

I have been putting off writing Penn's birth story because 1. I'm scared my lack of writing skills won't do it justice, 2. the only time I have to do it is when she's napping and if I want to stay sane I have to make myself nap, and 3. I'm not sure what the birth story "etiquette" is on sharing too much. However, the longer I wait the more details I forget so here I go...

At 38 weeks I felt pretty good so I was certain that P was going to wait a while to greet the world. We decided to do some last minute maternity pictures with our friend, Micah, on the evening of October 2. I was feeling unusually nauseous that night but chalked it up to indigestion. I hadn't been sleeping well the last month of my pregnancy and I didn't get to bed until 3:30am that night. I woke up at 5:00am to pee with some pretty strong lower back cramps that I hadn't felt before and when I went to the bathroom...well, let's just say signs were pointing to the fact that labor was near. I screamed (in fear and excitement) and Truman came to see what was wrong. All I could say was "I think it's happening!"

I figured manageable back cramps weren't even close to the pains of labor so I assumed I had a ways to go. Truman went to work and I decided to go over all of my laboring information just in case. Throughout the morning my cramps were getting increasingly stronger and coming every 10 minutes apart. I was still certain that they weren't real contractions, though. I called my mom to give her a heads up and she suggested that I call the doctors office to let them know what was happening. I was hesitant to do so because I didn't think I was in active labor. When I called, the nurse said to head to the hospital. That felt so final! I said "are you sure? water hasn't even broke yet." The nurse probably thought I was an idiot for questioning her. She reminded me that it didn't matter and said to get there anyway. Part of me was sad because I had plans of laboring at home for as long as I could. I didn't want to spend the entire process in an uncomfortable hospital room. So I called Truman and took my time packing the hospital bags.

We got to the hospital around noon and they hooked me up to a monitor and checked me. The nurse couldn't even feel my cervix so she had me speed walk the halls for 30 minutes to get things going. The contractions were getting much stronger and coming every 5-7 minutes. I was hopeful that we were making progress, but when she checked me again she felt nothing. At this point I was in quite a bit of pain when the contractions hit. Truman had to massage my back through each one. They sent us home at 4:00pm and said it could still be a few days before I was in active labor. The thought of enduring these contractions for a few days was very discouraging and I worried that if I could barely handle these "fake" contractions then I wouldn't survive the real deal.

My mom was certain that I was in labor so she called to say she was on her way. I remember telling Truman that she shouldn't be coming so early because she was just going to have to turn around and go home. The contractions were only getting worse as we got home and I spent the next few hours crawled up on the couch with my mom massaging my back, feet, legs, etc. (She was amazing.) I was browsing through Pinterest to distract my mind from the pain and I came across a pin from my friend Brigette. It was a photo that said "Keep calm, you may be weak, but God is strong." I didn't think much of it at the time, but when the next contraction hit I found myself chanting "I am weak, but He is strong" over and over again. I stopped talking as the contractions got stronger, but that continued to play through my head.

It was about 8:00pm and my contractions were 2-4 minutes apart and lasting a little less than a minute. My mom kept saying "you're in labor, babe" but I was still convinced that I wasn't. I decided to try a shower and bath and though they slowed my contractions down, I started to feel nauseous (which is what I was mostly terrified of). I laid by the open window with about 30 minutes of relief until the contractions started up again. This time they were consistently 2 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute and 20 seconds. I couldn't speak through them. The only thing that worked was to breath steadily in through my nose and out through my mouth. I was starting to whimper and moan as I clenched the couch cushions and Truman suggested that we go back to the hospital. I refused because I didn't want to get there and get sent home again. Plus, I was in so much pain that getting into a car seemed impossible. It took them a while to convince me, but at 10:30pm I gave in and we started to pack our things again.

I started to cry as I got into the back seat. I couldn't do it anymore. I was in so much pain and the thought of them telling me it wasn't active labor made me hurt even worse. Truman looked into the rear view mirror and noticed I was crying. I could see the pain in his eyes--I don't remember what he said, but he was trying so hard to encourage me. They took me to the ER entrance and ran to get me a wheel chair. I was embarrassed that they were in such a rush because I was still under the impression that this wasn't the real deal. I was trying to control my sobbing as the nurse wheeled me up to the fourth floor. I didn't want them to think I was a wimp.

They got me into a bed and the nurse came in to check me. This was the moment I feared. Not only does checking your cervix hurt like hell (pardon my french) but I was terrified that the nurse would say "you're 2 centimeters!". I squeezed Truman's hand really hard (he commented that he didn't realize I was that strong) and braced myself for the bad news. "Oh, you're 8 centimeters!" she said with a surprised and slightly panicked voice. Truman, my mom, and Kali started to cheer with excitement and I bawled like a baby. My water broke immediately when she checked me and it finally hit me that I was going to be meeting my baby girl soon.

To be continued!


Kelsey K said...

I love that you are documenting this every step of the way, and allowing others to share in the joy!!

Anonymous said...

Ooh you made it sooo far at home! Wow Jordan! Can't wait to read the rest :)

Anonymous said...

Yay! Beautifully written! You are so smart to write this all out right away! I've been putting the boys' together recently and all those details are haaarrrd to keep straight!

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