Veronica Chatterton Boose.
Greg and I left the hospital with her yesterday around noon and drove home along Clark, right through Wrigleyville where the streets teemed with people out to see a Cubs game. The world felt like a new place. I had to remind myself of who I am. I'm Claire. I'm 31 years old. I live in Chicago. It was as though I'd forgotten, or that those things ceased to matter, at least for a while. All that mattered was our little daughter asleep in her car seat in the back seat for the first time.
She was born on June 10, 2009 at 11:26 pm weighing in at 8 lbs and 4 oz. She was robust and healthy with a full head of dark hair. I truly went into labor around 11pm on June 9th, after a day of on and off contractions and feelings of frustration on my part. But at 11pm that night the contractions kicked in regularly, growing strong enough to keep me from sleeping and causing us to call our doula around 3am.
Holly (who was absolutely amazing and without whom we never would have had such a good experience) arrived around 4am, helping us to work through my contractions until they suddenly tapered off around 6am. She went home for a while and I actually slept for a couple of hours. When I woke up Greg and I took a walk and ate some lunch and we both felt a bit dismayed that the labor had stalled.
I took another nap in the early afternoon and when I awoke the contractions had come back strongly. I took a bath for a bit to ease some of the discomfort and Greg called Holly to come back over. She arrived around 4pm and the contractions were coming hard and strong then. We decided to wait a bit before leaving for the hospital because it was traffic time.
At 6pm we let the midwives know that we were going to head to the hospital and Greg took our bags down to the car. My contractions were coming every three or four minutes at that point and were strong enough that I was moaning through most of them. I was worried though that the car ride might stall my labor again and I also wasn't looking forward to experiencing contractions in the car since they were already requiring so much concentration to work through.
Rather than stall my labor, the car ride seemed to bring it on even stronger. All three of us went to the hospital together, Greg driving and Holly and I in the backseat. I kept my eyes closed the whole time and had to grip the handle above the window as the contractions increased to every two minutes. We finally arrived and, while Greg parked the car, Holly and I went in through emergency. I was immediately put in a wheel chair and taken to triage to be checked out.
The midwife examined me and said that I was already 8 centimeters dilated and that they were preparing a room in the alternative birthing center for me, which is where I'd hoped to give birth all along. The room was lovely with dim lights and a big queen-sized bed. I labored for the next five hours on the bed with both Holly and Greg at my side.
It's hard to describe those hours. I was in a place, psychologically, emotionally and physically, that I've never been in. The contractions came in waves and I worked through them, moaning, breathing, screaming and sometimes sobbing. But after each one ended I was in a place of calm again. I never thought about asking for an epidural or wishing I was doing things a different way, but there were times when I questioned whether I was physically capable of getting through the whole experience.
Holly was amazing, so soothing and encouraging, reminding me over and over that I could do this. And Greg was incredible as well, staying at my side relentlessly, massaging my back and letting me squeeze his hand practically to the point of breaking.
My favorite midwife ended up being on call during my last two really hard hours and it was so amazing to have her there for the delivery. The last two hours were, by far, the hardest and most intense. The pushing stage was incredibly painful and difficult. I labored in several different positions, finally finding one that worked for the final 45 minutes in which I worked to birth our baby.
When she finally came out, Greg was the one to look and proclaim, "It's a girl!" and she cried out at the same time as they placed her on my chest. "It's a girl?!" I could hardly believe it. I can still hardly believe it. When Greg went next door to the waiting room a few minutes later he told his parents and they said, "We know. We heard everything," both of them having listened to me labor for all those hours.
I've only been away from her once for about ten minutes since then and I've fallen in love with her a thousand times over. I'm completely enchanted with her fingers and her toes and her little snorts and her soft, soft head. My daughter.
There's so much more to write but I have days and days to do that. Thank you so very much to everyone for all of your incredibly thoughtful comments and notes and wishes. Greg and I are so thrilled to have brought Veronica into the world.