FO: Althea Elisabeth

February 6, 2011

 We’re slowly getting back into the swing of things now after the birth of our little baby girl on January 15th, Althea Elisabeth.  She is just over three weeks old, and a little darling girl, we couldn’t feel more blessed.   This may be a bit long, but it is overdue!

The birth story is a rather long one, and I’m already forgetting the details of it as I’m meant to.  I had been having contractions on and off for around 5 days, and then Thursday January 13th I woke up at 4 am with regular contractions. They weren’t that bad, and were four or five minutes apart.  By that evening they were stronger, 2-3 minutes apart, and over a minute in length, which we had been taught meant that it was time to head to the hospital!  Once we got there we got into a triage space and I found out I was only 1-2 cm dilated!  They sent us home, me with some morphine in me so that I could sleep a bit, with instructions to come back in the morning before that Doctor went off shift to be checked.  At that point I was only 3 cm, and that was generous.  I have a cervix that doesn’t like to dilate, the Doctor’s kept asking if I’d ever had surgery, which I haven’t.  We went home again, with instructions to come back when things got “bad”, or “5th gear” which is difficult to hear when you are already of the opinion that the contractions were rather long, hard and close together.  This was Friday now, and by the evening again things were getting really hard to hold it together, and I thought it could be “5th gear”.  Again, how would I know, I’d never been in labour before!!  We went back to the hospital, and lo and behold I was 4 cm, barely.  We stayed in triage for a bit, and around 7 pm my water broke finally, which meant they couldn’t send us home again, the thought of which I found positivelyhorrifying.  The contractions were now really long, and around 1-2 minutes apart.  The funny thing is that 2 other couples from our birth class were in triage, and we were having moaning contests during our contractions. 

Finally, we got into a delivery room, and when they started talking oxytocin to make my contractions stronger I asked for an epidural, as I was of the opinion that my contractions were already too strong for me to handle.  The epidural was very well done, and I was able to sleep a couple of hours, waking up Saturday morning at 6 am fully dilated.  Whoppee!  The last 5 cm were easy!  When I started to push I had to feel my belly to know when the contraction was, but then I could feel them much better as time wore on.  The nurse was excellent, we went through a number of positions, some of which she had to hold the baby monitor on by hand, and even get down on the floor when I was squatting, and being very encouraging.  I seemed to be doing very well until the baby got down to where she had to slip under the pubic bone, and then we stalled for oh, 4 hours.  After 3 hours the nurse called for help, but by the time the other doctors got there, decided a vacuum could help, then went to get the vacuum (I was on the bed being very upset that they didn’t bring the *()*)^% vacuum with them in the first place, I just wanted the baby OUT) it was over 4 hours.  The Doctors came back, and started to really ramp of the oxytocin, and somehow with four women holding my legs, yelling encouragement, me grabbing the bed with all my might, and pushing the baby with more than all my strength, with something else from somewhere else, our baby girl finally came out.  When they asked if I wanted to feel her blonde head I believe my answer was “No just get her out”, but then I did reach down and feel her head which was good I guess.  I may have been a bit tired, and not into the spirituality of the moment.  Mr. J watched the whole thing from behind the herd of women, and declared it to be “rather amazing process”.  He was impressed, and I didn’t poop which makes me happy.  That could of been from 3 days not really eating however.  Finally at 10:31 am our baby girl popped out rather quickly, and was whisked off for suctioning.  Very fast she was back and on my chest and the magic began.  She stopped crying immediately, and settled down quietly, then looked up with her beautiful eyes to me.  Mr. J took a photo of it, and it will be the most precious memory of the whole experience.  After some quiet cuddling she started to eat, and demonstrated an expert latch already. 

The short list of names was Jessie, Molly, Ruby, and a few others we were debating.  But when we met her, we thought she was so incredibly beautiful, and that she took after the German side of her heritage more than the English.  Jessie was my Grandmother’s name, and was my top pick, but it seemed too cute for her.  Somehow I remembered Althea, which never made it onto our list, but which I did like.  To my ear the name sounds beautiful, a lovely soft name, with music in it.  It means healer, and has many other lovely associations with songs, flowers, and literature.  Mr. J liked that we can call her many different nicknames, even if we normally use her full name.  Althea Elisabeth (after many grandmothers, great-grandmothers on both sides of our families) it was, but it wasn’t official until we left the hospital and made sure it wasn’t on the top 10 list of names. 

I can’t begin to tell you how lucky we feel, and all the new joys that are in our lives now.  The feel of her little strawberry blonde head when you rub your cheek along it, her many expressions, her coos and noises.  At only a day or two old we learned she knows my voice, and I need to be quiet if she is hungry as she will wake up and look for food.  This little creature knows us already, and we have the power to make her happy, secure, satisfied, and content.  What a joy that is.  So far we’ve made it through the first few days of getting my milk in, some jaundice, thrush, and a few other things which have meant that we’ve gone to many Doctor’s appointments.  But 3 weeks in we’re doing well, and she is changing and growing like a strong little girl.  Mr. J and I have screwed up in many ways, but she seems to forgive us instantly. 


13 Responses to “FO: Althea Elisabeth”

  1. michaelsomers said

    Althea is so beautiful! What a joyous little girl she is. Congratulations to you and Mr. J, Anne! All my love to your family!

  2. Cheryl S. said

    Oh, my! What an experience!
    But you certainly have a precious little darling as payment for all of that hard labor. She’s absolutely beautiful.

  3. margene said

    Thank you for sharing the beginning of Althea’s life. She’s such a little darling and you’re doing well! She won’t hold anything against you until she’s three. 😉

  4. Kristal said

    Many congratulations – she’s beautiful!

  5. Congratulations! What a sweet little girl 🙂

  6. melanie said

    Look at all that hair! She already has more hair than Fionnuala.

    I know we were supposed to come over two Sundays ago but we all got sick and I haven’t wanted to go anywhere near you guys. Now that we are feeling better I’ll give you a call this week and see how you and your beautiful Althea are doing.

  7. nicolaknits said

    What a beautiful baby. Congratulations to both of you.

  8. Susanne said

    Althea is a beautiful name for a beautiful wee girl. Congrats to you both and do take good care. Get sleep when you can and to heck with everything else!!!

  9. Heather said

    How fantastic! I’m so happy for you both. She is just perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Terra said

    Amazing! She has beautiful hair and I love how unique her name is! I’ve been waiting for this post for 3 weeks!

  11. Sonia said

    I was hoping you were home enjoying the first few weeks! Savour every moment, it goes too fast. My little blond baby is now a red head with dreadlocks but still precious. congratulations!

  12. heffalump23 said

    She is just beautiful!!! I am so happy for you guys!!!

  13. Sunnyknitter said

    I was hoping this was the reason for your blog absence! Congratulations to you both. She’s beautiful!

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