When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with kiddo number 1, I was still a mere child myself at only 18 years old. We had a U-Haul packed and were planning to move to a new city and settle into this amazing, Victorian style apartment that had such charm and character with it’s thick wooden entryways and a claw-foot tub. But, the Good Lord had a different plan in mind.
The night before we embarked on our journey as newlyweds, my mother-in-law drove up to help load the last of our things. Randomly, she asked me if I was pregnant. (She has a
knack gift for knowing when a woman is expecting… often way before they do!) I’m sure I gave her a look like she was crazy; but honestly, my boobs had been super sore that week, so we ran to Walgreens up the street and grabbed one of those cheap sticks. I was still pretty convinced it was going to be negative. But, after a few short minutes, there were two very definitive pink lines. We had been married for a whopping 62 days when I took that first positive pregnancy test. A bit of a shocker to say the least! The thought of moving to a big city, hours away from family, and giving birth to another human being was terrifying. So, we ended up calling our new landlords to cancel our contract. We said good-bye to the thought of our place and moved back home to be closer to our folks. (I suppose it was convenient that we were already packed and ready to go.)
November 8th, 8:00 a.m. At 39 weeks and 6 days, I went in to be induced. We’d had a few ultrasounds and the doc felt the baby was going to be very large so he wanted to get this birthing started. After 19 hours of contractions, my water finally broke. My body spent another 18 looong hours trying to figure out if it was going to deliver this child naturally. Unfortunately, I would not dilate past a 4. (This kid was stubborn!) We’re now almost 37 hours in, so the doc calls for a c-section. At this point, I was exhausted, sore, crabby, and ready to meet my son. I pretty much would have agreed to anything just to get him out so I could finally hold him in my arms!
They gave my husband this awesome white jumpsuit and whisked me away to the O.R. They poked and prodded my spine and told me to lie down and they’d help lift my legs onto the bed. After a minute or two, they hadn’t lifted them yet so I asked if they wanted me to pull them up myself. They laughed and said they had already done it a few minutes ago. [Apparently, you become numb VERY quickly. Ha!] They stretched my arms out wide and put a sheet so close to my face that my chin was touching it. I remember thinking, “WOW, things are about to get real!” The nurse motioned Gabe to come in. I had asked him to take pics because I was disappointed I wouldn’t be able to watch. (Birth stories and operations fascinate me!) We were fortunate that the medical staff were super easy going and even allowed him to get up close and personal to take a quick video.
As they started the incision, I started to feel sick. Without hesitation, they shot some anti-nausea meds into my i.v. line and it instantly went away. (I kid you not, that stuff is a miracle drug. I can’t believe how fast it kicks in.) Throughout the rest of the surgery I didn’t feel any pain or sickness, but I could feel the pressure of them “working” in there. You could hear the machines suctioning, my monitors beeping, and the nurses chatting. It’s still very nostalgic when I think about it today.
Less than 20 minutes later, at 8:58 p.m., November 9th (his due date), our handsome little Simeon was born. I heard his first cry as they cleaned him up and handed his little body off to my husband. He quick leaned in and let me kiss my baby boy on the cheek. I was too relieved and excited to cry. But then just as fast as they’d taken him out of my body, they darted away through the doors into a new room while they finished my surgery.
The next hour in recovery was the longest of my life. I didn’t care that my body needed to rest after the trauma it has just been through. I just wanted to see my baby. I remember being envious that everyone else got to admire him and “ooh and ahh” at his precious little self. To count his fingers and toes, revel at his perfectly round head, and to just be in his presence before I had a real chance to. Don’t get me wrong, the nursing staff was incredible, but I was lonely. It was the first time in 9 months that it was just… me. And it was difficult to embrace that.
After what seemed like an eternity, they brought me to the room where I finally got to hold my son for the first time. Those big blue eyes stared up at me. All feelings of loneliness instantly shattered. He was perfect. Truly, God had outdone Himself with this little guy. I was thankful that they waited until I could be there before they gave him his first bath and took his official weight and measurements. Our baby boy. He was finally here.
I had a whole new purpose in life. This tiny being relied on my husband and I for everything and that was frightening, but exhilarating. What an absolute blessing it was to become a parent!
Again, fast-forward a few short months. We were just getting into the swing of things when BAM — we found out we were pregnant with baby boy number 2. Our small-town hospital didn’t allow for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) so we scheduled another C-section. This time was a bit different. We were asked to choose when our son would be born. It had to be around 39 weeks or a little before, which was a difficult task considering it’d be the last week in December. Christmas was out, obviously. Then my husband’s b-day the 28th. Our anniversary the 30th. Our doc couldn’t do the 29th, so we settled on New Year’s Eve. After all, there’d always be a party on his birthday. =)
So we went in on December 31st at 10 a.m. to deliver our precious little Solomon. They broke my water in a LDR room and then walked me down to the O.R. for surgery. The operation was pretty similar. The only difference being that they had to suction his head to get him out. I vividly remember the suction breaking and blood splashing the sheet in front of my face, which was terrifying to say the least. He was perfectly healthy, just very chubby, which made it difficult to grab him through the “small” incision. I did cry when I saw him because I was relieved that he was okay! Recovery with his surgery contrasted too because I had to stay in longer before I was united with him. My body reacted strangely to the anesthetic and I had uncontrollable shakes and was very nauseous afterwards. But, all-in-all, his birth went well! Another happy, healthy, perfect, sweet baby boy!
Claussen baby number 3. Our gorgeous little girl! I feel like with each of my birth stories, it gets less exciting or intense. But truly, Surion’s birth went off without a hitch. It was another planned cesarean where we got to pick her birth date – November 23rd. Surgery and recovery went amazingly well, with zero complications. It was different in that they didn’t break my water until they were already performing the C-section. But otherwise, very similar to my first surgery. She had the cutest little round head, just like her handsome brothers. She was absolutely beautiful, and more importantly… perfectly healthy! I will say though, that we were expecting problems. I bled (a lot) the entire 9 months of that pregnancy. We actually thought we lost her around 25 weeks. I tested positive for Group B strep and after numerous ultrasounds, they informed us that she had Spina Bifida. God decided differently! She was perfect in every way. Their only concern — she was a bit jaundice (which was no surprise to us, both boys had it to, so we were very familiar with it.) She spent a few days wrapped in a bili-blanket and was back to her pink little self. =)
The Lord definitely knew what He was doing when He created these 3 blessings. Even though my husband and I were young and naïve (we still are), He molded us and prepared us to be their caretakers. Our oldest, Sim, will be seven this year. Sweet tiny Sol’s going on 6. And baby Suri is almost 4. We are still learning on this never-ending journey of parenthood. They teach us something new about ourselves everyday. It continues to be such a joy watching all three of them grow and experience life in their own little ways. To see their personalities evolve. To watch their character develop. We are truly thankful to be called Mommy and Daddy!
There are so many ways to become a mother. Read other stories in our series, “How I Became a Mother.”