She's Here!
Gisele Elizabeth Nelson-Gillot made her regal entrance to the world at 9pm on April 8th, 2003. After an 18 hour labor, she squeezed her 9 pound, 1 ounce body through my birth canal and had to endure yet more hardships in San Diego's Mercy Hospital. This is one brave baby!

We thought this day would never come. On my due date, April 7th, I had an appointment with my OB. She said that in spite of the bed rest I'd been on for a few weeks, my blood pressure wasn't any better. She also said that I was a "ticking timebomb" and that we had better induce. I appreciated her honesty but thought she was a tad blunt.

Fortunately, I went into labor that night on my own. For quite a while the pain was manageable. I wanted to hold off on the epidural until I was sure I'd need it. Also, I wanted to wait until my fear of getting an epidural was less than my fear of not getting one (who really wants a tube inserted in their spine?). So at about 6cm dilation my water broke and my doctor decided to increase the amount of pitocin I was receiving (to make the contractions stronger). The pain got much worse very quickly and I was cursing the anesthesiologist for taking so long.

Soon after I had an uncontrollable need to push. It felt just like having a bowel movement. I proceeded to have a bowel movement on the delivery table. I had heard whispers about this being common during delivery, but prayed (as much as an atheist prays) that that it wouldn't happen to me. Oh well. This was not a day for modesty. Afterwards, I pushed for a couple of hours without making much progress. My doctor said that because I had a fever and the baby's heartrate was up, that the baby needed to come out soon. So she used a suction cup to help pull the baby out. Annick and Nels were helping the whole time by holding my legs up so that I had something to push against. They looked away when my doctor grabbed the scissors to give me an episiotomy, though.

Gisele slid out with the help of the suction cup, only to be faced with a cruel, cruel world. She gave only little cries because her lungs were filled with fluid. The pediatritions gave her oxygen and whisked her away to the intensive care unit, which they've given the sugar-coated title, "special care nursery". The theory was that Gisele came down with pneumonia from swallowing contaminants in my birth canal. They never were sure she actually had pneumonia, but decided to keep her for a week to give her antibiotics just in case. At first, Gisele was hooked up to all sorts of monitors and breathing tubes. The nurses said she was strong because she kept tearing them off of herself. After a couple days her lungs were much clearer and she didn't need the extra oxygen. I was able to stay at the hospital the whole week so that I could breastfeed, but Nels had to go back to our place at night. Luckily, his mom had flown in and was able to help a lot with caring for Stimpy and the mice and getting food for us.

Free at Last!
Gisele was cut from her medical tethers a week later. It was especially nice seeing her IV come out of her little hand. She was such a trooper through her ordeal! As much as we were happy to bring her home, we were kind of nervous not having her watched over by nurses. Would we know what to do with her? She seems pretty easy to please, actually. She doesn't cry much, and when she does, it usually means she's hungry. Breastfeeding is going well, and it's cute to see the excited look on Gisele's face when she knows that milk is imminent. She becomes so frantic that she'll stuff her hands in her mouth as I'm trying to feed her. At her 2 week appointment we saw that she's gaining lots of weight, so this is one area where we need not worry.

So far, Gisele spends a lot of her time sleeping. When she's awake, she'll either look around or want to eat. She isn't terribly interactive yet, so we can't wait for next month when she'll start smiling and staying awake longer. For such a sweet baby, she makes some very beastly sounds. She does coo and gurgle, but most of the time she grunts like a dinosaur. And so far she isn't crazy about the car, but we hope that changes this summer so that we can visit her cousin, Anne, and Anne's neighborhood pool.

Who does Gisele look like?
The concensus is that Gisele looks a lot like her daddy. Her mouth, coloring, and widow's peak hairline seem to come from Nels. For comparison, the above pictures from left to right are, Nels, Gisele, and Janine.

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