To my baby girl, Clara.
If mommy is being fully honest, my labor with you, your birth and days to months after your birth were some of the most difficult moments I’ve ever had to face. It’s hard for me to believe you’re almost one …but you are, and mommy finally feels ready to share our story with the world. Mommy wanted to write our story in a way that would not only tell of our family’s journey from the start but to also, hopefully, be of an encouragement to other mamas and daddy’s out there.
So here we go.
A month before daddy and mommy’s wedding, mommy had a dream. I typically dream lots of dreams and most don’t stand out or make me panic, but this one did. One month before our wedding, in my dream, I was pregnant. Very pregnant. Like 9 months pregnant, ready to pop. I vividly remember feeling utterly confused because mommy and daddy decided to be sexually pure until our wedding. So, what in the world was happening?! This dream felt so real that to this day I remember feeling super anxious, shocked, confused.. and just when I thought I was going to loose it because everything in it felt crazy real, God spoke. I heard Him clearly. He said that I was pregnant with a little girl and her name was to be Clara Paige. And immediately, I woke up.
Let me tell you, mommy has never been more happier to wake up like I was that morning because it meant that this nightmare of a dream was over (not that mommy didn’t want you, but a month before my wedding with the dress all fitted… ahh, you’ll understand one day 🙂
I ran my hands across my belly anddddddddd FLAT. It was flat!!!! The way it was suppose to be. Phew!
Courting days! This gem is from a trip we took up to the White Mountains.
Almost immediately, the next thought was what did this dream mean? Why now? I grabbed my phone and googled Clara and then Paige to get these name’s meanings. Google search pulled up the following. Clara means light/bright and Paige means a young servant. Servant of the light? Bright servant? I liked the sound of them. And I left it at that.
Our Wedding Day 5/24/2014
Children, you baby, were always a part of our near future and so, to our delight, three months into our marriage, we found out we were pregnant! Joy filled our hearts at the thought that we were going to be parents. We thought what a blessing it was to be given this privilege.
What could be more amazing than to be entrusted with the most amazing inheritance anyone could leave on this earth!? We were beyond thrilled.
I have to say, my pregnancy was mostly easy and for that I was super grateful!
Before our 18 week ultrasound, we were 90% sure you were a boy. I mean the way mommy was carrying you, comments from other ‘more experienced’ moms, everything and everyone told me you were a boy. So daddy and I kinda accepted that and rolled with you being a boy. To me, what mattered most was a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, but secretly mommy did wish you were a girl.
So going into this 18 week ultrasound appointment, we were sure we would come out with a resounding confirmation that you were in fact, a boy! To make this even more humorous now that we look back, we went in with 5 boy names and only one girl name. And, well? You turned out to be a GIRL. Boy, were we shocked in that ultrasound room?! But were we thrilled to know that you were planned before your parents were even married. I think that’s pretty cool!
Weeks before your arrival! Mommy was feeling ready!
A few months before your due date, dada and mama decided to go through the Bradley Method Course together. This class was very informative in so many ways. Our instructor, Mandi with In Due Time Childbirth Education, made each class very interesting, empowering and really fun! From practicing labor exercises to lots of laughs to making deep connections with other expecting couples in the class, it was a great time every class! But importantly, I’d say that daddy and mommy were able to journey through this pregnancy together. What I mean by this is your daddy was learning how to be the strength, the support, the expert? in labor and birth! Ha! How cool is that? Mommy sure loved it! So pretty much, daddy was learning all the help that mommy would need and mommy was refreshed with daddy’s strength and support.
Throughout our pregnancy, your daddy was the cook, the house maid, the greatest masseuse, and above all put up with one cranky-hormonally-imbalanced mama.
Dada forever deserves extra skittles, remember that =)
June 16 came, and mommy was tossed into a contraction frenzy. We labored much at home implementing the many techniques we’ve learned with Mandi so by the time we got to the birthing center I was at 6cm! Mommy’s dream was to labor and birth you in the tub (knowing the many benefits of water birth) and so once I was checked, I got into the tub. My wonderful doula and friend Candis with Bearing Joy, met us at the Birthing Center along with my photographer friend Marsha.
To my knowledge, everything was going as planned and I was sure this labor & birth was going to be over soon and I would finally get to hold you.
Candis cared for me so well; soothing massages, words of encouragement and affirmation. Her calming presence gave me strength.
Daddy’s support meant everything to mommy.
We all naturally labored together at the Beverly Birthing Center from about midnight until 11am, and by then, to my relief and delight I fully dilated and was eager to receive you into my arms. After about 2 hours of trying to bring you out into this world, I began to realize something was wrong.
You weren’t coming down. I couldn’t feel you descend, at all.
I remember that intense back labor you gave me coupled with them back to back powerful contractions. With all of this happening every few minutes, you’d think that things were moving along… but I felt like you weren’t making any progress descending, at all.
I just knew there was something that was holding you back, even though I was told to push.
Being a Christian, who takes her faith very seriously, I remember pleading with God, “Why me?” as I was being transferred over to Beverly Hospital. “Why couldn’t I be that mom who got to have her dream water birth? Why couldn’t I have it easy and breezy like others who don’t even plan for it but it just happens?”
Minutes passed, and I quickly began to realize that I may not have the birth I so deeply desired and moments after, I remember feeling like a total failure on top of being utterly exhausted and severely sleep deprived. I just kept praying and asking God one thing, to please not give me that dreaded C-section.
The one thing I totally did not want and wanted to avoid.
About an hour after the transfer, my contractions slowed down (which wasn’t good) and I was given the option of a pitocin to bring them back. I once heard one experienced birth professional put it this way. “Artificial contractions (pitocin) is like being hit with a brick every 2 minutes.” Knowing that fact, I asked for an epidural to help me sleep first before we tried to bring back the contractions artificially.
For the first time in days, I slept. Gosh did that feel amazing! And as I woke up, pitocin was hooked on and minutes into my contractions, mommy began feeling tremendous amount of pain coming on.
I knew epidural was no longer working.
They said, when it gets unbearable simply press the button. Well, I did. I pressed that sweet button so many time that you’d think I would be numb for the rest of my life, but unfortunately I was left with excruciating and debelietating pain. Pitocin was working well by now.
I made sure they knew that their button wasn’t working yet for whatever reason, it took that anesthesiologist quite sometime to come to my rescue.
I couldn’t ride the wave any longer like I knew I had to and was taught to, I was fighting it now…drowning.
Eventually they got it working again and I resumed my trying to bring you out. I was still, deeply determined to birth you in the way I knew I was designed to and in the way I knew I could.
The wonderful doctors and nurses kept coming in with a ton of position ideas to hopefully have you descend. I mean if there was a position then mama has probably tried it. Looking back now, I’m so grateful that the staff stuck with my crazy dream and tried to work with me.
They gave me a chance at my dream birth and I’m so grateful for that!
My pushing lasted for about 6.5 hours and no matter what we all tried, you just weren’t coming down.
Mama was… heartbroken.
I remember crying.
Crying so hard at the thought that not only would my precious baby and I would have to possibly go through a surgery together but that my dream of transitioning into mommy hood in the way I had dreamed for so long – totally natural with bonding at first sight with you – wasn’t going to happen.
But I knew, deep down, God must have had a plan even in this. So I painfully submitted, very upset at how things have progressing.
After more hours of trying, your heart rate began to rise. And by this point, I didn’t even have enough strength to take a deep breath let along give another push. And so, C-section it was.
We were whisked off to the operating room and in a matter of 10 minutes, you baby, Clara Paige was born.
The moment I saw you was SO surreal. In that moment, I totally forgot that I just went through a 40+ hour labor. I forgot where I was, why I was there and I remember just staring at you. This brand new life that is here now, looking around.
Everything was in slow motion now.
I did not get a chance to bond with you first thing as I had planned, nor did you nurse right away. But because of your heart rate concern, they lifted you out of me and whisked you off to the side table. But I saw you. Your long lean body, long fingers and big eyes searched the room.
I laid there on the operating table, arms spread out, shaking violently from anesthesia, crying. Excited at the thought that you were finally here and at the same time wishing this wasn’t happening to me or my baby.
I felt so hurt and upset and exhausted and everything you could think about in a moment when your dream completely disintegrates, I felt it.
After what seemed like forever, they brought you over and laid you on my chest, all bundled up with your tiny nose peeking out. I saw your face and I couldn’t believe I was looking at you, my baby. This precious dear miracle I’ve had the privilege of carrying for the past ten months was finally here, now looking back at me. I leaned in to you to embrace you but instead of embracing you, my sweet baby, I was hitting you with my hands due to my uncontrollable shaking.
I broke down. Gosh, how I wanted to escape that room. Run away with you to a place where it could just be you and me… where we could do this birth the way mommy has dreamed … where we could bond and stare at each other in total peace and bliss..
But I pressed on. All the while pleading with God. Why this?
We were brought back to our room where I finally got to hold you close and thankfully my ferocious shaking subsided.
The feeling of you on my chest can’t compare to anything on this side of earth. Nothing!
I’m so glad daddy was there by your side when mommy couldn’t be. Your bonding with him happened before mine, and I’m grateful for that blessing.
As our 3 day stay was beginning to come to a close, you started loosing weight and to top it off you failed your carseat test. There is such a thing? To make a long story short, you ended up in the NICU.
Again, I couldn’t believe it. And if the weight loss with the NICU wasn’t enough, while in the NICU we were also told that you may have Trisomy 18. Ummm, WHAT? We may loose you now? I couldn’t bare to think of my little girl being gone after I just welcomed you… But after days and many scans and tests it turned out to be the way you liked to fold your fingers that first had them alarmed. Silly huh? 🙂
Gosh were we relieved to hear that! But what we went through?
This is how we spent numerous days of your brand new life. Right by your side.
Days upon days, we lived in the hospital. Eating hospital meals (which were yummy), sleeping in whatever room they had available, pumping every 3 hours, stairs up and down, all with a recent surgery.
I can only say one thing, I couldn’t have done all this in my own strength.
This daily renewed supply of fresh strength, I knew, was coming from God, even though at this point I was upset that He would allow this to happen to me in the first place.
I couldn’t just let it go.
And then finally, the day came when we could take you home. That day, I cried tears of joy knowing that all of this craziness would end.
Gone are the days when I watched them prick your heel 3x a day for a fresh test. Your heels were so scared that they had no where else to prick so they would prick the freshly healed wound. Gone are the days when you were hooked up to many wires and monitored every second.
But that glorious day did come. And we finally got to take you out of there.
Peaceful. Unhooked. Unmonitored. No tests to run. No heels to prick. For the first time, I got to watch you sleep peacefully and undisturbed in your own little crib right by my side.
My heart was full.
Every moment, I held you in my arms and couldn’t believe you were finally here with me, at home.
Exclusive nursing was another dream of mine. However, that too didn’t happen for mommy. Call it stress, effects of a c-section, but I just couldn’t produce enough for you, so you had to be put on a supplement formula. If I were to say that was easy, it wasn’t. I cried every time I gave you food that wasn’t mine. You cried too. You cried because no matter how many different ones we’ve tried, even the top expensive brands out of Germany, some would work for a few weeks but then you would start throwing most of it up with other indigestion issues. This went on for the first three months of your life… we were simply surviving and all the while I was hopeful we would finally find something.
And we did.
Grass fed goats milk.
Since then, you were never the same.
It took mama 10 months to write your birth story. Six of those months, mama spent in postpartum depression. It took me all this time to finally admit it and come face to face with that reality. I fought hard for joy, to love you and daddy as best as I could but still the trauma of all that happened stayed with me. I learned much during my time of grieving and healing. I learned that God is ever close to His children. I also learned that He fearlessly loves His children dearly. I learned that He is unchanging and loves me still the same even though I was so stuck on my own way – my idealistic birth. I learned that His plans for us are better than the plans we may have made for ourselves or the plans we think are best for us. I learned what trust and surrender really mean during these past few months. Today, I can definitely say that my faith in this God I grew up serving, knowing and later believing in jumped leaps and bounds.
What it took to walk by faith and not by sight really started to make sense to me now.
After months of grieving, healing and re-visioning, for the first time, mama joyfully accepted God’s plan for my life.
Your daddy has always been a wordsmith. It’s one of the many reasons why mama married him. One day, he simply reminded us that what we’ve been praying for through our pregnancy was for God to be fully glorified in our labor and birth.
Well, I think God answered that prayer, in His way though.
You’re 1 month old here. Around this time is when you began to give mama lots of smiles. Since coming home from the hospital, you’ve developed this goopy eye infection that seemed to linger for sometime. We eventually got rid of it for good though.
This is you today. My happy sweet 11.5 month old baby girl.
You bring so so so much joy to mommy’s life.
I truly hope our journey will touch many of you, especially those with ‘I’ve got to have it my way’ tendencies. My goal in writing our journey was to empower that mom who’s going into this with ‘her plans’ in mind. Absolutely would I encourage you to trust in your ability to birth your baby but I’d also encourage you to train yourself to look at the other side of what could go wrong and almost expect it – to prepare yourself. I certainly, sorta, well, neglected that side.
The bottom line is this. You story will be unique. Your story will be beautiful. It’ll shape you and teach you lessons which will make you into a better mom and woman.