Oakland was due on December 17/2015. But being a first time mom, I of course was going to be early. My baby couldn’t have a birthday that close to Christmas so I was going to do all the necessary things to make sure this baby came out on time ( and by on time I mean a solid 7-10 days early ). I walked, I squatted, I was drinking raspberry leaf tea, I was taking evening primrose oil, I was having more sex than I did on my honeymoon. Nothing. Not even a mild cramp. The 17th came and went and then so did the 18th and then the 19th. With each day I became grumpier than the last. Not wanting my child to be that kid that shared their birthday with Christmas, that just straight up sucks. Even those kids think so.
Sunday rolled around which meant crepes, cocktails, and the Seahawks game. I was happy to be with family and loved our football Sundays. By the end of the game I still had no signs of labour. Devon suggested I try a small amount of castor oil. I had heard such horror stories of women chugging bottles of castor oil, only to end up severely sick and dehydrated whilst trying to give birth. So I was incredibly hesitant to say the least. He researched it a little bit and suggested I just try a tablespoon with some orange juice. I decided to go for it, at this point I thought I was going to pregnant forever so I really didn’t have high hopes. After a couple hours, still nothing. So I took another tablespoon and waited again. This time I started to feel regular and continual cramping. At this point we were still at my in laws, now watching baby videos of Devon and I was starting to get excited, thinking our own little one could be joining us soon. After a couple more hours, the cramps were still coming so we decided to head home and try to get a good sleep, in case it was our last one for awhile. I woke up around 5 am with what felt like severe contractions, we called the maternity ward at our hospital and they suggested I take a nice hot bath. I laid in the bath for about an hour while Devon continued to sleep. When I got out of the bath I could hardly move or breathe through my contractions. So we decided to head to the hospital. When we got there, the nurses checked my cervix and told me I was 3 cm dilated. Seriously?! I had been 2 cm for like 2 weeks already, after 8 hours of contractions that’s all my body had done for me? I didn’t really have a written birth plan or anything like that it. Typically my life has a way of taking a fat crap on all my plans so I decided to just go with the flow. But I did want to try and labor at home as long as I could. So we decided to head out for some food and then head home. At this point I knew 2 things. 1- that my body needed to move a tad quicker and 2 – that I needed to get into a good headspace if I was going to make it through the day. When we got back home we decided to go for a long walk, which also consisted of many lunges and squats. I’m sure I looked like a total renob to all our neighbours but at this point gravity was my only friend. When we got back we crawled into bed. Devon watched shark tank while I told myself I was floating in a water bed. In some odd way telling myself this made my body feel weightless and I was able to drift into a slight sleep. When I woke up the water bed feeling was gone and instead I felt like an almost empty toothpaste roll being squeezed for the very last remnants.
We got to the hospital at 6 pm. My cervix was checked and they were shocked I was almost 7 cm so we got settled into our room. I was feeling a lot of pressure in my low back so I found bouncing on the exercise ball while Devon rubbed my back to be the only small relief. My doctor came in and told me he would break my water to help with the pressure I was feeling. Devon says this was the craziest part for him, he was shocked at how much water there was. For me it was the greatest relief. I got back on my ball and started to feel like I couldn’t do this for another 4 hours. I asked if I could have an epidural. The nurses told me I was 8 cm and almost ready to push but if I wanted to I could speak with the Dr about my options. When the anesthesiologist finally arrived he said, “no questions, are you wanting one or not.” I waved him off and said, “Fine. Forget it, I’ll do it without one.” If I was near the end I could do it. My nurse told me to just let her know if I ever felt an urge to push. Right at that moment, my whole body started to stiffen up and I let out a huge groan. I looked at her and started to chuckle, I didn’t mean to do that my body had just done it on it’s own. They told me the baby needed to turn a little so they had me start to push on all fours. Now I know bringing a baby into this world is beautiful and all but something about being on all fours and groaning like a cow feels completely savage. Because I was feeling such intense pressure through each push, I started yelling “ I sh*t my pants, I know I sh*t my pants” ( I actually didn’t sh*t, and I wasn’t wearing pants ) But the nurse assured me it was normal to feel that way and it was just the pressure of the babies head. After 20 minutes of pushing on all fours my doctor told me we were ready to get this baby out. I pushed as hard as I could through each contraction. At one point my doctor asked me if I wanted to feel the babies head and I said “No, let’s finish this” as excited as I was to meet my baby, I just wanted the pain to be over. After 20 minutes of solid pushing our healthy baby GIRL was laying on my chest and staring up at me. I remember the first thing I said was “ Dev, she’s actually really cute” ( I was expecting a total gremlin, the kind that would have a real winning personality and eventually grow into their looks )
Oakland Elsie Penner was born at 8:44 pm on December 21/2015, weighing 7 lbs 3 oz with the cutest button nose and the rosiest pink skin! Our perfect little blessing from God!