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Mon, 2006-Mar-20

Genevieve Alice Carlyle

We are proud to announce

Proud parents Benjamin Robert and Michelle Anne Carlyle would like to announce the birth of their first child Genevieve Alice, a girl. She was born at 2:45 on Monday the 20th day of March in the year of our lord 2006. Mother and daughter are doing fine. At birth she had a head circumference of 34cm, a length of 54cm, and weighed just over 7 pounds or 3.18kg.

The birth story

The ultrasound lied! At 36 weeks Michelle had an ultrasound that indicated she would have a slightly above average baby if it went to term, which would have been a birth weight of approximately eight pounds (8lb). Luckily for both mother and daughter, either the measurements or the continued growth since then were a little bit off.

Mild to moderate contractions began on Saturday night, and Michelle had a show at half-past midnight on Sunday morning. A show indicates labour is likely to have begun, and is the release of the mucus plug that binds the cervix. Michelle managed to get a little sleep that Saturday night, around four hours. I made sure to sleep in past my usual waking time of six until around nine in the morning.

We spent all of Sunday counting contractions (graphs to follow) until around three o'clock Monday morning. At that stage contractions were still irregular (five minutes, four minutes, three minutes, six minutes) but an hour had gone by with no contraction more than six minutes apart. By the time we had made our way to the hosiptal the birth suites were ready and we had our pick. Monday was a good day to be born. March has been a huge month for the hospital with around two hundred (200) mothers booked in to give birth. When I asked a midwife the previous week about how many births were happening "on the ward" (outside of the six birth suites because they are full) she said that there were about one or two per week. Genevieve managed to find us a nice little window.

At admission Michelle was four centimeters (4cm) dilated and labouring reasonably well. Her contractions were still somewhat irregular, and by eight in the morning (8am) she had reached around five centimeters (5cm). The midwife broke her waters at that examination to try and speed things along.

Michelle was coping well with the pain up to that point, using only a TENS machine and a fit ball to bounce apon. It was around this stage that she moved to using a 50/50 Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen mix during contractions to help her through. This got her through the next few hours. Around nine thirty (9:30am) Michelle asked for an epidural. We had discussed the option beforehand and were aware of the risks. She was exhausted from the hours she had already spent labouring, and couldn't cope with the pain on top of all of that. It turned out to be a great decision. She perked up well and managed to steal a little sleep.

Around midday (12:00pm) on Monday Michelle was around six centimeters (6cm) dilated, and she was started on a hormone drip. The drip was used to keep contractions regular and close together. I don't think she would have made it through without that magic drip to keep things ticking along.

With an epidural in place the foetal monitor is on from start to finish. We noticed a few drops and inconsistencies that were probably mostly related to Michelle shifting positions. The midwife and doctors kept a close eye out and had to adjust the drip several times to ensure adequate progress without too much foetal distress. It did place contractions too close together for a while and the monitor showed the baby's heart rate as being less regular than it had been when the monitor was first used.

By two in the afternoon (2pm) the doctors wanted a more accurate reading of how the baby was faring. The examination technique inserts a tube down the baby's escape hatch, and draws a small amount of blood from the back of the baby's head. This blood is tested for its pH level. If it is off, chances are the baby is not getting enough oxygen.

Not only was our level fine, but the exam showed Michelle was ten cenitmeters (10cm) dilated. Game on! After that it was push, push, push. Faced with a definite goal, Michelle dug deep and found enough left in her to reach it. Her mother joined us for the birth. This stage was a huge novelty for her as she delivered both of her children by ceasarian section. The first time she had reached 6cm dilation just as Michelle had done but after twenty two hours of labour could progress no further. The second intervention was planned.

Well, you know the rest of the story: Apart from the cord being wrapped around her neck (which is pretty normal) everything goes smoothly. She even manages to turn herself around the right way in the birth canal (she had been facing forwards in the last week of pregancy, but babys come out best when they face the back). Baby goes onto mum's boob for good old skin to skin conctact for at least fifty (50) minutes before weighing and measurement. During that time she had one little nibble and one short feed. She was very much awake and looking around. Like the little Lord Jesus, no crying did she make. She was and is beautiful. She has beautiful eyes, a beautiful face, a beautful voice, and I look forward to spending some time with her when she isn't fast asleep :)

Once the measuring was finished it was my turn for a hold. She didn't like the bright lights in the suite, so I took her into a darker corner and rocked her away into sleep. By that time she was well and truly ready for a nap. We left the birth suite a little after six thrity (6:30pm) and were joined by close friends and relatives. Genevieve woke enough to be passed around and have photographs taken. By eight we were too tired to do much else. The vistors left, Genevieve Alice was ready for another feed before bedtime, and I was driven home by my father to get some sleep of my own.

Kudos to Redlands hospital staff for excellent service. We started with Jo as our midwife who settled us in nicely. Jen brought the whole thing home, primarily supported by Kathy as the doctor. The epidural was performed with wonderful technique, and the whole insertion was completed between the space of two contractions.

Benjamin