claire's birth story

I hemmed and hawed about whether to even write this up for the blog for a few reasons.  First, the universal response to my telling this story to anyone who has ever had a child has been “gag me.”  Second, I did not have the same delivery anyone else has ever had (I am the only mother to have ever birthed my daughter) and man, people sure do seem to think that the way they have babies is the right way.  Did you have an epidural?  GREAT.  Did you give birth au natural at home in your bath tub?  SO HAPPY FOR YOU.

So I’d like to preface our story with this: yes, I had a very easy labor and delivery.  If you didn’t, and you think you will just be annoyed by reading about Claire’s birth well then cruise right on by this post!  Baby pictures below!  And I may not have not given birth the way you think is the right way, or maybe I did.  I’m happy for you, and I’m happy for me.

Phew, now that that’s out of the way, here is the story (and a large amount of incredibly unflattering photos) of how Claire Olivia came into the world last week:

On the day of my 38 week doctor’s appointment, it had been 3 days since I had slept.  I went into that appointment looking like a wreck - I cried before, during, and after the appointment, with Darrell doing everything he could to cheer me up.  I think he’d have bought me a pony if he thought it would’ve brought a smile back to my face.  When my doctor offered to induce labor that weekend, under the reasoning that Claire was measuring awfully large (risk factors: she breaks some bones on the way out, I get more um, damaged, than necessary) I went for it,  and we scheduled me in for Sunday the 8th at 8 pm.  

The nice thing about induction is, you know it’s coming.  We left the house with our bags packed to perfection, our house spotlessly clean, and our laundry baskets empty.  We picked up magazines & snacks at Walgreens on our way to the hospital, having been told by our doctor that the entire process could take 24-48 hours - or not even work at all!  Thankfully Orange Is The New Black had come out last weekend, so we had plenty of entertainment queued up.  

We got to the hospital, checked in, met our nurse and she had me hooked me up to a drip of Pitocin by 9 pm.  Apparently you increase it by “twos,” - two whats, I don’t know - and they can ratchet you up every 30 minutes, up to 20.  We usually go to bed around 9, and had pretty much been told that nothing would really happen until the morning, so I was shocked to be in some serious pain about 3 hours later.  Darrell had fallen asleep, and I woke him up MAD - he was then instructed that he wasn’t allowed to fall asleep unless I did.  I was determined to make it as long as I could without an epidural, not because I didn’t plan on getting one (I had basically heard that with Pitocin, YOU GET THE EPIDURAL) but because I knew that epidurals could potentially slow down labor.  By 3 am though (with the pitocin at about a 10) my contractions were extremely close together and incredibly painful.  I was wishing I had involved drugs an hour earlier.  There were tears.  By this point, I was at about 4 cm.  I asked the nurse if I would be a wimp if I went ahead and got some much-needed relief, and she proclaimed that I had actually done pretty well by comparison to some patients.  

Our anesthesiologist showed up about 30 minutes later, and I didn’t even look at the needles.  I honestly wouldn’t have cared what they looked like anyways.  The hardest part of getting the epidural wasn’t the pain of the insertion, it was sitting through another two contractions completely still.  Honestly, getting my IV hurt worse.

After that, I fell asleep.  Yes, you read that right.  I couldn’t feel a thing and I was exhausted.  I woke up at about 7 am to a “pop,” which I was pretty sure was my water breaking.  I was hesitant to even have Darrell call the nurse - surely not much progress had been made, and he was so tired from the night before - but I figured it was probably best to have them verify it was my water, so I woke him up.  A new nurse came in to check it out, and it was indeed my water.  Also, I was at a 10.  

YES you read that right, I had progressed from 4 to 10 cm in my sleep over the course of about 3 1/2 hours.  The nurse had me do a practice push, and proclaimed me an excellent pusher.  Her estimate was that we would have our baby in less than 20 minutes.  

yeah, epidurals work really well.  i was smiling, 5 minutes before pushing.  

Then we were a bit frantic - Darrell literally asked if he could have permission to brush his teeth.  Claire’s amniotic fluid had meconium in it, so there was suddenly an entire NICU team in our room, plus about 5 nurses.  We were only waiting on my doctor to come in early for her call time - she wasn’t even scheduled until 8 am, and of course never assumed I would deliver so quickly!  

My doctor arrived at around 7:20, and I immediately was being instructed on how to push.  I was very focused - it was strange and kind of awesome to be able to push without fear of pain.  I pretty much gave it all I had each time since they had said I wouldn’t have to do it for too long, and she was born at 7:28 after less than 10 minutes and maybe 7 or 8 pushes.  It was incredibly surreal - I was still having trouble coming to terms with the fact that we would get to meet her so soon.  It was fairly painful to even watch them clean her up and clear her airways of meconium - I was desperate to get my hands on her the minute she was born.  Once Darrell had cut the cord and she had been relatively cleaned up and declared healthy, they laid her on my chest and I immediately started crying.  
Claire, on the other hand,  immediately stopped - it was very clear, she knew who I was.  Her eyes seemed huge and they focused hard on my face.  I had no idea that she would be so aware that I was her mother.  Seeing her was amazing, realizing this was the person that had been in there all along.  

why do men get to look so good during this whole process?  

We were allowed two hours in the delivery room before we were moved to recovery, and we made the most of them.  Claire nursed almost immediately, and she was/is good at it (I know how fortunate we are.)  We spent those two hours just trying to memorize the moment, googly eyed over how beautiful she is, kissing each other and truthfully, still in complete awe of how lucky our delivery had been.  Darrell only got last week off of work, and we knew there was potential that I could be in the hospital until Thursday.  We ended up checking out on Tuesday morning since we were rooming in with Claire to breastfeed on demand anyways, so there was no reason to stay.  

 So that’s our whole story, the 12 hours that it took to change our entire life.  I’d do them all over again, any day.  I remember looking at Darrell the first time I fed her and just thought to myself that I’d like to jump him right then and there to have another (clearly not an option) but I really felt that way.  That cocktail of new mom hormones really makes you forget the entire pregnancy & delivery, literally 30 minutes after it’s over.  And as I write this she’s laid out flat asleep on my lap post-nursing session, and I intend to let her stay there for a while.  I could probably stand to get dressed, or help Darrell with dinner, or finish vacuuming, but babies don’t keep, you know?  

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