Friday, November 7, 2014

Clark Conrad

He's here. Boy, have I been ready to say that for a while! Clark is here and happy and so are we. I figured a little birth story is in order since it's been a while since I blogged in general. Like the other two birth stories this one will be lengthy, detailed, and full of pictures. Enjoy!

I guess I should start at the beginning with a quick recap of the pregnancy. Patrick and I had talked about having another baby since last summer but knew it made the most sense for our family to wait until the New Year to really think seriously about it. I had never experienced baby fever until last Fall. I got pregnant with Miles and Grant sooner than I had the chance to feel an extreme want for a baby. So by the time Thanksgiving rolled around I was becoming more and more jealous of pregnant woman and dreaming about newborn babies.
In February we thought we might be pregnant. Then, Patrick went to his old office and his former coworker said she'd had a baby dream and knew it was us who was pregnant. (if you recall, she had these dreams with Miles and Grant and knew we were pregnant before we did). My heart leapt when Patrick told me the news. I went straight upstairs and took a test.
I told myself it was just too early and decided to wait a couple days until I took another test.
The following week I told Patrick I would take a test in the morning before he left for work so he could be there when we found out. It was a Wednesday morning and I was so excited when Patrick's alarm went off. It was time to find out if anyone was in there! We got up and I took the test as Patrick brushed his teeth. I set the test on the counter and at the same time we looked down and saw that little plus sign for the third time. I smiled and said I couldn't believe it and Patrick, still brushing his teeth, gave a thumbs up and mumbled "I knew it."
Patrick was not surprised at all. Figures. I was and wasn't surprised. It was still shocking and crazy to see the proof that Clark was in there but at the same time it's almost as if I knew it all along. That weekend we put in laminate hardwood floors. Remember that?

Moving on. The pregnancy felt exactly the same as my other two. It went extremely quick until September rolled around. I loved that we were so busy during the summer because it took my mind off of how much time I had left. I thought having a low-key Fall would be nice because of how big I'd be but honestly it sucked. It made each day feel so long. My last 8 weeks felt like 8 months.

Finally, the weekend before Clark was born my Braxton hicks picked up in intensity and one night I claimed they were contractions because they kept me awake and pacing the house for a good 5 hours in the middle of the night. They acted just as they did when I was in early labor with Miles; they didn't get stronger or closer together so I knew it wasn't quite time to go to the hospital. The next day everything was back to normal so it definitely wasn't "go time."
The following weekend Patrick and I planned to have the boys up at his parent's house from Saturday to Monday so we could have one last weekend to get things together and enjoy a little quiet time together. Turns out we had great planning...
David and Rhonda came down Friday night because we would all be going to Austin's birthday party the next day. On Saturday morning Rhonda and I figured we'd try to get some contractions going because the night before I noticed things were getting going a little. So, she and I went shopping and walked all around the mall and Toys R Us. I only noticed a couple contractions throughout the morning but nothing trackable. Then we went to the party. I stood almost the whole time I was there but was practically contraction-free.
After the party David and Rhonda took the boys back to Everett with them and Patrick and I invited his brother, Jason, and his girlfriend, Tatiana, out to see a movie and get Thai food. I had a popcorn and slushie craving so after getting everything we got settled in our seats. About 45 minutes into the movie I felt a rather strong contraction. I didn't think much of it until another one hit about 5 minutes later. Then another, and another all roughly 5 minutes apart. These were so strong that I needed to breath through them. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and was worried I was huffing in Jason's face so I got up to walk around and see if they spread out.
The contractions spread out like I thought they would but didn't stop completely. I stood for the last 20 minutes of the movie counting only a few more contractions. When the movie was over we were concerned/excited that I was having some good contractions but I said it still wasn't time so we should go eat some spicy Thai food to see if I can light a fire under these guys and kick start this labor thing.
I timed contractions through dinner. They were coming every 4-8 minutes. Very inconsistent but they still didn't stop. I really enjoyed myself spending time with Patrick on what I started to realize would be our last date night for a while. It was fun spending time with Jason and Tatiana too because they were excited about me being in labor and the prospect of meeting Clark soon. But alas, dinner came to an end, the contractions didn't, but I could tell it still wasn't time so we said our goodbyes and headed home.
I continued to time the contractions throughout the night but they basically stayed the same. Around 2:30am I had to get up and walk the house again because I couldn't sleep through them and had to breathe through them. The morning dragged on like this. Patrick and I took it easy and watched the last episodes of The Office (we never watched the final season) while I bounced on the exercise ball.
We ate lunch and then I announced that we're going on a ridiculously long walk and getting this baby out. I was DONE timing contractions. I was DONE wondering if this was "it." I was just plain DONE.
Around 2pm, out we went on our 3 mile waddle. It was beautiful outside. It was 70 degrees with a light breeze. The leaves on the trees were slowly falling off and we kicked leaves as we walked the sidewalk. We walked the loop around our neighborhood that Patrick normally runs and we joked that his fitbit would have 3 times as many steps than normal because we were walking so slowly. I only had a handful of contractions so by the time we returned home I was ready to get my mind off the labor.
I suddenly felt an urge to clean. I made the guest bed, tidied Miles and Grant's rooms, cleaned our bathroom, dusted our room, tidied our room and made the bed, swept, cleaned the kitchen, and cleaned the downstairs bathroom. I was having contractions while I cleaned but I just ignored the meaning of them as best I could because I didn't want to get my hopes up that these really strong ones were leading somewhere. I guess I was still in denial about it all. Looking back it's obvious that I was in early labor because I had contractions since 5pm the night before that hadn't stopped. I just didn't want to think it and then everything stops. Nothing is more disappointing than thinking a baby would be in your arms within a few hours and then nothing happens.
Halfway though cleaning our bathroom a contraction hit me so hard I had to support myself on the door frame. The contraction pain peaked 4 times, each time worse than the last. On the last peak of pain I felt a small snapping feeling and teensy gush. I still didn't think much of it and continued cleaning. That is until I felt like I was peeing my pants...
I went to the bathroom and sure enough it was not pee but in fact my waters! My very own broken water. I never thought I would get to experience it. I was so relieved that it was now obvious I was in labor and it was time to go to the hospital. Patrick was at Lowes so I finished cleaning while I waited for him to return. (So that's when I swept and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.)
Patrick arrived, I announced my water had broken, and we packed up and headed out. I was so excited. I was so ready. I was in so much pain. The early labor contractions had nothing on those!
We got checked in and set up in our room around 5pm. I got my IV, was checked and found to be almost 5cm, and waited patiently for the anesthesiologist to bring my epidural. He came around 7:30pm. My goal has always been to make it to 5cm before I got an epidural. That way I'm able to feel and know what contractions are like and my body is able to get close enough to active labor that getting the epidural will basically help me glide through the toughest part of dilation without any slow down (sometimes getting an epidural too early will slow things down or wear off to early).
The epidural worked instantly. As I was getting it Clark was moving around and I realized those were the last movements I was going to feel from him on the inside. I said goodbye to those little kicks and looked onward to seeing his legs making those kicks from the outside.
Although the meds worked right away they didn't work perfectly. I still had a "hot spot" on the lower right side of my stomach. The meds took the edge off the pain but I still had to focus and breath through the contractions. It was tough! You mommas who do it naturally are warriors!
My parents arrived around 9:30pm. While we chatted I breathed through more contractions. About 15 minutes later I felt pressure and let the nurse know. She was surprised I felt pressure already and reluctantly checked my progress when I asked her to. To our surprise Clark was rightthere. He was minutes from crowning. My parents excitedly headed to the waiting room while the nurses and doctors rushed around getting ready.
The nurse was too nervous to move from the table to help get things ready because she could see him moving down with every contraction even though I wasn't pushing. She kept saying she didn't want to move in case he came flying out.
Finally everything was ready and I was told to push. I did a set of three pushes to get my bearings. Then, one of the nurses said that I could deliver on the next contraction. I said "really!? Okay, let's do this." On the next contraction I pushed twice and out he came, not even stopping at the shoulders. He just slid right out at on October 19th at 10:05pm, arms flailing and everything.
He was placed on my stomach and I snuggled him up to my face and just started bawling.  
He was another perfect, perfect baby. He let out the sweetest, softest little cry. They cleaned me up as I nursed and later cleaned him up and gave him to Patrick to hold. One of my favorite parts of childbirth is seeing Patrick hold our boys. There is something magical happening between them and seeing the beauty of how God created family is the most fulfilling feeling I have ever experienced.

Clark weighed 8lbs 2.5oz and was 20.5 inches long.

After we had our time together we invited our parents to come back to meet Clark. They fell in love with him as quickly as we did. We took pictures and relished our first moments with Clark. Later, we decided it was time to head to the recovery room and get some rest.

The next day Rhonda brought the boys back and they all met Clark for the first time. The boys were so precious. In fact, Grant kept calling Clark precious. They gave him kisses and wanted to hold him right away. Miles asked if I could run again because throughout the pregnancy I told him I couldn't play "chase" because there was a big baby in my belly. Grant said "I like the big baby." Rhonda fell in love with him too and enjoyed getting time to cuddle him. 

It was all over. The 9 months of growth, discomfort, baby movements, Dr. appointments, frequent peeing, waddling, sore pelvis, cravings, and heartburn had culminated in the most exciting/scary/perfect hours of giving birth and now it was over. It was now time for a new chapter that lasts a lifetime, one that will come with it's own set of joys and struggles.
All in all this was the quickest labor and delivery I've had yet (if you don't count the really early labor). I prayed throughout my pregnancy that I'd carry to full-term and have a safe, quick, and smooth labor and delivery and I must say that my prayers were definitely answered. Clark was 4 days early and I couldn't have asked for a better labor and delivery. I was hoping all along that it would be obvious to me when to go to the hospital but never thought it would actually happen that way.  

God has truly blessed us. Every day I thank Him for our family, our extended family and all their love and support, and for our health, that we can accept such a perfect gift that was made specifically for us through ours and God's love. Thank you to all for your prayers, well wishes, and sweet comments. We're looking forward to having him meet everyone!

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