Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Story of Clare

First things first: I'm still here, and I'm still pregnant.  36 weeks and 3 days to be exact, which is when I delivered Emeric.  In the interest of publishing all of my previous birth stories before I accumulate another one, I present to you: the never before told story of Clare's entrance into the world as we know it.

 (I'm not sure why Clare's birth story hasn't been told for the internet yet - probably because she's getting the classic middle child treatment - but in my defense I just found an old journal where I actually wrote down the whole tale a week after her delivery, something that I did NOT do with any of the other children at any point.  So there ya go, Clare.)

The usual birth story disclaimers apply - you know, like: "This is a birth story.  It will contain the story of an actual human birth.  Proceed with caution."

First of all, Clare wins the award for being the most uncomfortable baby in utero, and for the most painful and drawn out labor and delivery.  When I was pregnant with her, I remember feeling like I couldn't even sit down because she pressed up into my lungs so hard that I couldn't breathe.  I also was having a lot more strong contractions early on than I had with Ava, which I heard was normal with subsequent children - but at 33 weeks I was having a particularly strong bout of them and decided to head into the hospital to be checked.  

It turned out I was starting to dilate a bit, and my midwife suggested morphine to relax my body and hopefully slow the contractions.  I know nothing about morphine except that it's not a drug that gets casually doled out, and after suffering through killer headaches and allergies without drugs the entire pregnancy while trying to be all responsible and "all natural" or whatever, I think my eyes nearly popped out of my sockets when she said morphine and so we decided to go with a shot of Stadol, which is apparently some sort of large muscle relaxant.  I knew nothing about Stadol either, but I guess in my crazy pregnant head to not have heard of the drug was somehow better than morphine which simply...sounded scary.  Or something.  There is really no point to this tangent other than to remind myself that my pregnant self is craaaazy.  Anyway, the Stadol eventually slowed the contractions to a reasonable pace during the night and they finally sent me home to rest.

After several weeks of reading books to a tiny little Ava on the couch without leaving our little apartment, I snapped.  I packed my purse and went out on a "little shopping adventure" and didn't return for at least 6 hours.  Weirdly enough, by the time I got home I was having a lot of contractions again.  They continued consistently throughout the week - every 3-4 minutes.  All week.  By 10:30pm of the day I turned 37 weeks I was starting to feel pretty uncomfortable.  So I drank a billion glasses of water, took a warm bath, and around 1:30am Stephen had called my sister in law who was living not too far from us on the VA side of DC to come watch Ava so he could take me in to the hospital to be checked.  I would also like to note here that I told him he was being mean and ridiculous to wake up his poor sister in the middle of the night and that I was most definitely NOT in labor yet.  (Note to self: Stephen is smart, listen to him.)  

It took Anne a little over an hour to arrive, and by the time she got here I was all like I AM REALLY GLAD YOU CALLED HER WHEN YOU DID, STEPHEN.  Let's GOOOO.  At some point we had called L&D to let them know we were coming, and the midwife on duty wasn't very familiar with me and my previously superfast delivery and at the end of our conversation said "well we've been talking for 6 minutes and you haven't had to stop to breathe through a contraction so I don't think you're quite ready to come in yet."  And then I told her in what I'm sure was a super polite voice that she doesn't know me very well and I'm coming anyway. 

We got to the hospital at 3:15am and the nurses also seemed a bit skeptical that I was still smiling and talking through my contractions - I'm apparently so afraid of offending people that I was even trying to force a polite little laugh at all their peppy jokes.  And then they pronounced me 6-7cm and seemed a little apologetic that they were talking and joking around so much.  (Side note - my main nurse was super awesome and told me I didn't even need an IV if I wasn't getting an epidural.  I told her that I thought I might need one for Pitocin post-delivery since I had needed that after Ava's delivery due to some mild hemorrhaging, and she said they could just give me a shot in the leg afterwards.  So I had a hospital nurse was talking me OUT of interventions, which is pretty awesome.)

Then I had some paperwork to fill out - which I actually got done before delivery this time! - and 1.5 painful hours later, I was ready to push.  Ava's delivery was obviously very short, and when I was in labor with Emeric the contractions were spaced very far apart even at the end so this was the only time I had to deal with laying in bed for a whopping hour of SERIOUS contractions.  I know, I am ridiculously lucky.  I hated it, and I applaud you people who have long labors.  You are superheros. 

I was tossing and turning with the contractions and when it was time to push I happened to be on my side.  The nurses tried to convince me to lay on my back and I basically tightened my grip on the sides of the bed and refused to acknowledge that anyone was speaking to me.  Apparently the amniotic sac was bulging out and refusing to break so finally a nurse broke my water and it exploded all over another nurse's shoes.  I would have laughed a lot had I not been expelling a human from my womb.  Then the pushing situation got worse - the cord was wrapped around Clare's neck several times and they had to clamp and cut it while just her head was out.  I'll stop and let you ponder that for a moment...I wish I knew how to do emoticons in a blog post, because I can think of a few good ones to add here...!!

When she was finally out, I was much more "with it" than I had been during Ava's shocker delivery and I glanced up immediately to see Clare laying limp in the doctor's arms and looking a very concerning shade of deep purple.  After what I'm sure was only about 5 seconds but felt like 5 hours, she finally began to start coughing and crying.  Despite coming almost 4 weeks early compared to Ava, she was almost 4 oz. heavier and was sporting a head of black fluffy hair :)  

Because of the cord being wrapped around her neck, her face was quite bruised and swollen and stayed a nice shade of purple - so much so that they labelled her bassinet so nobody would walk by her and think she was in respiratory distress.  I thought her face looked like one of the french peas from Veggie Tales.

And I love this - she ate so much right away that every time I fed her, milk would pour out of her nose.  I can't quite explain the terror I felt when this happened the first time I fed her, still in the L&D room.  I called the nurse and I think I was shouting something about how I think her brains might be liquefying.

And that is the story of Clare.
Stick around for a few days and you'll probably get another round of birth story goodness...stay tuned...

(And if you just haven't gotten your birth story fix for the day, here's Ava's Birth Story and Emeric's Birth Story)


  1. So. Much. Awesomeness! You must have still been nursing Ava to already have milk in the hospital? Or you just skip colostrum and go straight to the white stuff? :) Off to read the others!

    1. I actually had lost my milk supply completely after getting pregnant with Clare!! I know I was having a lot of leaking issues at the end of the pregnancy though, so all I can think of is that maybe my body decided it had doled out enough of the good stuff by that point?? :) I really think she was just trying to guzzle sooo much that my body didn't know what to think - Ava had been a pretty weak nurser - and Clare is STILL our family's bottomless pit when it comes to eating :) Even when she started solids, she would eat until she was so full that she would throw up...and then continue eating....!!!