Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Labor Story

This comes straight from my journal (written three days after she was born)- so be prepared for details. Writing in pink has since been added.

Clara Elisabeth Powell

  • June 12, 2013
  • 2:23 AM
  • 6 lbs. 15 oz
  • 19.5 inches long

Our sweet baby girl decided to join our family 16 days early. We couldn't be more thrilled to have her with us! She really is the sweetest, tiniest, most perfect baby I have ever seen. even when she is crying, she looks like an angel! I just know that she will be such a blessing to Sam and I for the rest of our lives! 

June 11- 6:15 pm- My water broke
Sam and I have had the fun privilege of coaching a girls 3rd and 4th grade softball team. We had a double header, and in between games, I squatted down to catch for one of the girls who would be pitching in the next game. I felt a gush of fluid and in disbelief I thought, "Did my water just break!?" I stood up and felt some more fluid come out. I told Sam that I thought my water had just broken to which he replied something like, "Really? Are you sure?" To which I replied, "I am like 90% sure." I went to the bathroom to make sure that I hadn't just accidentally wet my pants. Well I was soaked, and after walking back to the dugout with more fluid still trickling out (luckily I was wearing black shorts!), I was 95% sure my water had broken. By this time, our second game had begun. I told one of the moms what was going on and she took over for Sam and I so we could head to the hospital. All the moms were so nice, and we were extremely grateful that so many of them were willing to step in and help. The season had about two more weeks left, and I brought Clara to their last game. Our softball girls were so excited to see her, and the parents put together a little gift for us and for Clara. We had such a fun season with those girls! I hope we'll be able to do it again someday, maybe with Clara on the team next time! 

June 11- 6:30ish
After leaving the ball field, we stopped at home to grab our bags (we had already packed them because of our false alarm that you can read about here). We packed some last minute things before heading to the hospital. At this point, I had started to have very mild contractions pretty far apart. 

June 11- 6:50 pm- Left for the hospital!
We were on our way to the hospital finally! I called my mom to tell her that baby Clara was on the way! The drive to the hospital was surprisingly not bad at all. It probably helped that I wasn't having killer contractions yet. 

June 11- 7:05 pm- Arrived at the hospital
By this point, contractions had begun, and were getting more intense. Right when we got out of the car at the hospital, I had one that I actually had to stop walking for, so I could get through it. 

June 11- 7:10 pm- Checked in to the hospital
We checked in and were sent to an examination room. When we walked up to the front desk, the secretary was talking on the phone with somebody and we heard her say that there was only one room left, so they couldn't schedule her induction for the next morning just in case a laboring woman came in during the night. I was like, "Hey, that's me! Don't give away that room!" So I guess I got the last room that night. :-) 

After what seemed like forever waiting in the examination room, a nurse finally came in to assess the situation. She confirmed that my water had broken, and a LOT more fluid came out as she checked my cervix. When that happened, the nurse said "Well, nobody will ever accuse you of not having enough fluid!" I guess there was a lot. I was 4 cm dilated and fully effaced at this point. She said that my room was being cleaned, so I would have to hang out in the exam room for a little while. 

While waiting for a room, contractions picked up A LOT! I used my breathing techniques and got through contractions one at a time, with great help and support from Sam. I definitely would have been miserable without his help! 

A nurse came in to give me an IV. She brought a nursing student with her and asked if it would be okay for the nursing student to give me the IV. I said that would be fine. After she put it in, they told me it was her first IV ever! I'm glad they didn't tell me that before she did it. 

While in the exam room, I decided that I wanted some pain relief with an epidural, but knew it would be an hour before I could get one since the anesthesiologist wasn't there and had to be paged. I told the nurses to go ahead and page the anesthesiologist. Finally my room was ready for me. 

June 11- 8:30ish pm- Switched to my new room
Once in my new room, contractions were coming on fast and strong. I didn't have much time in between each one to catch my breath and relax. I was standing up leaning over onto the bed through most of them. Sam massaged my lower back and encouraged my breathing as I went through each contraction. Finally the anesthesiologist, Dan, got there to give me an epidural. I was so happy to see him! He was a really nice, funny guy. My nurse at the time, Ana, was also wonderful. 

June 11- 9:30ish pm- Anesthesiologist arrived
After Dan got there, I had to sign a paper then sit up super still so he could give the epidural. That was really hard, because I was having some very intense contractions, which were very difficult to hold still through. Sam and the nurse helped me through those though. The epidural took about 30 minutes to place and kick in. 

June 11- 10:00 pm- Epidural was placed
After I got comfortable with the epidural (and man was I comfortable!) Ana checked my cervix again, and I was dilated to a 9! I couldn't believe it. So I went from a 4 to a 9 in less than three hours! Ana said she would come back in an hour to see how everything was going. I was so relaxed, and actually enjoyed the next hour. The epidural was 100% the best choice (for me). Over the next hour, Sam and I were able to just enjoy each other, just the two of us, with no pain! 

June 11- 11:00 pm- Fully dilated, started pushing
At 11:00, I started pushing through my contractions. Ana thought I just might have a June 11th baby. Pushing was slow going though. After almost 3 1/2 hours of pushing, we realized why it was taking so long. She was facing up instead of down! Silly girl. Often times when baby's are facing up, forceps or vacuum assistance are needed to help, because baby gets distressed. Clara was a champ though, and wasn't even in distress after so much pushing. 

June 12- 2:20 am- Last pushes
Finally I could see a fair amount of her head (in the mirror) and the doctor was ready to deliver her. On my next contraction I pushed and pushed and pushed some more. the doctor just kept saying "one more," "push hard!" I was used to only doing three pushes per contraction, so when he had me do about seven pushes in a row, I was exhausted! It was worth it of course, because finally I could see my daughter's body! Sam cut the cord, and they gave Clara to me before the respiration guy took her away. It was amazing to hold her for the first time! I loved hearing her cry and then scream for the next few minutes. Once she was cleaned up a bit, weighted, and measured, I got to hold her longer and admire her. She as so perfect! She only gets more and more perfect every day! We love our little Clara girl so much! 

The following days were such a blur. The nurses took great care of me and Clara. One of the greatest challenges (for Clara and me) has been learning to breastfeed, but clara and I are both learning so fast and have improved lots. We've got it down pretty good now. She eats a lot, and is already starting to fatten up! She has her two week check up tomorrow, so we'll see if she's back up to her birth weight. I wouldn't be surprised if she weighs more than her birth weight by now. Another challenge was that Clara's biliruben levels were high, so she had to spend six hours under lights. We were also sent home with a bilibed and biliblanket to use for 48 hours. She hates it, or maybe Sam and I just hate it. We'd so much rather be holding her wrapped up tight in a blanket than watch her flail around on her mini tanning  bed! The bilibed and biliblanket are long gone, and her biliruben levels have since gone way down. She is perfectly healthy! 

June 14- 4:00ish pm- Left the hospital!
We finally got to come home with our sweet daughter! Our first night was pretty long. I blame it on the bilibed though. Only one more day of that, then we can make her more comfortable at night time. She does sleep much better without the bilibed. She still wakes up a few times every night, but when she is sleeping, it is a much deeper sleep than when she had the bilibed. My mom came to help, and she has been amazing! Clara love her grandma! She's been such a great help with making meals and watching Clara so we can sleep more. I don't know how I'd survive these first few days without her help! She was able to stay for a week, which went by way too fast. 

Clara makes the cutest faces when she is waking up/falling asleep. She eats well, fills her diapers well, and is just adorable all the time. :-) She hates her baths, loves being swaddled in a warm blanket, and gets the hiccups about three times a day. I can't believe she is already two weeks old- she's already growing up so fast! We love you, Clara girl! 

This picture demonstrates Clara's rather large cone head from when she was first born. The doctors joked that this could have added about an inch to her length measurement. 
First family picture! 

Just checkin' out her daddy! 

First bath at home. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Full Term!

Well, I know it's crazy to believe, but I am full-term! That means, Clara could come any day! It also means that if she doesn't come until her due date (or later... yikes!), it is going to be a very LONG three weeks! 

We feel generally ready for her to get here. She has a cute car seat ready for her, a stroller, a bed to sleep in, far too many adorable clothes to wear, blankets, bibs, burp cloths, and just about anything you can think of that a baby needs. 

False Alarm
At my last doctor's appointment on Tuesday, the doctor said not to get antsy, because 3 out of 4 girls go past their due date with their first baby. (Probably not what any new mom wants to hear, but probably good to hear anyway). Anyway, so I was fine "not getting antsy" until later that evening I started having contractions, three minutes apart, for about three hours! My doctor had told me that it is time to go to the hospital if contractions are five minutes apart and I can't really talk through them. Well, I could talk through them (they hurt enough that I couldn't sleep through them, but were definitely bearable), but they were three minutes apart. We didn't really know what to do. Finally, after doing everything we could to try to get them to stop we decided to go to the hospital just to make sure I wasn't in real labor. We knew there was a pretty good chance we'd get sent home, but we also thought "what if it IS real?" and "maybe I just have a really high pain tolerance" or "maybe I'm like grandma Davis, and all I'll have is a little backache and then I'll be dilated to a ten!" and "why are these contractions so consistent?" etc. 

So we packed our bags and headed to the hospital at about 2 AM. When we got there the nurse put some bands on my belly to measure the heartbeat and contractions and did a little check-up. She said I was dilated to a 2 1/2 and 90% effaced which is apparently "really good for a first timer." She said we could stay for an hour and then she'd check me again and if anything had changed, we could stay and have a baby. If not, we were free to go! Basically as soon as I got situated in the hospital bed, the contractions started slowing down and not hurting as bad, so I was pretty sure we'd be going home. Sure enough, she came back and nothing had changed. She seemed pretty hopeful that we'd be back sooner rather than later, and that I wouldn't make it to my due date, but who knows! She also said that once things get going, I should have a fast and easy labor. Don't know how true that will be, but it's good news to hear anyway! We finally got home and were able to fall asleep at about 4 AM. I wasn't even really that disappointed, because it was a fun little adventure, and good practice for when the real thing is actually happening!

Fun Facts

I can't wear my wedding ring anymore. :-( I thought I might make it to the end, but my fingers have started to swell a little bit in the past week or so. 

I wake up at least every two hours in the night to use the bathroom. I guess this is good practice for when baby comes. 

I have Braxton Hicks (painless) all the time. Occasionally I'll have the ones that feel like really annoying menstrual cramps. 

Sam and I officially "graduated" from our Lamaze/Childbirth class. It was pretty fun, and we feel really informed and ready after having taken the class. 

I've had a baby shower to go to for 6 weeks in a row (only one of them was for me), so apparently having a baby is the thing to do right now! I'm excited for all of my friends that are on the same road as me!

My hospital bag is packed! 

Clara weighs at least 6 1/2 pounds by now

Next Doctor's appointment: Monday

Days I think would be fun for her to come on: June 10 (my Dad's birthday), June 16 (Father's Day), June 21 (longest day of the year), or I guess any day that she comes will become the best day in June! 

Finally a picture: 
37 weeks

photo by Jeehee

photo by Jeehee
Hopefully my next post will be to announce baby Clara's arrival! :-)