Greta! Labor & Delivery

Little Greta Charlotte Victor

Mommy & baby

Happy Grandma 'Nita

Happy Momma & sleeping Greta

Baby burrito

Daddy & tiny Greta

Who knew her clothes would be too big?

Grandpa Ken & Greta

Sweet Pea!

Our own room w/ a bed for Wayne to stay the night!

Baby Lojack

Bundled in her car seat for the trip home!

Sweet baby sleeping on Grandma

Sleepy girl!

Little Peanut

There are those elusive blue eyes!
Daddy Finishing the Nightshift w/Greta

Sleeping all the time (well during the day!)

There's the crying face

Sweet angel

Little girl in her big girl pants

So, now that you've seen the adorable pictures of Greta, I'm going to get into the blow-by-blow account of the labor and delivery, so if you're male or weak of heart, you may want to stop reading now...

Mom & Dad (Ken & Anita) were obviously sad when we told them we were moving to Germany when their first grandchild was about to be born, so we decided they should come stay with us for a month surrounding the birth so they could at least not miss that. As you may know, it's normal for a baby to be born anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks of gestation, and the due date, at 40 weeks is simply the average between the two. I was due Jan. 6, so we had to take a bit of a chance when booking their flights. Grandma Anita put in a request to the little one to stay inside until after they'd arrived. Well, it turns out she was a good little girl. We picked up Mom & Dad from the airport on Jan. 1. The next morning Mom & I set the dining room table for a dinner party I had planned for that night. We walked around the town of Landstuhl and bought some taper candles to complete the table and I had the lasagna I'd previously baked thawing in the fridge and mint chocolate chip Oreo dessert in the freezer ready for our friends who would soon be moving back to the States. I laid down on the couch around 1:30, not feeling so well (but not telling mom so she wouldn't get worried). I think I was saying that we'd forgotten that we still needed to make some more iced tea and then my water broke at 2 pm. I called Landstulh Army Hospital to make sure they had room for me and that I wouldn't be diverted to a German hospital. Then I called Wayne at work and told him that my water broke and he seemed a bit stunned and said "Really?" I was a bit surprised too, as I'd read that only 8-15% of women's water actually breaks on it's own, but also relieved that I knew for sure it was time to go to the hospital. I asked Wayne if he could come home from work and he said sure. Then I called my friend Robyn and said that I was pretty sure we'd have to cancel our dinner plans for that night. Mom was so anxious that she kept forgetting things and stood in the hallway upstairs when I took a shower to make sure I was alright and didn't need anything. About an hour later when Wayne got home from work, we packed up the car and went to the hospital.

Before Mom & Dad arrived, we visited the security office at the hospital and gave them Mom & Dad's passport numbers so they could get on "the list," which was supposed to allow them to get on the base without us having to be delayed at the gate (since they don't have military ID's). When we got to the base, Wayne told the German guard that they were on the roster, a term he evidently didn't understand, so we had to pull the car over to the security checkpoint, all get out and stand against the wall while the security guard and German shepherd checked out the car and Mom & Dad's passports were called in. Fortunately I wasn't experiencing painful contractions yet, but since my water was continually leaking, it did mean having a soggy bottom going into the hospital. Oh well, that's military life!

When we got there, I learned that I'd have to be put on pitocin, the one thing I didn't want, because I knew it would make the contractions stronger than what my body would have done on it's own. I also knew that I wanted an epidural. I think it was about 5:30 that they started me on pitocin. Then an anesthesiologist came in to put in the line for the epidural. I don't know if it was having to have my head bent for so long while he positioned the line, or if it was that I was nervous that he'd miss the spot and I'd be paralysed or something, but I started feeling really strange--sounds seemed distant, I got dizzy and felt like I was going to faint. I guess my blood pressure dropped quickly too, but the strong baby inside me was unaffected and her heart rate stayed normal. They gave me oxygen and laid me down. I was scared, wondering if something bad was happening to me from the needle in my back, but after getting some oxygen I was fine. The anesthesiologist was so great and comforting during that episode. Then a few mintues, maybe a half hour? later another anesthesiologist came in, the first one hadn't told me he was going off duty! I'm guessing this one was having a bad day because she almost bit my head off when I was unsure whether to start the epidural now (as she suggested in case of some rare clotting thing the nurse said almost never happens) or wait as the nurse suggested so I could still walk around and use the birthing ball if desired. When she left in a huff, the nurse was very apologetic for the anesthesiologist's behavior and the next time it was the head of the anesthesiology department that came in. We never saw the grumpy one again. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, my beef with anestheology came later. So, she started me on a low dose (level 2) explaining that as the contractions got more painful, I could push a button every 20 minutes to release more medicine, and then they could up the dose later. So, it got a lot more painful when I was in the transition stage and the button wasn't bringing relief, so the nurses paged anestheology to come back to up my dose. They never came back. So, my last two contractions of transition were very painful and then it was too late to get more medicine. So, the pushing phase was excruciating.

Wayne somehow thought that he'd be up by my head the whole time, so he was a bit taken aback when the nurse, Captain Rowles, ordered him to grab one of my legs and help when I had to push. I pushed for an hour and the doctor kept telling me I was so close and I told her that she'd been telling me that for a while and I didn't think I could do it. I was begging her to "just get it out" and use the forecepts, but she refused (thankfully) and said I had to push her out myself. At one point when I was so frustrated, she told me to reach down and feel the head and I felt a head full of hair. Somehow, I did get the energy to finally push her out and it was such a relief when I felt the head and then the shoulders come out. I got a level 1 (the mildest) tear when the shoulder came out, but I didn't feel it or the stich(es?) and still haven't felt pain from that. Thank goodness she was a peanut! 6 lbs. 13 oz and 20 inches long. Wayne got to cut the umbilical cord. When she was finally out I wanted to make sure that she was a girl--we have so many cute girly outfits and really only one that would have worked for a boy. When I saw the umbilical cord stump, for a second I wasn't sure, but was so happy to find out it was indeed a girl. Then they toweled her off and put her on my chest. I was holding her cute little bum in my hand and after the nurse helped her with her sucking reflex Greta did nurse a bit right away. They let me hold her for a while (maybe a half hour?) before they took her to put the vitamin K drops in her eyes and such. Greta was born at 2324, or 11:24 pm, so from water breaking to delivery was 9 1/2 hours.

Greta got her first bath while I took a shower. She screamed through it. They put a "baby lojack" on her leg, which you can see in two of the pictures above. If anyone tried to take her out of the mother & baby ward, it would go off and alert them at the nurses' station. Wayne, Greta and I also each had an arm or leg (in Greta's case) band that had a matching number on it. Any time the medical staff did anything with Greta, and before we left hte hospital, the number had to be compared to make sure she was our baby and didn't get switched--like we wouldn't notice if they brought a different baby back in the room!

Except for that one anesthesiologist, all of the doctors and nurses were wonderful. Wayne finds it interesting that my favorite nurse on the mother & baby unit, Zane, was an Army Ranger before becoing a nurse. He was talking with the anesthesiologist saying that his next rotation he'd like to do in that department and maybe get a masters degree in that field. Of course, like any hospital, you'd get to really like one and then they'd go off duty. It was fine, but at first I found it a little funny that the two nurses that were helping me most with the latching on and breastfeeding were male. Maybe that's an military thing, mabye not. Of course being an army hospital, they have some dumb rules that have to be followed. They require all new moms (really all babies of new moms) to stay at least 48 hours. Since Greta was born so late at night on Friday, they made me stay until Monday. Since the neonatal doctor did late rounds and their was a snaffu with the pharmacy, I didn't get to leave until late Monday afternoon. I was really upset on Sunday when I learned this because I found it really hard to sleep at the hospital with so many interruptions, and with Mom & Dad at the house, I really wanted to go home Sunday as my OB said I could. But, also since Greta was born late on a Friday night, it meant I didn't get to see the lactation consultant all weekend, so being able to see her Monday morning was the silver lining that made it not so bad to have to stay. The lactation consultant was amazed that Greta only lost 1 % of her birth weight upon dismissal from the hospital. On her 5 day well baby visit, the doctor didn't look at her birth weight and told us that she wasn't gaining enough weight each day. I was so upset because I thought that after a very stressful day of engourgement at home when it was hard to feed Greta that we'd finally gotten a hang of the nursing thing. He asked the lactation consultant to come back in. She weighed Greta again and realized that the doctor hadn't looked at her birth weight and assumed she still needed to gain that back. So, Greta was fine and the nursing was going great and he got me all upset for nothing. At Greta's 2 week check-up, she weighed 7 lbs. and 9.8 oz! She's definitely well fed.

We're all enjoying litlel Greta so much. She does keep us up at night with her fussy time being anywhere from 9 pm to 4 am (usually around 11 pm). But, luckily, there is usually a grandparent awake downstairs willing to take her for a few hours so we can sleep in between feedings. Wayne will go back to work on Tuesday. I'll be sad not to have him here, he'll miss Greta terribly, and he's anxious about having to perform at work on reduced sleep, but I'm sure we'll all figure it out. Despite the sleep disturbance, I love this newborn phase and don't want her to grow out of it! I find it so sweet when she roots around looking for food, but will suck your nose or cheek or neck because she doesn't yet understand the source of her nourishmet. We all adore her little squeaks and other noises, and relish the little time each day she has her eyes opened and looks at us. We'll try to keep the blog updated, at least with picures, when there isn't much time to write. As you can imagine, it's a bit hard to accomplish much in a day compared to pre-baby times. Fortunately, we have Mom here cooking most of the meals, baking cookies like a true Grandma, and doing laundry; and Dad to watch Greta in the wee hours of the night and do the occasional vaccuming or other tasks. I think the little one is waking up to eat again, so I'll sign off now.
1 Response
  1. Jennie Says:

    OH Kristen! She's beautiful...I'm so happy for you and Wayne. I've been reading your blog since you got it started and I'm so glad to see that you are all doing well. Wow. Congratulations!
    Cheers. Jennie Prince, UNCG