What a perfect gift straight from God, our Clover. This sweet girl totally amazes me. Of course, as a Mother of just Nash, I had all this apprehension/anxiety about how I would/could share my heart and life with another child. It's so crazy how they arrive and you don't even think twice. They just fit. They're this piece of your puzzle. We didn't even skip a beat. Wam, bam, thank you ma'am...I'm a Mother to a precious little girl. And oh how precious she is to me. To us. I feel over the moon with thankfulness to God for her perfect health. She is just perfect. Absolutely!
So she's also a really good baby and we're beyond thankful for that. It's given us time to focus on Nash and my recovery, which was no joke this time around. My Mom has been here helping, which is a huge God-send, because we've been able to stay relatively busy, out and about almost every day. Play dates, ice cream, dates with Mommy/Daddy...Nash has been one busy dude.
So basically NOTHING has changed in Nash's little life except for this new pint-size addition that keeps giving him gifts, ha! We collected consigned and hand-me-down toys for months before Clover's arrival and have slowly been giving him toys saying, 'Baby Clover got this for you!' So needless to say, Nash is a HUGE FAN of baby Clover. So thankfully all is fine in the sibling department with both Nash and Zola welcoming their new sister.
So let's get to some statistic sharin' and birth story recappin'...I know that's why y'all are really here!
Name: Clover Francis Cullen
Birthday: August 12, 2013
Birth time: 7:36pm
Location: Seton Southwest / Austin, TX
Height: 21 1/2 inches
Weight: 8 lbs. 6 oz.
Eye color: Bluish Grey
Hair color: Strawberry Blonde
The Morning Of
It felt like any other day. Except it was Clover's due date. Her due date had arrived. Holy crap I never thought I'd see the day. Nash was super early, we expected the same from Clover. The glorious thought raced through my head that I could possibly have a due date baby, but then I quickly shut it down. I didn't want to set myself up for failure. For being sad. For putting a time constraint on her arrival. For wanting her here. The most important thing to me, on her due date, was that Clover arrive when she was ready. I woke up fresh, happy and totally fine with a girl that might bake way longer than we ever anticipated.
Nash and I did our usual morning walk with Zola in her stroller cup holder. We were meeting a girlfriend later that morning, before my 11am ob appointment, so I didn't have time to shower. Uh oh, not my best decision on d-day, ha! We headed to the Hill Country Galleria and walked around for about an hour before stumbling upon Mr. Will playing his jams at Whole Foods. We danced, sang and I left Nash with my friend Marcia for a few minutes so I could tinkle. I remember thinking my potty breaks had reached epic proportions since I was going every 30 minutes. We snuck out before Mr Will was done and gave Marcia a big hug bye. We zoomed off to my ob appointment, which I was already late for. Nice.
My ob appointment was pretty standard. My Doctor checked me and provided me with these stats: 4cm, 80% effaced and Clover was a -2/-1 position. I asked to have my membranes stripped again (had it done the previous week's appointment) and my Doc was a bit more aggressive this go round. Ok. I'll be bluntly honest. That shizz hurt. This is what happened.
Doc: Slips on surgical gloves and tells me to relax as best I can.
Nash: FREAKS OUT!
Me: 'Bubba it's ok. Momma's fine. No shot today.'
Doc: Totally bewildered...'Is Nash ok?'
Me: 'Yes, he's fine. Well he's not fine. He actually relates surgical gloves to getting a shot. Here Bubs, here's a lollipop.'
All calm and good again.
Doc: 'Ok so I'm going to be a bit more aggressive today.'
Me: 'Go for it!'
And then I was violated. Complete and utter vah jay jay violation. Holy bonkers down there, that was no joke.
Me: 'All right, that's up there with Nash's labor and delivery. Why was it so much more painful today?'
Doc: 'Ok so you said you're game for a baby today, I just did my best to grant your wish.'
Gaw, my Doctor cracks me up. She's a straight shooter, no messing around. The ultrasound and stress test looked great. Nash was an angel but we were creeping up on his nap time. I literally had to SCREAM AT HIM on the drive home to keep him awake. He was like a tiny drunken sailor. Exhausted, tired boy. He went down for his nap minutes before I snapped the pic below.
I posted this pic via our Instagram feed at 12:40pm. I told our followers my ob appt stats and questioned what the heck we were going to do now. Our countdown was over. It was d-day and no sure sign of lil' Miss in sight.
I laid down for the best nap I had had in weeks. Nash slept two hours. I slept for 90 hard minutes. I can only gather now that my body knew what was about to happen and was preparing me for later that day. Not even one small contraction my entire nap. Nothing. Just solid, quiet, amazing sleep.
Nash's blabber on the monitor woke me up.
Nash: 'Momma, Momma, Momma. Go-go, fire truck, police car, dump truck. Momma, Momma. Get me out. Get me out. Dadda. Dadda. Momma.'
I hurried to get myself re-dressed and looking normal as we had friends arriving in mere minutes. I raced upstairs, got Nash out of his sleepy clothes too and plowed a snack down his throat. My dear friend Amy arrived with her two kiddos and we played and laughed until Walt got home. But shortly after Amy arrived I started having some back labor. And contractions. Nothing major but enough to have me call Walt.
Me: 'Hey babe. Amy is here and I just wanted you to know my contractions are getting pretty strong this afternoon. I don't want to jump to conclusions and I know we've had this conversation a dozen times in the last week, but please DO NOT drive home during rush hour today. Leave the office earlier. Beat the traffic. I just have this feeling.
Walt: 'I'm about to step into a quick meeting and I plan to hop in the car directily after it.'
Me: 'If the meeting isn't quick, I highly suggest you excuse yourself and come home. I just want to be honest with you.'
Walt: 'Baby, it's a quick meeting. I should be home in an hour, does that work?'
Me: 'Oh yeah, that's great. See you soon, love you. Drive safely.'
Then things got CRAY up in this mug. Over the next 30 minutes my contractions got stronger and stronger. Amy prayed over Clover in our kitchen, while holding my hands, as three monkeys whizzed around us. It was one of the most amazing prayer I've ever heard. It really just settled my heart, mind and spirit and prepared me for her arrival. I think Amy and I both started to realize, shortly before that, that this was happening. I would have my girl on that very day. Also, Walt arrived home. Praise God.
Amy was treating me to a wonderful session of herbal accupressure and we decided today was the day to really target those pressure points. Contractions were already getting stronger, so why the heck not. Here is Amy getting down to business with our hilarious monkey boys racing around us, below. Oh how I adore and cherish this awesome family. Nash and Oliver are only hours apart in age. They are the funniest little duo and Nash adores Oliver's big sister Lily too.
When I posted this pic on Instagram, everybody asked me about the towel I was sitting on. It was actually because Amy was using coconut oil and we didn't want big ol' 'Soul Glo' spots on our couch. Yep, I just referenced Coming to America, only one of the greatest movies of all time.
So Amy got down to business, Walt was wrangling the three monkeys and my contractions got worse and worse. As Amy finished up we looked back at my contraction app on my phone to see if there was any rhyme and reason to their coming and going. They were pretty sporadic, in all sincerity. But they were getting so strong in my lower back that I found I couldn't really walk/talk that well when I was in the midst of one.
Amy: 'I really think it's time for y'all to head to the hospital. They're getting strong and stronger. I'm fine here with Nash for the time being. I can stay all night or you can call your neighbor and have her take over.'
We called Miss Glenna.
She popped right over and we gave her the total rundown of Nash's bedtime routine. We asked her to come relieve Amy at 5:30 and thanked her for feeding, bathing and putting Nash down for us that night. Oh what a blessing to have neighbors that are like family.
We headed to the hospital around 5pm. Nash was busy playing with the Amy's kiddos and was about to consume epic proportions of Annie's organic mac-n-cheese. I remember looking at him one last time, thinking to myself, this is it...it'll never be just him again. It made me sad. No really, it did.
Hugs and kisses and well wishes. Here we go.
Amy snapped this pic as we were walking out the back door, into a fully packed car (good job Walt) and off to finally meet our girl!
We arrive at the hopsital about 10 minutes later and check into the emergency room entrance. Rodney, the check-in guy, has me in stitches. Laughter. He had me laughing. I guess stitches jokes aren't really appropriate at this point, ha.
Rodney: 'Are you in a lot of pain? Do you need a wheelchair?'
Me: 'Haha, no, I'm good. It's only bad when a contraction kicks in. You'll know. I stop talking.'
Rodney: 'Well you just let me know. Don't be having a baby right here on me. Although I did deliver one of the first babies in this hospital. All the Doctors deny it but I swear to you, I'm capable.'
Me: 'Great. I feel better already, ha!'
Rodney got us all checked in and called up to labor and delivery to ask when our room would be ready. They said 20 minutes. We gabbed about everything under the sun during those minutes. At about 15 minutes later there was a lull in the conversation. Walt was quiet. Rodney was quiet. I was quiet.
Then there was this pop. A pop I swear that both men heard. But neither looked over at me. Neither acknowledged the noise in that split second. It took me by complete surprise. Was it Clover kicking? Did my intestines just rupture under the pressure? Another beloved hemorrhoid? What the heck was that?
Rodney: 'Are you ok over there?'
Walt looking super concerned.
Me: 'Did y'all hear that pop?'
Both shook their heads no.
Me: 'Umm, ohh, ok. Bizarre. I swear something just popped. Maybe it was the baby kicking. So Rodney, how long have you worked in the emergency room?'
Blah blah blah...small talk. Rodney calls L&D again as my contractions are getting stronger. Our nurse is on her way down to escort us.
Rodney: 'I'll go grab a wheelchair and y'all can load all your stuff up on it. You're still ok to walk?'
Walt proceeded to load up the wheelchair with our hoards of stuff. L&D nurse came around the corner so it was go time to walk upstairs. I finally stood up and bam, water gushing down me. Pouring out. I look at Walt...
Me: 'Oh my GOSH...that pop was my water. My water broke. Oh my gosh, my water broke baby. Water keeps coming out of me. Oh jeez, this is crazy! I knew something popped. What do I do?'
Rodney grabbed towels and another wheelchair. This is the pic I snapped as we headed up to L&D.
We got all settled into our room. I was reading my People magazine, lamaze breathing through each contraction. An hour passed. Hmmm. The ob on rounds came in. I had seen every Doctor in the practice except this Doctor. I didn't know what to expect. She walked in. Bright blue eyes, blonde hair, chipper as can be. I really loved her from the second she set foot in our room. Though I was sad my Doc wasn't going to be 2-2 with delivering our babies, I was at ease almost immediately after greeting our Clover deliverer, ha!
Doc: 'Hey Morgan. So I hear this is your second and your first was really fast. Fast for a first. Well fast for any birth order.'
Me: Laughing, 'Yep. That's why I'm so totally confused right now. I've been laboring over an hour and don't get me wrong, these contractions hurt but I would have suspected that I'd have a baby by now. I mean, I just always imagined it going lightening fast after my water would break. And it broke. Downstairs. In the waiting area.'
Doc: 'I know, I heard. Well, I'm thinking you have something called a forebag. Have you heard of that?'
So she went on to explain what a forebag was. Without boring you, HERE's what it is.
Doc: 'So once I break it, your contractions should really kick up a notch or two. Are you sure you're ready?'
Me: Looking down at my People mag and throwing it aside, 'Let's have this baby!'
Doc: Pulled out this rather long, large needle that I can only liken to a crochet type needle and told me to spread em. In goes needle, out comes another massive gush of water. Literally within 60 seconds I was white knuckled, eyes closed and saying out loud, 'Holy crap, now this is what I remember. Oh the pain!'
And so my real, true intense labor had started. It was now shortly before 7pm.
Real Deal Holyfield
Labor. It was back. How did I ever forget that pain. Oh my gosh. Eye crossing pain. No really, my eyes were crossed half of the time. I could barely speak. I was sweating profusely. As soon as those hardcore contractions kicked in, I wanted out. I wanted an epidural. I didn't want to endure that pain again. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. But I labor quietly and just like with Nash, I might've whispered a bad word, or two.
I labored for over 30 minutes with Walt standing next to me. The pain was much more intense than Nash. At the time I didn't understand why. But now I know. Nash's labor was 3 hours. Clover's was just shy of 40 minutes.
This time around I actually FELT HER move down the birth canal inside of me. With each contraction I'd feel her move lower and lower. I can't even tell you how magical but strange this felt, all at the same time. It felt slow at the time but now that I know how quickly she came, she was like a little rocket, busting through my body. I think this is the part of Clover's labor I will never, ever forget. Feeling her cruise on down, eager to make her entrance.
Clearly the intensity got stronger and stronger and stronger. At one time a nurse came in and said my contractions were picture perfect and likely doing their job. Little did we all know, they were MORE than doing their job. She was almost here. Walt snapped this pic of my contractions.
Push It Real Good
Again, just like with Nash, I felt the urge to push. Again, just like with Nash, that urge came when it was just me and Walt. It was about 7:30pm. A little over 30 minutes after my forebag was popped by the Doctor.
Me: 'Baby, she's coming.'
Walt: 'Really, seriously?'
Me: 'Push the red button.'
Walt: PUSHED THE RED BUTTON IMMEDIATELY. (If you've read Nash's birth story HERE, you'll laugh at the fact that my man did not question me this go round, ha!)
Intercom: 'Can I help you?'
Walt: 'My wife is saying that the baby is coming and she needs to push.'
Intercom: 'Ok, I'll let your nurse know.'
Me: 'Oh my gaw, they better not lollygag.'
Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Nurse comes in with the Doctor trailing rather slowly behind her. They both make their way over to my bed. I'm in so much pain I want to scream, 'Get this girl out of me.' Instead, I stare at the both of them. I'm like a complete zombie...motionless, cross-eyed and so stricken with pain.
Nurse: 'Well Morgan, let's check you out and see what's going on. Go ahead and lift your leg up here.'
She pulls out a stirrup and motions for me to put my foot in there. I can't even begin to lift my leg. She looks at me like, 'Lady, did you hear me...leg up, stat!' I look at Walt and he just knows to help me. He grabs my right leg and places it in the stirrup. The nurse gets a one second peek and states loudly, 'Oh yeah, we're about to have a baby!'
I see the Doctor scramble to put on her gloves and then a whole team of people start buzzing around me. I remember thinking, 'Where did all these people suddenly come from?'
Walt was holding my left leg, the nurse at my right. The Doctor was in position telling me calmly that we were about to push this baby out. How was this a we situation, I wondered. Really lady, 'we' are about to push? I wanted to scream obscenities. Instead I took the ladylike route and slightly uncrossed my right eye and shook my head slowly, yes.
Nurse: 'All right Morgan, you're about to meet your baby girl!'
Me: (in my head, not out loud, to the cheerleader type nurse) I want to throat punch you if you don't stop acting like this is a easy, comfy, lah tee dah situation. I have half of a baby's head hanging out of my vah jay jay right now. Comfy? Not one bit. Excited? Yes. Still want to throat punch you? Umm, kinda.
Doctor: 'Ok Morgan, as soon as the next contraction comes, I want you to push with all your might. Let's get this baby girl out!'
Next contraction. I think it somebody ripping my eyeballs out with dental floss would be less painful. This pain was so intense, I literally can't remember what happened. Walt had to tell me how many pushes and how many contractions because I think I blacked out, in a way.
First contraction, three good pushes. On the third push, Clover's head was ALMOST all the way out. But guess what? Contraction over. Yep. Done. With half a head hanging out.
Doctor: 'Ok Morgan, I know you'll feel an urge to push but we need to wait until the next contraction. It's about a minute away. Hang in there! I know we'll get her out with this next one.'
OH! MAH! GAWSH! Kill me now.
Walt: 'Baby, her hair is red. Not super red. But strawberry blonde. Similar to Nash's color when he was born!'
As soon as I saw Walt peek down 'there' I wanted to scream at him not to do it. Don't look down there. Once you look, you can never take back what you see. But I kid you not, this got me through that long, excruciating minute. Just imagining another ginger haired gift from God. Thinking about how I'd meet her in mere minutes. It got me through it. I'm thankful Walt took a peek. And spoke. Silence, wondering and pain are not my best friends.
Doctor: 'All right Morgan, here comes another contraction. Push with all your might and let's meet this girl!'
I pushed. And I mean, I pushed. One big, long, hard push and hello baby girl's head. One more push and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM...we have a Clover! Walt got slimed with amniotic fluid. We're still unsure how that happened but even the Doctor said, 'Woah, that was quite a gush!' He could've cared less. The excitement of meeting his sweet baby girl was all that mattered, though he did laugh at being 'slimed!'
So maybe a small part of me totally wondered how I could love someone as much as I love Nash. How could my heart expand for another tiny person in our home? I was perplexed about this. Wondering day to day, how it would feel. But the mere second I laid eyes on that sweet baby girl, I knew. She was mine. She was his. She was ours. She was perfect!
Walt held her for the first 20-30 minutes of her life. He kept asking me if I wanted to hold her but I kept declining because a) I was in an insane amount of pain and b) I was still shaking. You know, those post-delivery shakes, I get them big time. I think our nurse was a bit concerned because I kept declining but the second I felt better I was shouting, 'Gimmee gimmee gimmee that sweet baby girl!' I could've stared into her gorgeous and alert bluish grey eyes for days! Smitten and enamored, doesn't even cut it.
And boy oh boy did she have a set of pipes. And still does, ha! I love how fiery and demanding she is. This is a spirited girl who tells you what she wants, when she wants it. Not at all like her Momma, wink wink. The stay at the hospital flew by. My recovery was worse this time around, plus chasing a toddler on top of that meant a significant drop in rest compared with Nash's postpartum situation. That's all right, I powered through it and am feeling much better now.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from her first few days in the hospital and a precious video too.