Ella - Update2 - Her first week

Ella in daddy's hands (Photo courtesy Rainbirds Photography)

(Paula) - 7th Oct 2007 - Before I tell you about Ella's first week I will fill you in on a little more information around her birth.  For those that are not familar with how things work in NZ, when you are pregnant you have a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC). They look after you leading up to, during and after the birth.  I had chosen my GP who also specialised in Obstetrics.  At 40 weeks and 5 days (1 week before she was born) I had been booked in for an induction to bring the birth on because my doctor was going to be away for the following week.  I had agreed because without him I just had to depend on whoever was on duty at the hospital.  We left home all expectant that the next time we both returned home we would have a baby, it was very exciting, we took photos to mark the occasion.  What they do is give you hormones and it brings on contractions, all was going well.  Both the Doctor and the midwives at the hospital were convinced  that the birth would take place, I was having stronger more frequent contractions.  Because I has couped up in a tiny cubicle for 24 hours of the begining of this induction, the doctor said I could go home and get some rest and come back during the night when it was about to happen.  So I jumped at the chance.  Through the night things slowed down and by lunch the next day everything had stopped.  I was surprised and very let down.   I didn't realise that it might not work.  So at this point we decided to wait till Ella was ready.

Our first excited trip to the hospital.

Chris couldn't help himself, he had to read the instruction manual to the CTG (baby heart rate monitor) equipment just to find out how it worked.

By the following Wednesday, 41 weeks and 11 days, my waters had broken.  Because my LMC was away I had to go into the hospital for a check up.  Once your waters break the labour has to start within 24 hours due to the risk of infection.  We were told that 18 hours after the waters had broken they would put me on intravenous antibiotics.  This was in the morning and the Consultant at the hospital said to come back at 7pm and they would induce me if the labour had not started.  That evening we packed up again and headed off to the hospital for another induction.  They examined me and then said that I had to come back at 7am the next morning because they didn't have enough staff to care for me!!!  7am would have been well past the 24hour period, but their staffing issues dictated what information they would give us to what was safe or healthy for the baby and me.  Forget any pain that surrounded the labour, my stress levels were increasing rapidly.

An hour after we got home labour pains started all by themselves and progressed very quickly to 5 mins apart (within two hours).  We were told previously that if your contractions are 5 mins apart and regular then it is time to call the hospital, so we did. They told us to call back at 3 mins apart.  An hour later we called them saying the contractions were 3 minutes apart and that we were coming in.

When we got there, they examined me and said that I wasn't dilated yet so go home and come back later!!!  Strong contractions for 1 minute, occuring every 3 minutes, my first child, this was all very new and different, and they wanted me to go home!  At this point I was very upset and in pain, I was not going anywhere. Chris calmly spoke to them and asked if they didn't mind we would like to stay if they had the bed spare, we didn't need to see a midwife if they were short staffed.

Chris has covered the rest of the birth in the first update.

The sunrise from our window in the delivery room on the day of  Ella's birth.

So now onto Baby Ella's first week.  She is a beautiful bundle of joy (I know I am biased).  She was  born very alert and interestingly she cried when anyone but Chris or I picked her up.  The day after the birth it was becoming evident that she was jaundiced, which is apparently common in overdue babies.  She became quite yellow and very sleepy.  She was not feeding well either, which was a combination of her sleepiness from the jaundice and my lack of milk supply.  On her second day they did a blood test and discovered that she was borderline needing treatment for her jaundice so the doctor wanted me to stay in the hospital one more day.  They had already asked me to leave because they had 14 more people coming in and nowhere to put them.  I am not going to go into the TERRIBLE treatment we got at the hospital, I am in the process of writing a letter of complaint to the hospital board.   We had been taking Ella and putting her in the sun as much as we could to help with the jaundice.  It was also acknowledged at this point that she was dehydrated and needed supplementing with formula.  We were told to ensure to wake her every 3 hours to feed - maximum every 4 hours.  Unfortunately we were dependant on the staff to bring that formula and 6 hours between feeds occured despite our numerous requests and a screaming baby.  They suggested we stay another day, but I declined knowing that Chris and I could do a much better job at home of looking after Ella than we were getting at the hospital.  I was very stressed, which they just kept passing off as me being hormonal, but the lack of care we were getting was horrendous and I was dependant on the nurses there to help me, and they weren't.  It was the Ella's third day and she had had one wet nappy.

Coming home was the best thing we could have done.  I became much more relaxed knowing that Ella was getting looked after better and that we were in control of her care.  She was still very sleepy and it has been very difficult to get her to wake up enought to eat or to get a photo of her with her eyes open.  The jaundice peaked on day 5 and she has become more awake and alert everyday.  She is now feeding well and her output (wet and dirty nappies) is positive.

All dressed up ready to go home.

First car ride, from the hospital.

Entering home for the first time

A week after her birth we went for our first outing.  We went to visit Chris' grandparents in Orewa.  We packed a bag with what we thought we would need and got it right which is a good start.  It was a good visit and Ella was happy.

Things that Ella likes: Floating around in the bath, getting food quickly (she doesn't waste a drop either if she is hungry, very clean and tidy eater), sleeping in the sun, falling asleep in Daddy's arms, she is not that keen on our singing yet but she likes listening to our voices as we read her stories.

Hope you have enjoyed the photos.  Being she is our first child there is bound to be lots and lots of photos and we will update this website with them if you are interested in her development.