Soleil Ophelia Lindquist
Meaning: SUN in French
October 10, 2019
6 Pounds, 1 Ounce
Where to begin? October 10, 2019... what a magical day. The day our daughter, Soleil Ophelia Lindquist, joined our family and made us four.
She came four weeks ahead of schedule (at 36 weeks) by medical induction as a result of my Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) diagnosis (more on this coming later), but we're just so incredibly happy and overwhelmingly relieved that she is here, safe and sound in our arms. What a heaven-sent blessing.
Soleil's Birth Story
The weeks and days before her arrival did not start like any other. To be honest, life has been
a little utterly crazy lately, to say the least.
It has been a very stressful whirlwind with my ICP diagnosis. Pretty much the weeks leading up to her birth included late nights spent itching my hands and feet, being worried sick that she was all right as a result of the risks of stillbirth associated with ICP, and late night googling. I had also been regimented to thrice-weekly appointments to closely monitor her heart rate, her movements, her vitals and organs, my contractions, amniotic fluid and liver function and bile salts levels for fear of her going into fetal distress.
On top of all of that, add a shocking and somewhat unexpected call from my doctor that we needed to be induced four weeks early, the stress of what that might entail AND a major move two days before she was set to arrive. I was a mess.
Honestly I was exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. All of it. The lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, throbbing feet from moving, and worry that we weren't prepared for her arrival with no nursery, and fear that she wasn't all right. It had gotten to me. I was an emotional wreck.
There were also the bittersweet emotions of excitement of adding to our family, but not wanting Luna to feel left out. So, I guess you could say that some tears were shed haha.
But I was also ready. Ready to meet our baby girl. Ready to know that she was safe and here with us.
So we hurried as fast as we could to move, get settled and emotionally prepare for this little angel to join us earthside. Mostly, I just wanted to soak up as many Luna snuggles as I could while simultaneously quickly getting all of our ducks in a row.
After a very emotional 'goodbye' With Luna before sending her off to my parents, we showered, watched the clock and impatiently headed to the hospital at midnight on October 10, 2019 we checked in.
After getting admitted, squared away with reception, checked into our birthing room and hooked up to my IV, I was started on the Pitocin at a level 2. Holy moly this is happening.
Every thirty minutes, my nurse would come in to up my Pitocin levels by two. Entering the hospital I was already dilated to a 2, so I was thinking this delivery might go faster than it did with my first, Luna.
With Luna, the peanut ball is what really helped further along my dilation. So when my nurse brought it out about an hour-and-a-half in, I was worried it would speed things up too quickly.
So by 5:45am (nearly four hours on Pitocin), I requested my epidural at the suggestion of my nurse, as the anesthesiologist was starting to get busy and we didn't want to miss our opportunity. I was at a level 16 of Pitocin, but could hardly feel the contractions, even though we could see them on the screen.
About 10 minutes after receiving my epidural, my doctors partner came in to manually break my water and check my cervix. I was still only dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced/thinned. What the heck?!
We continued the routine of switching sides using the peanut ball every hour. But my nurse said the contractions were steady and there was no need to push me too far into pain territory, so she kept my Pitocin at a level 18.
Then, at 8am my doctor came and checked on me. I was dilated to a 5 and 90% effaced. She estimated that I would deliver sometime between 10am and 12pm.
An hour later, my nurse checked my cervix and I was dilated to a six. Yay, things were progressing a little quicker. So Ben texted our delivery photographer to head over as we didn't want things to escalate too quickly and have her miss it.
Our photographer arrived around 9:30am, and at 9:56am, I was dilated to a 10... it was time to start pushing. Our nurse called my doctor and she was literally in our room within minutes. (She is seriously the most incredible doctor in the world, you guys).
This is going to be short and sweet. Because my active labor was short and sweet (thank goodness). The same exact thing with Luna...
Ben held my left leg (total dead weight haha), while my nurse held my right leg. (side note: for some reason my left leg was far more affected by the epidural than my right). Anyway, my doctor watched my contractions and told me to push. They slowly counted to ten while I pushed with all my might.
I was kind of a weakling and could only push for about 7 seconds each time. But with one contraction I attempted three pushes.
Then we waited for the next contraction.
Again, same thing. Three pushes, each ten seconds long.
They handed me a mirror so I could see and feel Soleil's head. That was kind of crazy to be honest haha. I wasn't sure I wanted to see what was happening down there, but the female body is just incredible.
Three more pushes of ten seconds each and she was out. That was a total of 9 pushes... the same amount of pushing I had with Luna.
Sadly, I did tear (again) because her little hand was right by her face (as it had been in EVERY single ultrasound haha blocking us from being able to see what she looked like). So I had to be stitched up.
But I was just SO INCREDIBLY RELIEVED that she was here. She was safe. She was breathing. She was all right.
I was overcome with emotion and the tears were just streaming down my face. There is nothing like the overwhelming feeling of seeing your child for the first time. Hearing them take their first breath and let out a cry. I kept wanting to pull her closer to me but apparently her little cord was, well, little, so I had to wait till Ben cut it to pull her up to my chest.
The Recovery and Hospital Stay
After about an hour and a half in our birthing room spent soaking up the magic of our new baby girl my parents popped in to meet her and introduce her to Luna. That was an incredible feeling. To introduce two sisters who will someday become best friends. The two girls who mean most to me in this world.
Soon after, we were taken upstairs to our recovery room where I continued to attempt to breastfeed. She wasn't yet interested in latching, which they say is pretty common for pre-term babies. But thankfully, I finally got her to wake up enough to latch. And with a little coaxing, she has become such a great little nurser.
We spent the rest of the day snuggling, eating and napping haha.
The next day, her hearing test was administered, which sadly, she didn't pass in her right ear. I was so worried. When you have a baby, and especially a pre-term baby, you can't help but worry that something might go wrong. But thankfully, they re-administered the test the following day and she passed. They said it was likely the result of fluid build up in her ears.
Sadly though, she had lost 5% of her birth weight by day two (and they don't want to see pre-term babies lose more than 3% (term babies are held to 10%). So they put me on a triple feed regimen where I nursed her on each side every 1.5-3 hours, then Ben gave her a bottle of either formula or my colostrum while I simultaneously pumped more colostrum.
Side note: We are still on this regimen at home, but thankfully my milk came in on day four so we were able to switch to that for her bottle.
It's kind of an exhausting regimen to be honest, because by the time we finish it's about time to do it again... so my boobs are really sore. But it's far better than the alternative, as the hospital was saying if she lost any more we'd have to install a feeding tube and admit her to the NICU.
The next day, at three days old, she had lost more. This time, she was down 9% from her birth weight. But thankfully, the hospitalist pedestrian we spoke to this time said we were fine to be discharged so long as we continued the triple feed.
THANK GOODNESS because I did NOT want to have to admit her to the NICU.
Their other concern was Jaundice. Her bilirubin was at an 8.2 the day we were discharged from the hospital (Saturday) and they didn't want to see it go up any more.
But by Monday, at her first pediatrician appointment, it had doubled to 16.5. Eek. The next day, it was at a 16.2 This means that it is likely plateauing and should start to go down from here with lots of nursing, peeing and pooping. And lots of nursing we are doing with this triple feed haha.
Anyway, I know this was long-winded. But I wanted to share with you how our beautiful daughter entered this world and changed our lives. I don't want to forget a single moment of this magical journey. The journey of Soleil.
Welcome to the world and our family, baby girl. We love you immeasurably and can't wait to watch you grow and learn and play with your sister.