I'm sitting here next to my sweet little Chloe, now one month old. Hard to believe it's my official "due date." I had Rowan at 38 weeks and Isla at 37 weeks so I was pretty confident she'd come early too. I had even told a few friends I had a feeling she'd come at 36 weeks. This was by far my most uncomfortable pregnancy. I was swollen like crazy and my belly measured 41 weeks at my 35 week appointment. I had been sent for an extra ultrasound at 34 weeks and was told she was in the 98th percentile and that I had A LOT of fluid. 21 centimeters when the norm is usually 10-20. I was at the point where just walking around was miserable and I wasn't sure how I'd go much longer. My mom had come 5 days before to help me and to be here when I went into labor.
I spent 9 months worried sick about this labor. I worried about the pain after two other unmedicated births. I worried about another super fast and intense labor. I worried I wouldn't make it to the hospital in time and that id deliver in the car. and I worried a lot about how Rowan and Isla (more, Isla) would cope when we left them for the first time ever, overnight. I had so much anxiety over it all and you know what? God took care of EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. So much so that I really just can't believe it.
The day before she was born, Russ' dad and brother arrived from New Zealand. I had been cleaning like crazy. My mom and I took the kids to the park and then to QFC. I baked a lasagna, and I just completely overdid everything. I was swollen and tired and joked that his family was going to put me into labor. They came over that evening and we had a really nice time. At the end of the night we concluded that they would come back the following morning at 9:30 and we would head to the lake to cool off. We never had that chance!
Because Russ' fam was here, he took Saturday off, which was a huge blessing. IF he didn't do that, I would have had Chloe in the car. We also discussed sending my mom home for the weekend because Russ would be there and I was really only 36 weeks. I couldn't imagine she'd come exactly 36 weeks on the dot. Russ put his foot down and said no. He said he didn't want to risk me going into labor. Thank God for his discernment!
Saturday morning Isla and I woke up about 6. I came out to the kitchen to get her some milk and cereal and turn a cartoon on. Shortly after, my mom woke up for the day. Russ and Rowan were still asleep. I sat down on the couch for a bit and all of a sudden felt a pop and a gush.. It was like a rubber band snapping, the same sensation I had when my water broke with Isla. My water broke all three times and contractions started right after. Kind of funny that it's happened that way every time, especially since it's so uncommon to have your water break on it's own. I yelled for my mom and told her my water broke. It felt super surreal. An ENTIRE month early?! My contractions started immediately at every 1-2 minutes. Thankfully I had already packed my bags so I quickly ran to gather a few more things while my mom went to wake Russ up. He called the hospital to tell them and to let them know I have a history of fast births. They asked to speak with me and said they'd be waiting and to head on in. At this point Isla started crying and yelling, " Don't go!!!" She was holding onto my leg and although I was in a lot of pain already, I was trying to comfort her, while holding back tears. She had had a tough time recently and I had been trying to prep her a few weeks leading up to my labor, to be without me at night. My mom had to pick her up and Russ and I quickly left after kissing both babes goodbye. We drove up the quiet highway and I started to get super anxious. I told Russ I wasn't sure I could do it again and that maybe I really wanted an epidural this time. He said we should just see how it goes and to check how dilated I was when we got there before making any decisions. I agreed. When I was in labor with Isla I was already at an 8 when we arrived at the birth center. We parked outside the hospital and Russ put the hazard lights on and quickly walked me inside. The security officer didn't even make us check in or show him our IDs. He could see I was in serious pain and just let us through. We took the elevator up to triage and my contractions continued to pick up in time and intensity. The triage nurses were great and only asked me a couple of questions as I was right in the middle of painful contractions. They actually didn't officially admit me until after Chloe was born. They brought me back to a bed and hooked me up to the monitor. I was introduced to my labor and delivery nurse who I loved! Such a better experience than when I was in the hospital with Rowan. All of the ladies back there were so sweet and helpful. I got my IV for fluids and then got checked. I was only 4 cm. I couldn't believe it. I told them through tears that I wanted an epidural. I felt guilty but I just wanted a peaceful experience and I was worried be in that amount of pain over the next few hours. they all assured me it would be okay and that if that's what I wanted, that's what I should do. They called the anesthesiologist and asked her to meet us in my labor room. I walked there but started having contractions less than 30 seconds apart. I think I knew deep down, that I wouldn't have the chance to get an epidural, but it gave me some peace to think I might be able to end the pain soon. I asked the anesthesiologist how long it would take to get the epidural. She told me 15 minutes. I couldn't imagine another 15 minutes just to get it in, let alone facing contractions every 30 seconds while curled up in a ball on the bed. She said they could do a spinal and my midwife agreed it would be a better option. I sat on the bed and had a few VERY intense contractions. The anesthesiologist never found a spot she was confident with and Russ was finally like, " Someone needs to check her before this happens." I'm SO glad he said that. She checked me only 20 minutes after I had been at a 4, and I was already 9.5 cm. I was SO glad, and so scared because I knew this was really happening. I told the lady to get out of the way, and I was ready to push. I pushed twice in the most barbaric, TV-like moment you could imagine. Russ said it was amazing, haha! When Russ saw her head he had tears in his eyes and said " She's almost here babe!" He's never cried in any of my births, and just isn't the crying type at all. It really motivated me to get her out quick!! She came out and I was SO relieved, and SO happy she was here. They immediately placed her on my chest. I wanted to wait until the cord stopped pulsing to cut it and she was screaming her little lungs out. As Russ cut it, I was able to snuggle her better and she calmed right down. I soon felt another contraction and pushed the placenta out. I had a second degree tear and was overall in shock that it all happened so fast (again) but I was just ecstatic. 2 1/2 hours total. Water broke at 6:30 AM and she was born at 9:01. I'm really happy it didn't workout to get the epidural because even though I was scared of the pain, a med free birth Is what I desired.
Chloe Grace Dray. 7 lb. 1 oz. 19 inches long. Pretty big for 36 weeks! She is perfect and beautiful and sweet as can be. She is the missing piece to the puzzle in our family. Seeing my kids all together is the greatest blessing I could ever imagine!