A birth story

It's been ages since I've updated my blog, and so much has happened. I'll get to it all in good time, but I thought I'd refresh with the most exciting event of the past several years-- the birth of my lil' baby girl, Claire.

She was due on Christmas Day, which was nothing short of poetic given how she was our miracle. We, like basically every parent-to-be that ever was, hoped she would be early. Tom had a terrible holiday schedule at the hospital that he was hoping he could get out of. The babies in my family always come early, so I was hopeful. I set my last day of work for December 19th, come rain or, well, baby.

December 19th was a Friday, and I woke up to the news that my niece was born! I was training my replacement, and only had about half a day to do it. We were running around all day getting things taken care of before I had to leave for my midwife appointment.

I was a little down at my appointment, and said that I hadn't felt the baby move around very much in the past day or so. The midwife said that anytime she hears that, she sends her patients to get a non-stress test just to be on the safe side. The hospital had only the slightest window when we could get it done, so we ran (literally) over there. Baby girl wasn't doing too much, but it was enough to send us home.

Tom had to work a night shift that night, so I turned on a Christmas movie and tried to relax. About 15 minutes in, I started feeling things tighten. I began walking around while simultaneously googling real vs. fake labor pains. These were real. They weren't going away. They were getting stronger and closer together. I told Tom he'd better come home, which he did.

Lincoln applying counter pressure
Fortunately for me, he had just finished his maternity rotation in school, so not only had he witnessed and helped in a live birth, he knew how to apply counter pressure. As the night wore on, it was obvious that I was going to be dealing with back labor. At the same time, I began throwing up anything I tried to keep down.

We headed to the hospital at about 2 a.m., and as soon as we got there, I knew my labor had slowed down. Even after throwing up on the floor, I hadn't progressed enough to be admitted, so I was sent home to sleep with a morphine shot.

I labored all day Saturday, not wanting to get sent home from the hospital again. Finally, at about 5 p.m., we headed back and were admitted. I was happy because my favorite midwife was on call. She knew I wanted to try for an unmedicated labor and had a nice bath with essential oils waiting for me. She had magic hands that totally helped the pain. Eventually her shift was over but my labor sure wasn't. It was getting pretty intense, and I was exhausted from not having any food or water for 24 hours. Since it was back labor, I never got a break in between contractions. They just went from bad to unbearable. After a few hours of this I had the midwife check me. I'd only dilated a centimeter since being admitted! Discouraged, that was all it took for me to say, "I want an epidural!"

I eventually got one, and settled in for a nice nap, since I'd had a pretty intense couple of days. I'd read that epidurals slow down labor, but in my case, it took off. My midwife said that sometimes with  especially painful labors, the body doesn't allow it to progress as a coping mechanism.

My water never broke, but actually "birthed itself" before the baby was out. Don't ask, because you probably don't want to know. The midwife just squished it in her hand to break it to see if things would move along.

Even with the epidural, I felt the labor pretty well, but not in a painful way. After about 20 minutes, we had our girl. And a few minutes after that came my freak placenta that the midwife asked if she could take a picture of. It essentially had a bonus placenta that they tested for an early twin. There wasn't one; it was just weird and I'd like to think was the reason I had such a sickly pregnancy.

One of the first things baby girl did was reach out and touch Tom's face. I'll never forget how sweet that was. Even if she was just flailing her limbs around like babies do, it was so great.

After 32 hours, Claire was born on December 21st, the winter solstice, a Sunday morning and a perfect day.

It's true what everyone says, that you forget the pain. After 9 months of hoping time would go faster, I couldn't handle the thought that she would get older every day, and that I wouldn't get that time back.

And just like that I loved her.

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