Thursday, August 13, 2009

Introducing . . .


Clementine Pie Di Bartolo
born August 9, 2009 at 8:02 a.m.
7 lbs, 10 oz, 20-3/4 inches long
in all ways perfect


Thank you for all the lovely comments to the last post. Jim put up that photo on a brief trip home from the hospital while Clementine and I were still there. We're all home now and getting settled in, getting to know each other, constantly amazed by this perfect little creature we created. Everyone has told us we wouldn't be able to even remember what life was like "before" and it's so true. Some time on Sunday Jim and I realized that we hadn't even had her for 12 hours yet and we were amazed. It seemed like days already. Another week or so, and we truly won't remember the "before." It's surreal, and yet very real. All the things you try to imagine while you're pregnant -- what it's going to be like -- and you just can't fathom it until the time comes and your little creature is in your arms.

We're so happy.

I wrote last week, when Clementine was a week overdue, that we were going in for a non-stress test on Saturday. Well, we did, and we "passed" -- or at least we thought we did, but our midwife told us that my amniotic fluid was low enough to be a little worried about. The OB recommended inducing (do they always?), but we really didn't want to. So the plan was to go home and drink A LOT of water and come back in the morning for another test. The hope was that I'd go into labor before the next test! Our wonderful doula, Kristen, who was also our birthing class teacher and is a co-owner of Zenana Spa (a wonderful spa in southeast Portland specializing in services for pregnant women), suggested I go in and have a prenatal massage which would stimulate the "trigger points" for labor. A massage sounded nice, labor or not, so I went.

The spa is such a tranquil, lovely place, with gorgeous copper lanterns and soothing music and the tinkling of fountains. The massage tables are set up with contoured body pillows to perfectly accommodate pregnant bodies in side-lying position, and it was very relaxing. I'd written on my preliminary paperwork under "what you're looking to get out of the massage" (or however it was phrased): I want to go into labor immediately, ha ha.

But guess what.

Ten minutes into the massage, something happened to my abdomen. Of course it took me a few seconds to recognize it for what it was: a contraction that was totally different from the "practice contractions" I'd been having for months. Seriously. A contraction! It was little, it was the first one, but it WAS a contraction. I didn't say anything, but just sort of waited to see if it would happen again.

And it did.

And when I sat up to switch to my other side . . . my water broke. Really. Right there on the massage table. I can't describe the giddiness and disbelief, after waiting "with baited breath" all week for some sign that things were beginning. And here it was: happening. So, I guess you could say I believe in acupressure now! Kiera the massage therapist got teary-eyed and said she couldn't take credit. This had never happened to her before, but it was just all so sweet and such a lovely place to have this happen, in this spa with gorgeous art photos of mamas and babies on the walls. Jim was down the street at a cafe and I called him to say, "You're not going to believe this, but my water just broke."

He scrambled back and we went home. I thought at this point that we'd have a while yet to wait before going to the hospital. I mean, since my water had broken, the "clock was ticking" but I still thought it would be some hours before my contractions picked up, but things progressed really quickly, and we weren't home for long before we decided it was time. We arrived at the hospital some time between 6 and 7 pm, and my contractions were already around 5 minutes apart and very powerful. I thought at this point -- hoped -- that I might be one of those lucky women who have short labors.

Err. Not so much.

See, things did not exactly go as we had hoped. I just didn't dilate. I mean, I was at 4-1/2 cm when we got to the hospital, and there I stayed, even hours later when the contractions were practically on top of each other. Oh yeah, and I spiked a fever. The baby wasn't descending, and I wasn't dilating. I wanted a nap in the worst way, and some time in the middle of the night, when my midwife recommended pitocin and an epidural, I didn't say no. Yeah, yeah, all my visions of natural childbirth out the window, but what can you do? Something was wrong.

And what was wrong, it turned out, was that little baby girl was stargazing, and not just that, her head was cocked to the side just slightly, preventing her from moving down against the cervix. (In one of the stories in Lips Touch there's a reference to a stargazer birth and its consequences, interestingly enough.)

So, the night was tolerable due the epidural (I so get it now about epidurals), and I slept some while the contractions continued, the pitocin trying to do its work. And in the morning . . . I was still 4-1/2 cm, my fever was up, the baby's heartbeat was getting a little erratic, and it was time for a C-section.

Yeah. That.

The thing is, beforehand I was so invested in the idea of this goddessy natural birth like I've seen in birthing videos, I thought I'd be really devastated if things didn't go like that for us, and I was at first, you know, going into the O.R., but after, and now, I really don't feel any regret. It went how it went, and Clementine is healthy and beautiful, and I'm lucky to have no pain from the surgery (not that I'm leaping around, mind you, I just don't have any pain), and so it goes. It's humbling, discovering your powerlessness, and through the experience I couldn't help but sometimes think of what it would feel like if I didn't know, every step of the way, that the interventions I'd sort of scorned in my mind were there, available, if I needed them. I mean, what would it be like going through a non-progressing labor without an O.R. and an awesome surgeon just down the hall? What would it be like to know that there was no way out but through, and that -- ulp -- you and your baby might not make it? So, thank god for surgeons. And this was cool: the only "boy" in the whole O.R. was Jim. The surgeon and anesthetist were both women, as well as all the nurses, and it was a room full of powerful women.

When the took Clementine out they showed her to me immediately and then Jim was able to be right there with her, touching her, while they cleaned her off and did whatever they do, and then he carried her to me and her cheek was against mine while they . . . did whatever it was they were doing on the other side of that blue curtain where my body was (weird). And then we were back in our room, and I had a perfect baby on my chest and she was doing just what she was supposed to, lifting up her head just a little, searching instinctively for nipple. Wow. Can't explain the feelings of these first few minutes and hours. It's impossible.

Such happiness. Off to the first doctor's appointment now. xoxo. Thank you for being here. We love you :-)

75 comments:

Lexi said...

Hoorah for Clementine Pie! I just want to EAT her! I'm so glad everything ended up fine!

carolyn said...

Welcome Clementine Pie! Any birthing story with a happy, healthy new family at the end is good, but yours is great. I am picturing you all cuddling and snuggling and glowing together, and it makes me so happy. You know when you nuzzle her head and she smells so good? No other baby smells like your baby... true fact.

Q said...

In every picture you've yet posted, I can almost see a smile on her face. She's so beautiful.

storyqueen said...

Congratulations! I love the name Clementine...actually the baby sister in one of my WIP's is named Clementine!

Yeah, I hear you about the whole birth thing. Best laid plans of mice and men and all that. In the end, it doesn't really matter how she came......just that she did.

(Looks like her dad in the picture!)

xoxo Shelley

Kiersten said...

Oh, I was expecting you to choose a really beautiful, old-fashioned name, and you picked THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT ONE. I love it! And she's just beautiful, really. And you're right (coming from another emergency c-section mommy), in the end it doesn't matter how they get here, just that they get here safely : ) I'm so, so glad things went well for you, and congratulations!!

Daphne Unfeasible said...

There's something so perfect about you having a daughter named Clementine Pie. Congrats again!

Alysa said...

Awww! Hurrah! Now this is the part where you must remember that you are doing a great job if you just manage to feed yourself and the baby properly. No pressure about anything else. You're not allowed to think "I didn't do anything today" because you're doing so much! love to you three.

Annie said...

Oh what a sweet little piece of Pie you are little Clementine. And what are does little turned up corners on your lips? Oh. Oh. Is that a teeny tiny smile?

Laini and Jim - she is adorable. A complete treasure. Bless all three of you.

Annie - Turlock

Karina's Pen said...

Welcome Clementine Pie! A beautiful name! Enjoy these first few months with your daughter. You have a truly amazing, unbelievable time ahead of you. :D

Mary Campbell said...

Congratulations - I'm glad things turned out well for you. Yes birth is never in our control. I for one am incredibly grateful for epidurals and pitosin since I always have to be enduced early due to extreme blood pressure.
My book club is today - disappointed I didn't get the rathersting tattoos, but I understand - you were busy. I think you'll love the faery doors I made though - I'll be sending you a picture along with my review.
Very cute name for your baby.

Megsie said...

I am so happy for both of you. Such a wonderful name, and a sweet, sweet baby. I am glad both you and Clementine are healthy, and everything went well...even if things went on different paths than you had planned. Now, eat, feed, hold and sleep...let everyone else do the rest. That alone is HARD WORK. Many good wishes to you and your new family!

Tricia said...

I've been blog stalking the past few days, waiting and hoping for the "more info to come." Clementine is beautiful. Enjoy every minute.

Kate said...

I've been stalking this blog, too, waiting to hear her name. I knew you'd pick a great one, and you did! I LOVE the name Clementine!

lizardek said...

Clementine Pie! That name couldn't be more perfect. Just like her. And you. :)

And my word verification word was distspie. PIE! It's everywhere!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm pie!

Shari said...

What a yummy little glow-worm! Clementine Pie. Lovely name! And any birth story that ends with both mama and baby healthy and happy is a good one. Everyone's is different and almost always not what you envision. What an awesome little family you guys are! That little stargazer has no idea what earthly delights are in store for her being born to 2 wonderful, creative, inspirational people in You and Jim. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

Charlotte said...

So happy for you! She's lovely. (Will she be Clem?) I'm sorry the whole giving birth naturally and beautifully thing didn't happen, but thank heavens for modern medicine, indeed! I hope you have a lovely calm and contented settling in, and that she feeds well, and is squidgy and sweet and warma and solidly soft....I don't exactly miss having babies, but they are so squidgy...

Cuppa Jolie said...

Oh my. Laini and Jim, she is so beautiful. Even your story. We never can imagine or plan for how it will go.I'm all choked-up, happy for you all. And Clementine Pie! Love it. I think in LA we were all hoping for Clementine, but I thought since you didn't have a name, maybe Clementine wasn't an option. It's perfect. Sending you all much love. xoxo

Cuppa Jolie said...

Oh my. Laini and Jim, she is so beautiful. Even your story. We never can imagine or plan for how it will go.I'm all choked-up, happy for you all. And Clementine Pie! Love it. I think in LA we were all hoping for Clementine, but I thought since you didn't have a name, maybe Clementine wasn't an option. It's perfect. Sending you all much love. xoxo

tone almhjell said...

Welcome, sweet Clementine Pie. You are absolutely perfect and I hope I get to meet you in the year to come.

I was wondering if maybe there had been a c-section since Clementine looked so very beautiful in a non-mashed/squished way. I think you did a wonderful job, and that it's fantastic that there are surgeons and ORs and help to be had if things get impossible, and that it's marvellous that the love you wonder about in the days up until is so great and unquestionable.

Huge big hug for all of you.

(and nope - nothing going on here).

Ginaagain said...

What a lovely name for a lovely little girl.

Your birth story is perfect just like the baby it finally produced. Sometimes I think writers are condemned to endure all of the possiblities so that we have the experience to draw on when one of our characters need it.

Now, no matter how good you are feeling you MUST allow people to spoil and take care of you. Rest and snuggle with that baby as long as you can.

Sarah said...

I saw her name and I just smiled. Congratulations!

Vijaya said...

What a smiley baby! I also had a stargazer baby (we called him sunnyside up) so I know how tough it can be to get them out. Thank goodness for Cesareans.

Now rest and nibble on that adorable baby.

lkmadigan said...

Thank you for sharing your family's beautiful journey, Laini.

Welcome to the world, Pie.

xoxo

Lisa

anne said...

a perfect name, and a miraculous birth story! thank you for sharing all this specialness with everyone!

Jone said...

Welcome to the world Clementine Pie. I love the name. Thank you for sharing her and the story of her arrival with us all.

Anonymous said...

Sweet baby Clementine - what a lucky little professor she is! You all make a beautiful family. Many congrats and blessings! :)

Stephanie Perkins said...

Oh, she's just so so lovely, Laini. Jarrod and I send all of our love. Congratulations, again!

(Best. Name. Ever.)

tanita davis said...

Wowza, she looks incredibly alert. What a sweetie Pie!

Jehsyka said...

She is so beautiful and sweet-looking when she sleeps. I feel she'll be a very pretty and lovely girl when she grows up. Jeez, I wish I could scream for you guys, but considering many people in the room wouldn't like that....
Beautiful name as well. Clementine Pie.... Do they even have clementine pies? I don't think they have orange pies, so I doubt they'll have clementine pies.

R.J. Anderson said...

I had JUST the same thing happen with my firstborn -- except for the C-section, but it was touch and go there. I'd hoped for a natural home birth, but boy, by the time I got that epidural I could have kissed the anaesthetist!

Apparently the stargazing and the non-productive labor only usually happens with first births, and that was certainly true in my case -- my second and third were home waterbirths and labor was MUCH shorter. But like you, I was just thrilled to have my baby at last.

Congratulations to you and Jim! Clementine is beautiful! She already looks so wise.

Rachael King said...

Lovely little girl, Laini, congratulations. I don't know of many births that ever go as planned, and we just have to take them as they come! I am booked in for a c-section on Monday since my baby is breech and huge - there is no WAY I can squeeze him out of have him turned. So I've just accepted that I will never experience labour in all its glory (my first was a c-section due to a bad result in one of those stress monitors) and instead focus on my two lovely boys!
xxx

~Molly~ said...

Mazel Tov Laini and Jim!! What a joy she is, just beautiful!!!

Enjoy all the wonderful milestones, I hope you share them with us!

Molly

Charlotte Netz said...

Blessings to you, Jim and magical Clementine! Now you are living the power of three...
Another chamber in your heart have opened.
Love will swirl in every cell from just being with her.
And I bet she´ll be your greatest teacher!
Professor Clementine -what a wonderful name.

Big hugs all the way from Stockholm/Sweden.

Melissa said...

Absolutely adorable. Practically perfect in every way. Congrats again.

Heidi said...

Found your blog via Tone's blog. Lovely baby, FABULOUS name, and so glad all went well. Modern medicine has its downsides, for sure, but it beats the alternative! Enjoy this time...all the best to you and your family.

BJW said...

Clementine Pie Di Bartolo is perfect. She looks like a wonderful blend of Jim and Laini's features. Laini's nose, Jim's non-pink hair (for now). What a cutey-pie. Both of your happiness is bubbling out across the internet and we all get the benefit of the happy-vibes. I don't think I'm the only one who is smiling by myself looking at my computer screen at your family.

You two are awesome parents. Just look how Jim is looking at Clementine Pie! That girl will be loved!

Ahh. Back to life. Thanks for sharing this with us.

paris parfait said...

So happy for you and Jim, Laini. Congratulations! What a beautiful daughter with a terrific name! Wishing you much joy and many blessings! xo

Heather said...

She's just unbearably perfect in every way! I knew her name would be one that suited you (and her) to a T! I couldn't be happier for all of you! I'm sorry about the c-section, but as you say, 100 years ago...

Give love to the Grands for me too - they must be giddy with joy!

Shveta said...

Laini, this is just so beautiful that. . .I don't have any words. Just thank you for sharing this, and much love to darling Clementine Pie, stargazing baby girl, and to you.

brittany said...

I don't think she could look any more like her daddy. That is so cute!

I'm sorry to hear that you had to have a c section--my third was an emergency c section and the recovery was brutal. But like you said, at the end of it all, if there's this perfect little person, then it can't be that bad.

Congratulations! You're parents! isn't it unblievable?!?

loves,
B

ps i loooOOOoove her perfect little name. clementine pie. mmmm. love.

TansyRR said...

Our babies were born the same day!!!

http://cassiphone.livejournal.com/241560.html

I knew I was so interested in your pregnancy for a reason!

My first daughter Aurelia had a similar birth story to yours, and I went from being terrified at the whole theoretical concept of 'caesarian' to just being grateful it was there as an option, and that it went so well.

I feel just the same about my second, non-caesar delivery. Grateful that it's over, and that the outcome was good. Baby!

You're absolutely right that we have no control about how these things go - and accepting that is so important. Now you have your perfect girl, and that's everything!

I hope you enjoy Clementine Pie as much as we are enjoying our Jemima Violet.

Loves! Tansy

Tinker said...

Oh, what a cutie-pie! Welcome to the world, Miss Clementine Pie! So lovely to meet you. I must say, you have excellent taste in parents! I can only imagine what fun, creative adventures you'll have with them.

p.s. I love the massage table story - I will pass that on to my niece in Alaska, who's due at the end of the month.

p.s.s. Congratulations and best wishes to you all again!

FrecklesandDeb said...

What a beautiful little girl! I'm sure you're on top of the world. Congratulations and best wishes to the three of you!
Deb Cushman

Sarah Beth Durst said...

YAY!!! Congratulations, Laini and Jim! And welcome to the world, Clementine! You're going to like it here. (It helps that you have awesome parents.)

Sending you all many, many, many hugs!

Best wishes and tons of joy,
Sarah

K. M. Walton said...

Congrats again. Your birth story sounds similar to my youngest sister, who just had her emergency c-section on July 30th, here in Australia. I am now the proud Aunt of Scarlett Jane & we're here visiting.

Clementine is a beauty.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Birth stories have a tendency to make me cry, and yours was no exception. I've been processing my "un-natural" birth lately and finding peace and your story just made me feel all that much more validated.

Please don't take this in a creepy way, but I love you! Your spirit is so magnificent it inspires me.

Congratulations on your perfect being, and her lucky perfect parents.

Chantele said...

Congratulations! She is beautiful and I love her name!!

Malinda said...

OH she is gorgeous! Congratulations!

Martha Brockenbrough said...

That is one beautiful baby.

Southern Princess said...

She is beautiful! I am so happy for yall. It is good to hear that you are all doing well.
I know she will be such a delight - I love the name so perfect and unique!

Lisa Schroeder said...

Welcome to the world, little Clementine! I'm pretty sure you're going to love it here with parents like yours!!

She is indeed perfect. Congrats Laini and Jim!!

Carolyn Dietrich said...

Congratulations! She's beautiful. I had my son C-section and my daughter the normal way. I actually was more alert (they used ether when I gave birth to my daughter in 1971 and I was in and out during the delivery) and enjoyed the birth more with my son because I was fully alert.
So happy for you!
I love your blog.

Casey McCormick said...

Lovely story. You'll never regret the way things went. Things didn't go the way I wanted for mine either (I also wanted a completely natural birth) and it's never once bothered me. I'm just so thankful for what came of it.

She's beautiful, and I simply love her name.

Congrats again!

Christine Fletcher said...

Nothing ever goes as planned, does it? :) A beautiful story, a beautiful name (LOVE Clementine Pie!) and what a gorgeous little stargazing girl. Many, many congratulations to you all!

Lee Wind said...

Oh. my. gosh. thank you for sharing this beautiful story. And the photos of your beautiful, beautiful Clementine Pie. I have tears in my eyes, darn you! Hugs to all three of you. Enjoy. Relish. Love.
Lee

myrna said...

Clementine Pie is so perfect. I especially love that her middle name is Pie. It was a nick (middle) name for all of mine! And she is so very beautiful. You are going to lose a lot of sleep watching her even when she sleeps.

And I do know people who say they have easy recoveries from c-sections. The more active you are, the easier it's supposed to be - well, active within reason.

Best of luck! Your Clementine Pie is a lucky girl!

Corrinne said...

Oh Laini and Jim, she is so beautiful and graced with that lovely strawberry blond hair. And while Professor seemed to be the perfect name prior to her arrival, she is definitely a Clementine.

My own just turned one last week and it happens so fast. It seems silly to say, but you do forget the small details because you can barely keep up with how quickly they change. It is the quick notes about your little one's small developments, the photos, and the videos that you will treasure later.

Kel said...

What a perfect name for a perfect little girl! My oldest daughter was born with auburn hair and it just happens that her middle name is auburn! Love the pictures you've posted, brings back memories of my girls as newborns. There must be something about stargazing first-borns, as my oldest daughter, Kate, was the same way. I didn't have a c-section, she decided to comply at the last possible moment.
Remember to rest, let others take care of you for awhile, and enjoy every single moment with your precious Clementine Pie! The noises newborns make are priceless!!

Congrats again!

Deldino said...

Congratulations, she is beautiful. Wishing you and your family many years of love and happiness together. Blessings to you all.

amy said...

A wonderful story with a happy ending/beginning! Congratulations, she's beautiful!

MoJoKat said...

What a beautiful family!!! Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous and perfect! Here's to Happily Ever Aftering for you all!!!!

Kiki Hamilton said...

Congratulations! She looks perfect!

Shelli said...

its perfect!

Kjersten said...

I LOVE her name. It's beautiful. and so is your story. Thank you for sharing.

Candice Westberg said...

Add another blog stalker to the list... Congrats on little Clementine! Such a precious name and a beautiful little girl. Take care you three.

Redness said...

Oh Darling, Darlings, Congratulations ... your photo makes my heart sing ... what a gorgeous family you are ... Yayyyyyyy ;)

soliluna said...

Clementine Pie is just right. Excellent. I've loved 'sharing' your journey---love and light to your new little family.

I had a similar birth experience 9 weeks ago when our son Owen was born. (8 days overdue, finally induced, etc.) I was moved by the courage and love in your birthstory. Thank you for sharing.

Giggles said...

Such a beautiful and humble post, it makes me so teary! Congratulations on your little Clementine Pie...what a great name!!

BookMoot said...

So happy for the three of you! It is not the process, it is the result! Happy Days and congratulations!

Marianne said...

Congratulations Laini and Jim and welcome Clementine Pie (the most fabulous name ever) xx

Marianne

Sheila Ruth said...

Congratulations, Laini and Jim! She's beautiful!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

OMYGOD she is so beautiful! Congratulations!

Laini, I know what it's like to want that natural childbirth and things go not-as-you-planned. That happened with my first, and I had a c-section, too (though, later, I got to have that natural childbirth with my second. I can honestly say I've done it all -- tried a water birth, had an epidural, had a c-section, then did it naturally). And you're EXACTLY right -- that however you can get them here is how you get them here, and no looking back. Whatever works. She's beautiful. She's perfect. She's here. And you all will be such kick-ass parents that I can hardly stand it.

CONGRATS! Please congratulate Jim for me, too!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

And how much do I LOVE THAT NAME? So very, very.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Congratulations on the miracle of Clementine Pie.

This is the first time I've visited your blog (I'll be back!)

Reading your blog on having a C-section took me back 23 years ago to the birth of my eldest daughter, Alexis. I didn't care how she came into this world -- simply that she came healthy. ANd, she did. I heard her cry in the womb before the surgeon even cut into its protective lining. What an amazingly beautiful experience.

Thanks for taking me back to that moment -- and thank you for sharing your photos and journey. What bliss!

Little Willow said...

Welcome to the world, Clementine Pie! Congratulations to your proud parents.