The fact that I had this baby 3 weeks early is probably just as much of a shock to you as it has been for me. I figured that I would go full term, but after pushing a little 6 lb baby out, I am incredibly grateful she wasn't any bigger. :)
Late Friday night/early Saturday morning, I noticed I was having some pretty hard contractions. Harder and more painful than anything I had experienced up to that point in pregnancy. They were inconsistent, at best, so I just figured it wasn't that big a deal. I wasn't terribly worried or concerned. Saturday morning, Dallin asked me if I wanted to go to the gym with him, but because I had been up some of the night with contractions, I was pretty tired and decided I wasn't going to go with him. Then, right before he left, I noticed I had quite a bit of fluid leaking out of me and it was tinged with blood. Once again, I figured I was just getting to the end of the pregnancy and wrote it off as not a big deal. I got in the shower and then all the sudden I started having contractions that were rocking. my. world. I had to lean up against the wall and just concentrate on my breathing. After I got out, I sat down and drank a bunch of water, thinking that would help, but they just kept coming.
I finally started considering the possibility that I was, in fact, in labor and thought about calling Dallin at the gym, but figured he would be home soon enough and then we could head to the hospital. (Yeah, I know, I'm kinda dumb.) Then I got a text from Dallin asking me if I was feeling any better from that morning and I replied I thought I was in labor. He couldn't believe I hadn't called him, but things hadn't seemed that bad. Then suddenly, the contractions started coming fast and furious. I suddenly thought, "I wonder if we're even gonna make it to the hospital!" Dallin got home from the gym and we sprinted (read: Ashley waddled) to the car and hit every green light to the hospital. Hallelujah. I had a couple hard contractions on my way to the hospital and then as I was checking in, I had a few more. I was in so much pain at this point that I just wanted to get into a room and have an epidural as quick as was humanly possible. A triage nurse came to get me and led me to a room to check me out, explaining that she just wanted to make sure I was really in labor. This whole time, I am thinking, "if this isn't labor, then just shoot me now, 'cause it can't get any worse than this!" I got undressed and into my hospital gown as fast as I could, and she checked me (which was about as uncomfortable as all get out, holy crud!) and then she looked at me with shock in her eyes and said, "you're dilated to a 9!! We're moving you into your own room NOW!" I was kind of shocked, but not really, because of the amount of pain I was in. I asked the nurse on the way to my room if I was too late for an epidural (which I figured I was) and she said they MIGHT be able to get me one. Then she asked, "what's your plan for pain management?" Just then I had a contraction and I blurted out, "the epidural! That was my plan for pain management!!" She just started laughing. Luckily, I found humor in the situation as well. :)
They got me into my room and the nurses were just scrambling everywhere. I kind of felt bad. But then another contraction would hit and I didn't feel so bad anymore. I just wanted to be out of my misery. Those contractions were so hard and the urge to push was starting. My doctor came in (she was AMAZING. LOVED her) and she checked me and said I was actually more like an 8, not a 9, so they were going to get the anesthesiologist in to me STAT! :) He came in and gave me my epidural and within 15 minutes, I was in heaven. I also received an amazing blessing from Marcus and Dallin and things went smooth from there on out. I pushed for about an hour and a half, got hung up on her high little cheekbones, then out she came! The doctor flipped her over, asked Dallin if he wanted to tell me what it was, and we were both so overcome with emotion when he said it was a girl. They plopped her on my stomach, she started crying (we were already crying :)) and the rest is history.
It's been a crazy roller coaster so far. This is the hardest, most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. Claire came to this world at 6 lbs. 3 oz. 18.5 ins long and left the hospital at 5 lbs. 12 oz. She dropped further down to 5 lbs 8 oz. and we were getting pretty scared. I was supposed to go to Claire's pediatrician on Wednesday, but I got a call Tuesday morning at 8:00 telling me they had a last minute cancellation and asked if I would like to come in for a 9:00 appt? For some reason, I felt I needed to say yes and we went in. That's when we found out that Claire had dropped to 5 lbs. 8 oz. and that we needed to pretty much start shoving food down her throat or else there were going to be negative consequences. So, we did just that, and are continuing to do it now. Our pediatrician was so inspired to call us to fill that appointment on Tuesday. If we had waited til Wednesday, I don't know what might have happened. I think Claire could have potentially been in big trouble. He said for some reason he just remembered the name Claire Calaway and thought of her to fill that appointment. I know there were higher powers at work in her behalf. For that, I am truly grateful.
So now we have feedings that are 2-3 hours apart all day everyday and after I feed, I pump like it's nobody's business! :) She's back up to 5 lbs 15 oz. and, the way she has been eating lately, she'll be up to her birth weight in no time flat. Meanwhile, I'm not getting much rest or much of anything done, but I am loving my new job as mommy. It feels so weird to have a daughter and know that she is ours. Dallin is probably the worlds best dad and is totally in love with Claire. He sits with her on his chest all the time and loves on her all day long. I think it's pretty safe to say that she is just as smitten with him as he is her. We both think she is the most beautiful baby that ever graced this planet (of course, we're not biased at all) and she continues to wrap us around her long little fingers everyday. We're so blessed and are loving every moment of this new journey.
Oh, and we just moved yesterday to a new apartment in our building so that Claire would have her own room. No big deal. We could NOT have done it without the help of my wonderful angel mother and Claire's two biggest fans, Marcus and Ash. With their help, we were able to move apartments and get everything cleaned and squared away. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Marcus, Ash and Mom. We love you guys and appreciate you so much!! I especially want to thank my mom for all her help this week. She has fed us delicious, healthy meals, has run errands for us, helped me with the late night feedings so that I could get a little extra sleep and was super mom/mother-in-law/grandma all week long. I couldn't have made it through this first week without her. I love you, Mom!! Now Valerie, we need you here to fill the grandma void. :)
So, here are some pictures from the first week of little Claire Calaway's first week of life.
Claire's Favorite Place: Daddy's Chest
She's already starting to suck her thumb!