If you’ve been following along with us on social media, you may have noticed we celebrated an incredibly special birthday this month – the birth of our very first dadada ambassador baby! Penelope Jo was born March 9th at 10:02pm to first-time parents Kailan and Dean.

After giving the happy, healthy new fam a few weeks to rest, we caught up with Kailan to hear more about her birth story and how her transition into motherhood is going so far.

Kailan! Congratulations! Penelope is absolutely gorgeous. Can you share some of your birth story with us? Did everything go as planned?

Thank you! We’re loving every minute with her.

We were scheduled to be induced on the 8th at 11pm. But when we got to the hospital, they told us they were short staffed and did not have any rooms available! I’d already been having contractions since 5am that morning, so I wasn’t about to go back home. Instead, they sent us to triage so they could keep an eye on our progress.

When we got to triage, we wound up waiting another two hours in the waiting room before they could see us. As a nurse, I obviously understand how difficult the nursing shortage is, but to experience it firsthand while in labor gave me a whole new perspective.

We were told that our induction would now be at 7:15am. By the time we finally got to our triage room (2:30am!!), we at least felt like there was that early morning induction light at the end of the tunnel. We were told to walk the halls for two hours to progress my labor, so from 3-5am, we walked. At this point, I was still saying no to all pain meds – I was so nervous that I would get induced and progress quickly (for the record, I got that information from exactly no one – I was just anxious about the unknown).

Induction, however, was not in the cards. 7:15 came and went as more patients that were further along in labor arrived at the hospital, bumping me further and further down the priority list. So, I kept laboring. Until around 2 in the afternoon.

Thankfully, sometime in all those hours I FaceTimed my mom - she’s a labor and delivery nurse. After watching me have contractions over the phone, she told me to say yes to the pain meds. That was the permission I needed. Though you can’t get an epidural in triage, the IV pain meds were the biggest relief.

At 3pm (what day were we on now? Oh right, the 9th.) we finally got a room on the delivery floor – 16 hours after we first arrived, in labor, at the hospital. I was so excited to finally get my epidural and start Pitocin to progress labor.

And then my first epidural failed. I had to have it removed and replaced, and then, finally, the relief kicked in. Things just kept moving from there.

Side note – after my epidural kicked in, I glanced down at my feet, and they were fully Fred Flintstone massive – SO SWOLLEN. We all had a good laugh about them.

At 5pm, my water broke. The nurses started to reposition me every thirty minutes to help Penelope get into the proper position and move her downward.

At 9pm, I started to get a low-grade fever, and Penelope's heart rate increased. The word c-section started to get thrown around, but by 9:45, I was pushing, and at 10:02, Penelope was born. Safe and sound.

To all the moms who have given birth without pain meds, either by choice or because it just happened that way, I have SO much respect for you. I’m also incredibly grateful to my nurses and my husband – they were the support I needed to get me through what felt like forever in labor.

As for me, well, I honestly surprised myself during labor. I felt like a superhero after she was born. I’m so grateful for my body and what it’s capable of. I knew Dean would be supportive and loving, but he showed me a side of himself that made me fall even more in love. He never left my side.

Aww, way to go, Dean! And thanks for sharing your story, Kailan – sounds like you were an absolute rockstar.

What have been the sweetest moments with your daughter so far?

My favorite moments so far have been the rocking chair and couch snuggles, or just sitting outside in the sun with her (for short periods, of course). She LOVES the sunshine. 

Sounds like she’s a born Southern Californian! How about hard moments? Anything that surprised you?

Breastfeeding has been harder than I expected. It’s exhausting, and the learning curve is steep for both of us. I’m just now starting to feel more comfortable feeding her.

Getting no sleep is also a major adjustment. People warn you that you really won’t sleep, and they’re right. You really don’t.

You REALLY don’t. Those first few weeks are no joke. Are there any products from your registry that have been especially helpful?

I’m obsessed with my My Brest Friend nursing pillow. It clips around my waist to support Penelope during feedings, and it’s made that stressful process so much easier. We use our Snuggle Me pillow and Graco Soothe My Way swing every single day – it’s great to have somewhere safe and comfortable for her to be while we unload the dishwasher.

I think I was most surprised by my Boba Wrap baby carrier. I was intimidated by it at first, since it’s just one long string of fabric, but it’s actually super easy to use. I wear it when we take Spud to the dog beach.

We haven’t gotten to use our dadada crib just yet, but we HAVE gotten a ridiculous number of compliments on how cute our nursery is. So, I’d call it a win.

Haha, hey, we’ll take it!! Tell us about Penelope. What have you learned about her so far?

She hates being cold. She loves head kisses from her dog brother, Spud. She gets hangry – she gets that from me.

She is gentle, and precious, beautiful, chunky, cuddly, sweet, and pure. We’re completely in love.

Welcome to the world, precious Penelope!! We can’t wait to watch you grow!