***This week I am writing the story of darling little Clementine's arrival- it's pretty long (though don't worry, not gory!) so I am putting it into three posts***
As I held our brand new daughter, Ben sent some text messages to friends who were waiting to hear about the baby, even though it was 4:43 in the morning. Over and over my phone with angelic harp tones (that's what my text message ring sounds like) kept alerting me to messages of congratulations from our friends. It was the perfect background music in the happy peaceful room.
I moved onto the bed and we were eager to find out just what size this baby was, when I began to hemorrhage. Between the size of the baby, placenta (it was huge, too), and a large amount of amniotic fluid (my water broke right as she was being born) I began to bleed quite a bit. I felt pretty awful all of a sudden, and thought I might pass out. Quickly the midwife gave me a shot of pitocin. I was still bleeding, so then she gave me cytotec, and then decided to put in an IV. I was so thankful we had gone with her, since being a nurse midwife, she was able to carry and administer these drugs and the IV. I began to feel better, though I was still pretty dizzy and my blood pressure didn't register on the cuff. For good measure, she then gave me a shot of methargine, had me nurse the baby and gave me glass of apple juice to drink. I chugged about two glasses in about thirty seconds and between all these things I began to feel good again. My blood pressure went back up to where it was readable again (90/65) and I was so thankful that a potential crisis and hospital transfer was averted. After such an easy labor (relatively speaking!) and healthy baby it would have been so disappointing to have to leave home and get treated at the hospital. During this time Amy got a chance to hold her brand new little neice for a bit while Ben, Carol, and the assistant were with me.
Finally, after the baby was about two hours old, and I was completely stable, we could measure her and see how big she was. At this point, Ben and I realized we hadn't announed her name, not to our friends, or to the people in the room, including my sister!
"Clementine Merriweather," we said, and the name fit her perfectly. In some odd way, she was just like I imagined her to be, and she looked just like a Clementine. It was the perfect name for her.
Ben and I came up with her name back in January, when I went on a business trip with him to London. We had so much trouble agreeing on names. After naming six kids it gets harder and harder, because your favorite names get used up. We couldn't come up with anything. Our girl name when I was pregnant with Truman was Winter, which was a perfect name for a baby due in December. However, I absolutely refused to name an August baby, "Winter", though Ben didn't agree with me and thought there was nothing wrong with it. I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I kept throwing out name after name to him, mostly girl names, since I was really hoping this last baby would be a girl, though at the time we hadn't found out yet. By now I cared less about what the name was; I was just trying to get Ben to like another girl name besides Winter!
"What is with you and feminized versions of boy names?"
"Clementine." (Pronounced Clemen-teen, rather than Clemen-tiyn)
"Clementine...hmmm....Clementine....Clementine Merriweather..." (This was the middle name we had like last time)
"I like it. Do you like it?"
At this point I think I was just relieved that he liked a name besides Winter. "Yes, I do. Do you seriously like it?"
"I do. We can call her Clemmie, or Clem when she gets older. I like it!"
So that's how we came up with her name.
Seven months later, here we were, with Clementine now in the flesh. Carol put her in the little sling she weighs the babies in and I said quickly, "Let's guess her weight! I kind of think she may be as much as eight pounds." Most of the other people guessed around seven and a half, but I was certain she must weigh more, since my biggest baby before then was 7 pounds 7 ounces, and Clementine really felt chubbier to me than Evie had.
I couldn't believe it- this had been my easiest labor, and I had given birth to a baby one to two pounds larger than all of the others. No wonder I had felt so uncomfortable at the end of pregnancy, rolling over at night, climbing in and out of bed, sitting on the floor, wearing blue jeans (I gave those up the last three weeks- they were just way too uncomfortable). We texted the weight to our friends and family and another string of replies sounded on my phone's harp tone. I guess we were all pretty amazed. I couldn't believe I had such a big, healthy, chubby, squishy, wonderful, new, perfect, baby. Carol put on a diaper and wrapped her in a blanket, with no clothes on, which I loved, telling me to do as much skin to skin as possible. No problem there- I was still in awe of all her sweet little folds of fat and her soft soft skin. There's something addicting about stroking a brand new baby's skin.
We tucked in for a nap, the three of us, my husband, Clementine, and I. Ben fell asleep almost instantly- it was 7:45 in the morning by now, and we'd been up all night- but I lay awake for a long time, marvelling at the new life that had entered the room just a few hours earlier that morning.