Chloe’s Birth Story:
Two weeks before Chloe’s birth I started having regular contractions. They were getting closer together, but they weren’t very strong. I was worried that my labor would go very fast and we wouldn’t make it to our birth house if we left later. So we left. Well, that wasn’t her birthday. Ten days later, we experienced the same thing. I can tell you it was very disappointing, but it was definitely preparing my body for what was to come.
On Thursday, February 9th, I woke up not feeling very well. Chad had worked the night before so he was still sleeping. I got up with Morgan (our two year old) and took it pretty easy all morning. I was having cramps that felt like menstrual cramps. There were no contractions that I could feel. I emailed Patrice even though she was still in Washington, D.C. and eventually called Amanda, who was on-call. Amanda as in town, so around 1pm, she came over to do a pre-natal and check to see if I had UTI. I thought it might be really early labor, but nothing to get excited over since I wasn’t even contracting. Everything looked fine and she suggested taking a bath to relax the pain from cramping.
About 3pm, I decided to take a hot bath while Morgan napped. I relaxed in the bath for about half an hour and noticed that while I was in there the cramping was getting stronger about every ten minutes and then almost going away in between. Then when I was letting the water run out of the tub, I felt a little gush and leaked what looked like water. And when I got out, I wiped and had some bloody show. I came out and told Chad that I thought my water broke. I called Amanda and gave her an update. Shortly after that my contractions were five minutes apart (now about 4pm). During the next half hour the contractions progressed to three minutes apart and strong and we had a couple more phone calls with Amanda and decided it was time to go to the birth house since we had almost an hour drive. We packed up Morgan and headed out.
The drive was not comfortable. The contractions were getting stronger and closer. We called our babysitter, Amanda, and Patrice. Patrice as on her way home from the Lansing airport. She was about an hour behind us. Amanda was on her way to help Laurie in the Big Rapids area and Dorothy and Barb were picking up supplies and on their way to our birth house.
We arrived at the birth house at about 5:45pm and Morgan went straight to playing with his toys and I went straight to the bedroom. Between contractions I had Chad help me change and get the supplies out. I was starting to get worried that the baby would come at anytime. There was a lot of pressure so I got on my hands and knees and put my head to the floor (or on the bed, depending on where I was). It felt better and relieved some of the pressure. About 6pm, Dorothy and our babysitter arrived. Dorothy checked on me and got together what she needed. A little while later I felt like I had to pee and Chad helped me to the bathroom, but before I got there I had another contraction and had more water gush out. I went to the bathroom and then got back on the bed. Everything happened pretty quickly from then on. Barb arrived (I’m not sure when). I must have been transitioning, because I started to get afraid of the pain and started to think I couldn’t continue. I told Chad that I wanted a break. I wanted like half an hour to regain my senses. Of course that wasn’t going to happen. Soon after that I got the urge to push and asked for some counter pressure. Dorothy was giving me a play by play of what she could see. First part of the sac, then a little of head, more head, etc. It really helped me visualize and know that she was coming and how much more there was to go. With another big push and I think a fair amount of screaming/groaning, her head was born. Chad said he could hear her making little noises and he says that as soon as he saw her face, he knew she was a little girl. A couple more pushes on the next contraction and she was fully born at 6:43pm. I turned over (from hands and knees) and Dorothy and Barb passed her up to me.
After she was born, we started breastfeeding and we looked at her face and I told Chad that I thought she was a girl and Chad agreed and then we looked just to make sure. Two minutes after she was born Patrice arrived. After about 15 minutes, Chad brought Morgan in to meet his new baby sister. He seemed happy about her, but wanted to go play. We spent the first hour cuddling with her and nursing. She was pretty happy doing that. After an hour or so, the midwives came in to take her measurements and check on me. We thought she was so tiny when she was born, but she ended up being 8 lbs 5 oz and 21 inches. She only seemed small, because her brother was 2 lbs heavier at birth. They are so different already, but both completely amazing.
It was a wonderful experience to have Chloe at “home.” The biggest difference between her birth and our son Morgan’s was that there we far less people around and it was so nice to be free of all the distractions that were in the hospital. The hospital was so bright and noisy, but at the house, it was quiet and I preferred it to be dark. Then after the birth we were able to enjoy some peace and quiet in the hours that followed her birth without the rush of nurses and doctors. I also felt great shortly after her birth and I was able to move around freely and enjoy the time with my family.