Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy 1 Week Eloise!

I can't believe it's exactly a week since little Eloise came into the world. She's had an eventful week. Birth. Earthquake. Hurricane.

Eloise has been such a great, adaptable baby, as well as being the most beautiful little person I could imagine coming into our lives.

One week old! Love you, my little girl.




Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eloise's Birth Story

On Friday, August 19, 2011, I was having dinner with my friends the Sonegos, when my water broke while I was sitting on their couch. It was around 7:30 in the evening - 10 days before my due date. At around 8:30, I experienced my first contraction - but none came after that. Alec was still at work when my waters broke, so he rushed to come to pick me up in a cab. After speaking with my doctor, we went home to Brooklyn to prepare.

After calling the doc at midnight, with no more contractions, we went to bed, hoping nature would take its course during the night. I woke up at 3am with the start of contractions, like period pain, at about 20 minute intervals. The back pain had intensified, and I noticed that she had dropped at about 4:30am. Deep breaths for the first time in months!

I wasn’t able to sleep after that, so I paced the corridor for the next hour and a half, until I could wake Alec up just before 6am, and called my doctor at 6am to let him know that I was indeed getting contractions, which by then were coming at 10 mins apart.

In labour, about to leave for the hospital. 38 wks and 4 days pregnant. Sat, Aug 20, 2011. 6am!

We called a town car and drove through Manhattan to the hospital, Mt Sinai, on the upper east side. Driving over the bridge from Brooklyn into Manhattan while the sun rose over the city was a surreal moment.

Once we arrived at the hospital, we had to wait over an hour and a half to be taken to a room. My doctor came by at around 9, at which stage my contractions were every 5 minutes. I thought this was good progress, but when the doctor examined me, he said I had only dilated 1cm. The decision was made to put me on Pictosin to speed up the contractions since it had been a while since my waters broke. Over the next few hours, my contractions went from being a little uncomfortable to absolute agony. I was screaming and crying in pain, and was given a combination spinal block and epidural. This helped my pain significantly, but my labour wouldn't progress.

The doctor came to check on me every few hours through out the day, but even though I was getting regular contractions at around 2 mins apart, I was not dilating at a significant rate, and by 7:30pm that evening, I was only just 5cm dilated. At 24 hours exactly after my waters broke, my temperature started to rise and the baby’s heart rate started to drop. The doctor said infection was starting to set in, and we needed to have a C section straight away before my temperature spiked any further, which would result in not only me getting sick, but the baby needing to spend time in the NICU. I was feeling pretty ill at this stage, hot, queasy, headachy, and as I was rushed into surgery I started vomiting - which continued all the way through the surgery and while I was recovering. I also started to shake as I got the chills related to the fever.

The whole operation, even though I couldn’t feel anything, was horrible. I felt so ill, and when my baby girl came out, at 8:44pm, instead of elation, I felt ill. I was in some kind of shock, watching this tiny screaming creature appear out of nowhere, and being told it was my daughter.

I told Alec to leave me and see her, take photos of her first moments of life. While I was being stitched up, our little girl was wrapped up and given to him to hold. He came by my head for me to see her, but I was shaking too much to touch her. The numbness in my body continued to spread after the baby was removed, so my feet were numb, as were the bottom half of my lungs. I felt vomit rising, but was unable to get it out because I couldn’t feel anything. I was so terrified that I was going to choke on my own vomit and die right there on the operating table.

After I was stitched up and wheeled into recovery, I slowly started to feel better as the drugs in my system simultaneously wore off (narcotics) and set in (antibiotics). After a while I felt well enough to have my little girl placed next to me to touch - another surreal moment. I was so relieved that she was okay, and couldn’t believe that this was the little person I had been waiting to meet for so long. Once I started to get feeling back in my body, I felt even more relieved!

I was wheeled into my room at around 10pm, completely exhausted and unable to move. The decision was made to have the baby taken to the nursery for the evening to give my body a chance to recovery from the trauma it had been though, in hopes I would be able to sleep. Unfortunately, I was woken up every hour or so by doctors checking my vitals, giving me medication, checking my incision, etc, so morning came and I was no more rested then the night before! I felt well enough the next morning however to stand up and walk around, and was finally able to sit up and hold my beautiful baby girl for the first time. I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and felt overwhelmed with love for her.

First moments of life! Welcome to the world my beautiful daughter, Eloise Elizabeth Thomas.

It took us three days to come to a decision about her name. Eloise was inspired by the classic American story of a little girl called Eloise who lived in the Plaza Hotel in New York. Elizabeth is a name that gets passed down through my family, so I wanted to honour my mother and grandmother with this name. Thomas is for her daddy's side of the family.

At the Plaza Hotel, 35wks pregnant, with the Eloise portrait. 

Pregnancy: Third Trimester, Wks 28 - 38

Week 28: Had my seven-month check-up. My weight gain is great (now 75.9kgs, which puts me in the healthy weight gain zone), but the baby is apparently on the big side! She is a week ahead of where she should be in terms of her size. My doctor puts it down to my "strong Aussie genes". Hmmm. The glucose test came back all normal, so no gestational diabetes, hooray! Thank you genes for my high sugar-tolerance.

Baby will be getting some color this week — eye color, that is. Pigment will fill in your baby's irises, but it might take six months after birth for the eyes to settle into their true color. Eyelashes, eyebrows and hair are continuing to grow, and brain tissue is rapidly increasing.

28wks, Central Park.

Week 29: Back to running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. Sometimes I can feel her actually kicking me in the bladder. Alec can feel her move all the time now - we spend most nights after dinner on the couch watching TV - with Alec's hand on my side feeling her perform a water ballet. I'm starting to get more tired - I think due to lack of sleep. I haven't slept through the night in about three weeks. Scary to think of how long it will be before I get a full nights sleep again. I'm so thankful right now that I don't have to work. I don't know how women work full-time during this trimester. I can barely get out of bed some mornings at all! My belly button is also trying really hard to pop out this week.

Baby's now the size of a squash!
Baby's energy is surging, thanks to white fat depositing beneath his skin. And since he's growing so fast (weight will triple by birth), things are getting kind of cramped in the womb. What all this means for you: Get ready for some more kicks and jabs to the ribs.


Week 30: I can see the baby moving now through my stomach - like a strange little alien. My feet have started to hurt a lot this week - and my right foot has been swelling up at night, just the right! During my check up this week, the baby was indeed on the right side - head pushing down on my bladder! The doctor said the baby is looking perfect, and her size is around the 50 - 75% size range. She's been incredibly active! Head is down, feet are kicking the bottom of my ribs constantly.

While your brain might seem to be on hiatus, your baby's brain is expanding by the day, taking on new functions like temperature regulation. This week, the brain is starting to get that wrinkly, indented look, which will help the brain tissue expand as the baby develops into adulthood. Besides the brain, your baby's body is continuing to grow — now at just over 3 pounds and 17 inches long.

30wks, Lincoln Center.


Week 31: Alec and I went on a mini babymoon this week - to Boston over the 4th of July weekend. It was so great to have a few days holiday, particularly since Alec has been working so hard lately. It was incredibly hot in Boston however, and we didn't really do a lot - more so a lot of walking from park bench to park bench! No baby updates this week - I can really clearly see and feel her hiccuping now though (turns out a giant slurpee will give a baby in utero a serious case of the hiccups). Her feet keep getting up under my rib cage, and a little elbow sticks out from my side occasionally. I think she recognises Alec's voice too, as sometimes she responds vigorously to him talking when he gets home at night.

Don't worry if you're feeling longer periods of quiet from your little gymnast in there, as the baby is now spending longer stretches of time snoozing. Also, as baby continues to grow and the living quarters get more cramped, he/she will start making more deliberate elbow and knee jabs instead of spastic kicks and movements.


31 weeks, our apartment.


Week 32: It's hot, hot, hot in the city. I'm trying to stay cool! We're starting to get more prepared this week - ordering furniture and all the things we'll need for our new arrival. Baby doctor appointment this week - the doctor tells me again that the baby "isn't small" and thinks she currently weighs about 2.3kg. Based on expecting her to grow by a further third or double in size, she is likely to be between 3.2 and 3.8kgs. The doctor puts her size down to our genes, but also advises I eat more protein, less carbs.

This week your baby is weighing in at around 4 pounds — which means there are only a few more pounds to go! (Yes, it is possible for your belly to get bigger, believe it or not.) Your baby's lungs are continuing to mature, producing increasing amounts of surfactant, a fatty liquid that lines the inside of the lungs and helps the sacs within expand efficiently for breathing. Your baby is also practicing sucking and swallowing (which fully coordinates between 32 and 34 weeks), but he/she would still need to be fed with a tube if born this week because suckling might not be efficient.

32wks, Boston.

Week 33: I took off my wedding and engagement rings last night - the wedding ring was so tight that I had to use oil to get it off. So sad that my fingers are puffy now too! My feet have gotten really puffy this week. I only have one pair left that fit me, and even those have my feet poking out like sausages. I went to see Paul McCartney, Memphis and King Lear this week - baby loved Memphis, was so-so about Paul McCartney, and didn't care much for Shakespeare ...

This explains why I'm so hot all the time! A 20 percent metabolic rate increase throughout pregnancy can leave you begging for a cool breeze no matter what the weather is like.

Baby's now the size of a honeydew! Things are heating up inside as well: Baby may grow up to a full inch this week alone, and his brain is developing like crazy. Pretty soon, he'll be able to coordinate breathing with sucking and swallowing. Also, his bones are hardening, and he's started to keep his eyes open when he's awake.

Week 34: I have a friend staying with us this week, so it's been a huuuuge week. The biggest night was seeing Mamma Mia (another hit with baby), then to a fashion event at a bar in Manhattan. Exhausting! The heat is also insane this week, so I'm trying to take it easy. I had my first Braxton Hicks contractions this week, which freaked me out a bit. Baby check up this week went well. My weight is the same, the baby is now about 6 pounds (how is this possible? Am I shrinking?). Baby seems to be quite high up and not thinking of coming any time soon (yay!).

Your cantaloupe-sized baby is a whopping 5 pounds — even though the extra belly weight probably feels like 15 to you. Her eyes are fully open now, only closing when it’s time to sleep. Even so, that doesn’t mean she can see much. It takes awhile after babies are born for them to focus clearly.


34wks, Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center).

Week 35: I'm really missing sleep. I wake up about every 2 hours on an average night, needing to go to the bathroom, with reflux, with restless legs or with a cramp. I'm completely in the nesting phase right now, and was so excited when all of the baby's furniture and things arrived. Even though there's still 5 weeks to go, I feel this incredible compulsion to have everything ready right now.

I had a fantastic baby shower on the weekend with my closest NY friends. It was a lovely morning tea, hosted by my friend Laura - mother of a two week old baby! Talk about amazing. I hope to be able to cope with our newborn as well as Laura is settling with her little man. We ended up having some of the husband there as well - which only made it more fun, as it seems only right that Alec should be involved in celebrations for his baby.

Your baby is about done growing length-wise (reaching around 20 inches this week), but he/she will continue to pack on the pounds until delivery. Rest assured that most of the physical development is complete, and all that's left is for the lungs to mature and the body fat to keep piling on.


35wks, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Week 36: Officially 9 months pregnant this week! Only four weeks to go - and I'm freaking out a bit. I'm feeling a lot more tired, and my finger and toe joints hurt - I think they feel similar to what arthritis feels like from what I've looked up online. Thankfully this should vanish when the baby comes. At my doctor's appointment this week, I gain an extra 1.3kg - in a week! How is that possible? The doctor thinks everything is looking great though, very healthy little baby in there.

It's getting so uncomfortable to do everything now. Can't walk, sit or even lie down for too long at a time, which doesn't leave much that I can do. My tailbone even hurts!

We still managed to have a great pre-birthday weekend, with a broadway show (Rent!) that baby just loved, a movie (Captain America), lunch at an Aussie cafe, Ruby's, some Summer Streets fun in the Financial District, and a lovely high tea at the Plaza Hotel.

The most important thing your baby is doing now is developing the lungs and respiratory system. If you were to deliver today, there's a slight chance the baby would need a machine, such as a ventilator, to breathe for him or her — but other than that, your baby (and you, most likely) are ready to be done with this pregnancy.


36wks, rooftop of our apartment building.

Week 37: Check in this week with the doctor - weight is the same (thank God!) baby is looking "perfect" - doctor is now downgrading his estimation to under 8 pounds (around 3.5kg). Favourite comment from this check-up: "I have great confidence in you, you have a great pelvis". Hmmm. 

It's also my birthday on the exact day I hit 37 weeks. We celebrate with Alec taking a half day from work, a fancy lunch at Park Avenue Summer restaurant, a movie (The Change-up - perhaps not a good choice for a pregnant woman considering the disturbingly gross scenes with kids in it), hanging out with our friends who live near the cinema, and a late dinner. 

I'm finding it harder to get up and get around - I'm really tired all the time, my feet are always hurting, and I'm thirsty non-stop. I'm hardly sleeping anymore, waking up every hour to go to the bathroom and  dying of thirst at the same time. 

The baby is still insanely active. Her movements are huge - mostly it feels like her little tushie is moving from one side to the other. I also feel her head a lot pushing downwards into the pelvis - ouuuuuuuch. I do wish she would just push harder and come out, I'm so ready to get this thing underway. I broke the last pair of shoes that fit my giant feet. Noooooooo!

We are all preparations go right now too - spending this weekend moving the furniture into our bedroom, making space for my mum, who will arrive on the 26th. We will also be packing the hospital bag in hope? fear? that the baby will come early.

I also went to my first mother's group meeting for new mums in my local area. It was so great to meet up with women who live only footsteps from our apartment. They were all really lovely and welcoming, with one other girl due 5 days before me as well. I look forward to being able to get out of the house with bub and meet with friendly people by just strolling down the street. Taking the baby on the subway looks like a nightmare I want to avoid as much as possible.

You are officially full term, meaning there wouldn't be much of a risk if you were to deliver this week. However, that doesn't mean he/she is finished growing and developing.


37wks, Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, on my 32nd birthday.

Week 38: This week is all about anticipation. Waiting, waiting, and waiting some more. Extreme tiredness, a pinched nerve in my shoulder, and pain in my teeth and fingernails. I'm craving chocolate milk like mad, and drinking a litre a day, easy. I'm fetting foot rubs from Alec for my painful, swollen feet - the only time during our relationship he has agreed to touch my feet...

We still haven't decided on a name - we have a long-ish list, and can't decide on a first OR last name.

I'm starting to get concerned about things like "what if I go into labour on the subway? Or on the sidewalk when I'm on my own? It's making me want to be a hermit and not leave the apartment.

At my doctor's appointment this week, I've put on 2 pounds (I thought I was meant to be losing weight in the last few weeks?), and the doctor is unable to get good measurements cos she won't stop wiggling. I'm getting another full ultrasound next week to measure her growth more accurately. The doctor did say however that he thinks she will come a week late. Oh god, I hope he's wrong. The Braxton Hicks contractions are getting more frequent and painful every day, along with the stabbing pains in my pelvis. How can this not be leading to something soon?

We saw our last pre-baby Broadway show - Book of Mormon. It was fantastic, but baby also thought it was fantastic and wouldn't stop moving the whole time, which made for a pretty uncomfortable few hours of sitting for me!

Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old.


38wks - at Book of Mormon. Two days before going into labour...

Most pregnancies continue to 40 weeks - mine however ended at 38wks and four days, when my waters broke and I went into labour early!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Welcome Eloise Elizabeth Thomas

A big welcome to our beautiful little lady, Eloise Elizabeth Thomas.

Born at Mt Sinai hospital, Manhattan, New York, at 8:44pm on Saturday, August 20, 2011.

Weight 7 pounds, 2 ounces. 19 inches long.

We love you little girl!