It’s been 5 days since Claire came into the world. 5 days of snuggles, just breathing in that fresh newborn smell. I have a hard time putting the birth of Claire into words. It was so different than her big sister Leah’s story, much calmer and peaceful and present. I started labor on the night of November 30th and I spent the night laboring quietly with Brett, breathing through contractions that hit hard every 3 minutes. At the beginning of labor Claire was sunny side up, meaning that most of my contractions hit HARD in my lower back. Brett was always there, massaging away and pushing back against the contraction with all the force he could muster. As morning came my contractions got closer and closer together and we called my mom to come and meet us at the hospital. I wanted my mom to be in the room with this birth and we were lucky to have a close friend who ran over to watch Leah so my mom could be there with us. She arrived a little after 10 am and by 11:30 I felt ready to push. As we waited (quite impatiently on my end) for my doctor to arrive I asked my mom to take some pictures of our sweet girl entering the world. That is one thing we did not have with Leah (since Brett was obviously focused on me and the birth of his daughter) and I really wished we had pictures that captured those first amazing moments of life. A little after noon, the doctor was there, the room was set up, and I was more than ready to deliver this baby. I pushed like crazy through 3 contractions and, in less than 10 minutes, at 12:17 pm, Claire Diana made her way into the world. At one point during the delivery my doctor tried to convince me to take a break, but through the heat and the pain I slipped into a zone and continued to push. She just laughed and said “Okay, it seems like you have a plan of your own, so I’ll just let you keep doing what you’re doing.” This delivery was so different than Leah’s. I felt every push, every rip and tear, every move of my girl making her way out, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Although this was (by far) the most painful experience of my life, it was also the most exhilarating. As corny as it sounds, I felt like a warrior as I pushed with all my strength. I felt strong, I felt powerful, I felt amazing. Claire’s delivery was the epitome of the miracle of birth and, as soon as she arrived, I was ready to give birth again and again. The endorphins were rushing and all I could do was laugh, as tears streamed down my face, and repeat over and over again, “She is so beautiful! Isn’t she so beautiful? Have you guys ever seen a baby more beautiful?” I’m sure my doctor and our nurse started thinking I was insane. I just lied there, holding this gorgeous little creature, repeating over and over again how beautiful and perfect she was while my doctor quietly stitched me up.
Later, as I looked at the pictures my mom was able to capture, I started to cry all over again. They are probably some of the most unattractive pictures of me ever, and yet they are still the most amazing and gorgeous pictures I have ever seen. They completely capture the moment, the exhilaration, the happiness, the exhaustion, the LOVE that was felt at that very moment. And because of that, I know I will cherish these photos forever and share them (and her story) with Claire once she is older.
The rest of our hospital stay was peaceful and relaxing. I’ll share some pictures of Leah meeting her new sister in a different post, but I’ll just say it was just as sweet and emotional as I expected it to be. As it is with second children, Brett and I felt more calm and relaxed during this stay and it helped make the hospital stay feel like a little get-a-way (as much as we missed Leah at home!) We snuggled our new babe, ordered pizza, ate a million snack we brought with us from Trader Joes (seriously we were MUCH more prepared food wise this time around!) and watched movies. Friends came to visit and we passed Claire around the room, where she even met her first friend, 6 week old Colby, for the first time. And now we are home, a family of four, relaxing and enjoying constant baby snuggles. Life is pretty much perfect.