About Me

Hi! I'm Abby. My husband, Carl, and I are happily married since October 2007. Our little family of 2 (well, 3 if you count Chief, the dog) added one more in October 2011 when we welcomed Audrey Elizabeth, our first child into the world. Our life was forever changed. And to add to the joy and excitement, we added another daughter, Clara Marie, in May 2014. I wanted to create this blog originally to document all the milestones throughout my pregnancy with Audrey so we could remember that special time in our lives. And now I get to write all about Audrey and Clara and our life with these amazing "Larson Ladies", which is so much more fun!


Showing posts with label Clara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clara. Show all posts

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Clara's Homecoming

We're going home with Clara to start our "new normal" as a family of 4!

Audrey stayed with Carl and Joyce while we were in the hospital.  So when we got home, they brought Audrey home too.  Our family was under one roof, and all was right in the world.  Seeing Audrey and Clara together is one of my favorite things and the "homecoming" day is one of favorite memories ever.  Ever.

As soon as Audrey walked in the house, she insisted that she wanted to hold Clara.  Be still my heart.

Audrey kept wanting to kiss Clara and couldn't get over her little feet and her little ears.  "Look at her little toes!"  So cute.

Before Clara was born, we would talk to Audrey about how we would sing to baby sister, and we would talk about what songs we would sing.  Everytime we had this conversation, Audrey said she wanted to sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".  So when she was holding Clara, she started singing.

Hugs and kisses!

Clara's First Visitors

Our girls (and Carl and I, too) are so lucky to have so many people who love them!  Here are some pics of Clara's earliest visitors.

Grammy and Gramps were first to arrive first thing on May 5th.

And that afternoon, Grandma and Grandpa Larson came to visit with a very proud Audrey.  Although Joyce was sick with a cold so she didn't get to hold Clara that day.

Audrey was a bit hesitant when she came into the room.  She ran to me and Carl, excited to see us.  But she wasn't too sure about the new addition, Clara.  She kept looking at her out of the corner of her eye.  We distracted her with gifts from Grammy and Gramps.  That got her attention and then after some time, Audrey got more used to Clara and put it together that this was "baby sister" that we have been referring to for the past 9 months.  And believe it or not, I feel like Audrey "got it."  I say that because she looked at me then she looked at Clara and said, "She came out of your tummy!"

Just before they came up to the room, Grandpa Larson took Audrey through the gift shop so she could find a gift to give to Clara.  She was so proud and so excited to give Clara her gift, a cute multi-colored "Socks the Sock Monkey".

What a proud moment for Carl and me, to be able to introduce our sweet Audrey to her baby sister.

Clara Marie Larson has arrived!

Finally!  She's here!  She certainly took her time, but she was well worth the wait.

 Clara Marie Larson was born on May 5th, 2014, at 8:24am.  Feliz CumpleaƱos to our Cinco de Mayo baby!  She weighed 8 lbs 7 oz and measured 20 inches long.  She’s beautiful and healthy and simply perfect and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have her join our family.  And now we are a happy family of 4!

Here is her birth story...

I really didn't want to be induced, but my doctor wanted the baby to be born before I was 41 weeks.  She knew it was important to me that I start labor on my own, so we agreed to schedule the induction the evening of Monday, 5/5/14.  Sunday afternoon/night (5/4/14), I started having contractions.  And they were more in my back than any other contractions I'd had previously with this pregnancy.  As the afternoon/night progressed, the contractions got to about 6-7 minutes apart on average.  Something you have to know about me... I was terrified that I wouldn't make it to the hospital in time.  (The hospital is about 45 minutes away, not in rush hour traffic.)  People talk all the time about how quickly the 2nd baby comes AND there was a baby born on the I-88 expressway the day before AND one of my customers delivered one of her babies in April in the bathroom of a Mexican restaurant.  Yeah.  So, I didn't want to take any chances.  The contractions weren't particularly painful to where I couldn't stand it, but they were certainly noticeable and made me pause at some times.  So, Carl and I decided to go to the hospital that evening, Sunday night 5/4/14.  Carl's mom came over to get Audrey and Carl and I packed the car and headed to the hospital.  When we got there and they had a chance to monitor me, they said I was in the very beginning stages of labor, but not active labor yet.  I was only 2 cm dilated and my cervix was still pretty thick.  So, we had a decision to make... do we stay and have them take necessary steps to induce labor or do we go home and come back the next evening to be induced?  And my doc, who knew it was important to me to go into labor on my own, left that decision up to me which I appreciated.  We decided to stay.

The induction was actually a much better experience than I could have ever expected it to be.  First, the staff at Christ hospital is phenomenal.  I was super lucky to get a nurse that I was already familiar with.  Her name is Abby and she did some testing/monitoring on me the morning I had my surgery 10 weeks earlier.  Love her!  She was very honest with me and kept me informed and comfortable with everything that was happening.  And she got us the "deluxe" birthing room.  Seriously... huge and really nice.  It was apparent they had done some remodeling since Audrey was born.

My doc decided to start with a foley balloon and small doses of Pitocin.  It is a balloon that they insert between the amniotic sac and the cervix and then they fill it with saline.  The idea is that it applies pressure to the cervix, "telling" the cervix that I'm in labor and that it needs to dilate.  Once the cervix is dilated to 4cm, the balloon just falls out.  They put the balloon in at around 9pm and it fell out, meaning I was 4cm dilated, shortly after that... around 10pm I think.  They (nurse/resident/my doc) were really pleased with that, as was I.  They increased the Pitocin gradually, and checked me again around 12am (midnight).  I was hoping for 8cm dilated (fat chance, right?) - ha - but was only 5cm dilated.  Abby, the nurse, said that was common to get to 4cm so quickly but then slow down a little bit.  She said my body had to "catch up" with the help of the contractions.

The only sleep I got that night was off-and-on between 10ish and midnight.  Then, at that point, the contractions were very regular and getting more intense.  The toughest part was that I felt like I was going to pee my pants (expression only, since i was only in a gown) every time I would get a contraction.  And they were pumping me with fluids, so I had to pee a lot.  And that's tough when I'm hooked up to all the monitors and have a bum ankle.  So, I decided to ask for the epidural.  I talked with Abby first and got her opinion on if she thought it was too early and if it would slow down my labor.  She assured me it wouldn't and that they were going to keep increasing the Pitocin and would probably have to break my waterbag, so it was a good time to get it.  The anesthesiologist came in not too much longer after that and at about 2:30am he put in my epidural.  I did tell him about my experience with my delivery with Audrey where I pulled the epidural out.  He assured me that he would tape it really good.  (And he did!  I still had tape marks on my back 2 weeks after delivery!)  They also gave me a catheter... thank God.  No more getting up to go to the bathroom.

The next thing they were taking about was breaking my water bag.  They were just waiting for further direction from my doc.  While I was lying in bed after getting the epidural, I was pretty numb but I felt a snap and warm liquid on my legs.  Abby was in my room (I think she had just gotten done giving me some nausea/heart burn meds that I needed after getting the epidural) and she confirmed that it had broken on its own.  Again, I was so pleased with that, and they (nurse/resident/my doc) were as well.  The first question I asked Abby, and I'm not sure why I even thought of this, was if the fluid was clear.  No, it wasn't... it was tinted brownish which means that the baby passed some meconium.  She said that it wouldn't change the delivery plan (i.e. it doesn't automatically mean that I need a c-section).  It just meant that they would have a pediatric team in the room when the baby is delivered and they will focus on sucking out as much fluid from her mouth/lungs before she cries.

At 5:53am, Carl sent our families a text saying I was still 5cm dilated.  Abby's shift ended at 7am and she told me that her goal was to have me deliver before then.  I was hoping for that, too, needless to say.  Around that time, 7am, the resident came in to check me again and I was at 8-9cm!  Yahoo!  So they called my doc to come in and we were getting ready for the delivery.  My doc came into my room a little before 8am I think and after actively pushing with 2 or 3 contractions (seriously only 2 or 3), Clara Marie Larson was born! With lots of dark hair, too!  My doc even let me help pull her out.  Such a cool experience!  And a very easy delivery.  And, they even put her on my chest while they were cutting her cord, which I didn't think they would be able to do because of the meconium.  I was glad about that.  Oh, and she pooped on my when they put her on my chest.  First of many.  :)

First picture!  What a plump baby...
all 8 lbs 7 oz of her!

It all happened pretty quickly once my body was ready, which was good.  Especially when you consider that I pushed for 2 hours with Audrey and she was over a full pound less in weight than Clara.  In fact, Lindsey (Boyer) Graff, my good friend from college, just so happened to be on rotation as a 3rd year med student in labor and delivery at Christ and she was starting a 24-hour shift (can you even imagine?!) at 7am that day.  So she came in to visit shortly after she began her shift.  So good to see her!  She had to leave for a triplets c-section, and when she came out after only 30-ish minutes, she asked how I was doing and they told her I was done and the baby was here already.  She was stunned that it happened so quickly!  She came in shortly after Clara was born and I was pretty teary-eyed.  I just remember her saying "Aw, you make me want to cry!"  I was so relieved that Clara was healthy.  They were certainly happy tears.  It's an overwhelming experience when your baby is born.  I'll never forget looking over and seeing Carl all teary-eyed.  What a proud moment for the both of us!

At that point, we hadn't finalized Clara's name yet.  We were deciding between Catelyn and Clara.  After she was born and cleaned up, they put her on my chest again for skin-to-skin.  And Carl made the decision that she is a "Clara".  So "Clara Marie Larson" she will always be.  And now I can't imagine her being named anything else.  A beautiful name for a beautiful baby.

My view of Clara in her bassinet, as seen while I was lying
in my bed in the postpartum room

Our traditional Illini stocking cap pic

And just for fun, here are my girls side-by-side in their Illini caps:
Left: Audrey / Right: Clara
Speaking of Audrey, here's a little peak at what she was doing the day Clara was born.  Joyce and Audrey both stayed home from school and had a fun day.  They went to the mall and even rode the merry-go-round!
Happy to be a big sister