On September 21st, I was having dinner with a dear friend when I received a frantic phone call from my sister. Jessica was only 31 weeks pregnant and had been having some strange pains, so she went to her midwife for a check-up. Soon, she was given some very disturbing and urgent news: she was dilated to 5cm and was being rushed to the nearest hospital. Jessica braced herself to give birth to her daughter 9 weeks early.
Luckily, she didn't have her daughter that night. As I hurriedly drove to Seattle with Stella, Jessica was at the hospital being put on all sorts of contraptions and IVs to monitor her contractions as the postnatal doctors attempted to stop or stall her labor as long as they could.
Because Jessica was so high risk to deliver her baby early, she was admitted and kept in the hospital on strict bed rest until her daughter was to be born.
While in the hospital, Jess even celebrated her 30th birthday! Chris rolled her in to the guest lounge a few doors from her hospital room and we had a large group of friends and family gather to eat cake and open gifts. I'm sure this was definitely not what Jess had in mind for her 30th birthday, but it ended up being a lot of fun.
At 34 weeks gestation, 3 weeks after being admitted in to the hospital, the specialists agreed that it was time to let Jessica's body do what it had been trying to do for weeks. After having her water bag popped, Jessica went directly in to hard labor.
I don't remember ever being so frightened in my life! With the help of Chris (Jessica's boyfriend), we talked Jessica through each contraction as she worked her hardest to wrap her mind around the pain that she was feeling. It seemed like only minutes passed (but I'm sure it felt like days to Jess) and the magical little girl was born.
I've never felt so much fear and joy and relief all at the same time. After such a long and agonizing stay in the hospital, my Sister had mustered up the strength within herself to bring her daughter in to this world completely naturally. I can't even imagine being forced to lay still in a hospital bed for three weeks and then minutes later, be doing the hardest physical work I've ever done in my life. I'm sure it took every ounce of her physical, emotional and spiritual strength to do what she did, and I'm so glad that she did.
Because of all of Jess's hard work, Seren Chapa McClurken was born on October 11th at 5:13pm. She weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces — which is a wonderful weight even at 6 weeks early!
Seren has been in the NICU at the hospital since her birth and will be heading home as soon as she is able to eat on her own. Jessica and Chris are overjoyed with their daughter as are everyone in our family. We can't wait to hold and cuddle this beautiful little girl and tell her how much we have been waiting for her arrival.
Jess and Chris just before labor began
Getting cleaned up just after delivery
The beautiful baby girl
Jess and Seren meet
The new Daddy