Claire Genevieve Iwanski. Born August 21st, 2020 at 9:42am. 6lbs, 0oz, 18.5 inches.
I’m sitting in my hospital bed holding my new baby daughter in my arms. ♥️ I’ve been watching her face all morning (and really all of yesterday too) and I still can’t believe she’s here and she’s ours! God has been so kind to us. My sweet girl, my beautiful Claire Genevieve.
I had been so sure this baby was a boy. So sure, in fact, that we didn’t even land on her middle name until this morning. We figured there wasn’t much of a point, we were having another son. But she is the most delicious, delightful, darling little surprise.
Secretly (or maybe not so secretly) I had been hoping for an August baby. Claire’s official due date was September 8th but that was cutting it rather close to Jameson’s birthday of September 12th. Even though their birthdays are obviously still close, I’m so happy they each have their own birthday month. Just a sweet extra blessing from the Lord. 😊
I actually kind of knew there was a pretty good chance I wouldn’t make it to my due date all along. Jameson was born the day before his and Nora was born ten days before hers. Plus, with this pregnancy taking such a toll on me physically, I knew it wouldn’t come as a surprise if my body just sort of gave up at the end haha. But either way, Claire was ready to meet us. She was born at 37 weeks + 3 days.
I started having contractions the evening of the 19th (Wednesday) around 9:45pm. They weren’t super strong but they were painful and I knew they were the real deal. I typically have Braxton Hicks contractions all throughout my pregnancies so I could tell the difference. They kept up fairly consistently until around 3:15am although they never got closer together than like 10 minutes apart. Finally I was able to sleep a little bit, either because the contractions stopped or maybe I was just able to ignore them. Either way, they fizzled out and the whole next day was pretty typical. I did school with the kids, Alex picked up some groceries, and I packed our last minute stuff for the hospital just in case. I had a few contractions that day but they were very spaced out.
I went to bed the night of the 20th a little before 9pm. I was SO exhausted from the night before. Labor was not on the horizon at all. But then I was woken up around 1:30am with some intense contractions. I started timing them right away while staying in bed and trying to rest/sleep in between. They were still super erratic (13 minutes apart, 20 minutes apart, 9 minutes, 17 minutes, it was a mess!) but they were very strong and lasting about a minute and a half each time, even up to 2 minutes long. Ouch. 😫
I tried standing up to sort of move through a few of them but I was still so exhausted that I ended up mostly back in bed, even though moving my hips around did relieve some of the pain. I was hopeful that relaxing and breathing through them while lying down would help things progress quicker anyway.
Alex was in and out of sleep during that time and I kept telling him to try and rest while he could since I believed labor would fizzle out again, seeing as these contractions were still so seemingly random. Looking back, though, I remember that Nora’s labor was extremely similar. Very strong contractions that didn’t follow a predictable pattern.
Finally, around 5:30am (Friday, the 21st) I decided to just get up and start the day. Almost immediately the contractions went down to 10 minutes apart, and by 7am they were 5 minutes apart at the most (actually closer to 4 minutes). They were all lasting about a minute to a minute and a half each and they were STRONG.
Alex called the midwife first to let her know what was going on, and then his mom to come over and stay with Jameson and Nora. Shortly after she arrived we headed to the hospital. We walked in around 8am and I told the nurses at the station “I think I’m in labor” because I still wasn’t fully convinced it was happening. 😂 I thought I remembered it being much more intense and predictable with my other kids so I was kind of expecting them to send us back home for awhile. But lo and behold, I was already at 8cm with a bulging sack of water and Claire’s head at a +1 station (super low, SO much pressure). They brought me to a labor and delivery room almost right away and my midwife (Beth) met us there.
Contractions suddenly spaced waaaaay out at that point. I was laughing and joking with the nurses, just chatting away and having a grand old time haha! Beth said it could have been because I had to pee so terribly but was unable to for some infuriating reason, so my bladder could have been pushing on my uterus and not allowing it to contract the way it needed to. But whatever the case, Beth checked me again and saw I was at 10cm and ready to go, so with the next contraction I started to push.
I got Claire down a bit (felt like I was doing nothing) but I still wasn’t feeling that strong urge to bear down and I didn’t want to push without a cue from my body. So we waiting a few minutes longer and FINALLY the urge came. One push got her almost all the way out but she and the sack of water were causing so much pain and pressure. With the next contraction at 9:42am (and me saying “I can’t do it, I can’t do it” haha!) she was out all the way, I was reaching down to catch her and bring her up, and Alex was saying “it’s a girl!” What?! A girl?! And then I was crying and hugging her and trying to wrap my head around the fact that she wasn’t the son I had been picturing but her own, perfect, beautiful self.
These past 24 hours of getting to know her have been pure bliss. Thinking about all the ways she’ll fit into our family, how especially thrilled I am for Nora to have a sister (sisters are truly the best ♥️), listening to all her sounds, figuring out what she likes and doesn’t like… as difficult as it’s been to not be allowed visitors during this time, especially our own kids, it has been such a sweet time of learning Claire.
I’m SO thankful for such a smooth labor and delivery. If you count from when I was woken up the night before at 1:30am, total labor time was about 8 hours. I was able to enjoy it completely unmedicated and had no following complications at all (besides an IV of pitocin to help with the bleeding).
And of course, we are endlessly grateful to the Lord for our perfect and healthy and absolutely beautiful little girl. Looking at her face makes me want to cry and dance around and bury my nose in her soft cheek and just breathe her in forever.
It’s such a short time that they’re ours. I look at her tiny face today and wonder who she will be, what she’ll learn and do, how she’ll be similar to her siblings and how she’ll add her own uniqueness to our family in ways we didn’t know we needed. I wonder what she’ll love and who she’ll love and I pray, as I do for all my children, that the Lord uses her greatly for his glory no matter what her gifts and talents turn out to be.
As our hospital stay comes to a close and her birthday already begins to fade into the backlogs of time the way I knew it would, I’m reminded again of how precious and fleeting these moments are when our children are so small. Someday, Lord willing, it’ll be their turn to experience this unparalleled joy. But today these babies are still ours. Today Claire is still ours. I’m so thankful for every moment we’ve had with her so far, and for all the moments to come. Thank you, Jesus.
Oh, and her name! We chose Claire because, first of all, we just love the way it sounds. Classic and beautiful without being too frilly. Like Nora. 😊 Also like Nora, it means “light” so our girls will always share that meaning. We pray that they themselves will be lights to the world for Jesus. And finally, our favorite piece of classical music is “Clair de Lune.” The name Claire just makes sense and fits her perfectly. 🥰 Her middle name is Genevieve (another beautiful, classic name) for my great-grandma. All of our kids share a part of their name with someone special in our family so this seemed like a natural fit too. Claire Genevieve. 💕
And now I think I’ll go bury my nose in her cheek again, and just soak her in. ♥️