Friday, April 19, 2013

Hannah Elizabeth

As yesterday was Hannah's one month birthday, I've finally found the time to sit down and write about this beautiful little girl who entered our lives on March 18th.  Life has been a little bit unbelievably busy over the last four weeks, which is to be expected when things were busy without a newborn in our house!  Of course, when life is the busiest, I have so much that I want to write about.  Easter, Lilly's 4th Birthday, and Mum and Dad's visit to Connecticut, which turned out to be another stay that was longer than they anticipated due to another stubborn Clark child.  Their visit was so full of memorable stories and pictures that it deserves its own blog.  Dad wrote a little bit about Hannah's arrival here, and I thought I'd share my experience.

As I wrote earlier, March 12th (my due date) came and went with no signs of a baby arriving.  It was very similar to our experience with Jack.  I had a doctor's appointment where she put an induction date on the calendar for March 20th.  Days kept passing by, and every morning, Mum, Dad and Jim would look at me expectantly, wondering if today was the day.  I had days where I just felt "off" and we thought that meant a baby would be arriving, but she didn't.  I was talking to Dad one day about the emotional roller coaster that surrounds a due date.  I went from feeling like the baby would arrive at any minute to feeling like Hannah was never going be born.  St. Patrick's Day, March 17th arrived, and Jim really did not want to have a baby on St. Patrick's Day.  His rationale included, "What if we have a red-headed baby on St. Patrick's Day and everyone will tell this child forever how perfect it is that for them to be Irish (which we're not!) and born on an Irish holiday (which neither of us really enjoy)?" and, "If this baby is born on St. Patrick's Day, she's always going to have to take in green cupcakes on her birthday to celebrate..." and my favorite was, "I can already envision the phone calls from college about being in the hospital with alcohol poisoning celebrating her 21st birthday..."  These were conversations we had and Hannah hadn't even arrived yet!  On the afternoon on March 17th, I didn't feel great.  I had a headache and felt achy (I was almost 41 weeks pregnant, after all) and so Jim told me to go upstairs and lie down and do whatever I had to do to make sure the baby didn't arrive (like I have any control over that).  Hannah timed her arrival perfectly.  We went to bed at 10pm on St. Patrick's Day and were pretty sure we were in the clear.

At 3am on March 18th, I woke up, not sure if I'd just had a contraction.  20 minutes later, I was pretty sure it was a contraction, and when it happened again 20 minutes later, I thought this had to be real.  Knowing how I go quickly, I woke Jim up at 4am and told him what was going on.  True to form, Jim got up and asked if he had time to shower before we left, although to his credit, he didn't ask me to cut his hair while I was in labor this time.  I had a contraction 10 minutes later, and we decided to head to Greenwich, just in case this was it.  We came downstairs, where Dad was up and reading--that's the beauty of having a father who is often up at an obscenely early hour in the morning.  He asked if there was anything he could do, and Dad and Jim exchanged a few words which I'll never forget about how it was trash day and where the recycling needs to go.  It seemed like such an out of place conversation, but it made me smile, which I needed at that point in time.  When we left the house at 4:30, my contractions were 6 minutes apart.  We arrived at the hospital at 5am (when we realized we'd forgotten to call the doctor, who luckily ended up already being at the hospital).  They checked me in at 5:05 and my contractions were about 3 minutes apart.  When we checked in, I heard Jim tell the nurses for the first of what would be many times, "Amelia goes quickly; we've been through this before" as they were deciding whether to take me straight to a delivery room or to triage.  They listened to Jim, took me to a delivery room and called the doctor in.  I had a male delivery nurse, who I was very unsure of initially, and who ended up being my favorite nurse throughout my stay.  I told him I didn't want an epidural and he was fully supportive throughout my labor.  When Hannah was born at 5:33am, not even half an hour after we checked in, he said to us, "Now that is how to have a baby!"

As with Lilly and Jack's births, Hannah's arrival was smooth and quick.  She was a perfect 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 20.5 inches long.  The first few minutes after a baby is born are hard to put into words.  After having gone through one of the most physically and emotionally intense experiences of my life, it is all forgotten in an instant.  From the minute that the doctor places the gorgeous, tiny, screaming little baby on my chest, my world is forever changed.  From that point on, I have another person to love with my whole heart; another little one to worry about; another little one that I would do anything to protect.  I smiled and I cried.  Jim gave me a hug and a kiss and told me how calm and wonderful I was and how he was proud of me, immediately making me feel on top of the world.  I cuddled Hannah, told her that I loved her and was thrilled she was here.  I told her that I was her Mum and Jim was her Dad, and that she had an excited big sister and a sweet big brother at home who couldn't wait to love her.  I relished in the fact that labor was over and my three days in hospital getting to know the newest member of our family were just beginning.  I was shocked to have a girl, as everyone spent nine months telling me I was having a boy, but it felt right.  Everything felt right as I cuddled this brand new baby, with Jim by my side.

leaving the hospital
Our first minutes together as a family of five
Hannah is already her own little person.  While she looks like both Lilly and Jack, I now see Hannah.  She's a combination of Lilly's hair (but lighter) and Jack's eyes.  I see glimpses of Jim in her too.  And I had a full head of lightish hair when I was born.  She has been, as Mum would say, such a little treasure so far.  She sleeps well and eats well.  She sits by and watches as everyone has breakfast and gets ready for school and work.  She goes in and out of the car all day.  She has hair that resembles a fluffy chick after a bath.  And she really, really doesn't like baths!  When you take off her clothes, she clenches her fists, waves her arms and legs in the air and turns bright red while she screams.  It's getting better but we still have quite a way to go before Hannah's bath time is relaxing.  When she's happy (which seems to be any time except bath time), she coos and makes sweet baby noises, including her own distinct little squeak.  Jim and Lilly have taken to calling her "Squeak"--a pretty cute nickname.

our fluffy little chick
the picture says it all... 
the baby burrito
It has taken me about a week of stopping and starting to write this blog, which tells me that from now on, if I'm going to keep up with writing, my entries are going to have to be short and sweet!  I have found that I love Instagram for posting pictures.  Just like my blog, it allows me to put some of my favorite snap shots of our life in one place, and these days, I tend to use my phone more than my camera for taking pictures.

So, here it is.  The first blog entry as a family of five.  Let this exciting new chapter of our lives begin!