December 2007

What’s in a Name?

Bruce and I were pretty set on the name Rhea for a girl.  The middle name was even decided in between contractions only hours before Holly’s dramatic arrival.  Then she was born and I couldn’t do it.  The little girl who appeared was just not a Rhea.  I think she could have been.  I think that she looks like a Rhea, she just didn’t look like my Rhea.  My Rhea was a miniature Bronwyn.  When I decided on the name, I pictured a blond-haired, pale, wispy girl.  Holly is none of those things. 
When we were thinking up names in the beginning, we both really liked Holly.  But we wanted to stick with the Gaelic names, and Holly (to me) was always a dark-haired, rosy-cheeked girl.  I liked the idea of naming her based on the season, or weather (biggest snowstorm of the year folks), or her physical attributes.  Bronwyn means “white-breasted one”, and the name suits my tow-headed waif to a tee.  This robust and rosy second daughter has attributes of her own though.  All the names that mean dark or something opposite to Bronwyn are too common for my taste.  Basically we were at a loss.  But when I looked at the face of my girl I thought to myself that she just looks like a Holly.  And so all the reasons that I could come up with to not name her something that was so glaringly obvious to me seemed to disappear.
Holly remained nameless until just an hour before we were discharged.  We decided on two names and I sent Bruce home with the instructions to “just pick one”!  He did, and I am content.  Grace, for your information, was decided because we both like the name a lot, we love the meaning of grace, and we (well I especially) like that it is another name for Hannah (the mother of Samuel- see 1 Samuel).  Since Holly was also technically born on tuesday, it is fitting that she should be “Tuesday’s child” and “full of grace”. 
December 07

Just the Facts

This entry is purely for the distribution of facts related to Holly.
We arrived at the hospital after only getting stuck four times in the snow.  When they predict 30-35 cm of snow overnight, they will only be correct when it the the night before you need to go to the hospital to have your baby!  They broke my water and I started having mild contractions for most of the day.  By 6:30pm we weren’t getting anywhere, so the doctor suggested Pitocin to get things moving.  I had no desire to stay in early labour for any longer (even though I wasn’t in any pain) and I had my mind set on having this baby on December 3rd.  The Raptor’s were set to play at 7pm and we asked that they start the drip in time to coincide with the beginning of the game, but unfortunately it didn’t actually get started until 8pm.  During halftime though, so I didn’t have to miss much!
Within 2 minutes I was in active labour.  They never had to increase the dose after the initial amount.  I stayed at 6 cm until the Raptor’s claimed the salami and cheese.  My nurse suggested I change positions to try and engage the head.  I flipped onto my hands and knees and immediately felt the urge to push.  They forced me back on my back, and my nurse made a hasty check only to discover I was at 8 cm.  Besides I didn’t have to push anymore so I figured to be safe I would just labour in my most comfortable position for a little longer.  My nurse quickly opened all her trays and brought in the carts and told me that she didn’t trust me one inch not to have this baby any second, so she was going to get prepared.  That was heartening and I continued to employ the hypnobirthing techniques I stole from Elaine. 
Small aside: I was very skeptical about hypnobirthing at first.  I read the book, but only as someone who is interested in knowing as much as I can about a subject.  I thought I would use my TENS machine again, and was prepared to do that.  When the pain became more intense Bruce suggested we hook up the machine and I consented, even though I was quite comfortable just using the basic hypnobirthing relaxation methods.  The TENS was awful.  Not helpful at all.  I quickly decided that we would use the breathing and relaxation techniques instead and demanded that Bruce remove the TENS asap!!  Bruce for his part, was the best labour partner I could have asked for or dreamed into existence!  He knew exactly what I wanted and did it before I knew I wanted it myself.  He was attentive and patient and encouraging throughout even my most trying and unreasonable moments.  Thanks Bruce.  Team Howarth pulls through again!
By 9:30 I felt I might have to push again, but not very strongly.  The doctor arrived and got ready, but felt there was something wrong, so he checked and I was still only 8 cm.  He ran out to deliver another baby next door and I started to cry.  I had really only been in labour for 3.5 hours, but it was much more intense than I remembered it and I didn’t have the benefit of not knowing how it would feel.  I knew exactly how it would feel and I was scared.  Bruce really shone during this time, helping me to remain focussed and relaxed.  I opted for some Demerol at this point to force me to relax and enable me to sleep during contractions.  After the doctor left to deliver the baby across the hall we thought it might be time to get back on my hands and knees as that seemed to help before.  Three pushes later and Holly Grace was born. 
*******Disclaimer…..not to be read by anyone sqeamish, any of my male relatives, or anyone who might be delivering their own firstborn and do not want these intimate details until after the fact******************
The second I changed positions I felt her pass through my cervix and knew I couldn’t move again.  Bruce and the nurse tried to physically flip me over but I was able to hang onto the bed and yell convicingly enough that they let me alone.  Besides, it is hard to argue with a woman when there are more important things to do.  Like catch a wet, slippery baby.  And they literally just caught her.  I could hear the doctor saying he couldn’t see anything, and him feeling for the cord around her neck, but then I pushed again and her body fell away from me.  None of the nurses had ever delivered a baby in this position before, and the doctor later told me that I was only his second.  Only after I was reassured that she had been delivered safely did I consent to move back onto my back to deliver the placenta and stitch up a small tear. 
********Reading may resume********************
We all looked at the clock eagerly only to discover it was 12:01.  What day was she born?  After a small conference, the doctor announced her birth as 0000 Dec 4, 2007.  She weighed 7 lbs 6 oz and was 19.5 inches.  Her Apgar scores were 9 and 9, losing a point each for duskiness of the extremities.  She was also extremely chunky with vernix everywhere.  She has the same birthmark between her eyes as Bronwyn and I do.  And she has my toes!
Today was her first well baby visit.  She weighs 7 lbs 3 oz, nearly her birth weight and only 4 days old!  Her head is 34.5 cm and her height is 47 cm. 

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