This post is all about birthin’ babies. How apt that it should come on “labor” day!
My girlfriends and I were talking this week at coffee about how hearing birth stories and telling birth stories NEVER gets old, no matter how far removed you are from the actual event. I wanna know details of how each and every one of my friends babies came into this world, and I’m totally not alone in this desire. It’s just a thing with girlfriends. One person starts talking about when her baby was born…and 30 minutes later everyone at the table has joyfully added to the conversation.
Amongst my friends there are home births, water births, hospital births. Natural, C-Section, Epidural. Great doctors and terrible doctors. Good midwives and bad midwives and angelic nurses and really, really mean nurses. Gimme details about each and every one – I love it!!!!
I’m linking up with my friend Daja for her “Empowered Birth Week”, and using this post to record for posterity some of my favorite memories from each of the Cliff babes. Click on over to her site, and join the fun!
During my first pregnancy, I read every pregnancy book I could get my hands on and then re-read them just for good measure.
When I was about 38 weeks along, the Dr. assured me “any day now…you probably won’t make it to your next visit….see you at the hospital….”
That was so very cruel of her. I left that visit thinking it would be “any day”, and Ryan didn’t decide to arrive until 7 days AFTER his due date…three long weeks after the Dr. gave the “any day now” declaration! Lesson: Due dates are dumb. Just enjoy each day of pregnancy and know the baby will come when it’s time.
Jonathan and my mom were both present for Ryan’s birth. It was a great experience, with both of them tearfully telling me how proud they were of me and cheering me on. After a lot of hard work, Ryan finally entered the world “sunny side up” (explaining my back labor and the huge knot on his head) weighing in at 8 lbs 3 oz.
A word about epidurals: Upon hospital check-in I signed my name “Starr Epidural Cliff” (not really) and had great medicated labor and delivery experiences with all three kids. My pain was controlled but I was not completely absent of feeling; I could move my legs, turn-over, walk around immediately after birth, feel when it was time to push, etc. My babies all made their arrivals active, alert, and nursing well! I say, if you want to have a natural delivery, do it! But if you want to have pain medication, do it! Don’t let anyone make you feel like less of a woman or less of a mama for the choice you make. Having a baby is beautiful work. Period.
I got pregnant with Dylan when Ryan was 8 months old. So, having just had a baby 8 months prior, I read zero pregnancy books during my pregnancy with Dylan. Already the poor kid was suffering from 2nd child syndrome!
When it was time for Dylan to arrive, the hospital was crazy crowded, and we were put in a triage area to await a delivery room. A lady on the other side of the curtain dividing up the area started yelling “I am having this baby RIGHT NOW!”, and a few minutes later there was a guttural scream from the mother, a profanity laced outburst from the father, then a nurse screaming “I’ve got a baby in the bed!” It was wild and awesome. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend someone else’s delivery, so that stranger on the other side of the curtain is as close as I’ve come.
We finally got a delivery room, and I was given my epidural and told it would probably be a few hours before Dylan arrived. I sent Jonathan down to the cafeteria to get himself some dinner. About 2 minutes later, alone in the hospital room, I knew, “Um. It’s not gonna be a few hours. It’s gonna be right now.” I called Jonathan on his cell and told him to get back up to the room IMMEDIATELY. The nurse finally came after repeated buzzings. She seemed skeptical that the baby was imminent, but when she finally took a peek she said, “Oh my goodness! There he is! I see his hair!” She told me to wait on the doctor, and I promptly screamed at her to “GET AN INTERN, OR GET READY TO CATCH THIS BABY YOURSELF!” About that time the doctor strolled in, and one push later Dylan made his arrival. 7 lbs, 11 oz. It was perfect.
My doctor with Dylan was incredible. He was empathetic and kind and wise and awesome. I’ve never had a better doctor before or since. If you live in the Dallas area, I highly recommend Dr. Blair.
My father-in-law was in town playing a softball tournament, and came to take us out to dinner at Denny’s. I was craving breakfast for dinner, and devoured a plate full of fried eggs over easy. We talked that night at dinner with my father-in-law about how great it would be if Lauryn made her arrival while he was in town…and she must have been listening!
Remembering how quickly Dylan was born, I was just SURE Lauryn’s delivery would happen at lightening fast speed. I remember making Jonathan rush to the hospital for fear she might be born en route. Nope. Lauryn took her sweet time in arriving. After only pushing one time with Dylan, I felt kinda put out at how much that little girl was making me work! She was the smallest of my babies at 7 lbs 3 oz, and she was so dainty and perfect.
With each of my babies, I distinctly remember feeling so very grateful and humbled that I was able to be a participant in the magic of their arrival. How do you describe welcoming a human being to the planet? How can you convey the joy of witnessing someone’s first breath? You just can’t. It felt, and still feels, so very weighty and supernatural and magical.
I was holding Ryan when he was mere hours old, and I said outloud to Jonathan, “I can’t wait to do this again.” I’m so privileged I got my wish two more times.
If there are any more Cliff babies, they will come via adoption. Jonathan and I both feel like adding to our family that way is a huge possibility. We’ll see what kind of story God writes for us as we continue in our foster-care adventures. I can’t wait to tell that story.