Clement Kellen: A Birth Story

Well, here it is.  Clement's birth story.  I'm going to go ahead and ask for grace from you in overlooking any spelling or grammar errors {or anything I might say that doesn't make sense, ha}.  Sleep deprivation is real.  Very real.  Our little man is obviously the cutest little thing in the world - I'm a mom, so clearly I can make that bold claim - and we are utterly smitten with him.  I still find myself in a bit of a fog, almost looking at myself from above, wondering how the heck is this my real life?  Amazing hubs, adorable healthy babe, living by the sea...  How did I even get here!?  Ok, ok, without further adieu...
Friday, October 3, I woke up at 6am to go to the bathroom.  All night long I'd felt this intense need to poop - pressure down there - and the babe felt so hard in my stomach, but I didn't think much of it.  However, I was startled to find I was bleeding.  {And let me tell you, I had been SO exhausted the day before I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed.}  Once I saw blood though, I was wide awake.  I called my mom and sister nervous that my spin/weight lifting session the day before had caused Clement stress.  They both told me to just get to the hospital.  *Sidenote - I wasn't the best about actually preparing for baby.  I didn't have a bag packed, the nursery was in shambles - clothes not even washed yet, we hadn't taken any birthing classes and I had put off doing the hospital tour which was supposed to happen the following Monday night.*  Needless to say, we had no idea where to even go when we got to the hospital around 7am.  I wandered around looking for indicators I was in the right place while Kellen parked the car.  Finally a nurse pointed us in the right direction and we ended up in a triage room with our nurse Betsy {who was a dream} trying to figure out why I was bleeding.  Kellen and I both assumed this was a false alarm since the babe was almost 3 weeks early and were semi nervous about why I was bleeding.  As I was laying there praying/fretting I felt a pop in my lower back and suddenly there was a fluid gushing out of me.  I praise the Lord my water broke at the hospital in a hospital gown and not my own bed in my own clothes. Dis.gust.ING.  Poor Kellen was mortified.  As soon this happened at 8am, Betsy promptly told me we were moving across the hall into a delivery room. 
Once they got me all comfortable in my bed, we started discussing drug options.  All I said was "yes, please".  Given my tendency to pass out due to my low pain tolerance, I was all for that epidural - yes, I'd like to be conscious for my child's arrival.  I thought I could tough it out and last through a few contractions, but once I had my first hard one {may or may not have involved them putting on oxygen mask on me...ha}, I said, now is the time to shoot me up.  Thankfully, the drugs kicked in just in time for me not to notice as massive, hard contraction that Betsy described as my "uterus freaking out".  It was around 10am then and they called the doctor in to see how far I was dilated and I was already at 5 cm.  Somehow the next 3 hours flew by and I'm not even sure what happened.  I just started feeling more and more pressure.  Next thing I knew it was 1pm and I was at 10 cm.
For the next hour and a half I pushed and pushed.  Poor Kellen.  In his mind he had imagined a sheet from my waist down.  He had planned on staying waist up and cheering me on.  Needless to say, he was shocked/appalled when Betsy told him to grab one of my legs, placing him front and center in the action.  Since we hadn't taken any classes, the doctor gave me a quick lesson is breathing/pushing.  Next thing I know, Kellen is my coach, counting and encouraging with "you got this, you're doing so good, ok PUSH PUSH PUSH".  He admitted the other day it was cool being apart of it, but at the time I almost felt bad for him.  He's never done too well when I'm hurt or sick - he just hates it and the feeling of helplessness.  He later said he wouldn't wish childbirth on his worst enemy.  As Clement was getting closer and closer to coming out, the doc asked if I wanted a mirror to see what was happening.  I said no {the thought of it just creeped me out}.  She said it was motivating, so I said "fine".  One look was plenty for me.  I can see how some people might find it motivating, but I just couldn't do it.
Finally, after a few undignified yells and a number of curse words, the end seemed to be near.  When I heard the doctor say, "Ok dad, you get to announce the sex when it comes out", I knew my work was almost done.  Next thing I know, they're telling me to look down as his head came out {like I could see anything... that belly was still in my way} and then his chest, then his little booty - peeing all over the doctor as Kellen shouted "It's a boy!".  Kellen was further involved in the process after being talked into cutting the umbilical cord.   Then suddenly there was a tiny, slimy, blue body laying on my chest {and in all honestly that kind of weirded me out too - so slippery! And really, he looked like a blueberry} and tears were in my eyes.  Clement Kellen Cottrell arrived into this world at 2:50pm weighing 7lbs 4.9 oz and 18 inches long.  I can't even imagine how big he would have been full term.  Ei yi yi.
The rest of the day was filled with naps and information on breastfeeding - who knew breast milk solves pretty much every issue, seriously - and pain meds.  I kept saying, "no one ever tells you these things".  Like how bad your lady parts hurt and no ice pack seems to help.  How your lower back feels like you just ran two marathons back to back.  {I am still saying this to myself as I go through the process of engorgement, latching issues and pterodactyl screams that stress you out at 4 in the morning.  Which - word to the wise, in the case of engorgement, dunk your boobs in warm water and massage - loosens things RIGHT up.}
Kellen's parents live just an hour and a half north of us, so they made it down for the birth.  My parents however, are far, far away in Kansas.  Originally I'd told my mom to give me a week with the babe before she came.  However, she just couldn't take it when I called her to tell her I was bleeding, and she text an hour later to tell me she could be to San Diego by 7pm.  I told her to hold her horses, thinking  the bleeding was a false alarm.  She didn't pay one bit of attention to me and hopped on a plane and was in San Diego by 7pm.  Kellen's mom picked her up and promptly brought her to the hospital where she went goo-goo ga-ga over little Clement {he has that affect on people}.  I was actually so relieved to see my mom.  There is nothing like having your mom near when your body has been through hell and your life has suddenly changed.
The first night was a total blur.  I just remember being so hungry and so tired and just staring at this tiny baby next to me thinking, "Is he really mine!?".  There were nurses in and out of the room all night it felt like, giving me drugs, helping me to the bathroom and doing standard testing on Clement.  He did come out a bit jaundice which meant we would spend plenty of time at the Pediatrician's later that week.  I just remember it seemed like there was someone constantly giving me a heavy dose of information that I couldn't process.  So much info coming at such an exhausted brain.  My impatience that became more and more apparent during pregnancy flared up and I just wanted to get out of that hospital and to my own home. 
I was so overwhelmed by Saturday afternoon that when they came to prick his little foot to take his blood, he screams sent me sobbing into my pillow.  Poor Kellen, attempting to comfort me while watching his newborn scream his little head off.  {Now Clement's screams don't quite have this affect on us.  The next week while getting his blood taken, he didn't make a peep.  Little man just hates being messed with.}  After I finally calmed down we went for a little walk down the hall - the determining factor as to if I felt up for going home.  By that point I didn't really care, I just wanted out of there.  After our nurse told me I was changing his diaper wrong {which I'm sure is more insult in my head that she actually meant} and I had another meltdown, Kellen hustled us out of there.  Sleep deprivation plus immense amounts of pain can turn you into a puddle of tears, FYI.
We came home to a clean house and plenty of food prepared by our moms as well as the baby room being all set up and ready for Clement.  Moms seriously are the best.  Those first nights were absolutely brutal.  Praise the Lord my mom was here.  Kellen and I were so tired and SO not prepared for what really goes down and how things change.  The day my mom left I was petrified we wouldn't make it through that night.  We did.  It was hell, but we made it through and learned how to make the next night better.  It's been a continual learning and adjusting process.  And let me tell you, my heart is more full than it ever has been.  One little half smile from little man and I'm on cloud nine.  He seriously is just the cutest.  And I still can't believe he's all mine.  I tried singing him "You Are My Sunshine" and every time - I tear up and can't make it through.  He's that great.  And his dad - I couldn't be more in love with Kellen.  He's so tender and so cute with Clement.  What a life, I tell ya.


  1. No, don't worry, I didn't just cry for 5 minutes straight reading this. (Ok yes, yes I did.) What a story! And you are going to be an amazing Momma to that little boy! Congratulations girly :)

  2. Julie! I can't even believe this story. It CRACKS me up how honest you are! I am probably going to react the SAME way. I didn't know there wasn't a sheet involved to cover things up down there...oh geez that freaks me out. And hell no, I don't want a mirror to see how freaking messed up I am during delivery! That would be the worst. We need to talk soon! Your little family is SO precious. I'm happy for you and praying for some sleep for the two of you. You can do it girl!! Can't wait to meet Clement some day...

  3. Tears! Wow! This is a beautiful story...and so Jules! ;) Love you!

  4. Just sitting here in the law school lounge with tears in my eyes, sniffling like a crazy woman. What a wonderful, amazing story. Congratulations again. :)

  5. A pregnant lady really shouldn't read this... who cut the onions?!?!

  6. That pic of you and clement both sleeping, both utterly exhausted by life, is the sweetest shot ever. Enjoy these first couple months of new life, Julie & Kellen! It goes by at blazing speed. And I promise your lady parts will bounce right back ��

  7. It's so true, a pregnant lady should definitely not read this, I was tearing up the whole way through! He is such a handsome little fellow! Enjoy this time, even though it is the hardest, it goes by so quickly!

  8. Congratulations! You're doing great! And I know it's tough. Things are starting to get easier now with my 7-week-old (knock on wood). I had a similar situation as you did with the diaper changing "wrong" - my first daughter had to see a different pediatrician than her usual one a couple days after birth for a weight check since she wasn't gaining enough weight. The pediatrician said something like, "No wonder she's unhappy! She's starving!" I busted out crying right there in the doctor's office. I was starving my baby because my boobs weren't working. I held a grudge against that doctor for four years until a month ago when I called up about a problem with our second baby, and she was very sweet and reassuring.

    Keep up the good work and enjoy your little family!

  9. oh my God, Julie!! every paragraph had me in tears. so so beautiful and real <3

    xo, Brikena


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