I had really been hoping that Chloe would decide to arrive early. I was stressed thinking about being in labor or having a newborn over the holidays. But that was not to be.
I had contractions for 3 1/2 weeks before Chloe arrived. And I’m not talking about normal painless Braxton-Hicks contractions. I’m talking about some painful sometimes intense contractions. Many times they got to be less than five minutes a part lasting around sixty seconds. There were three different times I was sure I was in labor. But Tim would look at me, tell me it wasn’t real labor, and then help me work through the contractions. And each time he was right. They would eventually die down.
The last week before she was born the contractions hardly ever stopped. It was so exhausting! I was starting to feel as if I would be pregnant forever!
On Saturday December 29 nothing changed. I had contractions throughout the day and didn’t really expect labor to be starting any time soon. Around 1:30 the contractions woke me up. Again nothing out of the ordinary.
At 2:00 Tim got up with me, and we immediately began our little routine of trying different things to see if we could get the contractions to stop. I decided to start with a warm bath. Pretty quickly I realized that this was real labor. My midwife had told me that I would remember what it felt liked when it really kicked in and she was right. There is no mistaking that feeling of back pressure as baby moves down.
I labored in the tub for about an hour and then we decided to get the boys up, dressed, and drop them off at our friend’s house so we could head down the hill closer to the birth center. My mom stayed with me while Tim loaded up the car, and then Tim stayed with me while Mom got the boys ready to go.
We dropped the boys off and started our one-hour drive down the hill to my in-law’s home. (Tim decided to go to his parent’s house since they were out of town so that we would be closer to the birth center.) During the drive my contractions spaced out, and once again I was afraid that this was just a false alarm.
Shortly after we arrived at my in-law’s (around 5:00 a.m.) the contractions picked up in intensity. My doula arrived shortly thereafter, and she was great with the back rub (I was having some back labor as Chloe continued to move down).
I was doing fairly well handling the contractions. Every few contractions or so though there would be one that was very intense. I was moaning through all of the contractions (making low deep moans helped keep me relax), but with those contractions my moaning definitely increased in volume.
Around 6:30 Tim and my doula began recognizing signs that I was getting close to birthing our baby so they got me in the van. That 20-minute drive to the birth center was not fun.
My water broke in the van and the urge to push began. It wasn’t big or intense yet, thankfully. When we got to the birth center I had a contraction right as we walked in and quickly got down on my hands and knees. My midwife said she knew as soon as she heard me that our baby would quickly be making an appearance.
After that contraction I moved into the birthing room and had another contraction standing at the foot of the bed. When it was over I quickly moved up onto the bed and with the next contraction came the strong urge to push and Chloe’s head was born during one contraction. (I kept waiting for the “ring of fire” that I had felt with Carter’s birth, but while I felt the stretching it wasn’t painful.) Once her head was out I waited for the next contraction and then birthed the rest of her at 7:01 a.m.
Once Chloe was out the rest of my amniotic fluid came flooding out with lots of meconium. It took a minute or so for Chloe to begin fussing and clearing her lungs. My midwife had to do some suctioning.
And as soon as I held her in my arms I knew that she was worth every minute of going past my due date, every minute of the 3 1/2 weeks of contractions and every minute of my labor. She was precious!