Clarabelle’s Birth Story

Topic : Daily Glimpses

*This is a mild version of our birth story, the more I thought about it the more I realized I didn’t want all the details posted…if you want more details I’m happy to let you know, e-mail me and I’m happy to REALLY break it down for you!*

I’ve been wanting to share our birth story ever since I had Clarabelle, I LOVED our birth experience.


I did a “natural” hospital birth- no epidural, no induction, and no pain medication…so I know what it feels like people!
I found birth to be very powerful and having the support of Travis and our fabulous doula was a HUGE part of it.

We had the opportunity the other night to share Clarabelle’s birth story with some expectant parents at Birthworks.
Birthworks is where we took our childbirth classes and also where we found our doula, Holly.

It was really fun to share Clarabelle’s birth story, I seriously cannot believe we were sitting there hearing other couples stories not that long ago!

I also cannot believe that a mere two-ish weeks ago we were just getting to know Miss Clarabelle June.

The post I did before her announcement was me at 38 weeks, I never got to do my 39 week post as I was feeling bad (didn’t know I was going to go into early labor soon) and thought I would get to it later in the week!

So, since I’ve got it, here is my 39+ week picture…

Me, Bump, day before I went into labor

And here’s a picture of Me and Avery, we declared her the “Birth Team Captain”!

She’s kinda into it and really confused!

I can’t believe I no longer have a bump, it is so weird….it took 9+ months to grow a baby and all of the sudden the bump is gone.
I look at pictures of the pregnancy and it is surreal to think I had the belly (and dressed it in the hot Arkansas summer) and now…no more.

To start the story I had been feeling “off” for most of the week before I went into labor.
Tired. Big. OVER IT.

Wednesday (September 26th) I went to the gym, did a long walk and then came home.
I felt bad, not awful but just not “myself”, I ended up having someone sub my Wednesday night yoga class so I could stay home and rest.
Around 3:00 that afternoon I felt like I was having contractions, not major contractions but lots of back pain and it was noticeable and made me stop in my tracks.
I text Travis and he came home, we laid in bed with Avery.
But the contractions never got longer than 30 seconds and they were spaced really far apart, no pattern and no real “progress”.
I text Holly (our doula) and she told me to rest and try to get some sleep, which I thought would be impossible cause I was SURE I was going into labor.
Then I woke up Thursday morning and realized that I was obviously not in labor nor was I having the baby.
I was pretty upset because I knew I was feeling SOMETHING but what it was wasn’t labor.
Boo. Hiss.

Thursday (September 27th) was more of the same deal, short contractions spaced really far apart.

I spent most of the day in bed with Avery, not sure what was going on but upset because nothing was moving forward. Avery was confused during most of the process and she knew I felt bad, she was also pleased we were in bed. ๐Ÿ™‚
Travis went ahead and took off work because he knew I needed support, I was really thankful he was there.
As the morning continued with more of the short contractions, I decided called Holly and asked her to come over just to see if anything was progressing with my labor, I was SURE something must be happening if I was feeling pain and couldn’t do my “usual”.
Holly came and checked my progress at 1:30 in the afternoon….I was 2 centimeters and 60% effaced.
In labor terms….not much was happening.
I was frustrated and somewhat defeated cause if what I was feeling wasn’t anything…I knew real labor was gonna be awful.
I couldn’t believe it and all I could think was, I’m going to be pregnant till the weekend, maybe even past the weekend.
To be uncomfortable and unable to function normally and to have no progress is really disappointing.
Especially for a pregnant woman that has no clue when her baby is coming and really has no clue what is going on.

I was told to rest, to think about letting my body open and we would see how I was doing later that night. Our plan was to have me rest as much as possible for when the real labor started.

Travis went and got me some Melatonin and he also brought back some peanut butter M&M’s- just what I needed. ๐Ÿ™‚
I love how you remember the little odd things like peanut butter M&M’s. ๐Ÿ™‚

As the afternoon went on and it turned into early evening the contractions got stronger but not longer.
15-30 seconds of intensity, then a minute, maybe 5 or 7 minutes before another short contraction.
I was listening to a playlist from a recent yoga weekend and that did help to distract and calm me (I’ll post the playlist next time!).
For the majority of the afternoon and into the evening, I was on my yoga mat in our bedroom, changing positions, usually hands and knees of lying on one side, the contractions would lessen and then come back slowly but surely.
I was having to make sounds to help manage the pain of the contractions. Low moans and I chanted “om” as well.
This should’ve been a clue that things were moving forward but because the contractions never got longer or had a pattern we still thought that I was not progressing and that the pain would go on for days.
I did eat dinner (grilled cheese, applesauce and almonds) and then got back to the bedroom to be on the yoga mat.
I text Holly at around 7:00 and I told her I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do.
I was discouraged and in pain, she told me to try and get into the shower to see how that would feel, she also was going to come over to see if there was any progress or if we needed to get me something stronger for me to get some sleep.

I got into the shower and that felt really good, the contractions also slowed when I got under the warm water which was good but also made me think I wasn’t “really” in labor still.

At this point our game plan was what it had been since Wednesday evening- rest, sleep, try and rest, try and sleep.
Sleep wasn’t happening.

Holly came over around 8:15-8:30 and she went ahead and checked me to see if I’d made any progress, I could tell by the look on her face she was surprised- I was at almost 5 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced!
Big progress.
: )
She was shocked and so were we…all of us had been in the mindset that she would be born maybe Friday, but there wasn’t much hope of it being anytime early in the day.

Holly then very calmly suggested that we get the bags and put them in the car, we were both like, “Huh?”.
Bag? Car?
And we had the bags packed but it was still a shock to us that it was time to actually go to the hospital.

While it was suggested we get the bags and head to the hospital, I was still on the yoga mat, having the short, intense contractions and at that point Avery came over cause she could see I was in distress, she tried to give me her favorite toy, “stinky bunny”.
It was too much and I had to send her (and the bunny) away, I think that’s when I knew it was for real, cause I snapped at the dog! I still feel awful about it too…. ๐Ÿ™

We started moving, got the bags, I got my pillow and we headed to the hospital.
Thankfully I was in my “labor outfit”, an old navy maternity skirt and a tank top so I didn’t have to change (that’s something I like about the hospital we were at, you can wear whatever you want).
I got to the car, laid in the backseat and called my mom.
Of course her land line was busy!
So I had to call my aunt, who put her on the phone and I told her between contractions that things had progressed quickly and we were headed to have the baby.
She was supposed to come and be with us during the early labor, had we realized I was actually in labor we would’ve let her know hours sooner- oops. :/
As a time frame reference, she said I called her at 9:15.

As Travis drove to the hospital the contractions got more intense but never longer…I think that is what threw us off about the labor, it wasn’t like they said it would be in the books!
There were no 1-2 minute contractions, no shortening of time between contractions…not what we were anticipating.

We got to the hospital and I tried to walk to labor and delivery….I made it about halfway there and needed the wheelchair.

I know I terrified people in the waiting room cause I was obviously in pain being wheeled through, I’ll never know who those people were or see them again so it’s all good but I was definitely the “typical” picture of the woman in labor!

We got into our hospital room, my yoga mix was put on and I laid on my side.
I literally could not move off the bed.
I was checked to see how my progression was when we got to the room.
In the time we were in the car and made the trip, I had dilated 3 more centimeters- I was at 8 centimeters and still 100% effaced.

At that point I started having tremendous pressure in my pelvis.

This is the “transitional phase” of labor.
Where your baby is moving down, your hips are really spreading and it’s about it be time to push.
It is the strangest sensation I have ever felt- ever.

Holly was pressing into my hip and letting me know everything I was feeling was totally normal.
Holly also ran me a bath cause we got one of the nice rooms with a tub to labor in….not happening, couldn’t move off that bed!
I had such grand plans for my labor, I was going to use the squat bar, walk around the room, maybe use the birth stool.
Um…not so much, laid on my side in the bed.
The transitional phase took a bit, maybe an hour and a half or two hours, time flies though, you don’t realize how long things take cause you’re simply trying to breath and get through the next contraction!

At this point my water finally broke and I felt the urge to push, it was a very strong urge.
I looked at the clock on the wall at it was 11:30, they called for the doctor and then we all got ready for Miss Clarabelle to make her entrance.

A fun twist on the birth was our doctor was out of town so her partner, Dr. Gregory actually delivered Miss Clarabelle.
I really appreciated her presence, she was very quiet and calm, it was like she was simply there to observe.

Then I moved into the pushing phase, which is called “active labor”, like it all hasn’t been active enough!
This is intense people.
I looked at Holly and she told me “You’re o.k.”, then I started to chant that like a mantra- “I’m o.k., this is o.k.”. Over and over again with eyes closed.
And it was o.k. and I was, indeed, o.k..

Active labor was hard but there is progress that happens and really, there is nothing to do but push.
I had warm compresses and pauses between contractions to help the process move nice and slow.
The “pauses” were for maybe 30 seconds between intense contractions and I really had to tell myself to relax, be still and keep breathing-very hard to do!
It was painful FOR SURE but I think the transitional phase was more painful then when I finally got to push!
At that point I was pushing, Travis was fanning me with cool wash clothes and Holly brought out the camera…

Clarabelle came out at 12:31 a.m. on Friday September 28th.

We had to lay her on my stomach, her cord was really short!
Travis waited till the cord stopped pulsing to cut it and then she got moved up to my chest.
Absolutely unbelievable.

Bright eyed and happy to see us!
We were happy to see her too. ๐Ÿ™‚

She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.
People have been surprised that she was as big as she was, I was just thrilled she came out healthy and was alert. ๐Ÿ™‚

Seeing her was surreal.
To think that a baby was inside of me is still a bit craziness….

Hi Mom and Dad….

What else is weird?
To look down at your stomach, that has been a huge belly and not see the baby bump anymore…
Now there was certainly belly there but not the bump.
That I found weird.

The rest of the night/morning was a shuffle.
The grandparents all came in and met her, Travis gave her a bath and we were finally moved to our room at around 4:30 and nurses came in to do paperwork and whatnot so really we didn’t get the chance to sleep till around 6:00 a.m….not that we could sleep.

I mean…wow. : )

We stayed in the hospital till Saturday morning and then we headed home!
Life since then has been settling in and learning more about our baby, every day is new and there are REALLY hard hours and minutes but there are spectacular moments.
Very, very cool.

There’s a lot to be taken away from birth, for me it wasn’t what I expected but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
It was tough and I know a more natural birth isn’t for everyone but to feel and know your body is capable and made for birth is so powerful.
The experience brought Travis and I closer together, I know it was hard for him to watch me in pain but I couldn’t have done it without him.
He was encouraging, very willing to do whatever I needed and knowing he was supporting me made me comfortable with whatever was going on.
I know having a doula was huge, I recommend getting one to everyone.
At least look into it. ๐Ÿ™‚

So there is is (the not too detailed version), our birth story.
Thanks for letting me share, hope you enjoyed~


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  • Meghann Parson August 27, 2014

    Emma, I have the same problem with Tess who is not quite 22 months. Still nursing and sometimes refuses to eat. We add raw sprouted protein to her smoothies. Not a huge amount but just a little. She will almost always eat eggs, pancakes and bacon (I'd very easily be ovolactovegetarian but Daddy is a meat eater) or eggs, guacamole, Brown rice and black beans. Or avocado. Those are my only two "go to" meals. And carbs. She'll eat cookies or crackers for days. Glad the doctor was supportive, I've been thinking about going there as well. I'm sick of the weaning conversation.

    • ReplyEmma August 27, 2014

      Scrambled eggs are a hit so I'm going to keep offering, avocado too.. I was impressed by Little Flower, it is so refreshing to be in a place that supports breastfeeding. Not a formula pamphlet in the place. And applause for continuing to breastfeed? Makes me want to go daily! It's far by driving standards (least from our house) but worth it to be able to not get hassled about parenting choices.

  • Bethany May 14, 2014

    Good job, mama!

    • ReplyEmma May 15, 2014

      :) thank you friend!

  • Lara October 18, 2013

    Wow, I'm so glad we aren't the only ones who have gone through all these ups and downs with nursing. G is still nursing strong at 14.5 months. There were times when I swore he was weaning himself (8/9 months, and I cried and cried), and nowadays lately he nurses like a newborn. Some days I have so much milk that I'm still spurting and needing nursing pads, other days I think he looks at me like, "Turn it on, mama!" I think the lesson after we have put all this time in it should be: our babies and our bodies know what to do! :)

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