Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Girl

I had been dreaming of holding my girl since July 2008 and this weekend I finally did.  Here's a quick recap of how I got here.

On the first day of Spring, March 20 at 7:30am, Krissy and I arrived at Vanderbilt University Hospital Labor & Delivery.  We checked in and settled into our birthing room (Room 4010 - 4th Floor North Tower).  By 9:30, we had met our nurses and our Mid-wife and Krissy's IV was started.  It was determined to start the pitocin IV treatment around 10am.  

Krissy's parents arrived shortly after the treatment started.  Our boys, my mom and Amy Stewart (our close friend and wife of our church pastor, Brett) arrived just after noon.  We waited...and waited...and waited.  After several checks, we knew the baby was not going to come quickly.  FamilyWaiting
After 8 hours of induced labor, Krissy's cervix was only dilated to 4 cm and 40% effaced.  Our dream of having our baby girl on the first day of spring was quickly vanishing.

We (all of us not in labor) made the best of things as we waited.  We had a good time together as family and friends - spent time in the Cafeteria and outside and together in the room with Krissy together.   We had wonderful nurses - particularly Jessica and Mary who were a great help when things were getting difficult for Krissy.

When Krissy's labor became more difficult late that afternoon, she was ready for her epidural.  After the epidural was put in, it still took 30-45 minutes until her pain was relieved.  

At 9:30pm, Krissy still was only 5cm dilated and 80% effaced.  We decided it was best that Amy took the boys to her house to sleep overnight and my Mom and Krissy's parents and I stayed with Krissy as she continued to contract with Anthem.   Amy told a funny story later when she returned about how Alex and Kaden didn't feel comfortable sleeping in their underwear in someone else's house.  AnthemBow
They kept their jeans on the whole night.  Plus, they were staying at their friends house where there were two little girls - so that didn't help the comfort factor for them.  They later told me they had a great morning the next day - ate pancakes with the Stewarts and played Wii.

We were hoping Dr. Spetalnick could break Krissy's water, but Anthem was still sitting too high above the pelvis for a safe water break.  If the water breaks when the baby is too high in the womb, there is a greater risk of the umbilical cord choking the baby.  

At 12 midnight, Amy and Jill Perry came to join us at the hospital.  AnthemPapaAmyJill
We spent some time talking together in the waiting room, but beginning to get very tired.  They were such an encouragement to us though.  We're grateful they were able to be there for the birth process!!

Krissy was only 6 cm dilated, 80% effaced and began to feel very uncomfortable during her contractions.  It was determined that the epidural medicine was only getting into her right side.  She was laying on her side because of her high-blood pressure.  So, they turned her to her left side, but the pain was terrible for her.  They put additional medicine in her epidural.  The hours between 12:30 and 2am were the most difficult for Krissy.  She was having really difficult labor pains during her contractions.  I was there with her, by her side coaching her through it.  Little by little, the labor became easier and she fell asleep even while she was having very large contractions every 90 seconds or so.

At almost 2am the Dr. broke her water and we waited.  All of the rest of us: My mom, Grandma, Papa, Amy, Jill and I found places to sit or lay as we waited.  It was just quiet in the room as we waited for the next check of Krissy's cervix.  

Finally, at 3:30am, we were ready.  The nurses sent everyone except the moms and me out of the room.  The next 30 minutes were a blur or preparing, comforting and anxiously waiting for the pushing to begin.  

At 3:50, Krissy was in position and pushed once.  We could see the beginnings of the head and my heart began to beat faster.  I was wide awake holding Krissy's right leg, while the nurse held the other. 

On the second push, we could see Anthem's black hair and head clearly.  On the third push, Anthem came out.  It was a perfect birth.  4:04am.  No problems whatsoever.  Our Dr. and nurses were wonderful.  Anthem cried immediately and lay on Krissy's chest for about 2 minutes.  It was wonderful.  Anthem didn't cry much and just seemed to love laying next to her Mommy for the first time.

I'll spare you the details from here.  I can say that it was all very wonderful and a joy to be there with Krissy, Anthem and my mothers during those minutes.  We watched as they cleaned, tested and weighed Anthem (6 lbs 3oz). She was a very good baby - we have it all on video.  Once she was clean, she was wrapped in blankets and lay with her mommy.  She nursed very well the first time.  We took lots of pictures and let the rest of the visitors come in to see and take pictures with Anthem.  I bet Anthem felt like a celebrity with all of the flashes.  

I later accompanied her to the nursery where they gave her her first bath.  I got some good quality time with her there.  They also measured her: 18 3/4 inches.  Pretty petite - all of our children were small.

The rest of that day, we spent looking at and holding our baby girl.  The boys came later that morning with Amo and Krissy's parents to meet Anthem for the first time.  They are already so good with her.  We had a couple of visitors.  We were very tired and asked the remaining friends that had planned to visit to possibly come on Sunday.  After our family left, Krissy and I gave Anthem to the Nursery and slept on and off for a total of 11 hours until 9am the next morning.  Of course, Anthem had been nursing every 2-4 hours with Krissy.  

So here I was holding my sweet, beautiful Anthem.  I'm looking forward to raising a daughter.  What a privilege it is to have a girl. I thank God for her and for trusting me to raise her.  I hope I please Him in the process.  With His help and grace, I know I'll do it.  

More Anthem stories to come...OurFamily


  1. Congratulations! You will love having a baby girl Eric! Nothing like it.

  2. Way to go pap Eric !! Although it sounds like Krissy did more of the actual work :)
    Cool story and play-by-play. Love the little boys' wanting to wear their jeans all night - totally sounds like boys.
    And oh my, girls are so different.