Graeme Clarke's birth story. . . . . . .

“from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny”

From a few months before Graeme was born, I couldn’t sing those words without tearing up or having a quivering lip. But knowing that God was and is in control of Graeme’s being is a very “comfort-full” thought. We are so in love with him and I cannot imagine how we ever made it without him! Having Graeme has made me also realize how much I am in love with my Steve. What an incredible gift God gave me in giving me my husband, Steve.

I am sorry for the longness of this post, I have written it mainly so that I remember everything about Graeme's birth. . .but I thought a few of you would want to know details as well.
At almost exactly 2:00 a.m. on the morning of September 10th, my water broke.
I had just rolled over and had a completely conscious thought, so I knew that I wasn’t wetting the bed. . .although Steve suspected otherwise for a brief moment! I immediately said, “Babe, my water just broke!”.{Now, let me interject here and remind you that my husband doesn’t really “jump” into conscious mode when he is awakened in the middle of the night. So, yes, I have an abundance of funnies to share. . .and my husband was SO! ELATED! when, the other morning, I made a fool out of myself in my sleep, thinking that Graeme had just rolled off the bed. Oh, it was pure joy, I am sure, for my husband to watch me do the same kind of thing that I get such a kick out of him doing! More on that subject later. . .}

So, I excitedly told Steve my water had broken, to which he responded, “Okay. What does that mean?”


“It means we need to go to the hospital!” So, Steve may not have been all that with it when I first informed him that Graeme was on his way, but from there on out, he was good as gold. Pure gold, I tell ya! I was running around like an idiot trying to find the hospital’s number to call and say “I’m coming!!!”. . .finally I realized, “duh, my water broke, I don’t need to call them—we just need to GO!”. By the time I came to that bright conclusion, Steve had already packed the rest of our hospital bag, taken care of Cal-baby, and was ready to walk out the door.

We arrived at Providence St. Vincent hospital (in Portland) around 2:30a.m. My nurse’s name was Bethany and she was such an incredible blessing from God to us. She was a believer and was a huge encouragement to us soon to be new parents. At the same time, she was incredibly competent, thorough, and professional. This statement from Bethany was such an encouragement to this scared mommy-to-be: “when the contractions get really bad, I want you to think, “I can trust God through this contraction”.

Bethany informed us that although my water had broken, nothing else in my body was ready—or beginning to be ready—for labor. I had to say goodbye to Bethany at 7:00a.m., but was given my day nurse, Lindsay, who was absolutely hilarious and a delight to be around. Basically we spent the entire day on Thursday making little progress. They started me on pitocin around 10:00a.m., trying to speed things up, only to have to back off of the pitocin because Graeme’s heart rate began to fall much lower than what it should’ve been. Thus, we didn’t see too much progress. However, by around 6:00 p.m., my body had picked up on its own with the contractions and with the contractions, the pain kicked up a notch as well! I was given a dose of fentenal and then by 11:00 p.m., the doctors decided that because of the dilation and pain, they would administer the epidural.

Let me just say, it was glorious. Purely glorious. I think you all natural people are plain crazy, too proud, or too weird if you don’t get an epidural! Just kidding. {Kind of!}

After the epidural, they let me sleep until 6:00a.m. the next morning with high hopes of beginning the pushing process by 7:00a.m. Oh, have I mentioned that by this point I was STARVING! I could have eaten anything that was put before me—and if you know me at all, you know that is saying something! The last time I had eaten was dinner on September 9th. . .it was now 7:00a.m. September 11th. {They didn’t want me to eat anything due to the fact that I might have to have a c-section.}

At 7:00a.m. I had to say goodbye, again, to my incredible night nurse, Bethany. . .but was so glad that I would get Lindsay back for my day nurse. . . . . . .Well, apparently something got swapped up and I ended up not getting Lindsay back. Up to this point, I had not shed a tear. . . but the new day nurse was awful. Purely awful. So awful that I don’t even recall her name! As soon as she left the room for the first time I began sobbing and told Steve, “I can’t do this without Lindsay!” Soon after that, the new doctor came in to introduce himself. I had only had {middle aged} women doctors up to this point and I was NOT. HAPPY. about seeing this young whipper-snapper come waltzing into my room—seriously, he looked younger than Steve and me.

We began the pushing process around 9:00 a.m.—a few hours later than anticipated. . .and I am not sure why because I was so ready to push earlier but the “bad nurse” kept disappearing from our room saying she was trying to “find the doctor” and yada, yada, yada. Oh, she disappeared for 20-25 minutes {at least twice} during the pushing process as well—leaving just Steve and me to fend for ourselves in this new, exciting, and scary process of PUSHING OUT A BABY. Nothing major! Let me just say, my husband was amazing. Absolutely amazing. I love him.

The doctor came in twice to check on the pushing process, and each time he informed us that Graeme was still behind the pelvic bone. Finally, after 2 hours of pushing he suggested that we try the vacuum on Graeme. I told him absolutely not. I was not going to put Graeme through that. I told the doctor that I was done. “Now, when you say done, what does that mean?” I told him that I was ready to be wheeled into the OR for a c-section. I was so exhausted—it had been 35 hours since my water had broken, 42 hours since I had eaten anything {although they did let me eat 2 popsicles if you want to count that}, and after 2 hours of hard pushing and Graeme not going anywhere, I was D-O-N-E. Steve and I both were!

They wheeled me into the OR around 12:10 p.m. and prepped me for surgery. Steve was on my left side holding my hand and I just remember being SO COLD! I was shivering during the whole process and at some point, my kind anesthesiologist covered me with a really warm blanket—on top of the other blankets that were already on me. Bless his heart, he deserved "citizen of the year" in my opinion!

We started sobbing the moment we heard Graeme’s first little cry and actually seeing him for the first time: indescribable. Humbling. Pure LOVE. Graeme was finally on the outside at 12:42 p.m. on Friday, September 11, 2009.

{Some of you know that I was extremely close to my Nanny, my dad's mom. She passed away during the summer of 2004. {You can read about her here}. Her birthday was September 11th and I am so honored that Graeme will share that birth date with such a special person as my Nanny.}


  1. I loved reading your birth story, Sarah! :) You can't truly understand it until you've gone through it. So glad you and Steve are enjoying each moment with little Graeme - he's precious!! Oh, and Natalie just wore the sweet outfit you got for Adrianna 3 yrs ago - the trendy jeans and green shirt. :)

  2. "Let me just say, it was glorious. Purely glorious. I think you all natural people are plain crazy, too proud, or too weird if you don’t get an epidural! Just kidding. {Kind of!}"

    Sarah, you could not have said this better. I loved my epidural with Jack and felt no pain...I didn't know this was possible, but I got an even better epidural with Annabelle...I was even more relaxed and comfortable. A lady in another room was screaming and I honest to goodness wanted to go slap her and tell her to get an epidural. My nurse kept laughing at me, but agreed.

    I too was sooo hungry and every other ad was for the new pizza hut stuffed crust deep dish pizza. I talked about it all day. I was allowed broth and jello and only had to go 20 hours without food. My epidural was sooo good that it took my hunger pains away too! We got that pizza the first day we came home and it wasn't good. However I bet it would have been tasty when I was so hungry.

    Glad you are enjoying Graeme. It was nice to "meet" him on Skype. I saw two very cute and proud grandparents showing him off to us. :)

  3. Oh Ginny, I know exactly what you mean--Steve came in to eat lunch and asked me if it was okay that he was eating in front of me--I said, just face the other way so I can't see & smell what you are eating! :)

    I think I had a pretty great epidural. . .but because they began the pushing process 2 hrs later than expected, I think some of it had wore off. . .when the dr. came to check me the first time, I def. could feel things and it was not happy! :}

  4. So neat to hear how little Graeme made his way into the world. I hear you about being so hungry!!! I was dieing of thirst - they gave me a popsicle too, but you're right, it doesn't count - especially when you throw it up... yuck! ANYWAYS... glad Graeme had a wonderful visit with his grandparents... I agree, skype just doesn't cut it - but I suppose it's better than nothing!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! Birth stories mean so much more after you've given birth. I was praying for you so much those days. What a long labor, but what a great reward at the end of it :)

  6. Thanks, Sarah! I love reading birth stories. And I love reading about how my you love your little man.

  7. I love birth stories! Thanks for including so many details for us.

    And I so agree about the epidurals -- glorious, absolutely! Especially the second one where I got a button to control the epidural myself. I couldn't believe how quickly I progressed after the epidural. And while I was sleeping! Oh my -- what an experience this next one will be after being so spoiled with pain free deliveries and labor for that matter after the epidural. I've heard the recovery is faster without epidurals, but I can't imagine mine being any faster than they were. Well... enough thinking of wonderful epidurals... God is in control of the options we have available! Glad you could get some relief after those long couple of days.

    So happy for you guys! I loved reading how you cried when you saw him. I cried too when I first saw both of my girls. It was an amazing moment.

  8. Thankful to God you are both well; what an ordeal.

  9. loved reading all of the are a hoot!


  10. Anonymous12:43 PM

    sarah...thanks for sharing! i've been checking for updates on your cute little dude:-) i can sympathize w/ feeling VERY cold during the c-section. it's the strangest sensation, but totally worth the little bundle.

    stephanie kuchle

  11. I'm so glad you shared! we knew it must be a BIG ordeal after nothing was posted for 2 days!! so we prayed a lot! so glad he got here safe and sound no matter how crazy it was! your epidural statement cracked me up! I totally agree. :) And after spending my final hour & a half without one, I agree even MORE!!

  12. What a beautiful story!

    I know what you mean about being attached to your nurses. With every birth, I cried for my nurses for about a week after leaving the hospital. I got really attached to them for some reason.

  13. me again...I've been thinking about your birth story and I just can't believe they left you alone in your room while you were pushing!!! I'm certainly not a medical professional, but I've never heard of that before. That's CRAZY!


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