I had to put the pronunciation in there because when she was dedicated at church, they pronounced it "Della", which in my opinion is 100% ugly. DEAL-yah is beautiful. :)
We found out Penelope was on her way in the wee small hours of the morning on Father's Day/Brian's birthday, 2008. We were THRILLED at the news, especially since 5 months earlier, we had lost a baby at 12 weeks. The miscarriage was undoubtedly one of the darkest times of my life. I know people have had way darker times, but to me it was just devastating. It made me worry that we wouldn't be able to conceive again, or we might just have a series of miscarriages. It DID teach me not to take the miracle of conception for granted. I hugged the children I had a little tighter and took the gift of motherhood with a lot more gratitude and appreciation. The news of another pregnancy was exciting and wonderful and at the same time, scary. Especially when I started spotting at 7 weeks. I just knew it was happening again. Luckily we found that it was just related to a low progesterone level, so I took progesterone faithfully every night until we reached 12 weeks, and when I heard that precious heartbeat at 12 weeks, I felt such relief and joy. Everything looked good on the normal ultrasound at 20 weeks. However, we went back at 28 weeks for a 4D ultrasound, at which time the doctor found what looked like an extra pocket of fluid on her brain. The word "hydrocephaly" came out of Dr. Kakani's mouth as a possibility, totally devastating me. We waited an entire anguishing week of praying and crying and hoping and praying some more before going to Birmingham for more tests, at which time a specialist assured us that she didn't have extra fluid on the brain after all. I entered week 30 with high hopes, only to be dashed again. I was heading down the interstate at about 60 mph when I hit an icy bridge, lost control, spun around for what seemed like an eternity, and finally crashed into the side of the bridge, deploying the air bag on my belly. Luckily I was alone in the car. Unluckily, Brian was in Texas for work. Someone stopped and called an ambulance. A few hours after arriving at the hospital, the doctor on call was concerned about the amount of activity my uterus was experiencing. She did an ultrasound that revealed a placental abruption. Meaning: if the abruption continued to detach from the uterine wall, I could lose my baby in an instant. The doctor said that once there was an abruption, it would never heal itself. It may not get worse, but it certainly wouldn't seal up on its own or go away. I spent the next five days under fetal monitoring at Huntsville Hospital, at the end of which no one could find an abruption anywhere on my placenta. I ended up carrying Penelope almost full-term, to 38 weeks. She was born at 9 a.m. on February 14, 2009, weighing 6 lbs, 7 oz. She was beautiful and perfect. I considered her a miracle for sure.
She has been such a delight this first year of her life. She has been easy-going from the start. She has a beautiful, infectious smile. She is curious. She follows her big sisters around everywhere they go. She loves to cuddle. She loves to interact. She is an amazing gift from God. I am so proud to be her mother!!! Happy birthday my sweet Penelope!!! I love you so much!!