Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Story of Chloe Grace Elkins' Birth

We are very excited about Chloe Grace Elkins, born on February 16, 2010. I know, it has been two weeks and we still hadn't announced it on the blog. That's right, we're just now getting to it. Don't worry, I still remember the story and I will tell you now.

Natalia and I went to work that Monday morning, the 15th, just like any other day, the only difference being, Natalia's due date had been the day before, so we were wondering when this baby would get here. Natalia called me at about 10:00 in the morning and told me that she was having back cramps. I didn't think too much of it until she told me they were about 45 seconds long and about 10 minutes apart. Then I got real interested. I had noticed that morning that she was up and alert very early, at around 7:00 in the morning, and she said that's about when she had noticed something different, like a small discomfort in her back. Later she said that morning she had asked the baby, "Baby, would you please come out today?"

So Natalia and I were at work, and Natalia started timing these cramps to see if they were consistent, and she found that they were always from 8 to 10 minutes apart, and were about 30-45 seconds long. We were pretty sure they were contractions, but Natalia says she wasn't sure if the were Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are false contractions within a week or so before labor truly sets in, or if they were real contractions.

Natalia kept timing, and I kept working, but we kept in touch via IM. I went downstairs before lunch and we talked about what to do. I had called Mom and my Sister Erin by this time, and they both agreed they were definitely contractions, and we should probably think about heading home. The weather was very snowy that day, and Amy was on her way home because her school was sent home early to avoid the worsening weather. So, at that point I decided to run and get us something to eat from the deli at Marsh, and I met Tom Fisher, Abi Chandra, and Dave Paine for lunch. I told the boys, "I think this is it."

Once I got back from lunch, Natalia told me she had noticed the bloody show, which means this was definitely the early stages of labor. By about 2:30, Natalia and I decided to go home and let things progress further before going to the hospital. Once we got home, Natalia relaxed and walked around, because that was the most comfortable thing to do. During the contractions, Natalia could still walk around at this point, and contractions were staying at the same intensity, which was just slightly uncomfortable. My Sister Amy had come over and met us when we got home, and she helped out with a few things, like organizing the stuff we had packed to take to the hospital. Amy then left to go to her house to meet Mom, who was on her way down to Indianapolis from Bluffton.

Natalia continued to walk around, and I video taped her and took some pictures. Natalia then took a shower, and then we made some food. By this time it was about 6:00 and we were starting to think about heading in to the hospital. I was letting Natalia make the call on that one. We didn't want to go in too early, but we also didn't want the weather to get too bad before we left. According to our Bradley class, we wanted to wait until the contractions were about 5 minutes apart and about a minute long. At this point they were about 6-7 minutes apart, and were about a minute long.

At about 8:00, Natalia was definitely progressing, and contractions were still about 6-7 minutes apart, but occasionally only about 4 minutes apart, and still about a minute long. They were definitely stepping up in intensity, to where she would have to stop walking, and I remember she was doing dishes and she would have to stop what she was doing. We decided this would be a good time to head to St. Vincent Women's Hospital.

We got to the hospital about 9:00, because we had stopped to get some granola bars and fruit juice to sneak in to the hospital, because we knew they would not allow any food. Natalia didn't end up eating any of them at the hospital, by the way, but I was glad to have them. It took about 20 minutes to do the paperwork at the front desk, and then they sent us to the triage room. In the triage room they asked Natalia questions, monitored the baby's heartbeat and contractions, and checked Natalia's dialation. The came back and reporte she was at 6 cm, and this was good for Natalia to hear because they were admitting us, but also because she knew she was making progress with all these contractions. They let Natalia change into a hospital gown, and during this time the contractions intensified, to the point where she would need to lean on me during contractions. She started feeling like she needed massages on her lower back in the sacrum area during contractions.

They admitted us to the delivery room on the 3rd floor at about 10:00 and Natalia continued to labor there. Natalia felt like standing still, and really needed lots of pressure on her sacrum during contractions. I was helping to massage her, but she was massaging with her own hands as well. I felt like I was digging into her with my fingers, but she wanted more pressure. She said it really helped. This was definitely back labor, and the fact that the baby was posterior may have contributed to that. This means the baby was facing towards back, which can put extra pressure on the sacrum area. I kept coaching Natalia, and helping her with massage and letting her lean her head against me and hugging me during contractions.

At about 12:00 Natalia went to the bathroom, and she felt better, but she felt shivery and started feeling weak. She said she didn't feel like she could do this for much longer, and that rang a bell with me because I knew this was a sign of transition, between first stage labor and second stage labor. This was the one time I consulted with the Bradley book because I wanted to confirm that shivering was also a sign of transition, and sure enough it was. Natalia felt most comfortably laying on her left side by this time, and I continued with massages, and reassuring her that this was transition, and it would soon be time to push. I asked the nurse if this shivering and weakness was indeed transition, and she said she didn't know because 99% of the time they saw this after the Epidural, so she didn't have any frame of reference. Wow.

Natalia's water broke at a little after 12:00 and they checked her dialation once again and she was at about 8 cm. They said the last few centimeters would go quickly and she continued with contractions, without pushing, although it wasn't long after this she felt the urge to push. At about 12:30, Natalia said that she needed to push, they checked her dialation and she was at 10 cm, and she was definitely entering 2nd stage labor. the nurse immediately called for the doctor. There was an Ob-Gyn in the room, but it was obvious she was only there to make sure a doctor was there in case the baby came out quick, and she didn't really want to deliver the baby. That was ok with me as long as the real doctor got there in time. They had me wondering for a few minutes. During this time, Mom got down beside Natalia and had her focus on breathing. This was different than what we had learned in Bradley class, in that they recommend abdominal breathing, but no other focus on breathing. Mom had Natalia try breathing through the nose and out through the mouth, and having her focus on that, and also on Mom, and Natalia immediately took to this, and grabbed out and latched on to Mom's arm without saying anything, but it was obvious she wanted her to stay put and keep doing what she was doing. I was standing on the other side of the bed, and it was pretty dramatic from my perspective.

By about 12:40, Dr. Deborah Ronco had arrived, and she sat down on the bottom of the bed and had Natalia start pushing during contractions. Here's where things got really exciting. Natalia would push 2 or 3 times each contraction. At first she would try to breathe 3 times and then push, but after about 30 minutes of that she just started pushing when she had a contraction. It was really amazing, and you could start to see the baby's head, and it was 2 steps forward 1 step back for what felt like a long time. In hindsight it went really fast, but during that time, it felt very suspenseful, and climactic, exciting with lots of anticipation. I had so many questions running through my head, like, "Is this what is supposed to happen?" and "Should this happen faster or slower?" and "What if the baby comes out with a really small head?" because it looked like that at first, but the doctor told me it was perfectly normal, because during birth, skin on the baby's head bunches up, and that was what I was seeing. During this time, I kept my mouth shut, except for saying, "You are doing perfect, honey!" and, "This baby is going to be here very soon!" and, "Isn't she doing great?" to which all of the nurses and doctors would say, "Oh, she's doing great!" There were about 8 or 9 medical folks in the room at the time, a combination of nurses and student doctors. I am pretty sure they were interested in the process of natural childbirth, because they don't get to see it very often. I don't blame them, because it was really an amazing thing to watch. Natalia was a trouper!

By 2:25, we were very close, and the doctor had Natalia push, and the baby started to come out. At this point, the baby's head was sticking out, but that's it. They started cleaning out the baby's nose and mouth to make sure she could start to breath once she was out. They had Natalia push one more time, and the baby came out completely. What an experience! We were Mommy and Daddy to a brand new little girl! Once she started crying she went straight to her Mommy's chest and we got to see her. She was just beautiful! She looked a lot like Natalia to me. I was as happy as ever. Natalia said, "I can't believe you are here!" She looked exhausted and happy. The doctor had me cut the cord. Mom and Amy had witnessed the birth, and I asked Natalia to tell them the baby's name, which we had decided on, but I wanted Natalia to be the first to tell them. She said, "Her name is Chloe Grace." Everyone was excited to meet little Chloe.

We couldn't wait until the morning, and we started calling family members, and everyone was very excited for the news. I was especially excited to call Mamaw and tell her Chloe's name, because this is where she got her name--Mamaw's full name is Marilyn Chloe Bell. At first, Mamaw was so excited to hear about the birth that she forgot to ask about her name. I finally said, "Well, don't you want to hear the name, Mamaw?" and she said, "Ohh, yes!" I told her her name was Chloe and Mamaw just about went through the roof. She was so excited, and she kept thinking of it and getting thrilled by it over and over during the conversation. It was a very special conversation I will never forget.

We have been very excited to have little Chloe around, and we are loving being parents. Thanks to everybody for everything, and we are excited for you to meet her if you haven't already.

This is a big blog entry, and I'm planning on catching you up on the last two weeks, as well as adding more pictures. In the meantime, I'll add a picture or two here, and you can check on facebook where we have many more pictures.

Adam, Natalia, and Chloe

Friday, January 22, 2010

About 3 Weeks Until the Due Date!

Hello again everybody! It's January 22, 2010, a Friday night, and Natalia and I decided to spend a little time this evening doing some blogging. Natalia is now 37 weeks pregnant, still doing great, and is getting even bigger, as you can see from the latest pic.

Natalia says that the baby is still kicking a lot, but she feels like the baby has less space to punch and kick, and the baby's movement feels less like a "poking" feeling and now is softer and more deliberate as the baby gets bigger. The baby is definitely on the right side of her belly, facing the left, with the head low and the feet up towards Natalia's rib cage. This is a good position, and at this point it is likely the baby will stay there.

Natalia last went to the doctor about a week and a half ago, and she had gained 31 pounds, which would be right on track to gain about 35 pounds by the due date, and that's right where she should be. Natalia is definitely feeling more out of breath, and has had more trouble finding comfortable positions to sit and sleep in. She's still getting at least 5 hours of sleep at night before she first wakes up, so it's not too bad.

We've got the nursery well on it's way now. The latest thing we got was the travel system, which consists of a baby carrier that hooks into both a car seat base and stroller, for the non-baby experts out there. We were excited because once we had the car seat base in it's place we could envision carrying the baby out of the hospital and putting her in the car. We went ahead and left it in the car because it won't be long before we will need it! Very exciting!

Natalia has been swimming lately, a few times a week to stay active and she finds it enjoyable and relaxing. I haven't jumped in with her yet, but I probably will sometime this week. Last week I couldn't because I came down with a nasty cold and I was just not up to it. I'm pretty well recovered now, so I will probably swim next time.

We finished our Bradley class last Tuesday, and we are feeling very prepared. We're both determined to make this a natural birth. Natalia will do her best to stay relaxed during the birth and I'll do my best to keep her relaxed and make sure they don't start pumping Pitocin and other drugs into her, so that Natalia's body can do what it is supposed to. We've shown the birth plan to the doctors, and they were obliging. We've got things pretty well packed, and we're going to stay at home for as long as we can, until Natalia says, "This is it, let's go!" and then we'll be off to St. Vincent Women's Hospital to have this baby!

By the way, we've pretty much decided on the name, but we're still not telling anybody until she's born. We will say, it's not Borbanog, and it's not Klondike Mush.

Don't forget to hit up http://elkinsbaby.babypool.com if you want to be really cool!