I’m thrilled to introduce you to our daughter, Gwendolyn!
Charles and I would like you to meet Gwendolyn! She arrived at 10:11 pm on July 8th and we love her more than words can express. It was a four-year-long journey to become parents, but it was worth it.
Labor and Delivery:
Gwen arrived 6 days late, something that surprised us since at 38 weeks I was 1cm dilated, and at 39 and 40 weeks I was at 3cm. As of my 39-week appointment, we thought it would happen at any moment. But then… it just wasn’t happening. I tried all the things – curb walking, spicy foods, and taking virtual spin classes in hopes of bouncing the baby out.
I was getting very impatient and Charles was getting increasingly excited with each false alarm. I had some Braxton Hicks on my due date, and again the night before Gwen was born. My doctor told me that I would know the contractions were the real thing once it was hard to breathe through them.
I was scheduled to be induced at 4:30 am on July 9th, a week after my July 2nd due date. So on the night of the 7th, we went to bed early and slept in trying to get as much sleep as possible to prepare for a middle of the night induction.
When I woke up around 10 am on the 8th I started to have some inconsistent contractions. I started timing them and I took a shower and did some final packing for the hospital. Around noon the contractions started to get stronger and more regular. I continued to time them while I rested in bed. Charles brought me snacks and hung out with me. At 2:15, after witnessing two strong contractions within 5 minutes of each other Charles called the doctor.
It was go time! Luckily we were all ready to go. We live just over a mile from Prentice Hospital and in that short drive, I had 3 strong contractions. We headed to triage where I got Covid-19 tested and checked. I was already 4.5cm which was very encouraging.
By 3:30 I was in my room for delivery. When doctors asked if I wanted an epidural I said, “Yes” (something I had decided previously). When they asked if I wanted it right away, Charles said yes for me. For some reason, I thought that getting an epidural would hurt and probably would have put it off. I am glad that Charles encouraged me not to wait. It didn’t hurt at all, and it took away the pain completely (until the very end when I just felt pressure).
By 9 pm it was time to start pushing. Things progressed very quickly and without much pain. The doctor on call from my practice, Dr. V, gave very clear instructions while remaining very supportive. Charles and a nurse were by my side holding my legs while I pushed. Charles looked at me like he never had before as he watched. I told him to not watch as the baby came out, but he did and he says that he was amazed by it.
Gwen arrived at 10:11pm. She came into the world very hungry, eating 16ml of formula (after an attempt at nursing) just after being born. I remember immediately noticing her already long fingernails and her head full of blond hair.
When they took her to examine her, Charles went to watch. I saw as he counted her fingers and toes and instantly fell in love with her. It was seriously one of the best moments of my life.
I hadn’t eaten since we arrived at the hospital (at Prentice, you can’t eat once you get an epidural), and was very hungry. The hospital kitchen was closed as were nearby restaurants. The nurses were able to get me a sandwich which Charles fed to me while I spent Gwen’s first hour of life doing skin to skin and snuggling her. I felt bad for hogging all the snuggles – but they wanted me to do an hour of skin to skin first.
Once my hour was over, Charles got his turn.
We spent 2 nights at Prentice and the doctors, nurses, and lactation consultants were all incredible. They helped me learn to breastfeed and pump and looked after me to make sure I was recovering well.
Overall, it was an uneventful and easier than expected birth. I feel very lucky. Recovery is going well.
Delivery During Covid-19:
Since this was my first time having a baby, I can’t really speak to how things are different these days. I did have to get a Covid-19 test in triage. Once the test came back negative I didn’t have to wear a mask anymore. Charles did have to wear a mask whenever someone came into the room. Charles did not get a Covid-19 test since he wasn’t a patient. Husbands just have to wear masks. We brought our own surgical masks.
I was very sad that newborn photos were not an option – Prentice is known for having a fantastic photographer that takes dreamy photos of newborns. Another change was that no visitors were allowed. Charles was able to come and go – he would run out to pick up coffees and takeout.
How We Chose Her Name:
Charles and I struggled to come up with a name. Charles liked very traditional names and I like more unique names. We went through so many lists of baby names online and I kept a list of names that I liked in my phone. We had it narrowed down to two names by the time Gwendolyn was born.
We like the name Gwendolyn because it isn’t a weird or unusual name, but it isn’t a name you hear often. I have never met a Gwendolyn! We plan to call her Gwen for short.
The First Days at Home:
We are just so in love! Gwen is a great eater and sleeper. Things get a little tricky between 2 am – 5 am, but usually, she calms down with some snuggles.
I have been learning to breastfeed and pump. Luckily I am producing more than enough milk, which gives us the flexibility for Charles to do a feeding or two on his own. We switch on and off at night – she eats every three hours – and this system lets us both get some stretches of sleep. Last night Charles did two feedings on his own and let me sleep for 5 hours straight!
We are just a blissful little family of three. I am so relieved that everything has gone well so far and that I am recovering well – especially since we couldn’t have family travel here to help during these early days. Charles and I have been thrown in the deep end, but I spent much of my time in high school and college babysitting and I feel comfortable with babies. Plus, my sister and sister in law both have babies so I have people that I can turn to with questions. Bumble Baby has been a fantastic source of information too and their team has been helping me.
Charles is such a natural with Gwen (something I didn’t really expect). He has been doing everything he can to make life a little easier – whether it’s doing a Target run, washing laundry, doing dishes, getting me endless glasses of water, or walking Gwen up and down the hallway at 3 am to calm her. He is a rockstar.
Thank you to everyone for all of the support throughout my fertility journey and pregnancy – and for all the excitement now that Gwen is here!
Since this is a food and travel site, there won’t be too many Gwen updates here – but there will be more realtime updates on instagram stories.
You can read about my IVF journey here, and you can read my pregnancy announcement here.
Nicole Triebe Tingwall
Saturday 18th of July 2020
I got a little teary eyed remembering our journey through IVF and now reading Gwen’s birth story. So glad everything went smoothly and she’s healthy!! So excited for you three!
Saturday 18th of July 2020
Thanks Nicole! We are definitely examples of how having a baby can be complicated!
Friday 17th of July 2020
Congratulations! So overjoyed for both of you!
Friday 17th of July 2020
Thank you!!! We are overjoyed too!
Thursday 16th of July 2020
Congratulations!!! She is precious and I’m so excited for y’all. And thankful for an easy delivery with no complications.
Does she have a middle name? Obviously, you don’t have to say what it is... I’m just curious because I have girl friends who didn’t have one so they didn’t have to chose which name to drop when they got married. I hadn’t heard of that before college. Wondered if it was a thing in your family.
Thursday 16th of July 2020
She does have a middle name :) Thanks so much for your excitement for baby Gwen!