Saturday, June 12, 2010

Claire's Birth Story

A Recap of June 4, 2010
(as pulled from my relatively fuzzy memories of that day)

6:00 am: Wake up after a restless night's sleep. I'm not really nervous about the surgery, just suffering from a combination of excitement about the big day, anxiety about getting up on time to make it to the hospital, and the frequent urgings of my bladder. After my 4th trip to the bathroom I'm actually looking forward to the catheter.

6:45: Leave for the hospital with our carefully packed bags and my hair and make up done- gotta take advantage of the planned nature of this whole thing. My mom will stay home until Landon wakes up, and then she'll take him to daycare (it's pizza day; Landon is totally pumped that babyclaire is coming on pizza day) and then join us at the hospital.

7:00-8:00: I get checked in. The hospital misplaced my pre-registration paperwork so it takes a while. I meet my assigned nurse who seems very nice and get briefed on everything that will happen over the next few hours.

8:00-9:00: I'm finally registered and we head to my pre-op room. I get my IV (after 2 failed attempts, I have teeny hidden veins and extremely low blood pressure, I always feel bad for the nurses trying to get blood from me) and get hooked up to a baby heart rate monitor. Claire hadn't moved all morning so it was very reassuring to hear the whoosh whoosh sounds.

9:02-10:02: I get wheeled to the OR and have my baby!

The surgery went really well. JP was suited up in his scrubs and we kissed goodbye as I was wheeled into the OR. He had to wait in the hallway while I got my spinal, which was probably good since he's fine with blood but doesn't like needles. I believe my parting comment to him was "make sure you take pictures!!". Once in the very white and very bright operating room, I'm transferred to a skinny table and meet my anesthesiologist, my nurse anesthetist (CRNA), my surgical nurses, and of course my OB. Everyone is very friendly and nice and while the setting is a bit stark, it feels warm and happy. Claire is referred to by name and I'm very excited to meet her. I have to sit on the edge of my bed for the spinal, which goes in without any problems and takes effect immediately- I can't even swing my legs back up on the bed 10 seconds later. I lay down and the blue screen is put up in front of me while they prep my lower half for surgery. I'm talked through everything that is happening by my very nice CRNA- he remains my link to everything that is happening behind the blue curtain until Claire is born. At about 9:10 JP is invited back in; he has the camera ready. He sits by my head and tells me how excited he is to meet our baby girl while my CRNA informs me they are cutting me open (I think he said more gracefully than that). My blood pressure has been very low (about 80/38) so I'm getting drugs to boost it which make me a little dizzy, but I don't feel too bad. At 9:20 they ask JP if he'd like to stand up to watch his daughter be born and he does- the first thing he says is "she has a lot of hair!" and then I hear her cry. It's 9:22. My OB reminds the stunned and proud father to start snapping pictures and I try to thank her and realize I'm a little choked up. They carry Claire to a little isolette right next to me to wipe her down. She doesn't like it.

She's in my arms in about a minute later. She is perfect and seems so big!

JP looks over the blue curtain again and informs me there is a rotisserie chicken sitting on my stomach. My OB tells him that is my uterus and it's being stitched up before they stick it back inside me. JP looks like he might not have needed to know that. I notice two rather deep grooves in Claire's forehead and my OB says those are indentions from my pelvic bones- she was pressed down against them and my OB had to dislodge her. I am very, very glad I had a planned c-section. They take Claire away to be weighed and cleaned off a little more and JP follows with the camera.

My CRNA continues to stay right by me and tells me what's going on. At one point they prop up my legs and I see my knee over the curtain. I'm shocked to see how glowingly white it is and to find I feel absolutely no physical connection to it. I'm pretty sure I make a comment that my skin looks like I'm a vampire. (I had just read all the Sookie Stackhouse True Blood novels.)

10:02: I am back in my pre-op room, now the post-op room. JP is still with Claire, so I'm by myself, marveling at the fact that my belly is gone when it was here only an hour ago. I can't say that I miss it. After waiting a while I'm bored and ask the nurse to hand me my book and blackberry. I send a text to my parents and siblings that Claire has been born and then settle down to finish my re-reading of the 7th Harry Potter. It is so weird that I just had a baby.

10:30: The pediatrician comes in to tell me that normally she would be bringing Claire in now to be with me, but she has some fluid in her lungs that they are watching. JP is with her, my mom is standing outside the nursery window (I can hear her voice coming down the hall while she talks on the phone to my dad and grandparents), and they fully expect she'll be in with me in an hour. I'm glad JP is with her, feel a little sad that my reunion with Claire is delayed, and return to my book.

11:30: Claire comes to see me. She is perfect, as is her breathing, and I hold her while JP and I just stare. As a last minute decision I decide to try nursing when asked and it goes well. I'm about to be transferred to my regular room where my mom can join us and we can all sit and stare at Claire some more.

12:00: I'm in my very big, very nice room with my mom, Claire, and JP. I'm regaining some of the feeling in my feet and legs but am still numb enough not to be in any pain. After a little bit Claire goes back to the nursery for her assessment, so I ask for my laptop to see all the pictures my OB made sure JP took and write a quick post for you all.

The rest of the day goes by pretty quickly. My aunt and grandparents (dad's parents and sister) arrive from Houston around 2:00 to visit our new baby girl, as does my dad (we weren't expecting him until late Friday night, apparently he was telling someone our good news and his boss overheard and sent him packing to Austin). My spinal wears off and I start taking the percocet which controls the pain just fine. Claire continues to nurse and sleep like a champion little newborn and we all waste away the afternoon holding her and gazing at her little face. I'm on an all-liquid diet for the first day, but don't have any appetite anyway.

At around 4:30 my mom leaves to pick up Landon from daycare and take him to the hospital to meet his baby sister. The rest of my extended family returns to their hotel so that Landon won't be overwhelmed when he arrives at the hospital.

I am SO happy to see him and the introduction goes very well. At about 7:00 JP heads out to meet everyone for dinner. I encouraged him to go so I could have some alone time with my computer, my book, my baby, and perhaps get a bit of sleep. He comes back to sleep in the room with me and while holding Claire keeps commenting on how small and fragile she seems. I think she seems huge and hearty after Landon and all of his tubes in the NICU. Neither of us can really believe we've just been given our baby with no strings attached and that we can hold her as much as we want.

All in all, it was a perfect day. A c-section is a little weird in its speed and sterility, but I expected that and didn't think it took away from my birth experience- it was what was needed for my situation and I wouldn't change a thing. The nurses and doctors were all so friendly and the room felt very happy. My recovery has been great and I feel nearly as good one week out as I did after Landon's birth. We went on a walk around our circle yesterday and I move around with ease. I've been off the narcotic since Wednesday and haven't had any ibuprofen since Thursday night- and not out of any attempt to be hero, I'm all for using medicine when needed, I just don't hurt. A little sore, a little stiff, but no real pain. My mom left yesterday morning and while we miss her, we've been doing just fine. Landon continues to be delighted by Claire's presence and Claire continues to sleep for a 6.5 hour stretch at night. She is taking a nap with her dad on the couch right now (actually, I'm the only living thing in this house who is not sleeping right now, and that's because I'm not tired - crazy!). We are all doing very, very well.


  1. I'm glad everything went so well! Such a nice, pleasant experience! That's weird that they only let JP come in towards the end isn't it? i think my husband was near me the whole time. I actually asked the nurses to tie my hands so I wouldn't try to feel my tummy while they were doing the c-section- they thought I was weird- ha ha!

    I'm so nervous about having another c-section. You recovered so quickly! I was in the hospital for 5 days total and I think I was on vicadin for at least 2 weeks after that- I must be a wuss :)

    Isn't it amazing the contrast between your first and second experience? SO glad it all went smoothly!

  2. Sounds perfect! And like the planned c-section was a good choice!

    I'm thrilled that she is being such an easy baby for you guys. You've certainly earned it!

  3. Modern medicine is really amazing, isn't it? Thank goodness you planned the c-section. From the pelvic bone marks on her head, it sounds like things might have been a little bumpy otherwise. :(

    So glad you're all well and that your recovery so far has been easier than you expected. That's great!

  4. Hi Cee! JP was only out in the hall for about 8 minutes, but since she was "born" so fast, it does seem like he had to wait until the end. And, if it helps to give you some reassurance for future babies, I think a HUGE part of my quick recovery (and the good pictures afterward ;) came from the fact that it was a planned c-section and didn't come after hours and hours of labor. Should you need a c-section again I'm certain it would be a different experience for you and the recovery wouldn't be nearly so rough!

  5. I wish more people would write c-section birth stories like this! I'm so happy that it went so well for you, and that you're recovery's been quick.

  6. Congratulations from a fellow attorney/fan out in California! Claire is beautiful, and I'm so glad the birth and recovery have gone so smoothly.

  7. I've just shown my 4.5 year old niece the pictures of the new baby, as we held her 10 month old brother on my knee, playing with an old mouse.

    She asked me if you are my friend and if I have been to your house.

    I said you were in America, and no I hadn't bee to your house (although I do feel I've had a good virtual tour), but that you write stories about your baby and put them on the computer.

    Later she wanted to look at the baby in the hospital again - she was quite entranced by Claire.

  8. Pregnancy Journal Giveaway

  9. Congratulations! She is gorgeous!

  10. What an awesome story! And the makeup/hair was a great idea - you looked fantastic and it didn't even occur to me that you had planned that. Ha! Good one. :-)