Penelope’s Birth Story

Five months after the fact….I’m finally getting around to writing down Penny’s birth story! Honestly, neither of my girls have the most dramatic or noteworthy entries into this world–I mean, they are obviously precious stories to ME–but, I feel like everyone likes to hear about the day they were born, so it’s worth documenting for posterity’s sake. I also love reading other peoples’ birth stories so on the extremely slight chance that this overly-detailed account will be entertaining to someone….here we go!

One thing that I was dead-set on while I was pregnant with Penny was assuming that I would go overdue. With Ella, I was so anxious and antsy as my due date approached (like, expecting to go into labor once I hit 38 weeks…fat chance!) that I sort of made myself miserable. I found out that I was pregnant with Penny really early (so early, in fact, that when I went to get a blood test to confirm, they told me I had miscarried because my HCG levels were so low….then I went in for a follow up two days later and got the best news ever!) so I figured my due date might even be a little off. With that in mind, I steeled myself to go overdue. And I’m really glad I did, because it made the final few weeks a lot more bearable.

My official due date was May 26th. Dave’s parents could come and help out with Ella starting the 27th of May (they were out in Alabama for our niece’s high school graduation). My mom couldn’t come earlier because she was in charge of the LDS youth trek in our stake, so she was going to come as soon as my mother in law left, the first week of June. That compounded my lack of urgency to get Penny here–obviously, we’d make it work if she decided to make an appearance early, but it would just be more convenient if she waited? In addition, my labor with Ella (who was six days overdue) was so quick and simple and I just figured, why rush things?

That being said, when my doctor offered to induce me a week before my due date, it was still a little hard to resist! The week of my due date was the last week of school and then it was Memorial Day weekend, and my doc was going out of town on vacation with his family. He warned me that he probably wouldn’t be the one to deliver Penny because he wouldn’t be back until the 31st. I told him I was pretty confident I’d just see him at the hospital for an induction on the 31st and sure enough….that’s what happened! When he walked in the delivery room he was like, “well, well, well, I guess I get to be here after all!”

The week of my due date was pretty uneventful. I was having lots of contractions and even started to time them a few times, but they never got intense enough for me to consider going to the hospital. I went in for a non-stress test on Friday (the day after my due date) and Penny looked good so they just said they’d let me go until my induction on Tuesday.

The weekend passed a little agonizingly, but I tried to just enjoy my last few days of general solitude. Monday was Memorial Day and we really did nothing noteworthy. We went to the park with Ella, and then Dave’s parents arrived around dinner time and we got dinner and then hung out with them that evening.

The instructions I had received from the hospital where I delivered were as follows: I would be “on call” on Tuesday, the 31st of May, which meant they could call me at any time starting at 6am, and we had 45 minutes to get to the hospital. Since we live 20 minutes from the hospital, that meant I needed to be showered and dressed and kind of ready to go when they called. The time would just depend on the number of patients they had that day. I understand that the labor and delivery floor is obviously unpredictable, but I have to say I really hated this method even though there’s probably no other way! I got up at 5 and showered and got dressed so that if they happened to call right at six I would be prepared. Then I just sat there in the silence, starting at my phone, while everyone else slept (Dave claimed he could be ready to go in under 20 minutes so I didn’t need to wake him up unless they called. I was slightly hurt he wasn’t wide awake with anxiousness and excitement like I was, but whatever.).

I’ll spare you a play by play of the entire morning, but suffice it to say it was very boring and simultaneously stressful, haha! I didn’t want to be annoying so I didn’t want to call (like, I’m sure the hospital gets tons of crazy pregnant women calling and demanding to be admitted) but around 11 or so my friend Kelsey, who happens to be a nurse, texted me to wish me luck. I replied and was like, “Uh, I haven’t even left my house yet” and she convinced me to call and ask for an update. So I did, and understandably the nurse wasn’t super thrilled with me and just told me she couldn’t give me any information. Not her fault at all but….Sigh.

Around this point my in-laws were going to take Ella with them on a little outing to meet up with a friend of theirs for lunch, so Dave and I decided to just go get food in the general vicinity of the hospital. I just wanted to get out and kill some time! So we got Jimmy John’s (for some reason turkey sandwiches have been my #1 craving with both pregnancies…Listeria be darned!) and then we just walked around Target, since that place is basically pregnant lady heaven. That was actually really fun, since I don’t think we’ve been in a store together without a child since Ella was born.

By this time is was like 2, though, and I was getting really antsy because I knew they wouldn’t admit me after a certain point in the evening. I just wanted to know if I should just plan on it being the next day! I can usually control my emotions if I have some warning, haha. So I called again (I’m sure these nurses probably hated me…..sorry guys!) and they said it would probably be within the next two hours. About twenty minutes later, they called and said they could fit me in if we could be there within half an hour. Obviously we said yes and I waddled to the car as quickly as a pregnant lady could. I’d like to give Kelsey an honorable mention for encouraging me to be assertive because I really do think they tried to fit me in, if for no other reason than to get me to shut up and stop calling them. The nurses said my doctor had also been bugging them because he wanted to get on with his day. So thanks Dr. Watabe!

We got to the hospital, and they got me checked in, and had me change into a gown. This time was so different than with Ella, because my labor with Ella was so intense so quickly, I don’t really have any memories of how I ended up in the hospital bed since it’s all a blur. By 3:30 I was in bed, and they started Pitocin around 4. I had heard such scary things about Pitocin contractions and I was kind of nervous, but I didn’t really think they were that bad at all. Granted, the dosage was low at this point, haha. I decided I didn’t want the epidural (sorry, if you were looking for a natural birth story keep on movin’) until I was really in pain, because the whole process kind of terrifies me and so I need to really need relief for me to not freak out at that huge needle.

Around 5:00 my doctor came and broke my water. That’s when things got real. And they got real fast. Like, before he had even left the room I was begging for an epidural. So I guess I was wrong to say this isn’t a natural birth story…I labored naturally for 10 whole minutes until the CRNA came in. Worst 10 minutes of my life! The good news was I started progressing really quickly after that. The nurse even turned off the Pitocin because my contractions were so big. Once the epidural was in, Dave and I just chilled watching Chopped Junior (is there like a rule that the kids on that show have to be kind of obnoxious?) and around 7pm it was go time! I’ll spare you the gory details (you say, “Why did I read this extremely long and boring lead up if you’re not going to talk about the blood and gore?” There honestly isn’t much to tell), but about 10 minutes after the doctor came in, Penny was in my arms!

For some reason I was really sure she was going to look totally different than Ella (not sure where I got that idea…maybe because me and my next sister looked totally different as newborns?) but we were all surprised at how similar they looked! I mean, all newborns look kind of similar, let’s be real. We also thought she looked a lot like Dave’s mom, Elaine. The other main first impression I had was that she was crying a lot louder and for longer than Ella did when she first arrived (*Foreshadowing for the next six months*).

Luckily I have wise friends who had gone before me and warned me not to expect too much when Ella came to meet the new baby. I was so excited to see Ella, but realistically, it was past her bed time, she had had a long day out and about with her grandparents, and her mom was in a hospital bed and hooked up to all kinds of wires, so she was a little overwhelmed, understandably! She actually handled it a lot better than I expected, and I was so excited to see her and watch her with Penny! But I’m glad I didn’t have any pie in the sky dreams about it being this magical moment. Things definitely got a little more relaxed and natural between the two of them once I got home.

We were so thankful for Dave’s parents and their help while I was in the hospital. Dave was really busy with school the week I had Penny (maybe by the time we have a third child we won’t be students anymore? haha) and we would have really been in a bind without them! Ella had a blast with them and they brought her to the hospital a few times which was great because I was surprisingly lonely! I also had wonderful friends come and visit (and I’m not posting those pictures even though I love them, because I’m vain and my face looks super swollen) and keep me company. The nurses probably hated us by the time they left, but it meant a lot to me that they made time to come! Kait even took some hospital pictures for us which I treasure.

And with that, we had ourselves a new little Mizukawa! It’s definitely been an adjustment getting used to two kids, but we love Penny to death and kind of can’t remember what it was like before she arrived.