Natasha Kate Gallo was born at 4:37 PM on December 9th, 2007. We are delighted. Here is a journal entry of the birth and the first week.
Wendy started having contractions on Friday the 7th, and by the evening they were consistent. “Latent Phase” had begun! We did not sleep much that night, and at dawn Saturday we started filling up the birthing pool. By noon, all was in order for the home birth. We wanted to bring the baby into this new world in a calm, quiet, lowlit atmosphere without a bunch of stimuli. Active phase finally started at about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Wendy was doing amazing at staying calm and handling the pain. It seemed like she went into fully dialated phase at about 9 PM, but then things started going backwards. Then exhaustion was setting in and the pain was getting unbearable. By 3 am Sunday she was back to only partially dilated. So, we went for a relaxing Sunday drive into George, and checked into the hospital.
|Natasha’s first moments in her new world|
The epidural was such a relief, for both of us. It killed me to see her in that much pain. She got some sleep. Unfortunately, she still did not dilate very much, and by 3 pm we had a tough decision. She was 6 cm dilated (need to get to 10), and feeling strong, but the baby’s heart was indicating signs of distress. We decided to go for the caesarean for the baby’s sake. It was amazing how fast the operation was. We were settling in for the long haul, Wendy had just asked me about chess in an effort to distract her from the pushing and pulling going on inside her belly, when suddenly, boom, there was a baby being held in the air. “It’s a girl!” I said, and Natasha’s first cry echoed through the world. Wendy melted with an avalanche of emotions.
All of that was quickly forgotten as we held Natasha in our arms. She was healthy, (and out) and that is all that mattered. While Wendy was being sewed up, they let me hold Natasha in the recovery room, alone. Away from all the fuss and bustle. They had me take my shirt off so she could get skin to skin contact. Holding your newborn is magic, it feels as if a miracle has just occurred, and if you think about it, one has.
She felt so small and fragile in my arms, but apparently she was averaged sized: 3.4 kg and 58 cm. (What, you don’t use metric? Silly American. That is 7 lbs 8 oz; and 23 in ;). She has Wendy’s hair and my lips, and the rest seems to be a mix. Right now her eyes are HUGE and almost the color blue of Aunt Annie’s. She had a small birthmark on her temple. I read later that is called a stork bite. Those storks still need to work on their technique apparently. They could have brought her a bit earlier too. Anyway, it is already fading–no lawsuits necessary.
|An exhausted but content mother and daughter.|
It was great to be in touch with the Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles so quickly. Getting a call on the bedside phone was great, making the 15,000 miles seem a lot closer. We quickly adjusted to our new roles. I overheard Wendy telling my parents when she thought I was sleeping: “a Dad was born as well during my labor.”
So, enquiring minds want to know: how did we choose the name? Wendy and I both have liked the name Natasha for a long time, and it just seemed to fit. Also, the only Natasha we know is awesome, so that is cool too. (Yay Dr. Tash!) Wendy’s mom Gerry suggested the name Kate, and did not even know that is my Mom’s name. We both love the name too, and figured it was kind of a serendipitous thing; we are honored to name our firstborn after MaMa.
|Things got better back home. Natasha at four days.|
As far as life goes, it has no resemblance at all of life two weeks ago. Sleep is a commodity. But fortunately, our friends here have been lifesavers. They have given or lent a whole suite of baby furniture clothes, and do dads. All the gifts of the Blessing Way are coming in handy. Bethany and Andrew even dropped off a home cooked meal! And everyone has also been respectful of our space and letting us get into a rhythm of some sort.
Fortunately, Tasha’s digestion is coming into its own, and her burps and gas (called winds over here) are getting under control. Wendy’s milk took its time coming in, but is here in force. We are having lots of poopy diapers now. Yay! Wendy is recovering slowly, but steadily. Maybe she’ll be able to post something soon. Frankly, after watching the operation, I am amazed at how fast she is healing. She is a strong woman. Meanwhile, Indi seems to know what and who Natasha is, and is being appropriately respectful. But he is just dying to give her a good lick.
Well, Natasha has been sleeping in her rocker (thanks Mandy) next to me, and is starting to wake up. Miss you all, and glad we can stay in touch this way. There is a cool “comment” link below to add to our list of communication options. The e-mails and skype calls have been great, thanks!Gotta go.
P.S. Natasha at 1 week is below, and the oher dozen or so photos are at Flickr as a a Slideshow or Individual Photos. (To clear up some confusion: underlined text, usually colored, is a “hotlink” and if clicked will lead you to the promised webpage).