Friday, April 1, 2016

Claire Marie Hays

The baby was three days overdue when an unpleasant gush of fluid woke me at 2:45 AM. Did I just wet the bed?--always my first thought when my water breaks. I tried heaving myself over to the bathroom, but I felt all that fluid building up and knew I wouldn't make it.

"Robb, I need a towel."

He stayed home the day before with a fever and still felt lousy before going to bed, so it took him a minute to process my words. We gathered our things, ate a solid oatmeal breakfast, called our friend Ashley to watch Colby and Alice (I learned later that Colby woke up right after we left and didn't quite make it to the bathroom), and left home around 3:50 AM.

I was the third pregnant woman in the hospital that morning with ruptured membranes and no labor. We waited a bit in the lobby and then waited a bit more in triage (one of the women had an emergency c-section because her baby was breech).
We finally scored a room and poor Robb went and collapsed on the couch, while the night nurse, Becca, put in my IV (side note: she did a great job. The best place for IVs are just above the wrist and she nailed it). She started fluids and wished me luck before shift change. My next nurse was the charge nurse. I felt a little proud when I heard that because they only get the easy patients (and I think every nurse wants to be an easy patient). She took one look at me and said if I was still that comfortable in one hour she would start the induction (because I obviously wasn’t in labor).
The hour passed and unfortunately I felt great, so she hooked up the pitocin at 7:43 AM and stuck this enormous peanut shaped thing between my legs.

Then we waited. Robb fell almost immediately into a Tylenol induced sleep and I lay with thoughts of this new little girl and how our little family was about to change.

The anesthesiologist came in just as my contractions were really kicking in and made my life a whole lot easier. The next few hours dragged by. Robb woke up every once in awhile, but his fever kept him fairly comatose. Baby girl provided the only entertainment by moving so much she threw off her heart monitor.

Earlier the nurse told me to call when I needed to push. So when the urge to push came I made the call. “The doctor’s busy in another room, so you’ll just need to wait until she’s available.” Even with the epidural, forcing my body not to push was incredibly painful. I lasted 15 minutes before calling again, “I really need to push now!” Fortunately, the doctor was ready at that point, so a couple more intense contractions while she got everything set up and we were ready to go.

Side note: the OBGYN clinic we go to is a group of doctors that take turns being on call, so you never really know who you’ll deliver with. Dr. ( ) also delivered Alice and did an amazing job, so when I saw her come into the room, I knew we were in good hands.

It took ten minutes and three hard pushes and our little girl was out. She immediately peed all over the doctor, soaking through her clothing shield and getting her scrubs wet. Dr. said she usually only has that problem with boys.
She weighed 7 lbs 3 ounces and measured 21 inches long: the heaviest and tallest of the Hays’ children. She wanted to eat immediately, but either she wasn’t getting enough or took awhile to get the hang of nursing because she cried for the first 45 minutes of her life. She’d nurse, look up at me, howl, and then try and nurse some more. I worried for a while about surviving with two kids and colicky baby, but she calmed down once her stomach was full.
Then came the moment where we needed to name this baby. Charlotte was our original choice, but it was getting too popular. Claire and Mollie were our next contenders. We stared at our little girl and her little labor smushed face and tried to decide what she looked like. Robb voted for Mollie and I wanted Claire. Either Robb's will was weak from the flu or my exhaustion got me pity points, but I won: Claire Marie Hays.

Robb really managed to be there for the two of us during labor, but he looked awful. As soon as we moved from our delivery room to the recovery wing, I sent him home.

Even though I told him to go, I felt a little abandoned in our hospital room with a new baby who cried whenever she was awake. The Mother/Baby nurse came in, introduced herself and immediately got after me for giving Claire a pacifier (“it makes her think she’s already eaten”) and woke up my poor sleeping baby. Then--thankfully--she left with a promise to be back within a hour to assess both of us.
So there Claire and I were, alone in our room. Without any other distractions, I got to take all of her sweetness in. Her big, blue eyes, her soft tufts of red hair (hopefully--we were sure it was red until her bath and then when she came back all clean, it looked more brown), and her little button nose. Her fingers and toes are very long and her little arms and legs have folds of loose skin (Robb calls it elephant skin) that are just waiting to be fattened. She is perfect.
We eventually gave up on the nurse coming back in the promised hour and went to sleep. Claire woke up every couple of hours to cough/gag up wads of brown mucus (she eventually had her stomach suctioned out, which helped a lot), but besides that it was a calm night. Becca, my amazing nurse from the previous night, came to check in on us and meet Claire before starting her shift.
Mom flew in the night Claire was born, but it was late so she waited to meet her newest grandchild with Colby and Alice.
My friend Denise made a baby blanket and sent it with Mom. Colby was so excited to give it to Claire. The very first thing he said to her was, "Hi, Baby Claire! I have a blanket for you!"
And this is a fairly accurate picture of their relationship.
Alice's second breakfast
Mom took Colby and Alice home while we finished up paperwork and stayed the required 24 hours
And then we were home
Now that my milk is in, Claire is an angel baby. She's rarely fussy, only wakes up once or twice a night, and tolerates a lot of loving abuse from her older siblings.
I'm so grateful to my mom for coming down. She kept us fed, snuggled Claire when I needed a break, and kept the other two from killing each other. 
Even though moments like this hurt my heart a little--seeing Alice try to be the baby of the family again--I know she will be a gentler, more giving person because of her new role as big sister. We've all had to adjust ourselves a bit, making room in our home and our lives for this new person. But one look at Claire's squishy little baby face and all four of us know she's worth it.

Claire’s birth (by Robb)

I happened to get a nasty fever a couple of days before Claire was born. The night before, I took a couple of Tylenol, went to bed, and was awoken around 3 AM by Lakin saying that she was pretty sure her water was breaking. Fortunately, the Bloods were on standby and Ashley was able to come over to babysit while we got in the car and headed to the hospital. We got to the hospital around 4 or 5 AM and headed right to triage. We were only there for 30 minutes or so and then we were ushered to the delivery room. They hooked Lakin up to Pitocin just as the Tylenol I had taken the night before began to wear off. I had the foresight to bring some of my own along with a bag of Cheetos. I was able to get some rest on the couch/bed while Lakin gradually slipped deeper into labor. The bed was much more comfortable once I figured out that it expanded to over 6 ft long. I spent the next few hours in and out of awareness as the Tylenol went to work keeping me lucid. Fortunately, by the time Claire arrived, I was feeling much better and was able to eat some lunch. The cafeteria’s options weren’t the greatest, but it did the job. Claire arrived and immediately greeted the world by peeing on the doctor and screaming her little head off. She proceeded to cry for the next 30 minutes while the nurses did their various checkups. Once little Claire was finally allowed to eat, she seemed very grateful. She definitely had red hair, just like her brother. It became a little less red once she got her first bath. I stayed for a while longer until it was time to go home and get some good sleep. I came back the next day with Lakin’s mom and Colby and Alice. They were all immediately smitten. It took us awhile to get her middle name worked out, but once the Social Security administrator came the next day we pronounced her Claire Marie Hays.

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