Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eleanor Kate

I can't believe it's been two months since our daughter's birth and I still haven't written about it here. I remember when blogging was such a big part of my life and I wondered how people could just stop blogging. I loved recoding my thoughts, accompanied by photos, telling the story of our lives. The desire is still there but the demands are many with three little ones. Therefore, I'm copying my entry from Miss Eleanor's blog so it is at least recorded here. (As I am typing, she is laying next to me, kicking my arm with her adorable little feet.) 


Dear Eleanor,

You are finally here (and finally have a name)! You were born one week ago from today: Monday, February 16th at 6:53pm. We are so happy you're here. You have filled our home with your sweet spirit and disposition. We absolutely adore you.
Six days old. 
We arrived at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa a little after 7:00am for my scheduled induction. After filling out the paperwork, our nurse, Liz, escorted us to our "new home" (as she called it). I put on a gown and got "comfortable" in the hospital bed. 

Since I'm positive for Group B Strep (I was with your brothers as well), I had to have four hours of penicillin, then wait a couple of hours and have more penicillin. My doctor started the induction process with a balloon catheter, which took me from 3cm to 5cm while I was receiving the penicillin. Like with Josh, the penicillin was the worst part for me because it felt like my left arm was on fire for hours as the penicillin traveled through the IV. Liz would turn the dosage down, which felt so much better, but would have to turn it up again after a short time so we could complete the dosage before starting the induction. At 3:45pm, I was 6cm and 80% effaced. The contractions weren't too bad; I really tried to focus my breathing through them and it helped. A little after 4:00pm, I started feeling cold and shaking, which I knew meant I was getting closer. I felt I was at a 4 or 5 on a 1-10 pain scale. I knew I wanted an epidural (unexpectedly not having one with Oliver was a bit traumatic for me) so I got the epidural before starting the Pitocin, even though the pain wasn't too intense yet. The epidural made me a little nervous this time because I felt a bit of cramping in my back when it was administered but I was told this was normal (I just don't remember it from my epidural with Josh). I was told the anesthesiologist was the best and could do this with her eyes closed. That made me feel a little better. After getting the epidural, I felt so much better. So warm and relaxed, I almost fell asleep during the Pitocin (I had only had 3.5 hours of sleep the night before; I just couldn't sleep, which was so frustrating.). By 5:40pm, I was at 8cm and 90% effaced. Dr. Labesky came a short time later to break my water. Not long after that, I started pushing. I only pushed for 12 minutes and then heard your sweet little cries at 6:53pm. 
Left: Alex (Dr. Labesky's intern), Dr. Labesky, and our nurse, Kristal. They were all amazing. I love my doctor! We were sad Liz's shift ended and she had to leave (the nurses refer to leaving before the baby is born a "Labor Looser") but Kristal was also an amazing nurse. We loved all of the staff. 

They laid you on my chest and my eyes filled up with tears. It's such an amazing feeling to hear those little cries for the first time and to see you for the first time. It almost felt surreal. I felt gratitude and love wash over me. My first thought when I saw you was that you look like Oliver did when he was a newborn (your dad told me he thought this when he first saw you, too). 

(More pictures - being weighed, Wendel putting diaper on, etc.) 

We wanted Grandma, Oliver and Josh to be able to see you that night but we had to stay in the L&D Room for two hours before being moved to the Recovery Room (where visitors are allowed), so they had to wait until the next morning. Oliver was so excited to see you the next morning. Josh was a little apprehensive but also very curious. 

I love these pictures. Your brothers love you so much. It was so sweet to see them meeting you for the first time.
First picture as a family of five.
Choosing your name wasn't easy for us. We had a difficult time choosing your brothers' names, too. Your dad likes to wait until after he sees you to decide on your name. I love older, classic names and really wanted to name you Kate, which has been on my name list since 2008. I liked the name Genevieve for your middle name because it's a family name (my maternal great grandmother's name and my paternal great grandmother's middle name. Both women were wonderful, charitable women. I was reading recently about my PGG. She met a man on a bus who needed dental work done so she took him to a dentist and paid for the work to be done. She also saw a little boy who needed a coat so she bought him one. What a great example to look up to!) Your dad liked the name Genevieve for your middle name but didn't like Kate for your first name at all. He felt it was too popular and just didn't really like it for your first name. But there weren't any other names he felt strongly about. And he wouldn't discuss names until after your birth, which was stressful for me. 

The day after your birth, one of the nurses told me she was a little concerned about your right eye because you weren't opening it. She said it looked like it was fused shut and she had called a specialist to come look at it. She told me he would likely have to cut it open or you might possibly need surgery to open it. 

So we were sitting in the hospital room, you asleep in the bassinet between us, discussing names the day after you were born. The eye doctor, Dr. Underdall, would be coming soon, and we had a little time to ourselves before he arrived. Your dad was looking up names online and said, "What do you think of Eleanor?" We had friends back in WA who named their daughter Eleanor years ago and at the time, we had both said we really liked the name. I still liked it but wasn't sure if I wanted to use it. You dad read the meaning: "A light that shines in darkness." Right then Dr. Underdall walked in. The nurse had already put numbing drops in your eyes. He used a metal clamp to open your right eyelid so he could examine your eye. The nurse assisted him, which they did in a far part of the room, so we couldn't see. It hurt my heart to hear you scream the way you did. We expected him to tell us he would need to cut your eyelid open or something along those lines. Instead, he told us you were born with Microphthalmia, which means your right eye is about half the size of your left eye. He said your right eye stopped developing in utero, around 20 weeks. He said he could see cataracts on your eye and that you would likely need surgery to remove them. He said you may not have vision in that eye. He referred us to some specialists in the valley and then left. 

Two days later, still in shock and feeling uncertainty, we were sitting in the waiting room at the Retina Specialist's Office in Phoenix. Your dad again brought up the name Eleanor. I needed to let it sink in a little more. I liked the name and liked the meaning a lot. I just didn't like making such a big decision under pressure (we had to let the hospital know by Friday and it was Thursday). 

At your appointment, Dr. Bryan did an ultra sound of your eye and found cataracts and a thin rod, connecting from the back of your eye to the front. He said usually this rod goes away in utero but didn't in your right eye. He said surgery would be necessary to remove the rod and the cataracts, to give you the best chance for vision in that eye. He also said it looked like the retina was attached but surgery would let us know for sure. He wanted the surgery scheduled when you were one month old. The thought of my little one month old baby having surgery made me nervous. It was a lot to take in in only a few days. He said considering the spectrum of Microphthalmia, you are on the better end of it. You have an iris and a pupil. Your retina appears to be attached. You may have vision in that eye. 

Your dad and I talked on the way home about what a special girl you are. We talked about the strengths you will be blessed with to help you in this life and how you are blessed with wonderful older brothers to look out for you and be an example to you. We talked about how we hope we can be what we need to be for you. We let our tears freely fall as we talked about these things. We then decided Eleanor is the perfect name for you. You may not have vision in one eye but you will always be a light shining in darkness. I requested Kate as your middle name. I still liked Genevieve but I liked how Kate sounded with Eleanor. It took your dad a few minutes to think it over but he agreed. We think we'll call you Norah for short. We have always loved Norah Jones' music (The Long Way Home was our wedding song) and considered Norah for you as an option for your first name, so it seems to be a fitting nick name. 

We love you, sweet girl. You have already blessed our family with your sweet, amazing spirit. I look into your eyes and mine fill up with tears because I can feel the Spirit. We can't wait to see the great things your Father in Heaven has in store for you here on earth. We're so glad you're here. 

1 comment:

Shupsy said...

Oh my gosh Ashley, what a stressful filled first week! I had no idea of everything you have gone through. you are such a wonderful mother and so brave, I am sure everything will be fine and you will handle it like a champ! She is absolutely beautiful and I just love all of the pictures in the delivery room. Thank you for sharing such a sweet, personal post!