There are two reasons why this blog has been vacated for so long. The first is technical. My computer conveniently quit working the day we brought Clark home from the hospital. This means that Aaron and I are sharing one, which became extremely difficult once Aaron started school again and had to have it with him at all times. The second reason should be obvious. Clark entered this world and he completely turned our lives upside down. If you are a member of the Facebook community, you have probably noticed by now that we are obsessed with this child. Aaron posts new pictures everyday and I honestly think we have captured every single facial expression Clark has made since the second he was born. Even though all he does is sleep, eat, and poop, it has been difficult finding time to even think about how to document the last two weeks of our lives. But now that I am fed, Clark is fed, I've had a big fat nap today, and our house is clean, I'm going to give it a whirl. This post will come in two or three installments because nobody has the time to read everything I have to say in one sitting.
Clark was born on January 6, 2010. We were instructed to be at the hospital at 5:00 a.m. with our bags packed and ready to have a baby. Leaving our house that morning was surreal. When we walked out the door, we realized that the next time we walked back through that door we would have a third person with us who would never leave. Before we left, Aaron and I sat on the counter in our bathroom and prayed for Clark and our family and the day ahead of us. We were surprisingly calm and collected, and somewhat delirious from the zero seconds of sleep we got that night. We checked in at exactly 5:00 and I was surprised at how little time it took before I was propped up in the hospital bed beginning the whole labor inducing process, which is something I definitely won't go into too much detail on, because many of those details are nothing short of disgusting.
I "labored" for 12 hours on that Wednesday. I put that word in quotation marks because I can hardly call it labor. Basically, I sat in a hospital bed completely pain free while people waited on me hand and foot and my friends and family showered me with compliments about how great I looked, which was obviously not true. Around 12:00, my water broke. Before that, I was having contractions but wasn't feeling them yet, so I asked the doc when I was going to start feeling them and he said it would take about 45 minutes after the water broke. That man must be brilliant, because 45 minutes to the second I felt my first whopper of a contraction. I don't know how I looked during those contractions, but I think I managed them relatively well. Aaron would laugh at me because when one would start, I got deathly quiet and still, focused on a random object on the wall, and inhaled/exhaled as if I were a zen expert or something. I decided many moons ago that an epidural would most certainly be part of my birth plan because I actually wanted to enjoy Clark's birthday and remember it as the best day of my life, not an incredibly miserable day that I wanted to dismiss from my memory. Anyway, once the crazy post-water breaking contraction nonsense started, I waited a little less than an hour before I started frantically pressing my nurse pager button and demanding my epidural. And once I got that beloved shot, or whatever it was, I became a whole new woman. I sat in that bed for another five hours having supernatural contractions every 2-3 minutes but didn't feel a thing. I had a steady flow of family and friends coming to visit the entire time and I loved every second of it. That would obviously not have been the case had I chosen to forego the epidural. It was wonderful.
I was a bit unsettled when the doctor told me it was time to start pushing, but then left to go home for a nice dinner with his family and left me alone with a nurse for the next two hours, but whatever. I pushed for two solid excruciating painful hours. After five minutes of pushing, I asked the nurse why Clark hasn't come out yet and she laughed out loud at me. As I said before, I'm not going to detail those two hours of my life, but suffice it to say those two hours were pretty uneventful. I used every ounce of energy in my body trying to push that baby out and Clark had zero interest in helping. I started to approach the fine line where if nothing happened in the next few minutes, my only option would have been to have a c-section. Fortunately I didn't reach that point because doc used something similar to a vacuum cleaner and literally suctioned him out of me. The only way to describe it would be an out of body experience.
I'll never forget the first time I laid eyes on Clark Randall Rice. I'll definitely never forget the first time I saw Aaron hold him. He was gooey and puffy but perfect. Aaron held him and said "Hey Buddy" and I'm pretty sure I was bawling my eyes out, but I'm not positive. Things get blurry after that. They cleaned him up and his fan club who had been waiting patiently in the waiting room poured in my room to ooh and ahh over him. It was such a weird moment.
Clark at 20 minutes old.
Some things that I clearly remember about that moment was the indescribable pain I felt, Aaron being a champion in every sense of the word as he helped me through those two excruciating hours of pushing, and the first time I got to hold Clark. I was not surprised when the nurse announced that he weighed 9 pounds 5 ounces, because that would be the only logical explanation for why it was nearly impossible pushing him out. He was a big baby, yet so tiny in my arms. And even tinier in Aaron's arms. I attempted to nurse for a few minutes before he was even an hour old, and although he didn't get a baby feast, it was a nice moment that will permanently be stored in my memory. We stared at him for a really long time until I passed out from utter exhaustion.
One thing I didn't mention was that I wasn't allowed to eat anything beginning at midnight the night before, and I was absolutely famished by the time Clark was born. Being the awesome and thoughtful husband he is, Aaron went to Walgreens while I was taking my first postpartum nap and stocked up on enough junk food to feed a small country. I woke up to a wide assortment of Cheetos, cookies, chocolatey goodness, gatorade, and chocolate cake from Old Venice. Not the best way to start losing baby pounds, but I had to stuff my face and I had to do it fast or I would have blacked out from starvation. While I was binge eating, the nurses had Clark in the nursery so they could monitor his temperature, and when I was ready, they brought him to our room and let Aaron and I snuggle with him for however long we wanted to. And then we could just press a button and the nurse would come get him and take him back to the nursery so we could sleep. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
That pretty much sums up Clark's birthday. Here are some of the pictures taken that night when it was just Aaron, me and Clark in our hospital room.
I'm pretty sure Clark is perfect. I'll pick up where I left off tomorrow, but the subject of my next post will be why Aaron wins the Man of the Year Award. Stay tuned.