Now that Baby C is 2.5 months old, I figured it was a great time to post her birth story. Ha!
Clare was due on January 28th, but almost the entire pregnancy, I just ‘knew’ she would come in February. So much so, that we wait-listed her at Daycare for a start date of April 25th. Whoops. But somewhere mid-November, I felt like she was going to come sooner. I really thought she might come in December and I had this mad rush and panic of needing things to get done. I had our tree up and presents wrapped, and all birthday and holiday presents wrapped and boxed up —anything happening between Christmas and March was ready to go by December 1st. We did a major stock up trip at Target on the only day in December that I felt like getting out of the house. I think somehow I just knew she’d be early. This was not nesting. That TOTALLY came later. This was just sheer crazar.
Okay. I have to just stop and confess to you all that I really hated being pregnant. I mean, I felt so bad because this was our fifth time, and first time we’d carried a baby through the first trimester and I knew in my heart that this was so huge, and we had waited and waited and prayed and cried and begged for a child, and here I was hating life. I did not have any of those blissful pregnant mommy feelings. I did not weep with joy as I visualized my precious child and what she might look like. Pregnancy turned me into a mean crazy person who hated standing more than two minutes, needed to sleep or eat constantly, and pretty much just checked out of life because I was “PIH” (pregnancy induced hypertension). It made me depressed, anxious, tired and unwilling to do anything. I felt lazy and awful 99% of the time. (I swear that 1% was our trip to Disney World. It was magic, people!)
I had awesome prenatal care, tho. We go to a practice where we see and Midwife and an OB, and they were just all so fabulous and held my hand through everything. I also saw my great friend Laine for chiro adjustments almost every week, and got regular pregnancy massages. You haven’t had a massage until you’ve had one at 8 1/2 months pregnant (that’s when my last one was). Talk about relaxing! I snored through most of my massages tho. And haircuts…movie dates…I fell asleep on everyone.
My first tri, I had the heartburn/headache/hellish sinus combo every. single. stupid. day. Also, I didn’t have cravings so much as I just had aversions to everything. Food. Drink. Daniel’s mouthwash. Everything. The second trimester was just a big ol’ pile of, “haha, you just THOUGHT barfing was only for the first trimester, sucker.” Ugh. The third tri was less barfing, but that’s when my blood pressure started to go bananas. And the swelling. OH the swelling. Just awful. All the time. I had only one pair of shoes I could wear for most of my pregnancy and they were flip flops!
By the beginning of January, my midwife had decided with my BP teetering in and out of the Danger Zone, that it would be a good idea to induce somewhere around 38 or 39 weeks. We knew the baby was plenty big enough and doing really well. Dr. Blake (the OB) gave us the thumbs up to schedule for 1/23, which was you know, 1-2-3, and all kinds of awesome for a birthday.
HOWEVER, my body had ideas of it’s own. And for this I am thankful for modern medicine and hospitals.
I went in for a regular check up on January 13th and had been feeling really bad that day. I was extra cranky at work beforehand, and just generally not good. The night before I had had all these plans to finish the 210932 projects and chores since DANIEL WAS OUT OF TOWN, nay, OUT OF STATE, AT OUR NATIONAL SALES MEETING. Bahaha, more on that later. –but had opted to just go to bed immediately upon arriving home from work that day. I have never been so thankful that I skipped out on chores. I got a LOT of rest that night.
So January 13h. My sister, Mary, had come with me to the appointment kind of on a whim. I had even told her that morning not to come, but I am SO glad she did. Right off the bat my BP was 170 over something or other, and as soon as Liane walked into the exam room she said, “No bueno! Off to the hospital you go!”
It took me a minute to realize what she had just said and immediately started shaking and silently panicking because the “planner” part of me was completely wigging out. My husband/coach was out of state. I was probably going to have to get an epidural (which turned out to be the BEST EVER because it also lowers blood pressure). I had 4 bags of trash that needed to be taken out, at my apt. I needed to put clean sheets on our bed. I had a pile of office stuff (including a big desk) just sitting in our dining/living area (btw, we live in a 900 sq foot apt). I needed to organize the pantry and bottles—just in case we needed them (we did). I needed to install the carseat. I needed to finish putting together our stroller. SIGH.
Liane (Midwife) decided to do an in-office procedure that was weird but also cool. She inserted a balloon into my cervix to make it dilate. Isn’t that the craziest thing you’ve ever heard of? She said the conditions were perfect and that the balloon would get me to a 5 before they started me on the full dose of pitocin probably late that night, so my body could work on it’s own (with the balloon) for a little bit. This also gave Daniel a chance to catch a flight back to Texas before things really started to get going.
Mary picked me up from my apartment immediately after my doc appointment so I could get my bags and park my car. And of course, lament over the trash, the carseat, the stroller, the pile of office stuff. Not to mention pacing back and forth all over the apartment realizing that the next time I’d be there, I’d have a tiny human to take care of. WEIRD. I sat on the edge of our bed and just cried. But there was a part of me that started to get really excited at this point. I was scared, but also joyful about meeting our baby, really and truly for the first time. I sat quietly and prayed. And cried. And focused on breathing.
I checked into the hospital around 3pm and was in my room getting IV’s and hooked up to the monitor by 3:30pm. Turns out, the balloon insertion had put me into labor and I was already having some very close together contractions. I was like…dang, no wonder. I just thought I had a horrible backache (back labor = no joke). Both sisters were there at this point making sure I had everything I needed. Laine (not to be confused with Liane), my Doula and amazing chiropractor, also came by to see how everything was going. Since I was getting induced, I was going to be needing her a different way than what we had originally planned, and I am SO glad she was there! Everyone should have a Doula. Best decision.
We started the first round of pitocin and penicillin (I was Strep B positive) about 5pm, and everything started to majorly intensify. I was getting no break between contractions and my back was constantly hurting. By about 9pm it was just radiating through my legs like a bunch of tiny needles. I was breathing through it but it was getting hard. My Coach had only made it to Dallas at this point, and I was getting exhausted. Just before midnight, Daniel finally arrived (YAY!) and we called in for the epidural. Holly wow. That thing was amazing, relieving, and brought my blood pressure down.
We got a lot of rest on and off that night. My BP cuff was going off every 15 minutes but I learned to sleep through it. I was just so relieved to have Daniel there. He sat by my side until I insisted he get some sleep on the tiny couch in our room. He also snuck me honey and peanut-butter packets throughout the night. You would have thought he was bringing me stacks of cash or something. I lurv him.
Dr. Blake checked on me a few times throughout the night. Epidurals generally slow things down so it took me until 7am the next day to get dilated enough to take the balloon out. She also broke my bag of waters to help move things along. I shut my eyes the entire time but fortunately didn’t feel much. Just some pressure. I had watched several births on youtube, and whenever one of the ladies would have to have this procedure done, it freaked me OUT.
So after my water broke, I was dilated to a 6 and 90% effaced so we just needed to give it time and let my body do it’s thing. It was clear, however, that the baby was definitely ready to come, and we figured we’d see more action around lunch time.
Laine came up around 9am to hang out with us and offer support and encouragement. She’s such a calming presence, so it was perfect to have her there with me at that point. She and Daniel both. Liane came on after Dr. Blake, and I was so excited that she would be delivering my baby. She told me it would be a beautiful birth and had nothing but great things to say about how the baby was doing. By 2pm, I was a 9.5 so she decided to let me labor down for 1-2 more hours.
During this time, Laine and Daniel were AMAZING. Laine put some heat and pressure on my neck and shoulders which was like heaven, and Daniel was rubbing my legs and feet. Even tho I had an epidural, I was really starting to get weird and uncomfortable and restless. I was feeling completely out of my body and knew I was for sure in transition.
A few minutes before 3pm, Liane came in and said, “let’s have a baby!!” It was very surreal. I was seriously out of my body at this point, and had that big ‘I feel like I have to poop’ pressure. I could barely even talk it was so intense. It was like everything went from 0-60mph in a matter of minutes. I was feeling contractions BIG TIME. I kept pressing on that epidural button, but it wasn’t helping to relieve everything.
So….I was now at that point in labor where you just loose all modesty. You have to let it go or the tension of you will just eat you alive. I remember being afraid I was going to poop or fart, or throw up on someone (because with your legs all propped up and spread out, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN).
Liane and her team of nurses set everything up, dimmed the lights (except for a lamp, you know…”down there”) and got to work. She coached me through each step, and taught me how to push and when. She told me I was strong and encouraged me through each contraction. She made me feel like I could do it and gave me the confidence to keep going. I say all this because it’s true, but also because at this point, I could pretty much feel EVERYTHING. I could barely talk, my mind was racing, and I grunted like a wild animal with every push. Clare came fast. I only had to push for about 25 minutes. The only point in which I thought my life might actually end was when her head was barely out and ‘stuck’ in the ‘ring of fire’ for what felt like years. WOW. I was fighting myself because part of me wanted to push her back in to relieve the pain (what?) and another part of me knew I needed to calm down so I could have another contraction and push, and then another part of me was like, “Jesus take me right now!”
So 27 years later, I had another contraction and her head came all the way out. And it felt like what you’d think it’d feel like (at least it did to me). Liane said, “You’re done! You did it! We’ll take the rest from here!” And promptly pulled Baby Clare the rest of the way out. THAT part felt sooooo alien like!
They put Clare on my belly as soon as she came out. My cord was short so she couldn’t come any higher but man she was screaming and using her lungs so well! HA! I remember just looking at her, not knowing what to say. I was shocked and she was kind of gooey. I remember thinking she was kinda cute (we had major discussions pre-pushing as to whether or not she would be cute or ugly…LOL), and, ‘holy moly, that just came out of my body.’ SEE??? No blissful Mommy stuff. It’s okay. That stuff comes later. Or sooner. Everyone is different.
Daniel stepped in like a champion and hero, and cut the cord. I was so happy for him. This is something he really wanted to do as a way to participate in the birth, and he then went with the baby across the room to get her vitals, stats and a wipe down. Meanwhile, Liane was “assessing the damage” as I called it. I had hemorrhaged during birth. I had a second degree tear and a torn labia, and I sure did feel every one of those darn stitches go in. I was the worst patient in the world because I could absolutely not sit still and was freaking out. I knew something was up when I could feel the temperature of the water they poured on me, eeeek. But you know what? In retrospect, it all went really fast. Even tho the hours were long (24 hours total for labor!), we all survived. And it was awesome.
When they were done, they wheeled me in this funky contraption to the bathroom. My epirural and IV lines were removed and they got me all ice packed and fixed up. It was awesome. But upon taking my vitals Clare and I both were running a slight fever, so this sent everyone into crazy mode. My blood pressure went bananas and they had to call in another doctor to take care of me. I got several doses of this or that and something (I was out of it!). I was shaking so bad from delivery I couldn’t really tell what was happening. They monitored me all the way across the hospital to the postpartum wing and I remember yelling at my night nurse because everyone was poking and prodding me SO MUCH that of course my BP was out of control. I just wanted to be left alone and drink my water. They had to call in another doctor at this point, and I barley passed his test without having to be admitted to another part of the hospital, and I was SO glad. Nurses were in and out every 2-4 hours from that point on until we hit the 48 hour mark (yay!).
Clare, on the other hand, was doing FABULOUS! She latched like a pro, slept like a pro and was generally cute like a pro.
We had a fairly good rest of our stay in the hospital. We had some amazing nurses–you are all just…awesome. No words. Amazing! Liane came to check on us and all was well with my recovery. At the 48 hour mark I had showered and felt like a new person. My BP had stabilized and I could tell that all my prep work (pelvic tilts, yoga, chiro care, massages, good nutrition, KEGELS) had all played an amazing role in the healing and recovery process, despite having to get so many stitches. Bodies are amazing things and they really do bounce back after delivery. I remember the second night we were home, being able to squat down to get something. So crazy.
Pregnancy was hard. Labor and delivery was hard. But it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done and I’m so thankful for our sweet, sweet, healthy, beautiful girl, Clare! It took about 10 days for all my swelling to go down. It was SOOO hard at this point, to stick to the doctor’s orders for recovery because I was feeling so freaking awesome. No high BP, no swelling anywhere–life was AMAZING and I had so much energy despite only sleeping 2 hours at a time.
And you remember all those chores I had left to do? My amazing family took care of almost all of them for me (sans the storing of the random office furniture, but I can not fault them for that, haaaa!). I have had so much amazing support and love through this entire process, and continue to. So cool. We even got Clare into her school a month early AND SHE STARTS TOMORROW!!! I die.
So that’s about it. If you’re still reading, CONGRATS FOR FINISHING! Our sweet baby is 2 1/2 months old now! I can’t believe it.
Here’s a pic I took of her today. I lurv her.
Thanks for reading!