Clara Anne










Sorry, not sorry for the overload of milky smiles and newborn rolls.

two and a half years is just enough time to completely forget how easy and how hard it is to have a newborn in your arms. I’ve forgotten how many diapers you can go through in an hour, the urgency of a good burp, and just how painful nursing can be. I’ve also forgotten how much a newborn can sleep, and that five straight hours of sleep is almost a full night’s sleep, but you don’t sleep five hours straight because you have one eye open just to make sure they are still breathing. I’ve forgotten how calming it is to snuggle a swaddled newborn, rhythmically exhaling, the smell of their milky breath filling the air.

All of the hard things that I experienced with Bennett both in giving birth and as a newborn are almost lost upon me this time. There have been some similar experiences, and I’m not saying giving birth was by any means easy, but I will say that giving birth to Clara was a completely different, much more enjoyable experience. Maybe it was because I had been through it before, or maybe she’s just going to be an easier child, but whatever the case, I’m extremely grateful that the experience this time wasn’t worse than the one I had with her brother.

Clara’s birth story begins on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2014. I went to the Dr. and was told that I was 4cm dilated and that when I do start having regular contractions, I should probably get to the hospital quickly, because it may all happen very fast. This was music to my ears at this point, as I had felt like I’d been carrying around a bowling ball between my legs for a couple weeks. Everyone (Tim) kept asking, “feel anything, yet?” “How are you feeling?” “Anything going on?” to which I would respond, “I don’t know, I feel unfortunately the same.” Braxton Hicks contractions came and went, some stronger, but always scattered. We tried a few labor induction remedies, and one of them did appear to have an affect, though it took some repetition and time for it to kick in and speed things along. July 3rd, Bennett was at daycare, and Tim was “off work” so we used the day to work on some projects in the backyard. My mom came by to visit that day too. I made a quiche in the morning, and did a bunch of housework, and then we went off to run errands. We had decided to buy Bennett a sandbox, which lead us to home depot to buy bags of sand. In walking down the aisles of home depot, chasing after Tim the speed walker,  I noticed some extremely sharp contractions that felt finally like the real thing. We got home at about 4:30 and I continued to help setup the sandbox, and even spread out some new bark in the front yard. Afterwards, we went to pickup Bennett at school, and then when we got home and I sat down, I really started to feel things kick in. I sent Tim to pickup dinner, and by the time he got back, I was able  to recognize the fact that I was in labor. The tricky decision for me at this point was whether to have my mom come down from Santa Barbara (to watch Bennett), because I wanted to be really sure I was in labor and wasn’t going to get sent home from the hospital. When I finally called her around 7:30, my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, but tolerable. 10 minutes later I found myself calling her again to make sure she was on her way because they were unutterably intolerable. When we got to the hospital, I was 5.5 cm, and admitted! win!

My labor and delivery nurse was alright, not exactly the saint that I had when I delivered Bennett, but she was kind and well, its not like your going to be best friends with the nurse afterwards anyway, so mmmmyeah. Our doctor group was NOT on call (surprise, surprise!) we went through that with Bennett being born on a holiday as well, so we had a Dr. who we had never met, but I liked her, maybe even more than one of our doctors? Is that weird? Dr. Barnes. She seemed like she had delivered many babies in her time, and she was pretty upbeat for it being late in the night, so a good vibe…it was a good sign!

I wasn’t sure I wanted an epidural this time around, because I wanted that baby out fast, and I didn’t want to risk having to push for three and half hours again, and if the epidural did play into that, it was something I could give up, if and only if my labor was going to happen fast enough. Also, I remember the IV and the catheter and all that restricting tubing, and that junk gets in the way, especially when they still have you hooked up after birth. Unfortunately for me, I made the mistake of saying “I wasn’t sure if I wanted an epidural or not,” and with that, they hooked me up to an IV in case I decided I wanted one. So then I already had the tubes running out of my right hand (and it was not comfortable), and when she checked me an hour later, I was only 6cm, that’s only about a half cm for the 30 excruciating contractions that had gone by. So not cool. So I did it, I ordered the epidural, and about 10 minutes later (fastest order filled for an epidural of all time), the anesthesiologist was at my door. After that, the pain slowed, and I drifted in and out of semi-sleep through the night. Tim however, in a chair in the corner, drifted off into a deep sleep.

At about 4:45 am, the L&D nurse came in to check me, and said I was 10cm, and she was going to call the Dr. to come in and break my water. about 5 minutes later it happened, and they told me to start pushing. It was so sudden.  Tim was still asleep at this point, but I also thought I had a lot of time before anything really happened. About halfway through pushing Tim finally woke up, and before I knew it, she had slipped out into the world and her dad cut her from me. July 4th 2014, 5:24am, 20.5 inches, 8lb. 4oz. The pediatrics group checked Clara out in the room, and one of them said “I can’t find a single thing wrong with her.” She latched on right away, and she looked up at us with exploring eyes, matching our faces to the voices she had heard while in the dark. I was overcome with so much emotion, for the second time in my life, in realization of just how much love I had for this little person that I had just met for the first time.

Recovery has been ten times easier physically this time around, but emotionally very different. I’ve found myself sitting in the nursery ugly crying because I don’t want her to get big. Silly, but it hits you hard when they start growing, because you can’t ever get them small again….profound, I know. She’s just so sweet, and I already know what happens when your baby starts rolling over, they learn how to sit up, and then crawl, and walk, and talk, and talk back, and run away from you, and then pretty soon they’ll move away, and we will end up in a nursing home playing…. croquette. I was excited for Bennett to meet milestones, but I’ll be completely satisfied if this one stays in her bassinet next to my bed for the next 20 years. Can I get an Amen?


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