the story of claire

I've been thinking lately about Claire's birth and even though it's already been five months, I wanted to write about it to preserve my memories. I'm sure as time goes on, it will get less and less clear, and I think I might like this story some day.

I know most of you have already heard this or don't want to hear this and that's okay. This ones for Momma. It's also long.

On Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, Bob and I were both lucky enough to be off work for the Christmas holiday. We were looking forward to a four-day weekend followed by a three-day work week and another four-day weekend. In anticipation of Bob's parents arriving the next day. We cleaned, cleaned and cleaned and I cooked, cooked and cooked. Being almost 38 weeks pregnant, I wanted to be able to take it easy that Christmas and was prepping for the meal.

We worked hard that day and, looking back, I'm sure spurred things along. I had been to the doctor that week and Dr. Norman had said, "I can't tell you if you're going to have this baby in 2011 or 2012, but everything looks good." I really was not planning to have a baby in 2011. I thought I had two weeks left, and because that would put me into a whole new year, we both felt like it was forever away! In fact, I remember saying to Bob on Friday, "I really need to pack my hospital bag on Monday...just in case." Yeah, my word of advice to all expecting momma's: Don't wait until 38 weeks to pack your bag!

Because of the upcoming holidays and visitors, Bob and I had planned our last date night before the baby for that night. We dressed and went to The Melting Pot for cheese and dessert fondues, where the bartender asked me if I'd like extra jalapenos in our cheese dip to kick start things! Then we headed to Bob's choice, Sherlock Holmes. Again, looking back, I should have known something was up. I was exhausted and remember telling Bob not to be surprised if I fell asleep during the movie...and I did.

We headed home when the movie was over and shortly after, I felt something that I suspected might be my water breaking. I wasn't sure but then it happened again 15 minutes later. I told Bob and though he thought it might be something else, I was pretty convinced. We turned into your typical "not sure if I'm in labor/freaking out b/c we didn't think we were ready" parents right about then. We even consulted the almighty Google! After about an hour of this sensation, I finally called the on-call doctor who suggested we head in for a check. At that point, we discussed packing a bag. We decided to just bring enough things to stay the night and that Bob could come back to the house in the morning if necessary to get a few more things - he would have to to take care of the dogs, after all. We left our confused looking puppies and headed out for the hospital.

We made it to the exit to our neighborhood when I realized we'd forgotten the camera. Bob said not to worry about it, that we were probably not having a baby that night anyway...but I knew that we wouldn't be coming home that night! When Bob ran inside to get the camera, he discovered that our human dog Grace had stolen a loaf of bread off the counter to eat in defiance. So typical.

We got to the hospital and were finally checked in around midnight, where they confirmed that my water had broken. I was settled into a room where they put me on Pitocin to start contractions. The rest of the night was a blur of bursting with excitement, trying to sleep and being in more and more pain as the contractions started to get more severe. At one point, I remember lying on my side in bed while Bob was snoozing on the "couch" and asking him to get in bed with me and rub my back b/c the pain was so bad. At around 6:30, I decided to get my epidural. It wasn't the most pleasant experience in the world, but, man, once that thing kicked in I was good. to. go. Definitely the right decision to have the epidural.

About that time, Bob decided to call our parents. My dad, seeing Bob's name on the caller ID, was a little confused, but he and my mom hopped out of bed and packed quickly to come be with us. They were up and on the road in 40 minutes flat. Bob's parents were already on the road to come stay with us and were very excited.

After that, Bob ran home to let the dogs out, finish packing and make the house a little more presentable since we had left in a hurry. I started getting more and more nervous while he was gone and passed the time texting with my sister.

Around 11:30 a.m., my parents arrived (Bob had already come back) and Dr. Norman told me she thought we'd have a baby in the early afternoon. My contractions were very consistent but I didn't feel a thing! Love the epidural. I enjoyed watching them on the monitor though!

After that things went quickly. My mom took up residence at the head of the hospital bed. My dad watched a Titans game on TV, my doctor told me she'd like to have dinner with her mother that night and all of a sudden the room turned over in a flurry of activity when it was time to have a baby!

I pushed for about 1 1/2 hours and there she was! I could say more about the pushing - like how the nurse threw one of my legs at Bob and how I apparently yelled at my mom (only one piece of ice at a time!) - but really, who wants the details?

Bob was beaming, my mom was crying. It was amazing. I was exhausted, but it all felt worth it to hold my sweet girl. As I told my sister later that day, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. 

And even though you've already seen her, here she is again. Claire Jane, 6 lbs, 13 oz, 18 1/2 inches long...perfect.

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