On Monday, December 4th, I woke up around 1am with mild cramping. It was the same feeling I had when I went into labor naturally with Hannah (I was induced with Micah) and I remember thinking, "This could be it." After looking at the clock and realizing it was only 1am, I tried to go back to sleep. While laying there, I began to feel consistent contractions. I got out my handy, little contraction timer app - and was shocked when I realized they were only 1-2 minutes apart! My head started spinning with thoughts of what the doctor had said at my last appointment.
Do I head to the hospital now?! I'm not in too much pain yet. Surely, I still have time. These contractions will have to get a lot worse before I am walking into that hospital!
I was torn between knowing that I wasn't yet in active labor, but not knowing when and how fast active labor would come. I laid there for about two hours. No sleep. Just waiting for the really painful contractions to hit. They were uncomfortable and I knew it was more than Braxton Hicks, so I decided to call our children's ministry leader, Sarah, who offered to come any time of the night to watch the kids. I called her around 2:30am and asked if she wouldn't mind coming to sleep on the couch just in case this turned into the real thing. Thankfully, she answered and was gracious enough to come right away! I felt better knowing she was there, and told her to get some rest and we would just wait to see what happened.
Now, even though this is my third baby - when it comes to labor, it is so unpredictable that you really don't feel like you can trust your own instincts! So, I turned to Google. I laid there, contractions still coming, and searched, "How long til active labor begins after consistent contractions?" As it turns out, Google doesn't have a definite answer on this either. But I did read a few "my contractions weren't very painful and then I was ready to push 10 minutes later!" stories that scared me enough to wake up Josh as soon as one, semi-painful, stronger contraction hit!
At 4:30am, we were at the hospital. I was honestly prepared for them to check me and send me home, since I still wasn't in too much pain. To my surprise, the nurse said, "You are 4-5cm and 90%... yes girl, you are having this baby TODAY." It was a relief to hear her say!
Throughout my entire pregnancy, I saw close to eight different doctors at my all-female OBGYN practice. They were all nice, but one stood out to me as my favorite. I guess I put her down as my "preferred doctor" at one of my appointments, because the nurse told me, "Guess what? Looks like your preferred doctor is about to switch over and be the on-call doctor at shift change!" I knew after she said that, that this was the right day to have Chloe. It was one of those confirmation moments that only the Lord can give you peace in.
They were monitoring my contractions, and I was still having them every two minutes or so. While we waited for the doctor to come and check on my progress, I asked if I could walk the halls and try to pick up the intensity of the contractions a little. Josh and I walked for about 45 minutes with little change. I went back to our room and we turned on the Hillsong Christmas album, The Peace Project (one of my favorites this season!), and waited for the doctor to arrive. When she came, she said that my water was cushioning the contractions and that she could break my water to get things moving. She also said that if I was considering an epidural I would need to go ahead and get one, since things would intensify quickly after that.
I have always had such positive experiences with the epidural relaxing my body and helping me progress quickly, so I went ahead with it. Turns out, this epidural was my favorite so far! I had full control of my legs and could feel every contraction that came - just as I had been before they broke my water. The nurse told me that this meant it was a "good epidural," since I would still have the ability to feel when and where to push.
After the epidural, they broke my water and gave me a low dosage of pitocin to kick my body into full gear. A couple of peaceful hours later, and Chloe was ready to meet us!
I had texted my sister earlier to let her know we were at the hospital and had the spontaneous idea to ask her if she'd like to be in the room when Chloe was born! She got there just as I was about ready to push. My sister and I were only 7 weeks apart during our pregnancies and she had planned on having an all-natural birth, but found out at 39 weeks that her little girl was breech and would need to be delivered via c-section. My sister has always been fascinated with things that most people can't stomach to watch, so I knew she'd be able to handle it. It was so special to have her there and she was also able to capture some sweet photos for us!