Friday, April 28, 2006

a baby story

It's four in the morning and I just put my tiny one down after her late-night feeding. She looks up at me with these huge, blue eyes and I can't believe how lucky I feel to be up at night feeding her.

Several weeks ago, we attended a birth class at Salem Hospital. One of the exercises that they had us go through was a game where you pick different cards with scenarios for the birth of your child. The idea is to whittle down what you can live with and what you can't live without in childbirth. At the end of the game, each set of parents is left with one card and invariably, the card that the parents still hold says "Healthy Baby."

We had fairly specific plans for Claire's birth, but our ideas were promptly vetoed this weekend. We both were reminded of the exercise from childbirth class.

I had actually thought that I might not know what contractions felt like. I mean, you hear about these women who give birth in a Wal-Mart, and I thought, maybe I would start labor and not know. This was hardly the case. I felt my first little contractions on Friday evening and by Saturday night I was officially "in labor."

Here's Claire's story.
Saturday night, 9 PM
After having mild contractions all day, I'm definitely in labor. We settle in for the night and purchase a bunch of Alias episodes from I-tunes for a distraction. Nate's parents come by, but the contractions are still about ten minutes apart and I'm convinced that I'm going to be one of the Wal-Mart women, so we don't tell them that we think the baby may be here soon.

Saturday night, 11 PM- Sunday noon.
Contractions are now closer together, but I'm still not ready to go to the hospital. We labor together at home for several hours, watching Alias, listening to music, Nate rubbing my back and both of us talking about Claire. For those considering natural childbirth methods, this time together was amazing. Nate wasn't passively sitting there while I did all the work. We labored together for this child.

Sunday Noon.
Contractions are now less than four minutes apart. We head to the hospital but I tell Nate we should leave the bags in the car, I don't want to be disappointed if they tell us we have to come back later because I'm not really in labor.

The triage people check me out. I'm dilated to 5, 100% effaced and they tell me that the baby should come quickly. We get checked into labor and delivery. My nurse was a girl I took dance lessons with as a child.

Sunday 3:00 PM
Dilated to 8 1/2, making good progress. We walk the halls, use the birth tub and the birth ball work and wait.

Sunday 7:00 PM
Still no change. Where is my baby? The midwife suggests breaking my water to speed up the process. I agree. Soon after, I am hooked up to bunches of monitors because they find that Claire had been swimming in meconium (her poop) and was now a little bit at risk.

Sunday 9:00 PM
Still no change and now labor is hard. I can't easily walk around because of all of the machines and monitors. I start to think she's never going to come.

Sunday 11:00 PM
The midwife suggests an epidural and pitocin to try and move things along. I agree. and after over 24 hours of contractions get some relief.

Sunday, Midnight
My mom arrives from California. The epidural is in full effect. We all watch another Alias episode and talk.

Monday 1:00-4:00 AM
They turn off the epidural so I can begin pushing. Pushing for three hours. Back labor. No Claire. Easily the most painful experience of my life. I start to get scared.

Monday 4:00 AM
The ob-gyn is called. Claire is turned and not coming out. She suggests a c-section. Exhausted, I head to the operating room alone, still contracting like crazy. Nate is brought in 15 minutes after they prep me for surgery. I am told that I told anesthesiologist that I loved him.

Monday 4:00-4:19 AM
Shaking, with arms outstretched on two tables and a blue sheet separating my head from the rest of me, Nate strokes my face and tells me it won't be long. I remember that his eyes look really blue in his hospital scrubs. They pull Claire out while Nora Jones plays in the background. They pick her up and show me her head from one side of the blue sheet. She's beautiful, but the drugs make her look like she has two heads. Two beautiful heads. I'm still shaking like crazy.

After that, Nate is able to go with her to get cleaned up and she's perfect. You'd never know she'd spent some time swimming in poo. She's extremely alert (more so than her drugged-up, exhausted mama), smacking her lips and looking around. I say hi to her and she turns and looks, recognizing my voice.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Finally, Claire!

Beautiful Claire Elisabeth Curtis was born by c-section at 4:19 am. Click here to meet her. More later after we sleep. Apologizes to Grandbob and others for the wait, we have been busy.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

nervous nellie

Yesterday the bean was not her normal exuberant self. She usually likes to sleep til about 10:00 in the morning and then starts her kickboxing and aerobics routine. Yesterday, I felt nothing. My midwife likes to remind me that if I don't feel her move a certain amount that I should come in for a non-stress test. Basically, they wire up the belly and monitor the baby's heart rate and movement. By 1 PM, I was worried. The bean and I even visited Nate's shop and had him bang all kinds of loud things in front of her and she didn't stir.

As soon as I got to the midwife's office and was wired into the apparatus, she felt compelled to jump all over the place like her usual self, which was a good thing. I'm scheduled for 2 more appointments and an ultrasound next week, but let's all hope for a baby before then.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Baby Watch Continues

This is Lollie. I ordered her for the bean ages ago from here I thought it was important that she have a really great first cuddling partner. I hope she likes her.

We're doing fine. For the record, we've tried spicy foods, raspberry leaf tea, jumping a 70's bus, walking around Target (and other places). She'll get here. This is the strangest waiting of my life.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

nate's latest project

Nate's been nesting. Seriously, is there anything he can't do? At least I still always win at Scrabble.

This baby room is really a love letter to our little girl from her dad. I thought I'd share a picture of the rocking chair cushions Nate recovered while I wait for her to get here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2006

overdue? you?

Last night was a full moon and I was hoping that the bean would make her grand appearance, but not yet. According to the ultrasound, she's supposed to be here on Easter, and I have a tiny dress for her (or pants if she's more of a pants girl) but I have a feeling I could be saving those for a while. Since only 5% of babies are born on their due dates, I'm guessing she'll be nice and late.

For those who are wondering about our birth plan, it will just be the two (and then 3) of us plus the nurses and midwife when baby Claire arrives. Nate will post here soon after she comes. A call to Julie and Tiff is likely as they are both never far from their cell phones. And of course , we'll be calling the grandparents.

A friend asked me the other night if I was nervous about the labor part. I feel like I should be, but really, what's that going to do? Every part of this experience has been different than I'd imagined it being and I can't wait to work hard to get her out so I can work hard at loving her and being her mama.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Well, we finally finished the bean’s room after lots of long nights tearing walls down, hanging insulation, updating the wiring (Bob) and sanding new drywall. It is done and I can’t wait to add the final detail, Claire.
Love, Dad.

Monday, April 03, 2006

welcome baby girl.

This week a baby was born. No, not that baby. Her name is Kyleigh Kellan. She is the bean's newest cousin, and I'm trying hard not to be jealous that Val gets to hold her baby on the outside. I've been trying to bribe the bean with promises of trips to the park, delicious breastmilk and the most beautiful baby room you've ever seen, but so far she seems quite content to hang out somewhere under my ribs. Her favorite place is far, far on the left side of my torso giving me a nice, lop-sided look. She will be here soon, at least that's the promise from the midwives. Weeks ago, I thought it would be ideal for her to hang out inside for as long as possible so I could finish up the semester of school. Oh, naive first time I am convinced that the best place for her to be is in my arms.