Clara was due Friday, May 13, 2011, which we thought was very auspicious. I flew in on Sunday (Mother's Day) May 8th just to make sure I would be here for Clara's entrance into the world. Kayli and I had a great time together hanging out, going out to eat or having dinners with her family, seeing movies, shopping, etc., but by the time Friday arrived there was still no baby.
On Saturday morning I showed up at Kayli's house at about 8:45 to find that she had been awake since 4:45 that morning in severe pain (but not labor pain) and throwing up. We couldn't figure out what was wrong so Kayli, her mom and dad, and I went to the hospital where blood work was done, the baby and Kayli were both monitored, and Kayli was given something for her pain. Some concerning test results meant that we spent the weekend in the hospital while the doctor tried to figure out what had caused all of the pain. No answer was ever given but on Monday morning when the nurse came in to check vitals, Clara's heartbeat could not be found for two minutes. Sometime between 2:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Clara had flipped from birth to breech position. I snapped a photo of the moment when the doctor found Clara on the sonogram and Kayli's mom pointed out the breech position.
We were all a little stunned.
Because everything else had stabilized, the doctor released Kayli with instructions to visit her midwife for some ideas on how to possibly get Clara to flip herself back around and told us that if that little girl hadn't somersaulted back into the proper placement by Thursday that we were to come back to the hospital for a c-section.
We were not elated.
To back up just a little bit, you should know that Kayli is a superstar and had planned all along to do a natural delivery at a birthing center with a midwife. The idea of a c-section was very traumatizing and not something that she had ever seriously considered. When we met with the midwife on Monday afternoon, she gave us a number of ideas for ways that women have been able to use in order to get babies to flip from breech to birthing position. We tried almost all of them.
First we went to Kayli's chiropractor for a special adjustment. Then we went back to Kayli's house and she laid on the floor with her bum and legs up on the couch. Kayli held ice packs just below her rib cage (where the baby girl had decided to lodge her head) and a heating bag on her pelvis to encourage Clara to get away from the cold place and move to where it was warm. I assisted by pressing a flashlight against Kayli's stomach where Clara's head was and then dragging it down to Kayli's pelvis over and over again in an effort to try to get Clara's attention so that she would follow the light.
All of us were giggling over how bizarre this seemed when low and behold, after about 20 minutes Kayli felt a big "whoosh" and sure enough, Clara had turned herself around. We were ecstatic. Sure, she wasn't locked into position in the pelvis, but this was a good sign. It was about 5:30 by then so when we called the birthing center we were told to wait until the morning to come in. That was a little annoying because Kayli hoped that they could induce her right then and was worried that Clara would flip again in the night. Kayli was right. The next morning our little turkey was sitting right side up, cross legged with her back against Kayli's back. We spent Tuesday trying to flip her again, but nothing worked, not even lying upside down on the slide and doing the techniques we had used on Monday.
We fasted on Wednesday and went to the temple. Kayli prepared herself as best she could for the emotional, physical, and mental aspects of a c-section that she had not been anticipating.
Thursday, May 19 dawned muggy but with otherwise nice weather. Blue sky peeked through numerous clouds. First we went to see Kayli's midwife who confirmed that the baby was still in breech position. Then it was off to the hospital for the c-section.
Things went really fast from there. We arrived at the hospital at 11:00 and Kayli was prepped for surgery and wheeled into the operating room by 12:45. She was nervous about the anesthetic but her mom (who was a labor and delivery nurse) was able to be with Kayli while the c-section was performed. Before she left to go in with Kayli, Kayli's mom and I had a special moment in the hallway expressing our gratitude for Heavenly Father's plan for each of us and our love for each other.
Clara was born at 1:06 p.m. CST in Collin County, Texas weighing 7.1 pounds and measuring 19 inches long. The umbilical cord had been wrapped around Clara's neck twice leaving her very little room to maneuver. There was no way she could have been delivered without a c-section.
A nurse opened the door to the operating room at 1:07 to let me know and I could hear Clara hollering with lusty little lungs. It was amazing. I started crying and immediately called Paul who was sitting in his office at work. I know that it was killing him to not be able to be here, but because of the new job and limited leave he needed to hold off coming until last minute so that he can be here when the placement paperwork is signed.
After waiting maybe 15 to 20 minutes and jumping up and down every time the door opened and I could hear Clara's cries, Kayli and Clara were wheeled out and I got to see our baby girl for the first time. Paul could hear Clara through the phone. Kayli told me that Clara opened her eyes for the first time when she heard my voice there in the hallway.
The nurses wheeled Kayli back to her room with me and Kayli's mom in tow. Clara calmed right down and took a bottle almost immediately. We oohed and ahhed over her thick dark hair which is at least half an inch long and completely covers her little head.
By 3:00 p.m. everyone was pretty well settled in and Clara had been given her first bath. Her big toe on her left foot had been nicked when the incision was made for the c-section so we had to keep a band-aid on that. In her first 24 hours she has proven to be a very mellow little thing. She doesn't hardly even cry when she is uncovered for a changing. Kayli's siblings came by to see Kayli and Clara and were obviously enamored with the wee babe.
Paul and I were able to Skype at about 10:30 p.m. CST so that he could meet his baby girl for the first time. I don't know that I have ever seen him smile so much, especially when we pulled Clara's little hat off to show off her surprising shock of hair.
I tore myself away from the hospital at almost midnight and went to our hotel and crashed. The next day Kayli and Clara had lots of visitors come by the hospital to offer congratulations and well wishes. It was a non-stop celebration. And it was also Clara's first experience with a true Texas thunderstorm with torrential rain and blistering lighting outside the windows. She slept through it all.
Paul's flight was delayed by the weather but he finally made it to Dallas around 10:00 that night to meet his little girl. She wore a brown and purple onesie with elephants on it and the message "I love Daddy" on it and purple pants with ruffles on the bum.
Over the past couple of days Paul and I have been spending as much time as possible at the hospital with Kayli and Clara.
Under Kayli's mom's tutelage, we have learned how to give Clara a sponge bath.
Kayli is doing amazing and has been up and walking. She was released on Sunday, just three days after her c-section, and even went to her brother's Eagle Scout Court of Honor that night while Paul and I stayed at Kayli's house and Skyped with family.
It has been an absolutely incredible, humbling, and beautiful experience so far and we have felt a deepening of love for each other and an overwhelming sense of responsibility for this precious little lady.