Friday, June 19, 2015

Eloise Harper Allen

Birthday: June 1st, 2015
Time: 12:13am
Place: St. Anna-Klinik, Wuppertal, Germany
Weight: 6 pounds, 6 ounces
Height: 18.5 inches

Birth Story:

On Saturday, May 31st, I noticed that Eloise was less active. She also seemed to have changed positions in my belly. I would press on my stomach and she wouldn't respond as normal. Garrick was away playing baseball in Cologne, so when he got home I told him I was worried. He phoned the local hospital and they told us to come in right away. At first, everything appeared normal. They hooked me up to a heart rate monitor and we heard her beautiful, strong heartbeat. Then, it slowed drastically. Suddenly, there were several doctors and nurses in the room telling Garrick what needed to be done, and he tried his best to translate for me. They began prepping me for a c-section, had me sign a few pieces of paper, and I was thankfully able to make a quick FaceTime call to my family. They were all together at a birthday dinner for my uncle, and it was very comforting to have them all praying for us.

I had to go into the operating room alone while Garrick got in his scrubs. I was in a room with no native English speakers, I wasn't completely sure what was going on, and Garrick wasn't with me. It was at this point when I put my fear and anxiety aside and prayed for peace that surpasses all understanding. I felt God's presence in the room with me. I was finally joined by Garrick right before they made the incision. I've never been more happy to see him in my life, hair net and all. After lots of tugging, pulling, and pressure, Eloise was born and we all cried. Her umbilical chord was wrapped around her neck three times, and she was in a transverse position, which is why her heart rate was dropping. She was quickly brought around the curtain to us, but I was only able to see her for a few seconds. Garrick told me she was perfect and beautiful, that he was so proud of me, kissed me, and then went with her into the recovery room.

It took another 30 minutes to finish the surgery, and I am so thankful for the anaesthesiologist. In his best English, he asked me lots of questions about where I was from, gave me updates on Eloise and the surgery, and patted my head several times. I want to go back to the hospital and thank him! Finally, the c-section was finished, and I was wheeled into the recovery room with Garrick and Eloise. She was laying skin-to-skin on his chest. The nurses and doctors quickly started referring to her as "kleine mouse" meaning "little mouse," a term of endearment in Germany. Then, I got to hold her on my chest! Those moments were very precious, but also a bit fuzzy as I was just out of surgery. We slept for quite a while, and she wrapped her hand around my finger. At about 3am, Garrick left to go home. He greeted us at 7:30am the next morning, all smiles.

The day after the surgery was by far the most difficult and painful. Each day since then I have felt exponentially better. The nurses were very sweet and attentive, and by the end of my stay my German had improved quite a bit. (It helps when your are motivated to get your pain medication.) Garrick was my rock during these early days. He constantly encouraged me, changed every diaper, helped me in and out of bed, and also brought me lattes. I was able to completely focus on healing and being a new mom.

From the beginning, Eloise has been kind to us. Her temperament is calm, happy, and even silly at times. She sleeps in 4-6 hours stretches at night, and is more awake and active during the day. She gets grumpy between the hours of 7pm and 9pm. I've never cried or laughed as many times than over the past few weeks. From changing several diapers in minutes, to Garrick's songs about the diapers,  to middle of the night feedings, and enjoying several "firsts," this experience has deepened our marriage.  Being parents has made us appreciate simple moments, like playing cards while eating fresh apple strudel, or watching a movie while Eloise sleeps between us. We tell each other several times a day how much we love Eloise. It really can't be put into words, but the best way I've heard it put is this: "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone.  

Eloise Harper, you are the greatest gift we've ever received.