The Birth of Elena
I'm writing this early on a Tuesday morning, lights dimmed, relaxation music playing, as my beautiful wife DeAnn is finally asleep with our new daughter Elena lying on her chest. It is the picture of perfection; the picture DeAnn has dreamed of for many years... motherhood.
Our journey with Elena began a year ago as we learned first hand about the curse of infertility and began in-vitro fertilization. You can read about that part of the journey on DeAnn's blog here. Today, I tell the story of the last act... when Elena came into this world.
Contractions began around 2pm on Saturday Oct 19th. DeAnn didn't tell me at first because two days prior we had just gone through 24 hours of false labor. Around 5pm after dropping my daughter Julia off at a sleepover, we were driving home and contractions began getting stronger. It was hard to contain the excitement but these contractions felt a lot more real than the false ones. We went home, got some dinner and just waited. They got stronger, and more frequent so we packed up the car and went to the hospital.
After arriving at the hospital we were put into a triage room and DeAnn was hooked up to monitors. After a couple of hours, her contractions didn't change a great deal and she hadn't dilated much further so they gave us the option of going home with some pain meds to labor more at home, or staying to be re-evaluated in the morning. We decided to stay and we're glad we did! Not too long after that decision, contractions picked up again both in frequency and strength so they officially admitted us around 10pm.
DeAnn labored until around 3:30am like a trooper; eventually deciding it was time for an epidural so she could rest. After the epidural kicked in we both started to try and sleep but it was short lived. Just before 5am the nurses came in and were clearly concerned. Apparently Elena's heart rate had began dropping too low for comfort. They tried a few things before eventually deciding it was time to get baby out. Apparently at one point her heart rate had dropped to 50 bpm, far from the normal 130-160. As we later found out, Elena was basically stuck and there was no way she was going to come out naturally.
Suddenly our room was full of people as they quickly unplugged everything; fear started to set in... hard. Holding back tears I tried to share a few words of comfort for DeAnn just before they wheeled her out and the room cleared. I was told to stay back and that's when the exhaustion and the emotion set in. The tears came as I tried to remind myself that she was in great hands.
A couple of minutes later a nurse came in to reassure me. She said they would give her a general anesthetic and they'd have the baby out inside of six minutes. I waited for the longest fifteen minutes of my life before another nurse came in with scrubs and a little good news... Elena's heart rate had risen enough that they could apply some more local anesthetic through the existing epidural and I could come in.
I joined DeAnn and within a few minutes we could hear the cries of baby Elena on the other side of the sheet. They brought her around and for the first time we both laid eyes on our beautiful little girl.
She was born at 5:16am, October 20th; weighing in at 6lbs 11oz and 21 inches long. Mom and baby are both healthy and doing well, and so begins our new journey...