The Hills Are Alive….

Eleni Theoni Politis
Name: Eleni Theoni Politis
Born: 31 January 2005 at 01:48
Weight: 7.5 pounds or 3.41 kg
Length: 20 inches

Place: Cambridge, UK
Addenbrooke’s (Rosie Maternity) Hospital
Nameday: May 21st

I am officially the happiest man in the world. Now I know why you hear this phrase from so many new fathers. Carolyn and I are very proud, new parents. Blessed with a healthy, baby girl. Eleni decided to arrive a little early yesterday as she wasn’t due until at least the 9th of February. Probably because it was getting a little tight in her mommy’s belly.

Speaking of mommy, she was a trooper. AussieGirl was in labor quite a long time – her water broke a whopping 50 hours before the actual birth. She had a total of four, yes four, epidural inserts. They were ineffectual each time for some unknown reason, so the anaesthetists kept trying to re-site it as the poor girl was in some extreme pain. It was such a helpless feeling for me because I could do nothing to help her. She was pleading for a Caesarean Section up to 12 hours before birth, but the doctors just would not do it unless all other options were exhausted. The only relief she had was when she was once given a spinal injection of a very strong anaesthetic and during the third and fourth epidurals, a stronger caine-derivative anaesthetic to augment the regular epidural drip. The relief only lasted a couple of hours for each, but at least it gave her a short break from the pain. At right around 48 hours, real labor started and the stronger epidural numbed just enough of the pain to allow her to attempt a natural birth.

Let me break here to describe the setting. Nothing like I expected from my expansive (TV) experience. It was very non-medical in that it was just Carolyn, me, and a Midwife in a darkened room. Just a monitor for the baby’s heartbeat and Carolyn’s contractions, a couple of tubes attached to Carolyn, and The Sound of Music Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (her favorite) playing on the CD player. No medical gowns, doctors, stirrups, elaborate medical tools or anything.

So, at around 23:45 on Sunday, Carolyn started pushing and everything looked pretty good. The Midwife said the baby was making progress. I even peeked in myself and saw the top of Eleni’s hairy head. At this stage, even Carolyn was pretty confident and comfortable, albeit a little winded from pushing. After about 45 minutes of this, she started getting a really unbearable lower back pain. They later reckoned that it was either because of an existing back injury or Eleni’s position as she was exiting or maybe a combination of the two. Eleni was facing sunny side up, so the back of her head was probably grinding against mom’s lower spine. If anyone was asleep on the ward, they weren’t any longer. She had been requesting a C-Section for a while, but now she was demanding one. To make a long story a little shorter, they finally agreed and Eleni was born about an hour and a half later. Not without a little difficulty though, as she had to essentially be pushed back in a bit before she could be lifted out.

Besides our healthy, beautiful Eleni, maybe some more good can come out of this experience (I’m speaking for myself here). I just know that I would’ve been driven mad with Julie Andrews tunes going through my head throughout Eleni’s childhood, even when they weren’t actually being played or sung. You know how that kind of music can get in your brain? Perhaps Carolyn’s association of that soundtrack with her ungodly pain that day will keep it off the CD player and iPod at home. At least a little bit.

A quick note on the name: Eleni is derived from the Greek word for light, torch, or sun. It also translates to Helen or Elaine in english. It honors at least three of our family: Carolyn’s mother – Helen Armstrong and my late grandmother – Eleni (Helen) Politi, who helped raise me and was a great influence on me. Also, one of my two wonderful sisters is named Elaine. The middle name, Theoni, is from the Greek meaning Godly and is in honor of my dear mother, who we hope will visit us soon.

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