This is my first time writing about Penelope's birth. It was emotional remembering the details of that day, but it's a day I will never forget.
March 10, 2017
Friday morning started like any other day, I was 41 weeks pregnant on the dot and hoping to have our baby soon. Thankfully contractions had started around midnight and I was able to sleep through a part of it. As my husband (Camden) left for work, I kissed him goodbye and reminded him to be aware of his phone. Contractions were steady throughout the morning, and I continued breathing through them using the HypnoBabies techniques I had learned. I was in constant contact with my midwife and doula, keeping them informed of any changes, everyone was excited.
Around 10:30, I contacted Camden to come home, as contractions were increasing in frequency and intensity. At 11 am, my sister (my doula) arrived at our house with energy and excitement for this day we've been waiting for. Camden arrived home shortly after with food and the hot pad I had requested. We enjoyed a short stroll together to help move things along. I never knew a short walk could take so long! I was stopping every 1 to 2 minutes to breathe through the intense pressure radiating in my body. By 3 pm, my midwife had arrived. Being in active labor, she tried her best to find Penelope's heartbeat with the Doppler. After 10 minutes of trying and moving into various, uncomfortable positions, she said, "This is a red flag for me, I'm going to call EMS." I laid on our bed breathing, listening to our student midwife pray for our baby. It broke my heart hearing the tears in her voice.
My eyes remained shut for most of what happened next, but I remember everything I heard. EMS arrived quickly, asking me when the last time I felt her move and if I had the urge to push. I couldn't remember the last time I felt her move, I would swear I felt her that day...and I still had no urge to push. I was moved onto a gurney and wheeled out to the ambulance with urgency. There was a glimmer of hope when the EMT said he thought he felt her move. **Please God** That ambulance ride felt like an eternity. Hearing the driver shout how close we were getting to the hospital every few minutes, as I silently prayed to God we got there soon. We arrived at the Emergency Room and I'm wheeled straight into the OR. What came next, I would have never expected. An ultrasound was performed and the room was dead silent with all eyes on the screen. The doctor confirmed that there was no heartbeat and that she was breached. Tears came quick, as well as the movements in the OR. Nurses prepped me for an emergency C-Section and the anesthesiologist was doing his best to put me under.
I don't remember what I time woke up at, I only remember the searing pain I felt in my abdomen. The nurses worked fervently to get my pain managed. When I was finally able to sit up comfortably, I was in a state of peace, or shock, but I'd like to remember it as peace. I knew our daughter had died, and I looked up at Camden and said, "We did everything right." Everything was right. I was a low-risk, first time mom. I ate well, I walked everywhere, took my prenatal vitamins and drank a ton of water each day.
Camden later told me that while I was still out, the nurses handed Penelope to him and he sobbed. It was heart wrenching to know his heart was breaking and I couldn't be there to comfort him. Penelope Lynn Hughes was born March 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm. She weighed 7 lbs, 11 oz and was 20 1/4" long. She had brown hair like both her parents and I only imagine her eyes are blue like mine. I held her so close, and looked over every detail of her face.
Calls were made to close family and friends, and the grief spread. After being moved to a secluded room in L&D, family started to arrive. I still was in this state of "peace". A photographer was called to come and take pictures. He was a nice man, and he took beautiful pictures, but that's when it hit. As she was slowly unswaddled for pictures, I see her little hands and feet, tiny fingers and toes, a little belly...and the tears came. "Why, God?!" "Why did our beautiful daughter die?" I wouldn't know that answer until 8 weeks later.