A Tale Of Baby's Arrival

Over much humming,
and asking a few girls,
I came to the conclusion to tell 
the Tale of Baby's Arrival.

This version will be censored
because I don't know who 
the audience will be.
Men and women alike can read it
and not have to be sick to their stomachs,
look at me any other way than the already do,
and save whatever dignity I have left.

It all started about 3 weeks before her actual arrival.
Yes, you read that right: 
Week one - contractions about 5 minutes apart,
lasting anywhere from a couple of hours to ten hours.
Then the next week, nothing.
The following week, 
contractions again off and on.

My mom and dad arrived mid week,
finishing off their road trip with a visit in Portland.
We had been saying how it would be nice
if she arrived when they were here.
Early Saturday morning they were planning to depart to return home.
By Friday I was cranky,
I was big, hot and uncomfortable.
My dad suggested using reverse psychology,
so jokingly I was saying things like,
'Fine, come whenever. I don't care.'

That night I hit the hay earlier then everyone else.
When Spencer  came to bed at about 11:20,
I got up to use the washroom.
(Surprise, surprise.)
When I returned I was standing next to the bed
saying something to Spencer when
I thought I'd peed!
But nope, again.
And more to follow.
We called the hospital ignoring their
suggestion to eat something
(stupid, stupid, stupid!)
woke up my parents
and drove to hospital.

Once there the nurse (Jeannette) tested to see
if my water had broken, and it had.
I had been hooked up to the monitors to
see how Claire was doing
and what my contractions were doing.
Baby was doing great,
moving around so much it was hard to
keep track of her heart rate.
My contractions were VERY far apart.
I was having one about every 45 minutes to an hour,
and I wasn't even sure when I was having one.

We spent the evening sleeping,
waking up every so often for checks.
The next morning I hadn't progressed at all.
Now that my water had broken,
there was a risk of infection.
Because my contractions were still
pretty far apart,
and I wasn't dilating
I was put on medicine to help
me progress early Saturday morning.
By lunchtime,
things were progressing a bit more.
But because I hadn't eaten since dinner out
with my parents Friday at 5:30,
I didn't know what was worse at that point,
the contraction pains or the hunger pains.

During the day visitors
(my parents and Marissa)
were a nice distraction from the long day.
But by late afternoon it was hard to have
other people in the room.
I felt bad because I couldn't focus on
them being there because I had to focus so much
on breathing through each contraction.

In the afternoon my doctor
came and talk to me about a couple
procedures she wanted to do.
One of the was a monitor that they insert into
the uterus to precisely measure the contractions and their strength.
The other is a small incision made just beneath
the baby's scalp to accurately measure
baby's heart rate.
This is because it is illegal in the state of Oregon
to be on the medicine and not measure baby's heart rate.
It took about 4 or 5 tries to insert the heart rate monitor.
This by far was the most pain I have ever experienced,
and yes that does include giving birth to Claire.
My poor baby had two little sores on the
top of her head because of it.

By late afternoon my contractions
were climbing one on top of the other
making impossible to rest between each one
and difficult for me to catch my breath in between.
This is when I consulted our day nurse,
Elizabeth, about pain medications.
My doctor and Elizabeth told me about
Fetanol. A pain medication
that does not take away the pain,
it just makes you not care about it.
She described it like having a couple margaritas.
It sure did feel like that,
but unfortunately each dose only lasted about 10 minutes.
I had two doses before I was asking
to get to meet the anesthesiologist.

My mom was there with me during this really intense part
and I could tell it was hard for her to see me that way.
Both of us had shiney eyes.
Doctor Feelgood came down and explained things to us,
and answered our questions.
Spencer and I had already done PLENTY
of our own research on labor and delivery,
so we (I) decided about 5 minutes after he left the room
that I wanted him back.

Nurse Elizabeth joked to me
that girls always say
"Diamonds are a girls best friend"
until they have an epidural.
Then it changes to
"Anesthesiologists are a girls best friend."
So true!

While he was doing the procedure
(what an EXTREMELY calm and competent man!)
I had another dose of Fetanol.
After which I apparently
( I saw apparently because I have no memory of it)
sent a text message to a variety of people that said
"Just got an epidural and its AWESOME!" 
Were you one of them?

The medication they gave me in my epidural
first was numbing.
I loved watching the screen that displayed the monitors' readings
and seeing that I was having a big contraction but not feeling a thing.
Later it was switched so that I could feel pressure,
feel contractions,
be able to move my legs
and when I pinched my thigh I could feel that pain.

That evening was more relaxing.
I believe that if I hadn't gotten the epidural
I wouldn't have progressed as quickly
and my story would look differently.
Spencer and I napped on and off
throughout the evening and night.

The nurses switched shifts at 7pm,
and although we were so sad to see
Elizabeth go home we were very
excited that I was back in Jeannette's care.
She was there with us for Claire's birth,
and Elizabeth returned the next morning to see her as a newborn.

When I slept,
I progressed rapidly.
I did not argue with the nurse when she would
turn out the lights and tell me to sleep more!

By 1 am I was awake
and wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep.
I was checked and it was confirmed that it would be soon!
By this point I was really, really hungry.
I hadn't eaten for well over 24 hours.

At about 2, I asked Jeannette how to push.
I'd never thought about how it would work.
She explained it to me,
then suggested I practice.
She and Spencer counted to 10 as I pushed.
Then she left Spencer and I to "practice" together.
I thought I was practicing almost the entire time!
Even when she called the doctor to come up
it didn't dawn on me that I was actually doing it.
I remember really getting into 'practicing',
even being able to push twice during contractions a few times.

At about 2:55 Jeannette told me
that she thought I could have her born by 3:30
and that if I did, she would bring me a turkey sandwich.
That was around the time that I really tried!
(She was born at 3:39, and they ran out of turkey
so she brought me egg salad. Blech.)

At about 3:10 or so,
Jeannette said she may be delivering the baby
herself if the doctor didn't come up!
This was the first time I realized that
it was all going down.
The baby was coming down and Spencer could now
see the top of head.
The look on his face was priceless.

Jeannette told me to reach down and touch the baby's head.
If you had asked me two days before if I would do that,
my response would have been something like,
"Ew gross! No way!"
But I am so glad I did.
That was the moment it hit me,
she's so close!
She's here!

I had to try not to push until the doctor came up.
It was only a matter of a couple of minutes,
but it was so hard not to push!
As soon as the doctor came in the door,
I started to push again.
It was such a short time,
but I remember at one point
I had Jeannette to my left along with Stephanie
(Claire's nurse),
Dr. V in front of me ready to catch,
and Spencer to my right.
They were all saying
"Push! Good job! Just a couple more pushes!"
I remember looking at Jeannette and thinking
"What do you THINK I am doing?!"

Three contractions after the doctor
arrived Claire was born!
The put her on my chest and started wiping her off.
The next moments were such a blur.
I remember looking at her,
being grossed out by the umbelical chord,
and trying to look at her little face.
The doctor clamped the chord and told Spencer to cut.
We had wanted to wait until the chord stopped pulsing,
so Spencer asked if we could wait a bit.
The doctor said,
"We can't." so he cut.
She looked at me and told me everything was
going to be okay, but the nurse just needed to see her.

the words "going to be okay" and the fact that
she wasn't crying would scare me.
But I felt such a peace about
Her being here,
Spencer being with her
and Nurse Stephanie who is a pro
taking care of her.

About 30 seconds later
Claire started to cry.
She wasn't breathing until that point
because she had so much fluid in her lungs.
She was put back onto my chest
while the doctor helped me.
She was so sweet.
Her dark charcoal eyes studying me for the first time
and me studying her.
It was such a sweet moment,
the three of us together.

3:39 am Sunday, July 31st.
Already a very special day for my family,
as that day was Matt and Lauren's first anniversary!
She weighed 7 pounds and 9 ounces
and was 18 1/2 inches long.
The smallest baby born that night.

She was so content and alert the hours after her birth.
Looking around, really studying people's faces.
She nursed about an hour after she was born
and latched on like a old pro.
So thankful for that,
and things are still going that well!
We laid together in my bed,
both kind of sleepy,
both hungry.

My parents stayed the weekend,
and were able to be there less than 2 hours after Claire arrived.
Howard and Diane came right after we called them
and arrived right around lunch time.
So thankful that both sets of parents
were able to share such a special day with us!

Claire Teresa.
Claire after Spencer's maternal grandmother
who passed away in 2000.
I never got to meet Grandma Claire
but I have heard so many great things about her.
A legend among the Westerhof family.

Teresa is after my mom.
Mother Teresa.
It only seemed appropriate to name
my daughter after my mother
who has been such an important and influential
woman in my life.
I am sure that Claire will live up to both of her names!


  1. Love, love, love the video! So thankful for Claire's safe arrival. You did awesome.

  2. very cool of you to post!
    i was a couple seats down from whitney when you sent the "Just got an epidural and its AWESOME!" and we all laughed!
    so proud of you!
    can't wait to see ya

  3. Precious! She is a beautiful and alert little girl! I hope I get to meet her before she is all grown up!!


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