Monday, August 24, 2015

Norah's Birth Story

I woke up early on July 30, right around 530am, feeling a slight pain in my belly. Something about it was different. I had not felt anything like that during this pregnancy. I continued to doze on and off, but was woken up about every 15 minutes or so by each contraction. I was still very unsure it was a real contraction. I figured maybe braxton hicks or gas, but probably not real labor, just too early. Charlotte was a week late, this baby would be on time or a few days late, but definitely not early! But after two hours of lying in bed and feeling the contractions, I told Matt when he woke up that "today might be the day". He was shocked and excited and immediately called in to work. 

I got up and started my day like any other. My first priority was to shower and wash my hair. haha. I figured if this was actually happening I should at least have clean hair. A little makeup couldn't hurt either. Then it was breakfast for everyone as normal. But every once in a while I would have another contraction. They were still very minor, not too consistent, and far apart. I felt like it wold be a long time before the baby arrived, if she came at all. For some reason I thought it could all just go away at any point. Matt, however, knew it was really happening. Every time I had a contraction he would get excited and say "oh yea, this is DEFINITELY happening today!!" 

So we called the midwife and birth assistant to give them a heads up, and then called his brother to have him come and get Charlotte. I was extremely bored, so I decided to clean the house. I straightened up, vacuumed, and mopped the entire downstairs. The midwife did say that going for a walk could help speeds things up, but since it was 95 outside, vacuuming was my "walk". Exercise in the air conditioning. While I was doing that, Matt got the bedroom all set up. Changing sheets and laying out all the supplies. By lunch time Uncle Jim had arrived to pick up Charlotte. I thought she might be sad to leave and stay over at someone else's house, but she was thrilled. No tears, just an excited "bye Mom!!" as she left. I think I was sadder to see her go. The next time she walked into the house she would no longer be an only child. Crazy.

action shot! Rocking my battle gown Jen got me!

my doula, Mr H. He stuck with me all day

Once Charlotte was gone, I think I mentally relaxed, which allowed the contractions to pick up. 8 minutes apart, 7 minutes apart, getting stronger. Even though I was convinced things weren't that bad and there was probably still a long time until the baby arrived, Matt told the midwife and birth assistant to come over. I'm glad he did too. Our birth assistant Lori arrived around 5pm, checked me and the baby, and got set up. By then the contractions were definitely getting stronger and closer together, 5 minutes. I called my Mom and told her this was it! Then our midwife, Story, arrived at 630pm. She checked me and I was at 5cm. Good progress, but I could still have a long way to go. After a few contractions, and what felt like no time at all, I had a crazy intense contraction and an urge to push. I decided that was the time to get into the tub, and once I did I felt so much more relaxed and comfortable. The water was so soothing (For like the 30 seconds until the next contraction. ha!). Matt sat next to me in the tub and coached me through the next few contractions as our daughter made her way into the world. After only a few pushes her head popped out, still in the sac. The bag broke, and then her shoulders and body came out. Matt and I pulled her out and onto my chest. I was in awe, Matt was in tears.  She was perfect and beautiful and so tiny. After a few minutes I looked at him and said "OMG what just happened?!" haha! It went so fast! And wow we have a baby!! It was unbelievable!!

We enjoyed looking and loving on our new little girl for a few minutes, then it was time for me to get out of the tub and into bed. And after checking that everything was a-ok, Matt cut the cord and finally got too cuddle his little girl while I took a shower. It felt nice to be all clean and in fresh clothes. Then it was time to get her weight, length, and footprints. 

cutting the cord!

meeting Norah for the first time

getting weighed!

Norah Jane Clute
7/30/15 at 7:30pm

6lbs 11oz. 20.25 inches. Perfect.  

Our birth team stayed for a few hours to make sure we got settled, cleaned up, and then left by midnight. We tried to get some sleep, but baby girl had some different ideas. She was wide awake most of the night, little naps here and there. It wasn't the ideal first night but it wasn't too bad. We spent the next morning relaxing in bed and discussing what to name her. 

I am sure all of you are wondering how/why we chose Norah. Well, we had three names picked out when she was born: Norah (Matt's fav), Savannah (my fav) and Elizabeth. After she was born Matt decided to put all the names in a hat and have me choose. So I did, I chose Elizabeth. After about 10 minutes we both looked at each other and said "no way, she isn't an Elizabeth". So I chose again, Savannah. We tried it on for size for a while and then looked at each other and said "it just doesn't fit her". Plus I couldn't see it on our Christmas cards (which is obviously the true and most important test). So we tried out Norah and it felt perfect. Thankfully too, because we didn't have any names left! haha. And our first dance at our wedding was a Norah Jones song, so the name has a little extra meaning there too. As for her middle name, Jane, that is Matt's Grandma's middle name. Each of the girls has a Great Grandma's middle name. 

And a special connection for Norah, she was born on my beloved Grandma's birthday. My Grandma passed away just over a year ago from pancreatic cancer. When we found out we were pregnant, and that the due date was August 5, I thought perhaps there was a chance the baby could come early and be born on her birthday, but I knew it was really unlikely. So when I woke up on the 30th and felt the contractions, I was shocked. Perhaps that is why I was in denial all day, I didn't want to get my hopes up that she would be born on my Grandma's birthday. But she was, and we could not feel more blessed. As my friend Adrianna pointed out, Norah is a special gift from my Grandma. Yes. Commence goosebumps. 

And now, time for the sisters to meet. Best friends for life.
"ooo little baby"
Notice the red marks, angel kisses, on Norah's head. Those were present at birth but gone within a few days. When I saw them the first thing I thought was "all her Grandmas and Grandpas in heaven gave her a kiss as she left to be with us". I don't know about you but my Grandma wore lipstick and always seemed to leave kiss marks on us. This time Norah was the recipient of those kisses. Makes me tear up every time I think about it. 

"are you sure we have to keep her?!"....."yes yes we are keeping her"

"let me 'boop' her nose"

all my kiddos!

the big brother....not so thrilled about one more baby in the house
our "welcome home" family photo. the look on Harley's face is priceless.

me and my girls. don't mind the tired no makeup look.

Norah's birth and the overall experience was exactly what we wanted and hoped for. A home birth, relaxed and stress free. No drugs, no interventions, and thankfully no transfers. Born in the tub just like I had hoped. Our birth team was amazing, we always felt like we were in good hands. I am so glad we chose BirthCare. Our home is now even more special. If we ever move we may have to just take the tub with us! Not everyone can say their daughter was born in their tub at home. :)

It is hard to believe we have two children. Two beautiful and perfect little girls. We feel really blessed and so happy. Our family is complete.

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