Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Introducing: Nora Sofia

Nora Sofia

Born on the 28th of April at 11.44pm
and weighing in at 2.66 kg at a length of 48 cm

Sometimes things go slow, and then suddenly they can go very fast! The last two weeks Evelyn was suffering from an elevated blood pressure which was hard to control. Last Friday it was decided that, whilst mum and baby were both still healthy, that it might well be best to get baby out. So, after a long pregnancy (yes, 9 months gets very long when nearing the end), things suddenly sped up!

We were invited to come to the hospital on Saturday the 27th of April at 4pm to get an induction under way. Bags got packed, a last shopping round at the supermarket, and we all felt ready. Even baby: she'd never been so active as on that Friday evening.
Then a phone call from the hospital with the question to please have us at 7pm rather than 4pm.  Ok then! After 37 weeks, 3 hours is not a lot.

Having arrived at the hospital the rooms weren't quite ready yet, but around 8pm we got assigned a room. That's when things really get under way - well you'd think so...

You see, you don't start with the induction straight away. First the cervix needs to be softened. This is achieved by applying batches of gel, one by one. Each batch is given about 6 hours to do its job, after which an internal examination has to reveal whether the cervix has softened, and hopefully opened sufficiently, such that the waters can be broken. 

The first batch of gel was applied at around 11pm that evening. The effects of that application would be assessed at 6am the next morning.
The gel works slightly different on each woman, and for Evelyn it didn't just soften things, but it also started some relatively gentle contractions. Gentle enough to have a short sleep till the next morning. 

Even 'hubby' got a bed, although it was just a 5cm thick mattress. Unfortunately a very cranky head nurse came on that night, and when I gave my blanket to Evelyn, who was cold, I wasn't allowed another one. Nor were we allowed more than two pillows. I started wondering whether this was 'normal practice' in a public hospital, but no, it really was just 'crankiness'. All the other staff turned out to be awesome and nice. 
So nice and understanding that they made sure this woman didn't have to look after us ever again.

So at dawn Evelyn got her internal examination, and the midwife thought that she might be able to break the waters. Not that it was a large opening yet, but thought it might be worth a try.
Turned out that it was too hard in the end, because no water followed. At 10.30am another batch of gel was then applied to soften things up further and to keep those gentle contractions going.

At 4.30pm another attempt to brake the waters; this time successful. So, almost 20 hours after arriving at the hospital, and only this is the point where the real 'induction' starts! Sometimes things go really slow...

Using a hormone-drip the process is now focussed on generating contractions. And not those gentle ones, but strong ones. Really strong ones. And quite fast as well: where it started with about three per 10 minutes, it now sped up to 4 or sometimes even 5 per 10 minutes. And this is why they say that an induction can be more 'forceful': it's hard to control the speed and force at which things go.

Whilst Evelyn is being very focused and handling the accompanying pains very well, she's also hooked up to a machine that monitors baby's heartbeat. Although it's made by Philips, and it even came with wireless sensors, it wasn't able to pick up anything useful when Evelyn went through her contractions. And that's exactly what the nurses want to know: what's going on with baby when mum is doing the hard work?

So at about 4 hours of very hard work, a probe is put on baby's head to measure that heart beat. It then became very clear that baby was under a lot of stress whenever there was a contraction. Her heartbeat just dropped 30 to 40 beats (on an average of 145) as soon as a contraction was peaking. This worried the midwifes and doctors very much. Let alone mum and dad...

And just when we started realizing that this wasn't looking good, and really wanted to know what approach needed to be taken and whether a c-section could be an option, a doctor entered the room and suggested exactly that. 

Then things speed up again: anaesthetist, doctor, midwifes, nurses - it all happens in no-time! At 11.15pm Evelyn is wheeled in to the operation room, and at 11.44pm the first screams of a baby sound! Amazing! A healthy baby girl was born, and whilst mum is being stitched together, dad is allowed to do the official bit: cutting the cord. (A bit weird, because when cutting it, it's no longer attached to mum).

Evelyn is recovering extremely well, still in hospital with baby, but they're probably coming home tomorrow. Baby was a little bit early, and therefore a little under-weight of course, and had some trouble keeping temperature. So she's spent a day and a half in an incubator, but is now resting and feeding in mum's room. 

I'm sure this is no surprise, but we're both really proud of our little baby girl, and yes, she ís the most beautiful girl in the world!

-- Age

Monday, 22 April 2013

In hospital (and out again)

At my regular check-up last Friday the obstetrician found my blood pressure too high. She put me on medication, and arranged for me to come in to the Birthing & Assessment suite on Saturday morning for another check.

So, on Saturday morning - thinking I'd be out the door in five minutes - they checked me again, and still thought my bp was too high. Hmmmm. Two hours later I was allowed to sneak out, go home, pack my bag, and come back in for 24hr monitoring, with checks every 4hrs. Not really what I was hoping for, but on the other hand, I'm on the home-stretch with only three more weeks to go max, so I think anything can happen from now on.

After 24hrs in hospital, actually, a bit less, my bp was back again in the green zone, and there was no pressing reason to keep me there. After promising that I'd go and get my bp checked with my GP today, I was free to go. They thought I was very keen to get out of there :-).

It was an interesting experience, but I don't think I'm cut out for hospital stays - but that's possibly because I felt fine, apart from being quite tired. It's such a strange parallel universe; time and the outside world get a different meaning when you're in hospital.

So, another check today, and then we'll go from there. If my bp is high again, I'll be back in hospital in no time. I wouldn't be too surprised for that to happen at some stage, because my normal bp is close to the cut-off level anyway, so I may be in and out a couple of times in the coming weeks, if they are a bit conservative. We'll see.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Nesting and a busy Age

While Age is working his butt off at the moment, I've experienced a bout of true nesting urge. The nursery is now done - well, I should say that we've organised our own bedroom to accommodate baby. The spare bedroom is still the spare bedroom till we move baby out of our room. Age got some new furniture in, and I spent a day assembling it last weekend.

Change table / dresser assembled. Phew.
 I also ordered some bits and pieces that we still needed, like a mattress protector and fitted sheet set for our cradle, change mat, and found some stuff to wear at the hospital. And yesterday we went to see my manager to pick up tons of baby items - goodies she had organised for her family with two small children who came over from Sweden with Christmas. We now have lots of toys for in the garden and on the beach, mats, bedding, covers, a bouncer (wipstoel), and god knows what else.

I'm also growing in my role as perfect housewife, cleaning the bathrooms (again! - it's unheard of), vacuuming, organising Age's dry-cleaning, cooking...

I'm actually not sure if Age realises that we're having a baby within the next four weeks, because as I said, he's very busy at work at the moment. His company is a reseller of a particular software product, but they've also gone down the path of developing their own software product, and this week have the opportunity to present this product to a prospective client on invitation after a tender process. So all hands have been on deck the last couple of weeks, with very long hours and working through the weekends for everyone involved, including a new colleague who's probably wondering, totally bewildered, what kind of job he's landed in. This week it needs to happen, so mr. dry-cleaned suit will be in Brisbane and Sydney to work on making it happen. With all these work developments I find myself starting to worry a bit that there will be follow-up commitments up till my due date and that he's going to miss the birth being stuck somewhere on the East Coast. It may be time to agree on a cut-off date for flying out of Adelaide!

Lastly, the days are getting shorter and it's becoming noticably cooler too - something Minnie noticed as well. So I couldn't find her this morning, and I felt like an idiot, because where on earth could and indoor cat be, other than somewhere in the house. After searching each room three times I had another peek in the pram, removed the cover somewhat, and yes, besides the scary Ikea doll Age put in the pram, I saw an extra paw. So that's where she hides when she wants to be cosy! Oh lala :-)

Minnie on a 20-degree day - brrrr cold in the house

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Play mat for in baby box (playpen)

In pictures - with help from Minnie :-)

Can't decide yet which decoration to use, maybe all three?

Minnie admiring the nearly finished product.

I'm quite satisfied with the result, but I'm going to make another one - a nicer one :-).

- Evelyn

Thursday, 4 April 2013

On leave

So. I'm officially on maternity leave as of this week. Lots of (working) people ask me what on earth I'm going to do these weeks, because if you're not on holiday and don't work, well what is there to do?
I didn't think I would have a problem filling my days, and I'm already getting the feeling that I'm right. Phew :-)

  • I'm brushing up on the good housewife skills: I've vacuumed the house, done the windows, watered the plants we planted over the weekend...
  • I've started a new painting (in oil) - see below.
This painting is from a photograph we took at the NZ West-Coast. It's a restored old wharf building (quite tiny), in the water.
  • I'm playing with Minnie, who requires a lot of fitness-time.
  • I take a nap in the afternoon.
  • I'm busy with my baby list of things to acquire, and did some great shopping the last couple of days. We're definitely getting there. Some little things for myself left to buy, and two big items: a change table (commode) and something that can serve as a Dutch playpen (box) for in the lounge. Change tables are terribly ugly here, so we are going to be smart and buy a nice big chest of drawers, and Dutch playpens are typically Dutch, so don't exist here. Or you need to find a Dutch couple that has one, but to be honest, those playpens are quite ugly too, and huge. So we'll go for a cheap IKEA baby cot, with a self-made quilt (boxkleed) for baby to lie on. The bed is basically a rectangular Dutch playpen, instead of a square one.
  • Did you read that correctly? Self-made quilt? Hmmm, yes, I'm going to make a quilt (technically not a real quilt, for the purists), and can't wait to start. Found some great instructions on the internet from a Dutch crea lady, can't go wrong :-)
  • I'm catching up with my two new belly buddies - ladies I met at our antenatal classes. We've been out for a coffee last week, and will go for a (flat) stroll along the beach in an hour. One of them is due next week, and the other a week after me.
  • I want to bake an apple pie, but haven't found the time yet :-). Maybe this afternoon then.
 So, in short, all is going well.

On my very American pregnancy forum with ladies who're all due in May - about 1200 of them (!) - the babies have started to arrive. Obviously not good, because too early, but it's starting. People with complicated pregnancies and twins first, followed by out of the blue water breaking and labour with no apparent reasons at all. So when the baby stuff is more or less organised and done, it's probably time to get things ready for our hospital bags. Yes, bags. One for baby, one for me, and one for hubby.