Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Clara Elaine

Wow, so Clara turned 1 year old today (July 13, 2011)!

The day:

  • Clara and Daddy spent the morning together while Ashton and Sadie were at VBS.

  • We went out for lunch at Chick-fil-a where she ravaged her chicken, fruit cup, and peach milkshake (loved).

  • After naps we went to a park (where she likes to do slides),

  • fed (i.e. watched the big kids feed) ducks at the pond,

  • and then went to a new restaurant we didn't like (but were willing to try since kids eat free).

  • Once we got home, we sang Happy Birthday and fed Clara a Hot Fudge Sundae cupcake from SugarRush. She ate the WHOLE THING and loved every second of it. :-)
Now, the real reason for the post is for me to record Clara's birth story! I can't believe I haven't sat down to record it yet! Unfortunately, I'm no longer able to remember certain details (like how far dilated I was and when), but alas, my memory 1 year later is still better than no written memory, right?

Clara was due July 4, 2010 (Sadie's 3rd birthday!). Aaron was working in Roeland Park, we were living in Gardner, and were planning to deliver at the Topeka birth center. My parents arrived in Gardner from NC not long before, maybe July 1 or 2, so we were glad that I hadn't gone into labor early like I had with Sadie.

Days went by with no signs of going into labor. I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to not interfere with God's timing of Clara's arrival, so we didn't do anything to medically induce her. In fact, I was discussing with the midwives my desire to still deliver at the (Topeka) birth center even if Clara went over 42 weeks.

The morning of July 12th was a teary morning, telling my parents goodbye...without them meeting their newest granddaughter and without my midwife mom attending Clara's birth.

That evening, July 12th, I went in to the birth center for a nonstress test, and while there Norla did something (something about if my body was ready to go into labor, this would get it started, and if it wasn't, the cramps would die off) that caused many great cramps the rest of the evening. She didn't really tell me about it or ask me if I wanted it done -- I think she decided to do it because I had told her I didn't want to use Cytotec, etc. to start labor.

Anyway, Christina and Jeremy watched the kids during the appointment and while Aaron and I went out for dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ. While there, the cramps were an issue, disrupting dinner. Afterward, we met up at Barnes & Noble, where still - the cramps were like contractions. We went home to Gardner that night.

During the early morning hours of Tuesday July 13th, I remember "getting up" (and I use the term lightly -- the "sleep" was not quality) to use the restroom and wondering if I was in labor. After all, I thought the induced cramps were supposed to die off in 4-5 hours. I called my mom, and she basically said to get more sleep if I could. I may have slept until about 7am, when I finally called the birth center answering service because I was no longer comfortable waiting until normal business hours to call. The midwife, Norla, called me back and said that she was already at the birth center for another patient, so I could come in whenever I wanted to be checked.

Aaron and I got up and got ready, woke the kids up and got them ready, and then headed for Topeka. Aaron's mom met us at the birth center to pick up Ashton and Sadie. I was checked by Norla (and was maybe 2-3 cm. dilated), and then felt comfortable leaving to eat breakfast and wait until things progressed. First, we went to the Copper Oven to get my favorite cinnamon rolls (yum, a real treat)! I could hardly manage sitting still on my bottom during the contractions, so we next went looking for a place to walk. I wanted to walk outdoors (au naturel), preferably in a remote location, so we went to the trail at 37th & Fairlawn, but once Aaron discovered the trail wasn't paved (heaven forbid!), he wasn't on board. :-)

We finally figured the cemetery (at 17th & Fairlawn) that we used to walk through when we lived down the street was a good choice. We'd walked for maybe 2 minutes when we realized how badly we both needed to use the restroom. We took a chance and went to Deana Marsh's house (also just down the street). Obviously we wanted to do more than just use her restroom -- we also wanted to visit, so we did that for probably about an hour. However, all the sitting was slowing the contractions down considerably! So we excused ourselves and went back to the cemetery. We walked for a while. The contractions were uncomfortable, especially in the heat.

Aaron and I were both over the heat, so I broke down and let us go to West Ridge Mall where we could get drinks and walk more (always the practical one...). I tried to be inconspicuous as I randomly stopped walking or would lean over the rails during contractions. But honestly, it was driving me batty! I do believe the contractions were more intense and growing more common, so that probably didn't help either. :-) We couldn't have been there long before I had to get out!

I felt like I needed to rest. Lay down and rest. I considered going to Grammy O's to rest, but didn't want the question in the back of my mind, of if it was time to go to the birth center, to keep nagging me so we decided to go to the birth center. Once we arrived at 1:10pm I was admitted and Emily checked me this time. I feel like I was only 5cm dilated. I didn't care too much. I just wanted to rest. I did so for maybe an hour or so.

Then midwife Emily and nurse Jen came in our room and suggested I not rest any more since it was causing the contractions to slow down quite a bit. They suggested we go get some food, go get some ice cream, etc. I wasn't comfortable with leaving the birth center and repeating the show that I'd put on in public not long before, so I sent Aaron for the food (McDonalds for me, Long John Silvers for him). Meanwhile, since the appointments for the day were over, I walked around the building, looking at the pictures on the walls of moms and babies.

I don't think I'd walked for long when I remember leaning over during a contraction, feeling like Clara had dropped (or something like that!). I went back downstairs to our room, called Aaron and asked him to come back quick. (He'd just finished getting my food and finished getting his food.) Meanwhile, I remember going out to the front desk and asking if there was a midwife free who could be with me. Jen came in and I explained to her that I felt like I could have this baby if I took my underwear off and worked towards it! She said, "go for it!" I voiced concern, wondering if Emily was busy in the other room...if there were enough midwives...etc. I think she said something like I was the one closest to delivering, so not to worry.

I honestly don't remember much else, other than not understanding why it was taking longer for Clara to be born than it did Sadie. I was on my hands and knees since that's what worked so well for Sadie's delivery. They suggested I try other positions, but it didn't help much...and I wanted to go back to what I knew had once worked good. Oh yeah! -- At one point they suggested I push with the contractions and I remember it kind of being an "ah-ha!" moment -- like, "oh yeah, that might help!" (I remember very little (seriously, hardly any) pushing with Sadie, so it had never crossed my mind to push!) Still, it took a while and I remember crying out loud to God. My records say my water spontaneously broke at 5:00pm when I was completely dilated, and Clara was born at 5:19pm. :-) All 8lb 6oz (the largest baby) and 21in of her! Praise God!

Clara nursed right away, Aaron did not cut the umbilical cord, and all was well. :-)

Around 8:00pm I showered while Aaron gave Clara a bath. Christina & Adriana came to visit on their way home, and as we finishing paperwork and were on our way out. We left the birth center around 9:30pm, and got more McD's on the way back to Aaron's parents' house. The big kids were sleeping but Jack & Mary got to meet Clara. We all slept at Jack & Mary's that night.

The next morning, the kids met and held Clara. Before heading home, we went in to Aaron's old Walgreens (at 10th & Gage) and stopped at Grandpa & Grammy O.'s house to show off Clara.

We were so happy for the happy healthy addition to our family!