Clara Ann’s Birth Story

The baby is peacefully sleeping in the swing {and when I say peacefully, I mean she’s grunting away while she’s in baby dreamland…she’s a grunter…she sounds like a little goat} so I have approximately 6.452 minutes before girlfriend sniffs me out and demands a bedtime snack…no meal…actually 3 course meal is more like it for her.  But 6.452 minutes is really all I need to share Clara Ann’s birth story.  That girl didn’t waste any time.

I had been having contractions {braxton hicks} for WEEKS…literally…before she actually came.  Clara arrived just before 40 weeks, and I’d say I was having contractions since about 36 weeks.  This played major games with my head because I kept wondering, “Is this it??  Wait….is this it??  This surely must be IT!!!??”  With Joshua and Sophia, my water broke and I knew it was time to go to the hospital…no questions asked.  With this little gal, I wasn’t sure if the contractions would speed up, slow down, get closer together, farther apart, or more or less painful…this whole contraction business is extremely subjective {ugh…subjectivity}.  My biggest concern was that I would get to the hospital in time to get an epidural.  I was super worried I would get to the hospital “too late,” but each week I went to the doctor, she assured me that I would KNOW when the contractions are the real deal.

She gave me a few “qualifiers” for determining when to make my way into the hospital…

1.  Contractions that are 5 minutes apart

2.  Contractions that are happening consistently

3.  Contractions that are stopping me in my tracks and taking my breath away

So each time I would have contractions I would try to determine if these three things were happening and usually the contractions didn’t meet these qualifiers….until the morning of February 24th…

I stayed up “late” to watch the Bachelor on Monday evening, went to bed, and felt relatively normal…just as I had been feeling for weeks.  Uncomfortable, tired, and curious about when we were going to meet this little babe.  I got up to use the bathroom one time that night, and went back to sleep.  Then I woke up somewhere between 3 and 4 am feeling contractions that were not PAINFUL…rather, uncomfortable.  I turned on my contraction app {thank you iPhone} and started keeping track of the contractions.  I knew these contractions were going to lead to labor…they just felt different…but I fully anticipated it to take most of the day before we would need to get to the hospital.  I went downstairs to watch TV so I could time the contractions and they were really irregular, and mostly somewhere between 7-8 minutes apart.

I wasn’t meeting any of my doctor’s requirements and I was tired, so I went back up to bed around 5 am hoping to rest a bit more.  I did wake Greg at this point, though, to tell him that he was going to need to stay home….even if we weren’t ready to get to the hospital, I knew I would need him to help with the big kids cause I was not interested in laboring while chasing around two little turkeys.  Around 6, Greg got up and took a shower so that he was ready for the day…and I think this is when I texted my sister and told her we would be needing her to come over at some point later in the morning/day to take over with the kiddos.  Again, the contractions were pretty irregular, though getting slighlty closer together….at this point maybe 6-7 minutes apart, and the discomfort was still tolerable.

As the time got closer to 7 am, I started feeling more pain, rather than discomfort, so I told my sister to come NOW rather than later.  She arrived shortly after {yay for living closeby!}…I made the bed, put away a bit of laundry and by this time I had to stop during a contraction.  It was painful, but not as painful as I would imagine it being when it was TIME {keep in mind, I had no idea what labor pain felt like because with Joshua and Sophia’s labor, I got an epidural pretty quickly, and felt zero pain after that}.  I waddled down the stairs, having to stop once, and quickly gave Ede some instructions for the kids, kissed my sweet babies, and told them that the baby was going to come out of my tummy.  They were less than impressed and asked me to move over so they could continue watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Nice kids, real nice.

We were loaded up around 7:30 and on our way.  The car ride is when things got really, REALLY painful and contractions got much closer and consistent.  It was like in the blink of an eye that the labor changed drastically.  I was really unhappy about how bumpy the roads were….and how quickly/slowly Greg was driving…I was squirming in pain and trying my best to breathe {or not breathe….I am pretty sure I held my breath through most contractions because it hurt so badly} and to remain in control…but holy crap it was painful.  We got to the hospital and Greg dropped me off so I could go in to check in.  Once I got up to labor and delivery they had me write my check in time on the sign in sheet which was 8:05…they asked me for a few bits of information and the lady at the desk told me she would need to find a nurse before they could call me back to Triage.  Ummmm, ok….take your time lady, I’m just in really painful labor….

Around 8:15 they called me back and by that time (10 minutes) I had already had 2-3 contractions that were just awfully painful but surprisingly not as bad as in the car….perhaps because I was standing instead of sitting?  Either way, once they called me back to Triage,it was 8:15 and of course they wanted to weigh me, and take a urine sample.  Come on people, who cares how much I weigh at this point.  Back to the Triage Room I went….as I changed into a gown and got onto the bed, the nurses asked me a few routine questions and at this point I just told them, “Ok, this is really painful….I really need something for the pain…”  Of course I didn’t say it that calmly…in fact I am pretty sure I was crying.  I think it was at this point (what, 8:20 or 8:25?) that the nurses realized I wasn’t just being dramatic, but rather, I was in active labor.

The doctors were tied up so she had a  nurse midwife come in to get things going….and of course first she wanted to check to see how dilated I was.  As I am squirming in pain the midwife calmly says, “Ok honey….the reason you are so uncomfortable is because you are fully dilated….you are a 10…”  At this point things got real crazy, real fast.  Everyone started hustling around extremely quickly, calling doctors and nurses and getting the bed ready to wheel me to labor and delivery.  When she told me I was fully dilated I lost it.  Completely lost it.  I was the crazy woman the nurses and doctors talk about after they are done with their shift.  I was crying hysterically because I knew I wasn’t going to get an epidural….I kept apologizing for crying, but I really couldn’t control myself.  I was not mentally ready to push a baby out….let alone push a baby out without DRUGS.  Everyone was very sweet and reassured me it was ok to be emotional and that they were going to do their best to get me “something” for the pain {aka, they knew they couldn’t get me anything for the pain, but they didn’t want me to be even more hysterical so they lied to me and told me what I wanted to hear}…as they wheeled me to L&D I continued to have a couple painful contractions, all while screaming and crying because I WANT AN EPIDURAL NOW!!!!

This was all happening so quickly, but I believe I was in L&D around 8:30….as soon as I got there I basically had to start pushing.  Keep in mind they hadn’t started an IV for me…they hadn’t monitored the baby….they hadn’t even really finished checking me into their computer system.  But there was no way there was time for any of that.  Poor Greg was not exactly sure how to help his completely terrified and hysterical wife….but he just stayed close, let me scream in his ear and squeeze the heck out of his hand.  He told me I could do it…he told me it would be ok.  I needed his calm demeanor because of course I was anything but calm.

I pushed for 10-15 minutes (a couple contractions) and first my water broke…and then out came our sweet little girl…

GIRL!!?  It’s a girl.  Greg and I guessed it was a girl, but nearly everyone else guessed it was a boy.  Truthfully, finding out the gender of our babe upon her arrival was a little anticlimactic because when they announced it was a girl, I was too worked up to really care.  I was anticipating this grandiose moment…a drumroll if you will….but really it was just “It’s a girl….holy crap this reallllllllllllllly hurts…..ouchie ouch ouch….OUCH!!!!!”

As soon as she was out, they gave her to me….and I held her…HELD her immediately after she came out.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t get to do that with Joshua and Sophia but I was so hoping for that experience this time.  I continued to remain in a great deal of pain {I will spare you the details but of course there is still plenty of pain even after the baby comes out}, but our sweet little Clara Ann was here and safe and sound and really, that’s all that mattered.

So from the time we arrived at the hospital {8:05 am}….to the time we got back to Triage {8:15}…to the time we got to Labor and Delivery {8:30}…to the time Clara arrived {8:46}…a whole 41 minutes had passed.  What a whirlwind.

We spent about an hour in L&D getting everyone cleaned up, baby checked and weighed, calling our family…and enjoying time with our sweet Clarita {a nickname that my dad immediately used for her}.  She fed like a champ, and nuzzled in close to mama!  They eventually sent us off to the Mother Baby unit and we spent the next 24 hours getting to know Clara, revisiting the concept of sleep deprivation, and introducing our family and friends to our newest addition.

Clara’s labor and delivery was exactly what I had hoped it would not be….PAINFUL….and I can honestly say that now that I have experienced both a drug free and a drug-filled birth, I would choose the drugs any day….BUT, I am super proud that I did it {like I had a choice} and would do it again in heartbeat for that little tiny peanut of a baby!

We are so thankful for the blessing that Clara is to us…welcome, little one!!!
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Ok…that took way more than 6 minutes…but she’s still sleeping, and grunting happily away….good girl 🙂


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2 responses to “Clara Ann’s Birth Story

  1. Mom

    Not saying that the drugs wouldn’t have been helpful – but I knew you could do it too! So very proud of you and the mama you are!

  2. Aunt Urith Ellen

    Thank you for sharing… Blessings on each one in your family.

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