penelope 하늘 (sky) so was born on may 15, 2015 at 11:09pm. she weighed 7 lb. 9.5 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. the day before she arrived, dennis and i had gone to the ob to do an nst (non-stress test) and an ultrasound to check penny’s well-being. all was well except i still wasn’t dilated. we scheduled an induction for may 19 – dennis and i had wanted may 15 because we thought the date was cool but that date was not available.
lo and behold, penny decided to come the next day! what’s interesting is that my sister-in-law, crystal, and i had had a conversation on penny’s due date back in april. dennis and i thought 5/5/15 would be neat, and crystal had also thought 5/15/15 would be as well.
although we were anxious about penny’s arrival, everything worked out perfectly.
there are 3 stages of labor: early, active, and transitional. the early stage is the longest – this is when labor begins with contractions and the cervix is dilated to 3 cm. the active stage is until the cervix is dilated to 7 cm. finally the transitional stage is when the cervix is fully open at 10 cm and the baby is ready to be delivered.
out of all three stages, the active stage was the worst for me.
but first, let me start from the beginning. i began feeling cramping in my stomach from around midnight to 3AM on 5/15/15. i kept rubbing my stomach while trying to sleep. then around 3AM, i lost my mucus plug. this is a gelatinous “cork” that plugs the opening of the cervix and when this unseals it means labor will begin.
unfortunately, women can lose their mucus plug and not go into labor for weeks. i started labor within a half hour. contractions started and were about every 20 minutes. i downloaded an app called “full term” to keep track of my contractions. by 9AM, sleep was impossible and i camped out on the love seat with a heating pad on my back. with every passing hour, contractions were getting stronger and it was harder to contain the pain.
an interesting fact is that only about 15% of women experience their water breaking. this part of the labor is exaggerated in the media but it’s actually not that common. most women are admitted to the hospital before this happens or the doctor tears the amniotic sac for you. for me, however, i had been experiencing a small “gush” every now and then throughout the day. since it was more than once, i thought nothing of it. but at 2:50pm, i stood up and i felt that maybe it had been my water breaking all along so i called my ob. they told me to come in right away so dennis and i made sure our overnight bags were in the car in case we had to go to the hospital.
by this time, my contractions were coming every five minutes which is when you should be going to the hospital anyway. i was having difficulty walking because of the pain. at the ob, i found out i was nearly 3 cm dilated so i went to the hospital and got admitted to my room around 4:20pm. by this time, i was pretty much in distress and used a red clown nose from walgreens for red nose awareness as a stress ball. i waited out the contractions as long as i could and i then i got an epidural – a godsend – around 6pm. after that, i was in bliss. i relaxed on the bed watching the nba playoffs while the lower half of my body became increasingly numb. another check revealed that i was at 4 cm and contractions were every 2-3 minutes.
since i was doing well, dennis went home to turn off the ac and grab a few items that we had forgotten. around 8:50pm, the doctor came to check in on my progress and i was 9.5 cm dilated – nearly time to push! i frantically called dennis who hurriedly said he was 5 minutes away. after an hour and 15 minutes of pushing (it would’ve been shorter but my contractions increased to every 4 minutes), penelope entered the world! dennis cut the umbilical cord and i was able to hold her for the first time.
it has already been 12 days since penny’s arrival! although the nights seem endless because of the continuous feedings and diaper changes, the days do go fairly fast. dennis and i are pretty much walking zombies – dark circles and tiny white bumps appeared under my eyes after a few days and most days I can’t muster the energy to keep them fully open. even now as i type this entry, my eyes are slowly starting to close.
everyone says to sleep when the baby does, but there’s always so much to do! since i’m still recovering i’m not doing heavy-duty lifting, cooking, or really anything besides feeding the baby and changing her diapers. i’ve been wanting to update my blog but i chose to squeeze in a quick nap or complete a baby-related task instead.
i hope to keep updating as often as i can particularly to acknowledge the milestones such as penny’s one week mark which was last friday. she will already be two weeks this friday.
i know i’m biased because i’m her parent, but isn’t she adorable? 🙂 even when i fall asleep while pumping milk at 3am or get stressed out because she’s crying yet again, i’m reminded why it’s all worth it when i look at her.
blessed.. thank you, god.