Thursday, November 26, 2009

Welcome to the family, Amelie

We're happy to announce that Alin and I are now parents to a beautiful baby girl. Her name is Amelie and she was born on November 24th at 5:17AM. She weighed in at 6lbs. 10.2 oz. and is about 20 inches long.

For all of you who are interested in the story of her delivery, read on.

On November 23rd, I arrived at home from work at 6:30PM. It was busier than most work days since I had planned to make it my last before I took my paternity leave. As with most week days, I entered through our garage door and said hello to my beautiful wife while she prepared dinner. She returned my hello, kissed me, and began to tell me about her day.

She started by telling me about her prenatal check-up at 3PM. The highlight of the examination was when both Alin and the midwife felt a contraction. The midwife finished the check-up and reassured Alin that baby was in the head-down position and that she'd be with us any day now.

Once Alin returned home, she noticed the contractions were beginning to happen more frequently and increasing in intensity. She decided to start tracking her contractions using her iPhone (yes, there's an app for that). She carried on with business as usual – preparing dinner. By the time I had arrived home, she said, "I think we might have the baby tonight!"

Panic ensued. What do we do now? Well, we acknowledged that delivery would likely be many hours away and the only thing to do at this point is to relax, finish dinner, and take it one step at a time. I grilled up some bratwursts on our Weber while Alin grilled onions and prepared the buns.

For the next two hours we cleaned house. I called Alin's brother over to help me put some Halloween decorations in our attic and tidy up the baby's room. We knew that it would help with our general mental state to come back from the hospital to a clean home.

By midnight, Alin's contractions were regular, averaging about a minute in length every 3-4 minutes apart. We called Labor & Delivery and let them know we were on our way. About 15 minutes later, we arrived at the hospital and were taken to our delivery room.

Alin changed into her gown and they began taking some measurements. Her cervix was 2 cm dilated and 90% aphased. Unfortunately, her contractions had become irregular again. The nurses told us that it was still too early to admit her. They suggested that Alin try walking around for an hour to see if it helps progress the labor.

For the next hour, Alin and I walked up and down the hallway outside of Labor & Delivery, working through each contraction as they came. I tried to keep her mind off the pain any way I could.

At about 1:35AM, we went back for another examination. In that hour, Alin's cervix dilated from 2cm to 5cm – more than enough to get her admitted. A nurse helped Alin into bed and affixed two sensors to track Alin's contractions and baby's heartbeat. Meanwhile, I setup my iPod touch to play some mood music (Iron & Wine and Joshua Radin) then called Alin's mom and let her know that the baby would be delivered this morning and that I'd keep her apprised of her progress.

Alin's discomfort continued as the contractions increased in intensity and frequency. By 2:30AM, the contractions were happening in 5 minutes intervals and were very painful. The nurse offered an epidural but we had already decided that it was out of the question. After a few more contractions, Alin was reaching her pain limits and requested analgesics to help take the edge off. The nurse administered a dose of fentanyl and within a few minutes, Alin became more calm and controlled – a welcome relief.

By 3:30AM, the fentanyl began to wear off and the pain was back in full swing. At Alin's request, the nurse administered another dose of fentanyl and Alin was able to once again cope with the contractions.

At 4:30AM, Alin began feeling the urge to push. The baby hadn't dropped far enough yet and the nurse asked if Alin could hold on for a little while longer, as it would help shorten the delivery. I called Alin's mom and let her know that she'd be starting to push soon.

By 4:50AM, Alin couldn't resist anymore – her body was compelling her to push. The midwife came in and burst Alin's water – it was now show-time.

Hospital staff started to shuffle in and out and within minutes, the room was ready for our baby's delivery. The nurse told us to be prepared for upwards of 2 hours for delivery. I asked if there's anything I can do to help and the nurse asked me to brace Alin's leg and count to 10 through each of her pushes. Push after push, Alin would take a deep breath and exhale slowly – turning as red as a cherry tomato.

About 10 minutes into pushing, the doctor pointed out that we could see the baby's head. The nurse cheered Alin on, giving her reassuring comments and asking her to push as hard as she could. To everyone's surprise, after 17 minutes of pushing, our baby was born.

She came out purple as an eggplant, screaming before she was fully delivered – as if to announce to the room that she had arrived; ahead of schedule in every way.

They took her and placed her on Alin's chest – and we both began crying immediately. Alin looked at me and asked "what is it?", I gently lifted her fragile little leg and said "she's a girl!"

It was all quite emotional and amazing. We were both completely overwhelmed. The wait was finally over and our little, perfect, beautiful Amelie had finally arrived.

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