And there is our beautiful, darling girl in all her sleepy cuteness! It's been a long, crazy, fasciniting, interesting, and at times nerve-wracking experience, and here we are, all three of us smiling happily! We've been relaxing for a few hours now and are excited to begin sharing our (perhaps not so) little adventure!
The adventure began all the way back on Friday. I had been put on staff duty until 5:30 in the evening, so Melanie had come on post to busy herself and get some good walking in. After my shift was over, we went to the comissary to grab some food for the weekend (the comissary is closed on Mondays, and we don't have a convenient way to get to post on the weekends, so Friday is our "stock up" day) and then boarded the shuttle bus to take us home. At this point, little contractions were pretty normal for Melanie, but she already had a feeling that we should probably stay on post over the weekend. We went home timidly, and Melanie's contractions took a serious turn, so we decided that we would wake up early in the morning and find a way to get to post. We had some various options, calling the sergeant in charge of me and asking for a ride, calling one of my squadmates' wife and asking for a ride, taxi, or walking to post (something we had never done before and we weren't quite sure how exactly to get to post on foot.) Morning came, and after a long morning of preparation and discussion of our transportation options, we of course took the method that suited our ridiculous personalities most: Blaze a trail on foot!
And blaze a trail we did! Whilst walking we decided that the highway overpass with no shoulder probably was not the best route to take with a pregnant lady in Europe, so we opted for a shady road that I had spied on GoogleEarth that appeared to become overgrown. We had to walk past some awesome old estates and then just as Google told us, voila! A wonderfully lush road of underbrush with a little path down the middle of it. But it doesn't end there, the path ran perpendicullarly right into a set of railroad tracks that we were quickly made aware of as a passenger train shot by. Crossing would not be easy, as there was a sizeable wall on the other end that we didn't want Melanie to try and brave. I did however spy a little pedestrian tunnel when I climbed the wall, so after peering through the brush on our side we found the entrance which of course was barred. This was easy enough for both of us to pass over, and we were quickly and triumphantly on our way. From there the gate to post was easy to find, and we took our baggage into the barracks where would be spending the next few days.
As you may or may not know, I was scheduled to go up to Germany for a month of training and certifications with the rest of the unit, but at the last moment my platoon sergeant gave me the go ahead to stay behind and be with Melanie. Because of this, the barracks are empty, and one of my squadmates gave me the okay to use his room while they were gone, so Melanie and I decided to use it as a little outpost while we waiting for labour to begin. So the weekend was spent watching movies, walking around, and Melanie suffering from some crazy contractions.
Saturday night was our first dash to the birthing center. It was around 11:40PM or so, and Melanie's contractions were getting to that infamous 3-5 minute mark between contractions so we gave the center a call, waited a while longer, and rolled out probably around 1 or 2 or so. They hooked her up to the various machines and started watchin' her, then dove in to see how dilated she was. Still the same 1.5-2cm she had been the week before. Melanie wasn't too happy to hear this, that all the pain and work she'd been through wasn't doing anything. So they sent us on our way, with an Ambien for Melanie just in case she couldn't sleep. We both slept on and off the rest of the night, and napped through the early afternoon the next day.
But then... it started! Melanie's contractions started getting really bad for her. She was nearly writhing sometimes at how painful they were, and the day was very tedious for her. We just tried to relax and rest and watched some movies. Eventually night came and we tried for bed, but it was just too much for Melanie. She was having the contractions fairly often, every 7-10 minutes, and by 11:30 she was fed up with it, so I called the center and asked if the Ambien would interfere with her labor at all, and they said that if it's true labor no, but it may help her calm down. Down goes the pill and we hit the hay, but it did far from help, haha. Melanie started hallucinating from the Ambien, whimpering about coloured fairies bringing on the contractions. She would get up every 15 minutes or so to pee, and I would call her back to bed afterwards, and she would mutter stuff about me just wanting to help the colours bring the contractions. Haha, it was great. Weird, but very amusing. We laid there, Melanie writhing every few minutes, and me in that weird either totally REM cycle sleep or groggy "Wha?" face awake until about 4:30 at which point Melanie said she had had it, and wanted to go in to the center. So again we packed our bags, and shuffled off.
Same as before, Melanie got hooked up to the fun machine (I amused myself by watching the little graphs when she was having contractions and comparing the numbers to the look on her face) and the same nurse from the night before dove in and was shocked at thinking Melanie was now dilated 8cm! She had one of the lead docters come in to verify, and she too said Melanie was 8cm. So we waited until Melanie felt the urge to push, which took about two hours or so, and then we called everyone in and we started the pushing game. This went by super fast, like movie magic five minutes fast (another amusing moment of laughter I stifled at the time) and out popped our beautiful darling you see above!
So the details! Born at 7:43AM Italy time, 6lbs 6oz, 19.75in long, and a good healthy little baby!
Melanie did a fantastic job through it all, no painkillers, never screamed or anything. Didn't even tear! The nurses were all super impressed and proud of her and I am too! And Ferynne has been doing a great job at life so far! She only cried for a second or two after coming out, and already knows that mama and papa are good caring people to safeguard her. She was feeding for a good 40 minutes, was peeping out of those little eyelids from the get go, she's already smiling, and can lift her head a little bit at a time. I'm waiting for her to start speaking Greek and working on that whole world peace thing. And that's about the long and short of it! I'll see if Melanie wants to add anything, and I'm sure we'll remember more as we wait to be released, but until then I hope you're all excited as we are!