Ella was slated to arrive on August 14th, but clearly didn’t show up on time. As such, Michelle was scheduled to be induced on Sunday, the 20th. We had our last meal at Thai Noon (Siam Society was closed) and packed up the car and drove out to St. Vincent’s Hospital. The check-in, introductions, and pretty much every encounter with the medical staff since the arrival was excellent, and helped to quell many of the fears we had.
Michelle was induced at about 9pm on Sunday using some indigestion medication. That started things off, but the contractions were too fast and frequent, so she was moved to pitocin around 5am. Things were progressing slowly until around 8am when the doctors realized that the baby’s heart rate was dropping after every contraction. The pitocin was stopped and Michelle’s waters ruptured around 10am. This set off some rapid increases in dilation, pain, and concern. Michelle got an epidural around 11am once the doctors felt the baby was doing well enough responding to the contractions and Michelle regained composure shortly thereafter. The nurse anesthetist is on her christmas card list.
After the epidural, Michelle’s progress changed rapidly. Just as soon as I would update people on her progress, I would be told that things had doubled (or more) while I was gone. She was dilating logarithmically. The doctors (the entourage consisted of a doctor, a resident and a medical student) were all still concerned about the drop in the baby’s blood pressure following contractions and theorized that the child was sporting some neckwear. Most of the morning included debate over whether or not to use a c-section to get the baby out. Once Michelle was ready, the doctors decided to have her push to see how the baby responded. She responded well, so we cleared the room of family and Michelle pushed for less than 20 minutes and out popped our beautiful daughter – wearing her umbilical cord around her neck. The resident who performed the delivery quickly maneuvered the baby around, untangled her, cut the cord, did a quick check and passed her on to the NICU nurse.
Because of the concern over the cord, I wasn’t allowed to catch the baby or cut the cord, and a NICU nurse took the baby for a quick inspection right after delivery to make sure everything was ok. Sure enough, little Ella came out crying, had a strong pulse, good color, good activity and ultimately scored an 8 on her first APGAR and a 9 on her second. Woohoo!
I watched as the nurse cleaned up, listened to, and inspected my daughter, and was filled with a new kind of joy. She was beautiful and crying and grimacing and kind of bloody. I looked back at a glowing Michelle who was looking across the room to see what was going on and felt a little guilty that I was able to see her and touch her first. Soon we brought her back to mom, who got to hold the tiny little girl. After some cleanup, family were allowed back in and everyone was allowed to see our daughter. They all agreed she was perfect.
Michelle and I stayed at the hospital for 48 hours and tried to adjust to the new schedule we’d concocted 41 weeks prior. The second night looked like it was going to be a little easier since Ella was feeding, but the pediatrician had ordered a night with a Biliblanket. The light pad was strapped to Ella’s naked back and helped reduce the biliruben count and lower her level of jaundice. It worked, but was warm and uncomfortable and kept our baby on an odd schedule for the second night.
Homecoming was a welcome change – and despite the amazing care (our first three nurses were Susan, Kathy and Debbie – same as all 3 grandmas), it was nice not to have the frequent interruptions. Ella seems to be adjusting well and we’re finally catching up on some much needed sleep. Welcome home baby.