I can't believe that Elena is already 7 weeks old. This is her birth story:
I started having some contractions Wednesday afternoon that made me wonder if labor was starting--it was. :) I called my wonderful friend and doula to see if she would check. She came and helped so much--the difference it made just having her there was amazing. She kept me laughing and relaxed with some stories of her son, who is a good buddy of Joel's, and tirelessly applied pressure and massage. By around 5:30 AM she said I was at around a 7, and if we were going to go to the hospital that we should get going. So we got to the hospital, checked in and labored a couple hours there. I was so surprised when they checked and I was ready. I had certainly had some painful contractions, but nothing unbearable by any means. I was in as much or more pain with the previous two births, and I hadn't gone through much labor at all with them.
I am a total wimp when it comes to pain, and I loved my epidurals with Ariana and Joel. I got them at around a 3 or 4 with both--basically as soon as I checked in to the hospital. I had always thought that I would do the same thing with any future births, but almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I felt very strongly that I should not do that this time around. I didn't know if there might be some type of reaction or error, but the feeling never went away, so I talked with Heather and some online friends, and got encouragement that I could do it. Then Heather became our doula and worked with us and I felt more and more peace about the whole thing. I couldn't believe how well things had gone.
Things got confusing for me really quickly. It was time to push, my water broke, and my OB mentioned that he could see part of the cord. He and the nurses got very serious and started telling me to push. Carlos later told me that they had all turned white. I was so inwardly focused that I didn't follow what was going on very well, but I could tell by Carlos' voice and Heather's that I needed to push as much as I could. It turned out that the cord was looped across the top of her head. The pushing and birth were far more painful than the rest of the labor, probably because I was so tense. It seemed like forever, although the OB said it was just four pushes, but Elena arrived safely.
******Heather wrote this:
The OB checked once right after he got to the room and had her push once. Then he checked again, bag and baby had come down some but he thought he felt a cord in the bag before he felt head (so it was: bulging membrane, a loop of cord, head). He had the RN check as well and she felt it too ("Oh crap", she said after feeling it). He commented that heart tones had been great so far (and they had been at home as well whenever I listened). Then he told Dulce that with the next contraction she needed to push...and push hard...that baby needed to come out. She did and the water gushed.
At that point the OB switched from sitting relaxed on the end of the bed to standing, holding back the cord while stretching the perineum (I'm still amazed she didn't tear with all the stretching he was doing!!!). I was trying to focus on Dulce and giving her a calm but firm voice however, I could hear the fear in the OB's voice telling her to push. The next time I looked down I could see a good portion of Elena's head and just a couple seconds later the entire head was out. *****
Later, the OB and nurses told us how serious things had been. There were so many things that came together for a good outcome. If I had had an epidural, if my waters had broken early, if I had had a different OB, if... they agreed it would have been an emergency C-section, and likely brain damage if she had made it. Carlos and I are still dazed with gratefulness that God worked out so many details and that everything turned out so well. Her Apgars were 9 and 9, and she immediately latched on and started nursing perfectly.
Of course, all of us are dazzled by her sweetness, her cuteness, her delightful baby smell, and all her other attributes. :) She has a ton of thick black hair, extremely kissable cheeks, and adorable expressions. She was 8 lbs, 3 oz, 21" and was considerate enough to not even tear me a little on her way out. Nursing has gone really well, although I have an oversupply and OALD that I hope to tame soon. She had some jaundice that kept us in the hospital a few days, so we are all tired and glad to be home together.
The hospital was great. No one even blinked when I declined the Hep B and eye ointment, they assumed that she would room with me, and a couple of nurses even expected her to sleep with me. Even with the high bili levels, nobody mentioned formula, although once it got around that I had been breastfeeding non-stop for the last 4.5 years, they probably assumed it wasn't worth bringing up. :D I am guessing the IBCLC on staff shared that, because I had a couple of nurses say later, "Oh, *you're* the one...". Being away from the kids and Carlos so much longer than we expected was hard, but we are just glad that it wasn't anything more serious.
Ariana adores her. She delights in caressing her and holding her. Joel is very loving, but he also told us that baby Elena was "all done with leche, and now it is his turn". :D Carlos is delighted with her, and has been wonderful at holding everything and everyone together. We have so very, very much to be thankful for.