Giving birth to our daughter was probably one of the most out of this world experience I could ever go through with my husband. I'm happy to say that I would definitely go through it again. Every second of pain I endured was worth it.

During the last four weeks of my third trimester, I visited my Ob-gyn every week. 37 weeks is when you're considered full term.  During my 37 week visit, my doctor told me I was on the right track. I was dilated 1.5 cm already. I went back the week after for my 38 week visit, which my doctor said she was surprised to see me. She told me the week before that I would definitely not pass my due date of February 16. At my 38 week visit, which was on Wednesday, I was 2.5 cm dilated. Dr. Morton (my ob-gyn) told me that I would not make it to the weekend and I'd have my baby soon. This made me really happy. I was very grateful that my pregnancy was easy and there were no complications but I was very ready to meet our baby girl.

After our appointment, Wynne and I spent the rest of the day together as it was probably the last time it would be just me and him. We also tried to induce my labor. We got breakfast that day and then walked up and down the stairs of our condo unit (28 floors). Afterwards, we went over to the Water Tower Place and walked the entire mall (all 7 floors and all around). He bought me mango shaved ice (mango is one of the fruits that help induce labor) and he bought me raspberry tea from David's Tea. When we were there I asked if they had raspberry tea and the sales associate warned us that particular tea was said to induce labor. Perfect for us because that's what we were looking for. I drank that and we went home and watched Beauty and the Beast while I danced around.

Everything we've done must have worked because at around 3am I started to get contractions. Mind you, this is my first pregnancy and I don't know how real contractions feel like. During my appointment from the morning, Dr. Morton told me that I was contracting while she was checking my belly. I did not even feel it or know that I was. But I was already having braxton hicks contractions (fake contractions). To me they just felt like my abs were tightening. They did not hurt at all. Anyways, I started to time my contractions at 3 am and after about an hour, I woke Wynne up and he called the doctor and we went in the Triage at Northwestern.

We were in the hospital at 5am. I was dilated 3cm and we waited 2 hours to see if I would dilate some more. We were given the option by the nurse to either stay in the hospital or go home since we lived across the street. She said that most people would stay or come to the hospital because of the snow storm that was approaching us for the weekend.  I asked her if I was okay to work that day and she told me I could if I wanted to. She said it may actually speed up my dilateion. She said I would most likely come back later that day and I would definitely know how contractions would feel like. My contractions were too inconsistent then. So we went home and I went to work. Yes, I had contractions at work,  but they were very spread apart. My employees knew when I was having them because I would stop in the hallway, freeze and just concentrate on my breathing. I lasted all shift without giving birth (I wasn't trying to go into active labor at work anyway). Wynne brought me pineapple and tea (both known to induce labor). I was very proud of myself for making it through my shift with contractions and all. Wynne picked me up from work around 11pm.

I woke up a little after 1am and started to feel pain around 1:30am. I felt constipated but couldn't make a bowel movement. I guess this is what contractions start to feel like. I started timing them and they were 3 minutes apart. Every one of them. I waited a little over half an hour before I woke Wynne up. At this point I could not take the pain anymore. I started to cry, a bit because of the pain but also because this was it. Wynne woke up and called our doctor right away. It had already started to snow and thankfully the sidewalks were getting plowed. Chicago is very good about clearing the sidewalks. We walked to the hospital and this time was a lot different than the previous day. The nurse was right, you definitely know how real contractions feel like. I was proud of myself for walking to the hospital.  I remember making it to the entrance and a contraction hit me and I couldn't make it past the door. I started crying. The lady at the front desk walked outside and helped us to a wheelchair.

We got to the Triage and went in our room by 3 or 4am. The nurse came and told me I was 6cm dilated and I moved to delivery right away. She was trying to speed up getting my epidural by doing my IV at the triage but she had no luck with my veins (don't know why, but you can clearly see them). I got my IV in my delivery room and I waited for what seemed like an eternity for the epidural (another lady was getting it at the time and I had to wait after her). I think I waited two hours to get it. Contractions are no joke and I salute all moms who deliver naturally and without it. You guys are my hero. I knew that a big needle was going to be injected in my back but that pain was nothing compared to feeling your contractions. Wynne was really supportive and never left my side. He gave me his hand to squeeze and did all he could to comfort me. But at one point, I did not want anyone to touch me. You do all you can to try to be comfortable during contractions. Especially having them come in consistently every 3 minutes.

It was literally like night and day after I finally got the drugs. I was 8 cm dilated afterwards and I had my water broken. The doctor that broke my water told me baby girl's head was very low. It must've been really low because whatever they used to break my water, got baby's head too. Dr. Friedman told me that Dr. Morton was coming in at 8am and she would be delivering our baby girl. It was about 6:30am then. I was fully dilated to 10cm but since my Dr. was coming in soon, we were told to wait and I was able to take an hour nap. I woke up around 8 and woke Wynne up and told him it was almost time. I started to push after 8:40 and baby girl was born an hour after.

This was nothing like I was expecting. I was very relaxed and did not sweat or anything. I was almost surprised as to how calming pushing my baby out was. After pushing for two contractions, my doctor said she needed to step out and make a phone call. This had me worried as I thought something was wrong. But I was good. My doctor told me that Penelope's head was very low and she felt her head full of hair. About two inches of hair. Dr. Morton asked me if I needed a break from pushing and I told her no. I was very happy that I was eating ice chips throughout the whole thing (the thing that I craved most while pregnant). We had conversations about dogs during my delivery. She told me that baby girl was almost coming out and asked if I wanted a mirror to see her come out. I declined as I didn't want to get scared of what was happening down there. Wynne was able to record and take pictures of everything.

It's so crazy that I was in labor for over 24 hours. But hearing other first time mom's labor/birth story, I'm very, very grateful for mine. Some don't dilate at all and would have to go through days with pain and/or get a C-section. I'm so thankful for the man Above. I prayed everyday that I wouldn't have a hard time. He answered our prayers. I'm grateful for the experience that my hospital also gave me. I think if I had given birth elsewhere, it wouldn't have been the same. The experience was so pleasant that it doesn't make me scared at all to go through this whole thing again.

After my last push, at 9:48am, Penelope came out and it was so surreal. Everything happened so fast. I waited for her to cry and after she did, it was music to my ears. Wynne cut her umbilical cord and they placed her on me. She was 6lbs 9oz and 19in long. She was perfect. The snow brought us something else that weekend. Penelope was born at exactly 39 weeks, Friday, February 9, 2018. Right in the middle of the biggest snowstorm that we experienced in Chicago.

To this day, I still can't believe that I'm a mom and I gave birth to our precious princess. She is truly a blessing from above.

I'll post Penelope's birth video up soon.

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