I am so excited to share this beautiful birth story with you today! It comes from one of our very own Snap Moms, Juliana Carrigan! I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I did. And just a side note, go make yourself some tea, and then read this as you sip on it! Heaven!
Claire’s Birth Story
We had purchased our first home about a month prior to Claire’s arrival so we had been non-stop trying to re-model before we moved in. After ripping up all the floors and installing hardwood, re-painting, and re-doing all the trim we were starting to see progress! I had been involved in all of this work despite my doctor, my doula, and mother telling me to stop. Of course, I was not in the category of most pregnant women during their third trimester and could handle this work without any adverse effect. 😉 On December 22nd we were working late, finishing up some painting. I had been climbing up and down a painting ladder. I would take breaks intermittently to lay on the floor because I was feeling nauseous, light-headed, and dizzy. Although my body was giving me blatant signs to stop I continued to keep working because I HAD to finish what I started.
We had been staying at my in-laws house while our home was being renovated. So that night in their guest bedroom my water broke when I got up for one of my many nightly pees. I felt this gush of “water” and knew what it meant– I would be having this baby in 24 hours! I immediately started to cry, waking up James. I was not ready and our house was not ready, and I didn’t think Claire was ready either. Her due date wasn’t for almost another month.
James and I made the drive the hospital at midnight. After being checked in I was told I was only 3cm dilated. I began to get nervous as my birth plan was for The Bradley Method and not to include any sort of intervention but I knew the hospital would only give me 24 hours before they’d step in. I had wanted to do a home birth but my health insurance would not cover it or a birthing center. But God is so gracious and this is where He really began to show Himself and to intervene.
I did not want an IV or a hep lock. I know this seems like a small, no big deal issue, but I was SET on having a completely natural delivery. My doula told me I would need to compromise by just getting the hep lock. When the nurse came in I told her I didn’t want one. She advised me that I had to have one as a hospital policy. After her first try of not being successful though, I told her again, crying, that I really did not want it. She was incredibly kind and told me that she would call and confirm with my doctor that I didn’t need one. My doctor approved but said that I would need to be hooked up with an IV before I needed to push. I was not even thinking that far yet since I barely had contractions.
During my next visit from the nurse she informed me that my OB was going to require me to start antibiotics for Group B Strep since the results from the lab hadn’t been received and it was the wee hours of the morning AND it was a holiday! My heart sank. Again, I asked, begged them to please try to somehow get the results. I didn’t want to put antibiotics in my body and my little unborn girl’s body unnecessarily. Hours later, the nurse informed me that she had been able to get in touch with someone from the office in DC that had my results and that I was negative for Group B Strep! What a miracle and I began to feel more confident that God was in control.
For hours I walked laps around the hospital delivery halls trying to speed up the labor. Slowly my contractions began to get closer together and more intense. I showered to ease the pain, used a birthing ball, and tried different positions to stay somewhat comfortable. I was able to make singing and moaning sounds that helped me get through the contractions. The hardest part was to allow the pain so that my body could do what it needed to do instead of tensing up and trying to stop the pain. Around 7-8 cm. dilated was when the contractions where excruciating. The pain felt like it was out of control! I was crying and begging for something to take the pain away. I insisted that I needed some sort of medication and that I couldn’t do it and that I would never being doing this again! My husband, James, was so patient and attentive. He massaged me and encouraged me and did not let any medication get near me. (We knew in advance that this situation might occur and we planned that he would say, “No” for me while I was not in my right mind. :)) He would pray out loud for me.
Finally, it was coming time to push. Again, the sweet nurse allowed me to pass on the IV after my persistent rejections. THIS is when the pain got even worse, which I didn’t think possible. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. It didn’t help that the doctor insisted I lay on my back instead of choosing a position that seemed more natural. I have no doubt that I scared all the other poor mothers coming into the hospital to deliver. There were about 10 doctors and nurses surrounding me as they encouraged me to push. I had no shame in my screams. lol I feel a little embarrassed for myself now, remembering at how I did not hold back at all! As soon as Claire had been delivered the pain stopped! I had to be stitched up from second degree tears. I believe this would have been prevented (at least mostly) had I only pushed during my contractions but I was just so glad to have the worst over– 17 hours of labor were done. I heard my sweet little girl’s cries, Claire Genevieve!
She weighed 5 lbs. 14 oz. and was 17.75 in. long. After attempting to nurse her without success a doctor advised me that my Claire would have to be taken to the NICU because she was having trouble breathing on her own. I was so out of it and exhausted that I don’t even recall feeling very upset. I hadn’t been expecting her arrival so soon and it all seemed to happen incredibly fast– despite my relatively long labor.
Her week in the NICU was a trial. During this time I was pumping breast milk every 2 hours and delivering it to the NICU. Claire was too young to latch on to nurse even though I was trying multiple times a day. The doctors estimated she was 5 weeks pre-mature. Once she was able to breathe on her own she began to have difficulty eating and had to have a feeding tube put in. It seemed like each couple of days that she conquered an issue a new one would arise. I hated seeing her poked and prodded all the time. I was having a hard time with guilt because I knew if I had listed to my doctor, my doula, and my mother she may not have been born early and have to be in the NICU. God kept putting the verse in my heart while visiting Claire, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you hope and a future”. He gave me peace and assured me that Claire would be alright and that He had life in store for her– the kind of life that He gives. It was wonderful when we were finally able to take her home!
I will speed ahead and just share a huge God blessing. For around a month and a half I pumped breastmilk for Claire. It was seriously like having another job; waking up every couple of hours to make a bottle and then to pump a few more. I was getting desperate for her to learn to latch. I began to weep and cry out to God to please help me as I couldn’t handle pumping and I knew I didn’t want to go the formula route if I could help it. After doing some research I found a mom that had the same issue and tried taking a bath with her infant. It simulates the womb and supposedly revives the instinct to suckle. Miraculously, this worked and Claire began to nurse from that day forward! I am grateful that every time I get to the point where I am desperate for God to step in, because it’s impossible for me to continue on in my own strength, He is faithful and provides a solution.
I know this was such a long post and if you read its entirety you are a patient person! 🙂 A lot of my God things were seemingly small but they were really important to me. God is personal and He knows every minute detail of our desires and hopes
Thank you to Juliana for sharing her story!
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