Friday, May 17, 2013

I have my daughter

If I am not blessed to have another baby, I think I will have to take up some extreme sport to substitute for the adrenaline rush of giving birth. Not that I think giving birth is fun, exactly, and I have been accused of forgoing the birth experience altogether by getting an epidural (as if that were tantamount to being unconscious), but of all the life experiences I anticipated would be surreal, giving birth is the only one that really was. And it was surreal all four times.

Claire was a later arriver (over a week overdue) than Porter and Will, but she maintained the tradition of coming the day before a scheduled induction. As much as I had tried to be photo ready at any moment to head off to the hospital, I managed to go into labor on my day 2 of unwashed hair at 2 in the morning. I had been having contractions all evening, but that was par for the last several days. Still, the contractions combined with my television addiction to prevent me from going to sleep that evening, opting instead to finish out the final season of Justified. Lying in bed watching tv on my laptop, I felt a sudden sharp snap that actually worried me--it was so hard that I thought the baby could have hurt herself in there. Then I felt another one, harder, and suddenly I was gushing water. When my water broke with Porter, it was like a little pinprick to a water balloon. Enough to wake me up (at 6 or 7 am), enough to substantiate with certainty that I was in labor, but nothing drastic or alarming. This time, however, our bedroom looked like a crime scene. I had to bind myself with towels, and even that couldn't do much. I was nervous that my labor would go super fast with this kind of gush and on baby #4, so it seemed like it took my poor mom forever to come to the house (it was probably 10 minutes).

Brigham predicted that Claire would be born at around 6 that morning, an hour before my dr went off-duty and a male dr would take over. He was correct--she was born at about 6:15. I was completely unable to sleep after arriving at the hospital. I was excited and the epidural was not very potent, so sleep was not possible.

When they weighed her and announced that she was 8 pounds, 2 ounces, I didn't believe it for a second. Brigham and I both laughed and denied it could be true. The nurse agreed that there must be a mistake and weighed her again. Nope, this baby girl was a full pound heavier than her next biggest brother. She had lots of dark hair, long fingers and toes, tan skin (I wondered if she could be jaundiced she was so brown) and dark blue eyes. Her face looked like Porter, and later I felt she resembled Will, too.

Of course, after she was born I could not sleep for all the excitement of meeting my baby. I basically couldn't calm down enough to sleep for two days. I still have trouble sleeping at night because I love looking at her and also because I nap during the day and it throws my insomniac-prone sleep schedule off.

Brigham has stayed home these last two weeks, a luxury I had never before experienced. It has been wonderful. Claire has been my easiest baby so far. I know a lot of that is just that I am more experienced plus my husband is around to help with the other kids, but part of it also is Claire's temperment and fatness. She nurses well and is growing beautifully--she exceeded her birth weight within 4 days of her birth. She is so round and chunky, and I haven't driven myself frantic with weighing her before and after each nursing session, as I did with Porter. I feel like a regular mom whose baby magically just grows and sleeps.

My whole life I was sure I would have daughters. I chose Claire's name before I had even met Brigham. I don't even have a runner up name to consider. I tried to add some flair by giving her two middle names: Claire Elizabeth Grace Cannon, but Brigham nixed that. Two middle names is apparently "weird," and if people give me support on doing it, they are only being polite. I love the religious concept of grace, and I wanted to provide a reminder to her to strive to recognize and exemplify His grace. But I guess I will have to go to more effort than just sticking it in her name.

I sit in bed with her lying next to me and gaze at her and wonder what she will be like. It has been different than with the boys. I was fully in love with each one of them, too, of course, but I don't think I looked at them and wondered what kind of men and fathers they would be. I look at Claire and feel this huge sense of responsibility: I am raising somebody's mom. What a blessing.