Her name is Ellie Kieu Hicken and this is her story...
At 12:05 am (5 minutes past midnight) on 8/17/10 we checked into the hospital. At 1:00 am they began to induce labor by using Cytotec to help soften the cervix. In the morning I was checked and dialated to about a 2. Contractions were happening regularly but they were not painful, just minor discomfort. Towards the afternoon the doctor broke my water to try to help things move along. The contractions became more forceful and I eventually dialated to a 4. Because of my high blood pressure the cuff on my arm kept going off every hour to check on me. My blood pressure started to go up so they had to give me magnesium through my IV. This causes my body to feel a hot flush and to also feel nauseous and lethargic. As my contractions became more painful, my blood pressure would go higher. I asked to go ahead and get the epidural but the anesthesiologist was in the next room with another patient. I was asked if I could wait 20 minutes and I said yes. I started to feel pretty miserable with the magnesium making me sick, the contractions being painful, and the blood pressure cuff squeezing my arm so tight that I thought my hand would explode with how much blood had swelled into it. When the anesthesiologist came into the room he expressed concern with my blood pressure going so high and worried that my platelets in my blood might be low. He said that if they were too low then my blood wouldn't clot and if that was the case then he couldn't give me an epidural and that if he did it might end up causing permanent paralysis. (Can you imagine how thrilled I was to hear this?) So they called up a phlebotomist to draw my blood and check my platelets to be sure the count was high enough. While waiting to hear the results Bret asked me if I could handle going through without the epidural. I just said "lets just see what the results are". I couldn't even let myself think about it because I felt so miserable. Luckily my platelets were fine so the anesthesiologist went ahead and gave me the epidural. Bret held my hand and I had a great nurse (Anne) who held me against her shoulder while the epidural was put in. I was so relieved when the pain from the contractions finally started to subside. As a result, my blood pressure started to go down which meant the cuff didn't have to squeeze so tight to get a reading. The magnesium still made me feel hot and tired and I drifted in and out of consciousness. Several hours went by and my doctor was disappointed to see that I was not progressing. It seemed as though I was stuck at that 4 and had been there all afternoon. At about 6pm he told me that he would come back at 8pm to check my cervix and if I still hadn't progressed then he would need to proceed by taking our baby out via c-section.
When he left I turned to Bret and said "Call your mom and ask her to pray because Heavenly Father gives her whatever she wants." (Really it's because she's such a faithful woman and has nothing but righteous desires.) It was hard for me to try to understand why we had just been facing a c-section with her in the breech position, and then to have our prayers answered by her turning, to only come to this point and have to face a c-section again. I prayed that my cervix would dialate more and that we could progress without having to have a c-section but at this point I was so exhausted that I almost didn't care. I felt like giving up.
Bret texted his family and as soon as they had the chance they joined our prayers that I could progress and avoid that c-section. A new nurse (Kristi) started her shift and was determined to get me to progress. She had a few ideas that we tried out including turning me from side to side, increasing the level of Pitocin in my IV, and putting in a catheter to drain my bladder and leave more room in my body. At about 7:30 pm things started to change for the better, but it was minor because I was still at a 4. The doctor showed up at 8pm as promised and he walked in thinking we'd have to do a c-section. He checked me and suddenly I had jumped to a 7. We were all thrilled. Within minutes they were all getting their gear on to deliver the baby and they put an oxygen mask on me to help the baby because with each contraction her heart rate started going down which they told me was actually a good sign. She was moving down the birth canal and suddenly my abdomen was feeling all kinds of painful again. I asked why I was feeling pain since I had the epidural and the nurse said that I was just progressing so fast and that's what happens sometimes. It came time to push and I could feel all sorts of pressure in the lower part of my abdomen. We only had to push through two contractions and she was out.
As she was coming out the doctor called my name and told me to look. I looked down and saw a purple little person covered in white stuff. They hurriedly placed her on my belly in blankets and towels and rubbed her until she turned pink and cleared her airways. I was amazed at being able to be a part of this because when Kien was born they only let me hold him for 1 second until the NICU staff whisked him away from me and I had to wait 24 hours before they'd let me get out of bed to go down and see him. It felt amazing to me to get to hold her right after birth and watch her this whole time. Bret cut the umbilical cord and just stared at her in awe. Just minutes after I gave birth we went ahead and tried breastfeeding. She latched on right away and had a strong suck. I was so impressed because with Kien it had taken a couple of weeks before he had the strength to nurse and originally had to be fed with a feeding tube.
As rough as this labor and delivery went (almost 20 hours) it went a lot smoother than my first time around. I feel so thankful that Heavenly Father was really watching out for us and I felt that my prayers and the prayers of others with our same purpose were heard and answered.
Weight: 4 lbs. 15 oz.
Length: 18 inches
Time: 8:25 pm
She has a full head of dark brown hair and has dark eyes that love to look around. She is tiny and perfect and beautiful. When she finally tired herself out and went to sleep, I knew that I should go to sleep too but I couldn't help staying awake and just staring at her, watching her sleep. Sometimes she would smile in her sleep and its so adorable.
We are both doing just fine and came home today around noon. Kien seems a little undecided about his new little sister. He says she "Too cute" and he likes to touch her very softly but I think he's a little nervous about having someone steal the spot light. In our hospital room when Bret would pick her up Kien would tell him to put her back. Or when Bret was looking at her Kien would ask Bret to come and sit down by him. I'm looking forward to seeing how our family will change and grow with this new addition. I'm thankful that Heavenly Father has entrusted this little soul into our family. She is so precious and we love her.
Her name is Ellie Kieu Hicken. Bret came up with Ellie and Kieu is my middle name. It's a Vietnamese name and pronounced just like the letter "Q". So her name is just like the letters "L-E-Q". If she ever becomes a graffiti artist that can be her tag. Also, if you say it fast- it sounds like "I like you". I sure do like you Ellie Kieu. I sure do.