Because a mom needs to reflect sometimes, I’m sharing the birth stories of each of my children as we count down the weeks to Baby Whitaker. Most of these were pre-blog days, so while I share these with you, I’m really writing these for the kids. And, here’s hoping I don’t cause them to duck under the nearest table from embarrassment.
About eight months before I got pregnant with Clare, I did something crazy. Namely, THIS.
I had major back surgery to correct my 65-degree curvature, due to scoliosis. When I asked the spine surgeon if I could have more babies, he said yes and I said, ‘when’s the surgery?’ If you want to know how I really survived the crazy, here’s the rest of the story.
We were thrilled to find out we were expecting a baby even though I was in the middle of physical therapy to heal my post-op back. That recovery was tough, but thank the sweet Lord it is behind me. I was weaned from my pain meds and was happy to be carrying slightly different with Clare. The extra two-inches I gained post-surgery gave me so much more breathing room during pregnancy!
Hitting the 36-week milestone was a big one, but because I was leading Vacation Bible School (VBS) at church that week, I didn’t give my activity level or my looming due date a second thought. I went to my regular OB check that morning and chuckled as I walked out the church doors to a chorus of, “you better slow down, Kathryn, or you’re going to have that baby early!” from all the VBS volunteers. Because I was having some fairly bad back pain, my OB prescribed me some relief. After we arrived home from VBS that afternoon, I put the littles down for a nap, put on a movie for Will, took some meds and crashed on the couch to see if I could get some relief.
Three trips to the bathroom later and my brain began to ask, “Um, do you think that’s amniotic fluid?” Four babies=slow learner, evidently. Around 5pm, I called the after hours doctor and they encouraged me to come into labor and delivery so we could confirm the amniotic fluid break or not. But, hey, I have life around me! If this was, indeed, the “big day” I knew we needed to get a few things done. We didn’t even have the car seat installed or the baby clothes washed.
Scott got everyone fed, bathed and put to bed. I finished up a client project and sent out final invoices and after calling every single person we knew (no lie), Scott just laughed. He threw me a towel, handed me his car keys and said, “Don’t leak on the seat.” True story.
While he worked to find someone to come watch the kids, I drove myself to L&D. I arrived at the check-in desk and the intake nurse said, “Driver’s license and insurance card please.” Oh shoot.
It appears all I brought with me were my iPod and my glass of water. My pregnant brain left my entire wallet and purse at home! They checked me in anyway and hooked me up to the monitors. Fifteen minutes later the nurse return and confirmed that we were having a baby. Soon. Eeek.
I made a frantic call to Scott at 9pm. He had finally tracked down my parents and then raced to Wal-Mart for videotapes. While he did that I called my VBS co-leads and told them they were officially in charge for the remainder of the week. Have I mentioned how unprepared we were?
At 10:30pm, the nurses began my pitocin and antibiotics for Group B Strep and by 11 I was in some serious pain. Paging anesthesiology, please. Evidently, they weren’t in any hurry to arrive. At midnight Mr. Epidural arrived but he freaked out when he saw my back x-ray. I rolled my eyes, told him to stick the needle in my back. This was no time for negotiation, man. Just as I was ramping up to plead my case, yet another contraction hit and Scott said, “Listen, call her spine surgeon if you need to, but get her some relief.”
At 1am, the doctor finally obliged and by 3am I was at 10cm. With only one contraction and barely a push, Clare Rose arrived at 3:03am. By baby four, I was no longer messing around with the pushing thing. To say we were elated to give Anna-Laura a sister is an understatement. As a kid, that was the thing I begged my mom for most. A sister. There was a little lingering complication with the epidural, but by noon the next day everything had resolved itself.
To date, Clare has been my easiest pregnancy, delivery, baby and, most definitely, my easiest kid. Every family needs a Clare. We adore her name, her personality and the ray of sunshine she brings to our house. Clare Bear, you are so loved!