Saturday, March 9, 2013

Welcome Claira Jane

"Very few women go into labor within 24 hours after the cerclage is removed," the perinatologist told us. "Many have to be induced after their due dates have passed." The cerclage had just been removed, and we were trying to get in utero Claira to move her hands so we could see her face on the 3-D ultrasound screen. That didn't deter Sundy. She was bound and determined that this girl was coming at least 2 weeks before her due date.

Having a child is something Sundy and I have been hoping for since we married nearly 5 years ago. That anticipation peaked once the cerclage was removed on Monday February 25; Sundy was 37 weeks - full term - and we had heard that some women who have the surgery go into labor soon after it is completed. Add that to Sun's certitude that the baby was coming early, and we were sure to be parents at any moment. Six more days passed, though, and things changed. Sunday morning, before fast and testimony meeting, Sundy told me that she had finally resigned herself to the fact that she was probably going to be pregnant until April. Rather than anticipating the birth at any moment, we set our minds to getting through our current challenges - me, my final scheduled for March 8, and Sundy on planning activities with kids at the Ponderosa Panther Club.

That afternoon, Sundy cooked dinner while I was out doing visits with the missionaries. I got home around 5:30. As I walked in, Sundy said, "I lost some fluid 15 minutes ago. It wasn't a gush like the last time my water broke, though." Not wanting to get hopes up (and not wanting to arrive only to be sent home), she didn't want to go to the hospital yet, but she did start to time her contractions.

We ate dinner. Sundy kept contracting. I started getting really excited, running around the house in between bites to round up the last-minute things we would need in the hospital (Sundy had packed everything else weeks ago). I felt bad to be so excited about the pain Sundy was in, but I was convinced that we would be seeing our little girl soon.

Sundy wasn't quite so sure. After coming to terms with the fact that she was still 2 weeks from her due date and probably not going into labor any time soon, she wasn't ready to shift her mindset again. And it wasn't time to go to the hospital yet; the 5-1-1 rule had been drilled into our heads: don't come to the hospital until contractions are five minutes apart, lasting at least one minute, for a total of at least one hour. Sundy's contractions were approaching five minutes apart, but they had only been going on for 30 minutes.

The advice nurse finally answered Sundy's call, she told us that based on the contractions we were still early, but given Sundy's water having broken and her medical history we should head to the hospital. I needed no more convincing; we hopped in the car and drove the 30-minute route to the hospital I had mapped and tried out earlier:

I drove as fast as I could to get to the hospital, and, except for the increasingly frequent and severe contractions, we arrived there without incident (I had almost hoped that we would get pulled over so I could use the clich├ęd "wife in labor" excuse).

Triage went quickly, and because of Sundy's history, the nurse declined to check her cervix for dilation. It had, after all, only been a bit over an hour since contractions started. They took us up to the floor and got Sundy settled in labor and delivery.

The first major issue came with starting the IV - it took five tries and two different nurses to get it going. Because they couldn't start an epidural until blood had been analyzed by the lab, this delayed the process a bit. Finally the line was placed, and, about three hours after her water broke, Sundy was going to be getting the epidural she was really wanting.

But Baby Claira didn't cooperate. Sundy started to feel the urge to push, and that finally initiated the first check of her cervix. The nurse reported Sun was dilated to a seven, and with that, the labor and delivery team rushed in. No epidural today.

But as quickly as the labor activity had started, it fizzled. After several pushes, Claira was no longer coming (maybe not quite so sure anymore?), and the team left to see to an emergency that had just arrived.

Sundy didn't give up. She was a real trooper, and 20 minutes later, I could see the top of Claira's head. The team rushed back in, and a few short minutes later, at 9:19 pm on Sunday, March 3, (only 4 hours after the water broke!) little Claira Jane slipped out. All 6 pounds 14 ounces of her.

It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. One moment, I saw a little cranium, covered in dark hair sticking out. The next, after a push, there was her little face, and then all of the sudden shoulders, arms, torso, and legs too, a slippery mass of crying baby and a long, long umbilical cord. Immediately they placed her up on Sundy's chest, and the cries soon stopped. Claira and her mother meeting in person for the first time.

Mother and daughter are doing so well. Our duet is now a trio, and we are getting started on making music together. Claira is already a singer (with a little bird's voice) and I'm sure those fingers of hers are itching to get on the piano. You're sure to be hearing more about her soon.
First bath, just minutes after being born.
Kisses from Mom and Dad in the hospital.
The view from our hospital window
All dressed up and ready to leave
At home
Story time with Mom and Grandma Peterson
"Five days old and not sure what I think about it so far . . ."


  1. Oh my gosh...I LOVE this. I love the pictures. She's so beautiful and I'm so so so happy for you guys. I love you guys a TON!!!

  2. Love this!! She is precious!! What a story and to have it written down is so special!!! :-) beautiful family!!

  3. Very beautiful baby girl, story, and family! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing this special experience. Love you all!

  4. She's so darling!!! Can't wait to hear your side of the story, Sund!

  5. We are SO very happy for you! Congratulations! What joy you are experiencing! Wonderful news!
    We love you Sundy! ~ President and Sister Fitch

  6. Claira Jane is gorgeous! Congratulations on your beautiful bundle of joy!