Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Little One

You people are anxious for a name, aren't you? Well, we will get to that... But let's start from the beginning.

(Note: squeamish male relatives and former students probably want to skip this one!)

I started having contractions last Thursday. I'd been having Braxton Hicks on a regular basis, but these seemed more productive and were definitely painful. I was up for a few hours that night, trying to read and pacing around, but they eventually subsided and I went back to sleep. This was the pattern for the next few nights: contractions starting in the afternoon and continuing overnight, but never materializing into actual labor.

"You're making progress each time that happens," my midwife, Colleen, assured me. But I still felt discouraged. And I was beginning to dread each evening, knowing I'd be up and in pain throughout the night AND that I'd wake up still pregnant the next morning. My nausea had returned, and I'd had a bad taste in my mouth for over a week. "This is all part of the process. Things are happening," Colleen said.

I woke up on Monday determined to go into labor. We tried the uh... the old fashioned way... and I spent the day on my feet, hiking around at Mount Pisgah with Tracie and Xavier, a long nap in bed with a snuggly Sawyer, going to watch Brent's soccer game, and a burrito dinner at Chipotle. Tracie called during the soccer game to see if anything was happening. "Go ahead and go home," I told her and she drove back to Portland that evening.

Once we got home and put the kids to bed, I started feeling the usual discomfort. I ignored it at first and tried to go to bed but realized I needed to get up and begin my nightly ritual of pacing around the house and trying to read. Around midnight I started to notice a pattern and that the contractions were growing in strength. I decided to make some blueberry muffins.

In hindsight this seems like kind of a strange thing to do, but I needed something to occupy myself with and I figured that my support team would need to be fed if in fact I was having the baby that night. So I made the muffins and tried to read and paced around the house in my bathrobe. I felt myself slipping into the zone and trying the techniques I had used in my other labors to manage the pain. Nothing was working and I started to feel more and more anxious as the clock ticked on. The contractions had been coming every 3-5 minutes, but I wanted to let Brent sleep until 3 because I knew he'd have a long day ahead of him. At about 2:45, after laboring alone for several hours, I decided to wake him up.

He popped right out of bed and called the midwife. Though it's laughable now, in the back of my mind I had this fear that these were just really, really painful false labor pains, but I could hear Brent talking to Colleen on the phone. "This seems like the real deal," he said as I labored on the couch. I started to get really shaky between contractions and I knew he was right.

I really think there is something to your state of mind and the progression of labor because once I had Brent there with me, I started to kind of relax (as much as a person can relax during labor) and things began moving really quickly.

When Colleen and her assistant Victoria arrived a few minutes later, they took one look at me laboring on the couch and quickly began setting things up in the bedroom. Brent wanted to know if he should call in the support team of friends who had been invited to the birth. "Yes, call them now," she said. After Colleen listened to the baby's heartbeat through a contraction I asked if she was going to check my dilation. "I don't have to," she smiled.

Sawyer woke up at some point during all of this. He surveyed the chaotic scene through bleary eyes and wanted to know if he could watch a movie. 

Then suddenly I had the urge to pee and when I got to the bathroom, my water broke. This was the only time this has happened spontaneously for me, the midwives decided to break it during my other labors, and to say it was a shock is putting things mildly. I knew then that the baby would come fast. I pushed once in the bathroom and then made my way to the bedroom floor and knelt by the bed. Three excruciatingly long push-like-your-life-depends-on-it pushes and five minutes later, our baby girl entered this world.

My friend Kate walked in the door as Colleen handed the baby to me, just in time to let me lean my back against hers and hold my daughter for the first time. The rest of the support team, Mary Anne and Tracie, arrived soon after.

The whole labor took six hours from start to finish. Somehow Jack managed to sleep through the entire thing and awoke bright eyed and ready for kindergarten the next morning. If you are familiar with the size/layout of our house, you will be shocked by this, since the baby was born about 10 feet from where he was sleeping and I know I was NOT being quiet about it.

I have to say, though, after having two twelve hour labors and then this six hour labor, shorter is not necessarily better. It's the same amount of pain, but condensed into less time.

She passed her newborn exam with flying colors as Sawyer looked on. He hit the wall shortly thereafter and returned to bed, thrilled to have been allowed to watch a movie in the middle of the night.

And so, it is with pride and great pleasure that I introduce to you: Clementine Adele Ross. Born Tuesday, October 30th at 4:03 in the morning. Weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces and measuring 20 1/2 inches long.

We will be ready for visitors next week, I think. For now we are enjoying and getting used to being a family of five, those sleepy and milky first days with a newborn, and marveling over her incredibly long fingers and toes.


  1. SO CUTE! <3 :D

  2. Beautiful! So glad she was welcomed into the world safely, relatively quickly, and in her own home surrounded by the people who love her. Also glad you're feeling up to writing about it, Cassadie. Congratulations, Ross family!

  3. Welcome to the world! And mama, you kick ass! Your strength has me in awe. Congratulations on your beautiful new miracle.

  4. congratulations! What a nice birth. She's adorable!

  5. She is adorable! I am really happy for you guys! And what a cute name!

  6. Congrats Cass! I'll be sure to make a visit soon with Uncle Winston and Cousin Stacy! Or possibly by my onesie. She's so cute! Best wishes to you and Brent and the kids. :)

  7. Wow, congrats to all of you! This post was beautiful and that first picture of you holding little Clementine is amazing. So real. Hope you are well and enjoying these first days with your beautiful little one!

  8. She is too cute!! Congratulations on finally getting a girl! :) Thrid time's the charm, right? She is precious! And her name is amazing! Much love <3

  9. Congratulations Cass, and welcome to the family Clementine! She looks so much like her brothers. ( and I can't believe you posted this so fast!)

  10. Congrats from your friend in Louisville, KY. Would you please email me your address so I can send you a little something I got for you and baby? Love the name by the way! Glad you and family are doing well. Shannon