Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Baby's First Bath

Chloe loved her first bath! I think she thought she was back in the womb! She even tried to sneak sips of bath water! Afterwards, we snugged her up in her new robe, given to her by her Aunt Julie & Uncle Chris.

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Gigi's First Look!

Vivian arrived on October 13th and got her first look at Chloe as a 9-day-old baby girl. It was a beautiful moment. I believe some healing took place. We're glad to have her here!

"Behold children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man who's quiver is full of them!" Psalm 127:3-5 Posted by Picasa

Visitors, Food, Flowers!!!

We had no idea how many friends we had until Chloe arrived. Maybe its Chloe who has so many friends (smile)! Our small group at church got together and blessed us abundantly by providing meals for us for 2 weeks! Every evening we dined on homemade meals of Indian food (Mike's favorite), a South African dish, Kiwi Style roasts (we were introduced to Parsnips...yum!), and all kinds of desserts! Wow...God loves us and knows just what we need! Not only that but He even goes so far as to meet the desires of our hearts! We received many gifts and our apartment was covered in flowers....Gerbera daisies (my favorite) included! People even sent flowers to us International FTD style from and they were absolutely gorgeous!

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Some of Chloe's Sweet Visitors

Posted by PicasaAunti Krystal, Grandpa Jack, Anne, and Dorothy are so sweet and such wonderful support.  We are blessed to know them.

Daddy & His Little Girl

Since Chloe entered our home, Mike has started saying, "Hmmm....I wonder what kind of job I could do from home." He loves his baby and she loves him! He is the master swaddler and the only one who can change her nappy without any kind of fuss! What a good daddy! Posted by Picasa

The New Arrival

All I have to do is look at this little bundle and the entire below story is forgotten. God is amazing that way.
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Friday, October 13, 2006

Labor & Delivery: The Details (Aah!!)

I just knew my labor & delivery would be a piece of cake. My mom had hardly felt contractions when she went into the hospital already dilated to a 9 and delivered me an hour later under a spinal block back in 1976. However, that was not to be the case with Chloe Elise. We arrived at Auckland City Hospital's Women's Assessment Unit at 8pm on Monday, October 2nd. It had been a rainy day as seen in the shot of our view from our balcony in the first block and we had run errands like picking up baby clothes bought on Trademe out in Piha & looking at the proofs of our preggie belly photos on the North Shore. It did clear up by the time we left the house and we were able to walk to the hospital. Since we were being induced, I had the notion that we were "walking to the baby store" to pick up our baby. Wow...there's a bit of naive irony for ya (smile)! We met the first round of midwives & doctors, they put the prostagin gel on my cervix to soften it, and we began the waiting game. They monitored the baby's heart rate & movements frequently. We'd brought snacks & books, journals & cards to keep us entertained, but tried to make it an early bedtime. Mike had put his bets on delivery by 2am & I'd bet on noon the next day, so we put him in the bed & I took the airmattress (lest any of our family doubt, this photo was staged!). 18 hours & 3 rounds of prostagin gel later, still no baby (smile). I had my first internal exam, which was quite traumatic & found out I was dilated only to 2cm. The doctor wondered how I would be able to tolerate the water breaking without any meds & asked if I was planning to have an epidural. I think she hoped I would take it before they broke my waters. She commented that my pelvic floor muscles were really strong! So, we prayed for just the right MD/midwife team for the breaking of my waters & we got 'em. They did have me use the laughing gas while they broke my waters & though it was uncomfortable, it was manageable with the breathing we'd learned in antenatal class & the doc was really sensitive to me. That was at 5:15pm on tuesday, October 3rd...long past either of our predictions. Contractions commenced. In the next block, notice the grip on the pine cones. Supposed to give some good pain relief via, gave me a point of focus. By now, mom had called 5 times. We'd heard from Mike's brother, Steve, & had a message that my "sister" called. I assume that was Julie. Chris later said when they'd called that it was like "Fort Knox" trying to get through to me. We had to tell everyone that we were no where close. We were on our 3rd shift of midwives when they decided to transfer us over to the labor & delivery unit, only to reprioritize another patient ahead of me and return me to WAU. I was happy, though, because I got to do the spa bath, which really did help with my contractions. Mike read some of my labor notes while I was in there. They blessed me, fully, and made me realize God's presence. Unfortunately, someone thought it would be a good idea to put my IV in before we transferred over to L&D. 2 midwives & 3 veins down & they still didn't have my "hook" in. This was my second trauma. We were having to time it with my contractions so I wouldn't move. During the last one, an onlooking L&D midwife cringed to see my last good vein botched. She took me over & on the scraggliest vein, over my wrist joint, she got it in. My hero, Jill. Shortly thereafter I spoke the words, "I'm ready to talk about drugs." We decided on an epidural & again I prayed for just the right doc & God brought me Emma. She was fantastic and it didn't even hurt. They started my Syntocin drip to progress my labor at around 11pm on October 3rd, then we met our midwife for the night, Lisa. I believe our time with Lisa was God-appointed. I slept some in the night, but Mike had no bed, so he and Lisa spoke quite a bit & I would occasionally wake & join the conversation. I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to ask her if she'd been hurt by the church to which she responded in the affirmative. I think God gave us an opportunity to be an encouragement to her in those wee hours. I awoke the next day to the final shift change in our barrage of docs & midwives. The doctors were on rounds & we got to meet Esther, the registrar, the specialist, a new midwife, & an observing physician from Canada. They decided my drip had gone on slowly long enough and that it was time to ramp things up more rapidly. I was dilated to a 9 and it was around 9am. While our midwife was "getting organized" my epidural was wearing off & nobody was ready for me to start pushing, so they gave me a partial top up. At 10am, the docs weren't happy that I wasn't yet pushing, so they amped up my syntocin & my contractions started to intensify. They had me start pushing though I couldn't feel even to tell when my contractions were present. My motor control was so poor that changing positions required the help of Mike, the midwife, and the observing doc. I experienced an emotion that I had not at all expected and that was embarrasment. I couldn't believe I couldn't find my pelvic floor muscles. And, it felt so wrong to hold my breath during the pushing. I just knew I'd get a hernia or blow a disc the way they were asking me to do this. Here I am an athlete all my life & a physical therapist & behaving like a total motor moron (a term for all my physio friends out there)! Epidural starts to fade and so does the laughter created by my performance anxiety. I became incredibly discouraged. It seemed the baby was making no progress and I couldn't see how it would. It really hurt in my low back, I was getting tired, and the contractions seemed to run together. I began to BEG for a C-Section. Mike was amazing. He kept encouraging me and I could really tell that he was gaining an honest admiration for me. I found out later that at one point he feared I might die or become seriously injured in the process. He said, "If we need to get one, we will, but lets try to do what the docs say right now and see how it goes." I remember having my eyes closed for much of the time. Once I realized this baby was going nowhere and they weren't going to let me have a Cesarian, I asked them to top up my epidural and let me rest. They gave me a partial, Esther came back in, and after only 5 minutes or so, they had me pushing again with Esther pulling on the Vontuse suction cup they'd placed on baby's head. This was the most amazing part of the labor for me. It wasn't really painful, I'd gotten the hang of the pushing, & with every push the baby made progress. This was the most traumatic part of the labor for Mike because he could see how much force the doc was having to pull on baby's head. The unnerving part was when Esther warned me that the cap could slip off her head. Between contractions I asked everyone to pause for a quick prayer and in one of my most sincere requests of God I asked, "Lord, Jesus, please don't let that cap slip off and get this baby out as quick as You can!" Three pushes later her head popped through the canal and a wave of relief washed over me. I felt all the more encouraged because they exclaimed, "The head's out!" After that, it was like her shoulders just slipped out. They lay her briefly on my chest, revealing she was a girl and for Mike to cut the cord then whipped her over to the pediatrician for her 7/10 Apgar, followed by a 10/10 5 minutes later. Mike and I's anxiety and strain melted quickly into tears of relief and joy with his face right next to my face. We heard her cry and it was the most beautiful sound ever! She's alive! And, I could see her being held in the air out of the corner of my eye! They brought her to me, sticky, in a towel and we got that good skin to skin for our first breast feed. Secretly, I'd hoped for a girl...God knows the desires of our hearts. 4 hours later we were discharged. Though we were supposed to go to Birthcare for a night of recovery, we were sick of the hospital and decided to go home. She was born at 12:31pm on October 4th, weighing 6lbs/11ounces. She had a full head of black hair & dark eyes, long fingers. Our healthy & beautiful baby girl, Chloe Elise Grammer. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

mother and child

this beautiful and peaceful image well represents the current state of my soul. truly i'm experiencing a pinnacle of the human condition.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 06, 2006

Chloe Elise Grammer

We're just barely weighing in here, but after 2 days of labor, Chloe Elise Grammer did finally weigh into the world at 6lbs/1oz, 50cm long at 12:31pm on October 4th. It was a Wednesday here in New Zealand. She has a full head of dark hair and long fingers. She is already the most precious thing we've ever laid eyes on and has made us more grateful to Jesus than we ever could have imagined. I will describe the events in more detail soon. For now, I will sleep, eat, and feed this baby, thanking God every moment for her arrival.  Posted by Picasa