(Originally posted January 14, 2009; see BLOG for latest Sarah news)
With great pleasure, Gloria and I would like to introduce our new baby girl, Sarah (middle name Elizabeth; Chinese name Gee Ching), who was born on January 11, 2009 at 5:14pm – 15 days before her estimated due date. Her birth weight was 3280g (7lb 3.6oz). Thank you to all those who have visited us or have offered to visit, and also to those who brought her lovely gifts and offered words of congratulations. We are now at home for the first day and both Mom and Baby are doing well as we all learn to cope with a completely different and demanding schedule (Sarah's)! We have been very lucky that Gloria has had a relatively uneventful pregnancy, labour, and delivery but now post-partum we can honestly say that we have never been so tired ever in our lives (and this includes being on call for 36 hours at the hospital!).
*** WARNING ***
Since many of our friends are medical professionals, the below account may contain
"too much information" for some other readers. Reader discretion is advised.
So how did this all happen? It seemed all the stars aligned at just the right time. Firstly, we ordered a car seat in September but it didn't arrive until 6 working days before the big day thanks to multiple delays and inclement weather. Similarly, due to the snow and treacherous roads we weren't able to get our cord blood banking kit until Friday, January 9 – the working day right before the delivery – just in the nick of time! Also, Gloria had been ambivalent about when to start her maternity leave as she had a strange desire to work until she delivered but her Obstetrician suggested she take a few weeks off work for herself. As a compromise, she was taking it day by day and potentially planning to stop work on January 13 but in the end, she literally worked until the end!
We should have guessed that nature was up to something when for dinner on Saturday night Gloria managed to eat a Big Mac, McChicken, medium fries and medium Coke for a total of 1570 Calories and 73g of fat! Sure, she was "eating for two" but even so, her appetite had not been so voracious the entire pregnancy. She did burn some of that doing the oddest thing: the thermocoupler for the hot water tank just happened to call it quits that evening and with no plumber or hot water in sight, Gloria decided she would carry pots of boiling water upstairs from the kitchen to fill the bathtub! (No, I'm not a lousy husband but rather she refused to let me help her with it.) I don't think there has been any published research about inducing labour by carrying pots of water but maybe it's time to propose a study!
At about 1:15am, she was awoken from her sleep by a gush of fluid as her membranes ruptured ("water broke"; unusual, since only 15% of labours start this way). Soon thereafter she started getting regular contractions every 4-5 minutes lasting for 30 seconds or so. At about 4:00am we decided it would be wise to get out of bed and get ready to go to the hospital (specifically eat, since we knew she wouldn't be allowed to eat once there). We paged the obstetrician on-call who happened to be our usual obstetrician. She told us that we could proceed to the Assessment Room or else wait until Gloria was "really huffing and puffing" so we decided for the latter.
At 7:00am we proceeded to the hospital and to our surprise both Labour and Delivery and the Assessment Room were fairly empty. We got checked in and soon Gloria was assessed by the medical student and Obstetrics resident and found to be in active labour with 5-6cm of dilation. We were happily admitted to one of only eight rooms in the Cedar Single Room Maternity ward where select low-risk patients get to labour, deliver, and stay post-partum all in the same (well-sized) private room.
The obstetrician on-call for the day shift, Dr. M. Rosengarten, assessed Gloria around 12:00pm and thought she looked unusually comfortable for someone in active labour! Dishearteningly, he felt that the earlier assessment was overly optimistic and that she was only then about 6cm dilated and would be a few hours yet. Soon thereafter, her contractions kept getting stronger and more regular, and nitrous oxide was hardly able to control the discomfort. When she was reassessed 2 hours later she was 8cm dilated and definitely in more distress due to a strong urge to push, and thinking about getting an epidural and then changing her mind after the contraction ended.
By 3:30pm, Gloria could barely stand all the pressure with each contraction and finally asked the nurse for an epidural (still politely, mind you). The nurse began to start an intravenous in preparation but Dr. Rosengarten walked by the room and from the hallway heard Gloria, who was trying to resist the urge to push, moaning at the end of contractions. He came in and said, "I can tell you're ready – forget the epidural, you're going to have this baby now, lady" and then assessed her to be 9cm with an anterior lip. Gloria was very relieved that she had the opportunity to finally push instead of resisting. With the obstetrician's guidance the anterior lip quickly got pushed out of the way. Gloria handled the second stage of labour (pushing) with ease and followed the instructions perfectly. Our baby girl was delivered vigorous and screaming even with only half of her body out (Apgars 91 and 95). She had a headful of wavy black hair (not blond as the medical staff joked), long fingernails, chubby cheeks, and she charted around the 50th percentile for weight, length, and head circumference. As for Mom, due to excellent controlled pushing, Gloria made it through with only minor first-degree lacerations and was up and about within an hour!
*** WARNING ENDED ***
So in summary, it's all a blur now and it's surprising we can even remember any of the labour and delivery. We're now focused on having Baby gain back her birth weight and rid of her neonatal jaundice. The nights are tough and have been fairly sleepless thus far but improving and as a team we have been coping just fine. Again, a big THANK YOU goes out to all our well-wishing friends and family!