Tuesday, May 25

The Arrival of Catherine

Well, there I was cruising along in my pregnancy last Thursday night, thinking I had plenty of time (officially 3 weeks, but I was predicting about 2 weeks) until the baby joined our family... However, as midnight ticked over to Friday, I discovered our little baby had other plans and just couldn't wait to meet us!

Let me retrace my steps to Thursday night... it was a relaxed night... Phan had just switched over his phone to the Telstra network (for work purposes) and as a result I had inherited his iphone... we had been setting up some basic things on it for me and then come 11:30pm, we went to bed... Phan went to sleep in Beth's room because she had totally insisted that he come to keep her company and sleep in her room that night... In hindsight, I do think that Elizabeth had some kind of sense that something was going to happen and that was why she was sooo insistent that Phan sleep in her room. I lay down in bed... tossed and turned for about 1/2 an hour as I usually do (it's hard to get comfy when you have a huge belly!) and then around midnight, I felt a small "gush" of water... I got out of bed, went to the toilet and had a really strange feeling that this leakage might be my hind waters leaking... I was also getting a very frequent urge to pee... (and when I say frequent, I mean like every 5 mins... and then sometimes I'd pee, stand up and sit down again and pee again... it was *really* weird!) This went on for about 1/2 an hour and then I started getting some small pains which felt suspiciously like contractions... So about 1am, I got out of bed and hopped on the computer and started googling my symptoms to try and figure if I was really in labour or if it was a false alarm. Phan got up to go to the toilet at around this time and came out and saw me on the computer and said "What on earth are you doing?"... and I said "I think my waters partially broke and I'm getting something that feels a bit like contractions... Go back to bed, I'll tell you if anything happens..." So he went back to bed... and I was left with Dr Google looking up symptoms... About 2am, I thought I'd lie down and at least try and get some rest since all I'd had was a 1 hour nap during the day... but after an hour, I got up... the contractions were coming regularly and lying down was not the most comfortable position to deal with them... So I got up... and decided I better pack my hospital bag! It was actually quite ironic, because as Phan was going to bed that night I had said to him "I guess I better pack my hospital bag ... I haven't done that yet"... LOL... It is soooo unlike me to not be organised... so to be packing my hospital bag whilst having contractions was really strange... (as evidenced by the fact, I'd forgotten a heap of things and didn't pack enough clothes, so Phan was bringing stuff up for me every day!)

Anyway... around 3pm the contractions started getting stronger, so I rang the hospital to give them a heads up that I would probably be in sometime in the morning (I was thinking around 7am)... Around 4am the contractions were getting closer together (like 4 minutes apart)... and then at 4:30am I had a show with some light pink blood in it... It was at this moment that I realised I was really in labour (yeah yeah... I was in denial about it mostly until this point... I was in denial for half my labour with Beth too...) I rang the hospital again to tell them what happened and they said I should head on in... So I woke up Phan and said to him "I think it's time." and he was like in shock and said "Wow... really?"... followed by "Do you think I have time for a shower?"... and I said... "No, I don't think so."... but then 5 minutes later, I said to him "Nah, I think you have time for a quick shower"... so off he went and had a quick shower, while quickly packed a bag of stuff for Beth... and even though the contractions were getting painful, I didn't think it was anything I couldn't handle and it felt like we were just moseying along.

We had our dear friend Vicky lined up to look after Beth... and I felt really bad about having to wake her at some ungodly hour, so I held out until 5am when I rang her and arranged to drop Elizabeth over at their place... We woke Beth up, who was surprisingly fine with the whole idea... We just told her Daddy had to take Mummy to the hospital to have the baby and that we were going to take her to Vicky's place to play with Claire and she said "Ok"... and that was it... We dropped Elizabeth off at their place at 5:20am... and then at 5:30am we were at the hospital. And this is where it all went a bit crazy...

The contractions started getting a lot stronger and coming closer together (had to stop twice walking to the maternity ward)... Then once I was actually in the labour room I had a contraction and I started feeling the pressure building which from previous experience I knew meant the pushing phase was close!

I could hardly lie on my back during a contraction while the midwife put a monitory thing on me (standard procedure at the hospital is they monitor for the first 20 mins)... The poor midwife also had a hard time trying to find a moment to take my blood pressure because I kept shifting positions (Hands and knees was the best position for dealing with the pain for some reason). I swear this period of time felt short and long at the same time... Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew things were happening in a fast manner, but during it all it felt like it was taking *FOREVER*... When the midwife finally did an internal, I was already at 8-9cm! She kept saying "It's not going to be long" and I was thinking "How long is not long... seriously, this feels like it's loooooong!"... Also at some point Phan started saying "I don't think we've decided on a girl's name" to which I said to him between contractions... "Catherine."... Ha... there's no arguing with a labouring woman on that... :) I also remember saying a number of times "I don't think I can do this..." which Phan says he thought was a bit funny 'cos there was no going back at that point!

Apparently my obstetrician walked in just as I was starting to push (I didn't even realise he was there)... and he only had time to pull on one glove before he had to catch our little baby girl as I pushed her out! And there she was... our perfect little girl came into our world at 6:23am... less than an hour after we arrived at the hospital! Ha... seriously, we were pretty lucky we didn't leave it any later to leave... we probably timed the whole process perfectly! So all in all, it was a 6.5 hour labour (less than half the length of my labour with Beth)... of which I spent most of that without any pain relief, except for gas in the last 30-45 mins... (and by that stage, that gas was doing jack all.. it was really just something to distract me and something I could bite on!!!

So there we have the story of the arrival of our beautiful little girl... Her formal stats... she weighed in at 3.17kg (7lbs in the old scale) and 51cm long. She's got a lovely head of hair and there are a lot of similarities between her and her older sister. She was awake and alert within the first half hour of coming into the world...

Fresh out of the oven...

Later that morning Vicky took our family photo...

Family Photo

And that afternoon our little miss caught up on a bit of this -

Sleeping Beauty

and woke up looking like this

And now I'm awake

And I had an idea for a cute photo moment, but ended up with this hilarious one instead -

I don't like that bear!

The only major thing to happen while we were in hospital was that Catherine developed jaundice... It was horrible having the heel prick test done so they could test for it... she's not a bleeder, so she got pricked in both heels and only just got the minimal amount of blood!!! So on Saturday afternoon, we had to put her on this special uv light bed to try and bring her SBR levels down...

On the light bed

She hated the light bed because she couldn't be wrapped and kept jerking and waking herself up... The only way to keep her settled was to sit there and physically hold her arms and legs down... we tried wedging her between 2 towels to stop her from moving, which worked for a little bit, but then wore off... So in the end at 1am, a lovely midwife came in and asked if I wanted her to be taken to the nursery so I could get a bit of rest and they brought her in to me for a feed when she needed it. I felt guilty sending her to the nursery, but in the end, I'm glad I did, because the only way the nurse could get her to settle was to get her to sleep on her tummy... which although this is against SIDS guidelines, because there was a nurse there watching her the whole time, it was ok and I wouldn't have been able to stay up all night and do that. She's definitely a baby that needs to be wrapped!

She had another blood test early on Sunday morning to check her levels and unfortunately, despite being on the light bed all night, the levels had jumped up... so in a bid to try and get us home on Monday (I really wanted to go home on Monday) the paed had her into the special care nursery under double lights and I was feeding her every 3 hours and then expressing after each feed just to get more fluids into her to try and flush out the jaundice.

I tell you, I have the utmost respect for parents who have to have their babies in special care for a long time... we only had to have Catherine in there for less than 24 hours and I found it really hard being apart from her and not being able to cuddle her when she wanted to be cuddled. On the whole, she was quite settled under the lights when she was on her tummy.

Here's what she looked like in her isolette under the lights... She looks a bit like a little sunbather huh?

Under Double Lights

After all of that, a blood test early on Monday morning came back and indicated that her levels were within a normal range and we were allowed to come home! Hoooray! So after a whole rigmarole of paper work to get Catherine discharged from the SCN and me discharged from the maternity ward, we finally got to go home at around 1:30pm.

First ride in the car -

In the baby capsule

And our backseat is full -

Our backseat is full...

So that's the story in a nutshell... it's so good to be home again and to be with Phan and Elizabeth... Elizabeth is finding it a bit hard adjusting to being a big sister... when we told her Mummy was coming home she was really happy, but when she realised Catherine was coming too she kept saying "I don't like it..." "it", being Catherine... Since we've actually been at home though, she's warming up slowly to Catherine... Elizabeth actually came over and watched me breastfeeding this afternoon and when I was trying to wake up Catherine to take the other breast, she started making some funny litttle newborn sounds and Elizabeth started laughing and thinking Catherine was very funny... and she even started talking to her and saying "Wake up Catherine!"... Slowly, slowly... we'll take little steps at a time. Elizabeth's also harbouring a bit of a chesty cough at the moment which is making her tired and irritable, so hopefully when she gets over that things will get better.

For now, I'm enjoying the start of what I'm sure is going to be a rewarding journey... I'm sure there are going to be ups and downs, giggles, smiles and laughter and also sleepless nights and fatigue... ... but it's all going to be part of the fun...

Introducing Catherine...


Mousey said...

I saw this on Facebook and I'm like "wha??" lol
She is totally gorgeous :)

Jen said...

Congratulations Clara :) she is devine :D .

Monique said...

Congrats on the birth of Catherine, Clara!
I'm so happy you're all doing well!
Looks like you'll have to repeat that pink-bear photo session some time soon....
I can see lots of scrapping inspiration for your future!