As I sit here on the carpet next to Chloe's crib while she sleeps, there is a wave of emotions that are rushing through me. Part of it is probably still from pregnancy hormones regulating out,and the other part is because I can't believe it's already been a month since this little lady entered our world! As I work to pick the photos and upload the ones to share, I smile at the different memories and feel sad that these first few days are already gone. Then,there's the feeling of fear and guilt. Fear that people will look at these photos and think, "they didn't do this or that" and guilt that I didn't do "more" photos during her first few weeks. Silly? Absolutely! Will people actually think this? I highly doubt it, but isn't it interesting how instead of just joy there is a regret to do more? If you're a fellow mama, I bet you totally get this,and if I can say anything to you it's to be present over perfect. So move aside guilt and fear because we chose not to take so many photos.
You chose not to take more photos? What? You're photographers! Yes, yes we are. But we're also human,and we've added a new little human into our family, so instead of pulling out our big cameras and fancy equipment, we've snuggled her and enjoyed this fleeting stage. Instead of having another person in the room to document the boys meeting Chloe for the first time in the hospital, we chose to just have our parents take a few photos on our amazing iPhones. And you know what? I will love each of these photos! This is why we are huge advocates for getting your photos taken so that you can just enjoy being present in the day to day life without the fear of having to document everything yourself, but enough about all of the feelings behind our photos, we're excited to share them with you and the story of how we got to meet Miss Chloe!
When we first found out we were pregnant with Chloe,we were thrilled and immediately started praying for God’s timing. Her due date was Good Friday,so with Mark working as a pastor, it’s not exactly the most convenient time to take off work as there are a lot of special responsibilities for that time of year. Both Ethan and Deacon had chosen to come a week early,so we figured she would come early too, which I thought would be great so that it wouldn’t literally be Good Friday and be chaos for Mark. Mark’s mom graciously came two weeks before her due date to be here. A winter storm was coming,and my family -though close- had a crazy week or two,so she came to help us out! The storm came and went (lots of snow but no Chloe). We went to our regular checkups,and everything showed that she could come soon as I had been at a 4 for two weeks at this point. We enjoyed our first week with Mark’s mom, each day wondering if it would be our last at home,and we’d have Chloe the next day but she didn’t come. The second week of Mark’s mom being here we joked about what we were doing wrong – we had gone on numerous walks, had eaten pineapple, and tried everything else we could think of to make her come out, but as we looked to Good Friday (Chloe’s due date) I wondered if she’d arrive. Twice my body put me through practice labor that week as I had some contractions,but after a shower, my body stopped and decided it wanted rest.
Good Friday came and went. Easter Sunday came and went. Mark’s family came and went, and here we were, on Monday. I went to the doctor and learned I was at a 5 and 75% effaced. That’s not really much progress, so we discussed what we’d do going forward, deciding to be induced on Friday if nothing had happened. My doctor mentioned we could try castor oil,so I went home and happened to find some in my bathroom cupboard (thanks, Megan). We took it in a shot with lemonade at 4:30 pm. After I re-cleaned the house and prepped the boys for a pickup, we went through our normal evening and spent time hanging as a family. Soon, Mark and I were lying in bed,and I was sharing the emotional ups and downs – feeling like she’d never come. Mark graciously kept reassuring she’d be here before we knew it, and I soon drifted off to sleep around 9:15 pm.
At 10:30 pm, I woke up to Mark’s snoring and an uncomfortable cramping. It came and went a few times as I was drifting in and out of sleep,so I finally decided to get up and walk around. The minute I did, my whole body started shaking, which was definitely odd but somewhat familiar. Normally my body would shake after baby was born from all the adrenaline,so I thought I’d jump in the shower to calm it down as at the hospital they would always offer a hot blanket. Thankfully, that did the trick! While I was showering, Mark hopped out of bed to get dressed,as he said that he knew that if he wasn’t, I would just go back to bed (which is what I tried to do when I did get out of the shower). He was adamant we should go to the hospital even if I didn’t want to “bother” anyone. A college student from our church, Abby, graciously quickly came to our house and walked in the door while I sat on the exercise ball, embarrassed by not feeling like I looked like I was in labor – whatever that means! I said hey, somewhat shrugged off a “well, we’ll go to the hospital,” and we headed out the door.
We talked in the car as we drove to the hospital, I was still convinced that we might not be admitted and that it might just stop at any moment. Mark smiled as he started to play Michael Bublé, and I shared that contractions were five minutes apart and all, but that I could still talk through them,so it couldn’t be active labor. We pulled into the hospital and Mark offered to drop me off at the door,but I said I’d rather stay with him and just walk from the parking garage. We walked down the halls and chatted about where my parents were at in getting to the boys. We stood in the Mother/Baby Center lobby for about ten minutes before getting brought back to the triage at 11:40 pm. We got hooked up to the machine, answered a bunch of questions,and then the nurse checked to see where I was. I was still at a 5 and about 85% effaced – so discouraging. To make it even more discouraging, the nurse said that based on the pain that I was experiencing, she might be sunny-side-up (I hope something they don’t often say to laboring mamas)! I sent a quick PRAY text to our moms about it,and the nurse stepped out to go call our doctor.
Mark reached down to touch my back,and it was so uncomfortable that I asked him to come around front of the bed,so I could hold his hand which he graciously did and allowed him to see the contraction monitor. I must have said something about how intense the contractions were getting (I now knew that she had to be coming), he looked at the machine and said that I was at a 9 out of 10 on the contraction line during the contractions and only dropping down to a 7 in between. I just remember thinking, I just want to get to the point where I can use the laughing gas to help my body relax more.
Within another five or so minutes I looked up at Mark and said, “Honey, my body is going to start pushing in another contraction or two.” To which his eyes got big and said we better get that nurse back in. We pressed the nurse call button, explained the same thing and soon our nurse was wheeling me down the hall to Labor & Delivery.
We got into the room at 12:09 am. The nurse asked me to go from the triage bed to the other bed after my contraction,so I soon moved over – Mark said I basically just rolled – and immediately got onto hands and knees where I spent the next few contractions as the nurse worked around me. It was us and two nurses in the room; the one nurse was getting out supplies for delivery,and the other was trying to find baby’s heartbeat with little success,so she had me do some oxygen, did something over by the computer, and asked that after the next contraction I would move onto my back,so that they could see where I was dilated.
The next contraction came and went, so I started to move from my hands and knee positions to be on my back. As I started to twist around I felt this sudden shift. I had this strange visual in my head of her perfectly lining up and could feel her dropping perfectly into place so I called out, “Baby is coming! Baby! Baby! BABY!” It was so weird hearing myself call it out,but no sooner than I did that,we heard this pop sound,and she literally flew out, landing on the bed I was on.
She immediately started her beautiful first cry,and all of us in the room were stunned. Mark somewhat silently laughing say, “You did so good, honey! You did so good!” The nurses came over, picked her up, cut the cord, and soon we were snuggling with our precious Chloe girl.
They called it a “nurse catch” since there weren’t any doctors in the room to catch her,but Mark and I joke that it was really a “bed catch.” Mark said that when I called out, “Baby is coming,” he looked down and could see her head still inside the amniotic fluid right before she burst out.
12:17 am. We had been in Labor & Delivery a whole 8 minutes before Chloe arrived,and we’ve never been so grateful at answered prayers in the perfect timing of her birth. If it wasn’t for the shower to calm my body down,and Mark being adamant about heading to the hospital, we would have probably had a home delivery or car birth. Chloe, we love you!
Hospital photos taken by the amazingly talented, Josiah Bondy, & edited by us.
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