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Archive for July, 2011

So once again I’ve gone MIA for a little while, and while part of that is because there is a brand new baby in the house, it is also because we have our first visitors!

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My parents flew in last week and are here for two weeks. We have been out and about almost everyday and have had a lot of fun! I have lots and lots of pictures and stories to share. (That is a bit of a teaser since I’ll wait til they are gone to spend more time sitting at the computer. ūüôā )

We are off to find some souvenirs today and check out some more sites.

I have loaded a bunch of new pictures to Flickr, if you’d like to check it out. The link is on the right-hand side of the page.

Updates coming soon…….

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Claire’s Birth Story

So to start with, I promise that I will keep this PG and leave the blood and guts up to your imagination. ūüôā

 

 

I’m writing this story for two reasons. First, I want to share with you guys what it was like to have this baby in Argentina! And secondly, I want to make sure I have all the details recorded so when she is a teenager and is “misbehaving” I can remind her what it took for me to bring her into this world!

 

 

You may want to grab some popcorn and get cozy, this is pretty long…..

Highlights:

– 82-year-old midwife!
– Anesthesiologist literally helped push the baby out.
– Apparently Claire had a freakishly long umbilical cord.
– Claire vs Clare…. Chris and I had never really discussed spelling.

 

 

Okay, here goes.

A few weeks before my due date, Chris and I went to a Labor and Delivery class taught by one of the midwifes that my doctor works with. It was in Spanish, but we were able to understand the majority of what she was saying (mostly since we had already been to an almost identical class in English). The main point that she stressed for almost 30 minutes was that you are in pre-labor until your contractions are at least 5 minutes apart, about 1 minute long and painful. Well…. On Monday around 4am, I woke up having some painful contractions. I¬†played on the computer for awhile and started timing how far apart they were. For a few hours they hovered between 7 and 10 minutes apart and were only about 30 seconds long. They were painful, but bareable.

We decided that Chris should stay home from work since it is an hour and a half drive and we didn’t know when my contractions might pick up. We just hung out for awhile and kept timing. No change, still 7-10 minutes, 30 seconds, but still pretty painful. (Painful = had to stop talking until it was over.) We decided to take a walk and see if they would pick up at all, so of course we headed to Starbucks. Just to remind us that we were in Argentina, when we walked out the door of our apartment, we saw two¬†motorcyclists laying in the middle of the intersection that had just been hit by a car…. The ambulance hadnt arrived yet, and it initially looked like one of them wasn’t going to make it. Not exactly a pleasant thing to see, to put it mildly. It took about 10 minutes, but an ambulance finally arrived and took them to the hospital. By that point both guys were “awake” and at least moving a little. Okay, back to the story…

The contractions picked up considerably on our walk, but when we got back home they went back to being 7-10 minutes apart. At 5:30pmish, I finally sent an email to my doctor to give her a heads up that I may be calling her later in the evening when my contractions got closer together. I got an email back immediately, stating that I needed to call her cell phone asap. Hmmm… okay. She told me that I was laboring for a really long time and needed to go to the hospital by 6:30pm to be checked by her midwife, Aurora. Chris and I were both surprised since we figured we had awhile to wait yet.

Chris took the dogs outside while I quick showered and finished packing a few things in my bags. We decided to leave the dogs out of their kennels and only bring one of the bags we packed because we were pretty sure we were going to be coming right back home for the night.

We got to the hospital and met Aurora. The doctor had told me that she was 82-years-old and didn’t speak any English, so at least that wasnt a shock when I met her. She reminded me of a white version of the older lady in Touched by an Angel (for those of you that may have watched that show back in the day.). She was very nice, but very hard to understand and communicate with. She took me back to an exam room and hooked me up to monitors to check my contractions and the babies heartbeat. She also checked me and said I was 2cm dialated. Okay, 2cm, I thought…. we must be going home then, cause that isn’t much progress after having contractions for so long. She had me get dressed again and sent Chris to the front desk with some paperwork. Here is where I start getting really confused.

Chris goes through the check-in process with the folks at the front desk (while I am still convinced they are sending us home). They then bring us to this little room that has lockers for our bag and sets of scrubs. They tell me to change into scrubs first, and then Chris to change after I am ready. Hmmm…. even more confused. Why does Chris have to wear scrubs? Especially if they are sending us home. (You think I would have figured out at this point that they were not sending me home, but nope, it hadnt clicked yet.) They bring us back into a delivery room and start hooking me up to an IV. The room is just down the hall from the surgery rooms for the folks that are having c-sections and looks incredibly sterile. I start to worry even more about what the heck is going on. Is something wrong with the baby? with me? Do they think I need surgery? a c-section? Hmmm… where is my english-speaking doctor? Then one of the nurses starts telling me (in Spanish of course) that they will be coming in to do an epidural shortly. What!? I’m pretty sure I told her about 4 times that I am not having a c-section, and why an epidural now? I wasnt in that much pain yet. And where was my doctor? And then I lost it for a few minutes….. Chris was equally as shocked, confused, and as helpless feeling as I was. Whoa.

Finally, my doctor shows up around 8:30pm. By this point, my contractions are really close together and very intense. Chris’s poor fingers! My doctor, Doris, was finally able to explain that they were keeping me because my contractions were so strong and now they had gotten closer together on their own anyways. The epidural was on its way, and she would be there for the rest of the time so she would be able to explain everything in English from here on out. Phew!! As soon as the anesthesiologist got the epidural going, I was like a new woman. Wow, I cannot imagine going without one of those!

Now that I was comfortable and understood what was going on, we sat and chatted with my doctor for awhile. We also decided that it was a good time for Chris to run home really quick and put the dogs in their kennels since we obviously werent going home at that point. I was a little leary about him leaving at this point, but the doctor was confident that he would have time and that we wouldn’t start pushing things along until he got back. So off Chris went….

While he was gone the doctor broke my water to get things moving a bit, and we started doing some “practice” pushes. The baby was still pretty high up in my stomach so she wanted to see how she would respond to pushing.

Chris came back about an hour later, and the doctor started having me do more and more “practice” pushes. At this point the midwife kind of took over the show and was having me try different positions while pushing and she was pushing around on my stomach to try to help the baby move into a different position. They told me at this point that the baby was coming forehead-first, and her shoulders were at the wrong angle. This was why she was staying so high up in my stomach. The midwife was trying all sorts of “tricks” to help her move into the right position so that they wouldnt have to do a c-section. After an hour so of manuevering her, she finally ended up in the right position and they had me start pushing. Seriously, pushing is a really awkward kind of thing. You really expect me to push that out of there? Ha! Seemed impossible at the time.

After about 30 minutes or so of pushing, the doctor kept telling me that she needed 2 more good pushes or we would have to make a decision about surgery…. Yikes! I pushed with all my might! Apparently it was good enough to avoid a c-section, but they needed to get the baby out soon, and decided that I needed help getting her out… They called the anesthesiologist in, and had him kneel up on the bed while pushing his forearm down on the top of my belly. At this point, they also have Chris pushing my side with his fists, while the doctor is pushing the other side, and the midwife and helping pull out the baby! Holy Scary! The anesthesiologist was pushing so hard that there is no way I would have been able to take a breath if I needed one. Thankfully they only needed to do this for 2-3 pushes… I think… my memory at this point is a little fuzzy…. Finally, the doctor says that she has dark hair and that she just needs one more push! Whoa, was that ever motivation!

Finally, she was out!

Claire Lillian Kempf

Tuesday, June 21st @ 11:56pm

7lbs 10 oz (translated, of course, from the official measurement in kilos)

19.5 inches long (translated, of course, from the official measurement in cms)

They laid her on my chest immediately, and my first words were “She’s so little!”, followed very quickly by, “She’s not crying… why isnt she crying… she’s turning blue… why isnt she crying…” The nurse that was holding her on my chest took her away very quickly to help get her to breathe. Chris followed her at this point to make sure everything¬†went okay. (So, I’m not sure if it isnt customary or if it was because of her breathing issues, but Chris wasnt able to cut her cord. The doctor had already cut it when she was being whisked away.)

In the meantime, the doctor finished up with me. (Warning: blood and guts mentioned next) She held up the placenta and umbilical cord for me to see. (Not that I had requested this!) Gross and weird.¬†She was quite enamored by the length of the umbilical cord. Considering I have never seen one before, it looked pretty normal to me, but she was really quite amazed. At this point she mentioned to me that the baby came out with her hand and arm by her face (ouch!), and her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, shoulder, and body! So apparently that is why they needed all of the extra help pushing her out! Normally with a cord that tangled, they would have to do a c-section, but she said that the long cord meant that the baby didnt show signs of distress even though she was so tangled so they were able to continue without surgery. She did say though that without Aurora’s help in getting the baby positioned correctly I would have absolutely needed a c-section. She said that I was incredibly lucky to have her there for that delivery because of her experience. She didn’t need to tell me this though…. I already knew this based on watching them work together throughout the delivery. The doctor actually took most of her cues from the midwife during the majority of the delivery. Aurora was very clearly running the show, and was running it very well!¬† (Side note:¬†Aurora “retired” from the hospital at 60 because¬†there is a mandatory age limit, but continues to work as a private midwife alongside my doctor. When my doctor was going through her residency in medical school, she learned how to deliver babies from Aurora. My doctor has been delivering babies now for over 30 years. Together they have¬†over 90 years of experience delivering babies! 90! They joked that Aurora has delivered an entire city, while my doctor has only delivered a neighborhood.) I felt incredibly blessed to have found them to deliver our baby in Argentina! Quite the experience!

I have no idea how much time has passed at this point, but Chris was with the baby while I was brought to a recovery room. Chris joined me at some point (I was pretty drugged up) and a nurse came in to tell us that the baby was having issues breathing because she still had a lot of fluid in her lungs. They were going to bring her to the NICU to monitor her and put her on oxygen. They wheeled her into my recovery room for about a minute so I could see her before they brought her to the NICU, but she was under an oxygen hood and I wasnt able to touch her at this point.

Claire under the hood. A few hours old…

It was really hard having her wheeled away, but since I was so exhausted and still feeling the effects of the anesthesia, I was pretty out of it. Chris went with when they brought her to the NICU to see where she would be. He came back to the recovery room shortly after and we both passed out for a few hours. That afternoon we were moved to our official hospital room that very closely resembled a hotel suite. It would have been a really nice room for entertaining visitors. haha

View from our hospital room

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The next day was really, really frustrating for us! Long story short, I wasn’t able to see her until 2pm! and Chris wasn’t able to hold her until 6pm! This was a combination of issues with communication because of the language as well as medical issues with the other babies in the NICU! (Parents arent allowed in the NICU if another baby is having¬†serious issues.)¬†Thankfully, Claire was doing much, much better very quickly. She only needed to be under the oxygen hood for a few hours and was just working on slowing down her breathing to a normal pace. We still didnt know, however, how long they planned on keeping her in the NICU.

Finally getting to see Claire!

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Finally, after a day of Claire being in the NICU, we finally understood the process of how and when we could go see her. One of my nurses tried to console me at this point, by saying that this was only 1 day I¬†had missed¬†of her whole life…. yeah, but it was HER FIRST DAY!!! Needless to say, I was not consoled. At least at this point, I was able to go see her every couple of hours, even during the night, because they had me start feeding her. She had 3 conditions she had to meet before they would release her. Her breathing had to be consistently under a rate of 60 (If I remember correctly), she had to be able to breastfeed, and of course I have already forgotten the third thing.

Finally on Thursday, Claire was released to our room! Yay!!!

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And on Friday we were released to go home! Yay!!!

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First family pic

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A few sidenotes:

  • I mentioned in previous posts that we had a nurse from the states that would be joining us for the delivery to help out with understanding the process etc…. well… we found out as she was on her way to the hospital to join us, that the hospital would not allow her in the delivery area. They would only allow one additional person, which was obviously going to be Chris. My doctor knew that we planned on having her come and said that would be fine beforehand, but apparently the hospital had a different policy. Robyn was, however, Claire’s first visitor! and was an absolute godsend being just a phone call away for random questions. Even though she wasnt able to be there for the actual birth, I was really glad that I was able to talk to her afterwards!
  • All-in-all the process of having a baby at a hospital in the States and in Argentina wasnt too terribly different, but not knowing what the process was here, was the tough part! The biggest difference was the delivery room vs the recovery room setup here, vs the setup in the states where you deliver and recover in the same area.
  • Pecho is the word for Breast in Spanish. I’m pretty sure I heard this word about 1000 times during my hospital stay….
  • Someone comes into your room at least every 20 minutes, whether it is to check on you, the baby, your “pechos”, clean the bathroom, deliver food, etc.
  • Chris went back and forth from our apartment to the hospital every day to let the dogs out and give them some attention while we were in the hospital. They could tell something was up! But didnt destroy anything or act out while we were gone. Phew! ūüôā
  • It was an absolute godsend to have the internet and our laptop while we were still in the hospital. Even though we are so far away, we were still able to share Claire with lots of people.

 

Lots more updates and pictures to come when I have a few spare minutes. ūüôā

 

 

 

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