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. 

4 comments on “Eloise’s Birth Story”

  1. Welcome Eloise! Sounds like it was a very dramatic entrance. Glad all went well in the end.
    Love the pic with the painting. Beautiful name

    From Francine

  2. wow Christine! you did amazing. Really, hats off to you. Eloise is beautiful, very befitting for a daughter born to you (classic and timeless 🙂

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