Chloe Kaye: A Birth Story

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Here I am, writing my third birth story. And our third GIRL birth story! What a gift. I actually already wrote most of this, and then it didn't save. COOL. Needless to say, life is hectic and I'm honestly shocked I got this done before she turns one month old on June 25. (Haha, wishful thinking! Here we are on June 27... close!) I also wrote Aiden's and Emerson's birth stories, which I love to go back and re-read. Congratulations to Chloe for winning favorite labor and birth!

Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start. And when referencing pregnancy and birth, most places in the story can be a little TMI for the average Joe. I warned you in advance!

I'll start with my prayers during this pregnancy. For starters, the 6-8 weeks prior to Chloe's arrival were mentally tough. We were dealing with gross (but not harmful) kid stuff and I thought my mind was going to explode. Not to mention the COVID19 pandemic taking over the world. (Honestly, this really didn't stress me out a ton, but I'm sure subconsciously it was affecting me.) I have so much more empathy for people with actual anxiety now. I have never felt so out of control of my own thoughts and emotions, even when I spent so much of my day praying. Ay caramba. Adam was a wonderful support, but I'm sure even he thought I was going a bit nuts. And then I felt totally guilty, because I hadn't spent much time or energy praying over the sweet baby growing in my belly! (A big part of me didn't even want to include this bummer part, because I don't want to relive it! But it's part of the story.) Anyway, back to my basic prayer requests... I wanted her to be healthy (duh); a quick, vaginal birth; and for her to be delivered by Rachel or Dani. (They delivered Emerson and I changed practices with Chloe to follow them! It was even written in my chart that one of them was to be called when I arrived in labor so they could come in and deliver. I was so grateful for that personal touch.) I don’t pray for personality traits for my kids, because I know God has already crafted them into their own perfect little people. I did, however, pray that this chick would be a snuggler and a good sleeper!

I guess I'll start with our fun trip to triage. On Saturday, May 9 we were planning to go to my parents' for brunch to celebrate Mother's Day. I hadn't really been feeling Chloe much that morning. I still felt her, but her movements seemed a lot more muted. I wasn't super concerned because I did in fact feel her, but something felt off. I texted Rachel, my bestie midwife, just to fill her in. She was actually on call, so she called me and asked me to come in to have everything checked out. Conveniently, we were already on the way to my parents', who live approximately 2 miles from the hospital. We picked up brunch, dropped it off with the girls and then headed to the hospital. After being checked into triage and hooked up to the machines for awhile, she still wasn't being super active, so they gave me some cran-grape juice (this will always taste like the hospital to me!) to get her moving. She still wasn't as active as they'd like (and apparently I was having contractions every 2 minutes), so Rachel said they wanted to do a biophysical profile ultrasound. Chloe needed to score an 8 or we would be induced. Well, the ultrasound took forever and she ended up scoring a 6. The ultrasound tech didn't say anything about it (she was chatty and great!), but Adam and I saw the score and were like "Uh oh. Are we about to have a baby??" Rachel came back in and said even though Chloe scored a 6, she was confident all was well. She then said "So you can either head home or you can stay here to be induced. It's up to you." Adam and I were like "What?? No. We're going home." Not that it was part of our decision making process, but we honestly hadn't even packed our bags. I was scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound in the office on Monday and was told if Chloe pulled this stunt again I would need to be induced. She looked great on Monday (praise God!), so the waiting continued. Crazy to think it took her more than two weeks from that triage visit to finally arrive. Oof. Adam and I also think about what would have happened if we had said yes to the induction. She obviously was not ready to arrive. I'm glad we decided (and had the option!) to let my body go into labor.

Ok, I'll jump back in at my 40 week appointment on Wednesday, May 20. I was 40 weeks 1 day and OVER being pregnant. (True story, I cried in the parking garage before I even went in.) At this point, I hadn't had any contractions at all in two days (after having them for weeks). I saw Rachel that day who could empathize because her third was ten days late. (I almost cried when she reminded me.) Chloe was measuring 38/39 weeks and I was 1cm dilated, 30% effaced and -3 station. I didn't get checked prior, but since I was past my due date she needed to see where I was. Honestly, I didn't care. I don't think my body really does anything until I'm in labor. With Aiden, I was only 3cm after laboring for a solid 24 hours. With Emerson, I was only 2cm about 10 hours after my water broke. Rachel stripped my membranes, and again I didn't think much of it. I don't think I know anyone who had that work? She said it would kick my body into gear IF my body was ready to go into labor. Basically the straw that broke the camel's back. We scheduled an induction for the next week - Wednesday, May 27. My other favorite midwife, Dani, would be on call. I felt a brief moment of peace that I would NOT make it to my next appointment (Tuesday, May 26) or the induction. I believed and prayed for that to be true up until home girl finally made her appearance, but obviously had some panicked moments in the days leading up to her birth. (SHE'S NEVER COMING OUTTTTT.)

As expected, stripping my membranes didn't put me into labor, but I did lose a lot more of mucus plug the following days. (I had already lost some of it wayyy back on May 4. Why do I keep track of all these ridiculous details??)

I had more contractions on and off starting Saturday (May 23). They were especially annoying, because they didn’t go anywhere and I was four days overdue. The Bakers were kind enough to take the girls on Sunday (May 24), so Adam and I had a day to ourselves. We walked around the neighborhood, walked the Leita Thompson trail, walked around the neighborhood again, grabbed a couple smoothies and went home to relax. I actually took four walks that day - desperation. We decided to watch Black Panther and I had contractions every 3-7 minutes throughout most of the movie. I knew they were Braxton Hicks, because they didn't hurt, they weren't consistent and they stopped as soon as I stood up. (Coolio!) We went to dinner at the Bakers, which was a wonderful distraction from the fact that I STILL HADN'T HAD THIS BABY. We went to bed and I woke up with a few contractions between 3am - 6am. Honestly, I was angry. I had been woken up the night before with contractions that didn't go anywhere either and I was just over it.

I woke up on Monday morning (May 25) and saw a little bit of blood. I texted Rachel and she said it was normal and just meant my body was trying to get something started. Sigh, the wait continued. I was up before the rest of the family and took a long walk by myself to re-center myself with Jesus. I was just so frustrated that I was frustrated. I knew she’d eventually show up. This was my third kid, for goodness' sake. Still, the enemy kept trying to convince me that my body was failing me. I loudly declared that God is not a lazy engineer! He doesn’t create babies through this miraculous process and then forget to take them out. ANYWAY. So yeah, I walked about 3 miles. Cried for a bit of it. Ya know. Normal end of pregnancy crazy. I went to the pond across the street and just sat there for a bit (Adam didn't know where I was and when he did 'Find My Friends' it looked like I was sitting in the middle of the lake. He texted me "Did you go for a swim??"). I really needed the alone time to center myself with God, and take the focus off of myself and my situation.

The fam was awake when I got back. I didn't have much of an appetite, but forced myself to eat some strawberries while they ate breakfast. We went to Dupree Park as a family and did a fun little nature walk. When we got home, I went to the grocery store. We had approximately no food in the house and even though I was boycotting the grocery store until after the baby arrived, I guess I needed to feed the rest of my family. I was really uncomfortable at the grocery store. I wasn't having contractions or anything, just uncomfortable. I came home and ate a banana (still not much of an appetite) and then took a bath around 12:30pm to see if I could get more comfortable while Adam and the girls played. I had one contraction in the bathtub, but didn't think anything of it since I HAD BEEN HAVING THEM FOR TEN YEARS.

I got out of the tub and went downstairs to watch a show with the girls around 1:30pm. I lay down with them, had one really strong contraction and felt the pop of my water break. I stood up and Adam looked at me funny. I said “Um, either my water just broke or it was bath water.” To which Adam replied with “Bath water?? What does that even mean??” Adam wanted me to text Rachel (who happened to be on call - God is so kind) to see if bath water was even a real answer. I told him it didn't really matter - if it was my water, it would keep coming and contractions would eventually start. Plus, we would labor at home for awhile anyway. I promised him I would reach out to her if nothing happened in the next few hours. Well, that water kept coming and the contractions started quickly after.

It was my dad's birthday, so initially we thought we'd just see how the afternoon went... maybe go over to my parents' after Emerson woke up from her nap, maybe drop the girls off there and then head to the hospital, maybe hang out for dinner - the options were endless. But then the contractions kept coming.. fast. They were pretty mild, but consistently coming every 2-4 minutes. Adam decided to call my mom at 2:26pm (shout out to Adam for taking specific notes again!) who was at the grocery store. He told her to take her time, but to plan to come to our house because this was clearly happening. But then contractions REALLY got intense so fast and I needed Adam to help me through them. (He proudly reigns as BEST BIRTH COACH OF ALL TIME.) Adam called my mom back 8 minutes later (haha) and told her to come now. Bless her heart, she dropped her grocery cart and headed right over.

We called Rachel and she answered by saying "Are we having a baby today??" (Love her.) Based on when my water broke, she told me to come in by 9pm. I responded with "Yeah, we're heading in pretty soon."

I made it upstairs at one point, because I was still wearing the clothes my water broke in. (Except I had changed my underwear about three times at that point.) I had no idea what to wear and just stood in the bathroom working through contractions. I ended up throwing on the same dress I wore to the hospital with both Aiden and Emerson. What a weird tradition I kept alive!

By this point, Emerson was napping and Aiden was watching TV while Adam was trying to get the final things together in between helping me through contractions. Man, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. He would help me through a contraction then sprint upstairs to do something. Then I'd call for him and he'd run down and the cycle would continue. I'm sure it was hilarious!

I went and gave Emerson a kiss on her sweaty sleepy forehead while she napped and shed a little tear. My crazy baby was about to become a big sister! I told Aiden we were getting ready to go to the hospital to have Chloe - she was so excited, but you could tell apprehensive as she watched me and Adam work through a few contractions. I think, like me, she settled with the fact that this baby was just never coming out.

Mom arrived around 3:30pm and we immediately left for the hospital. I told Adam to leave the yoga ball because I was getting the epidural the moment I arrived. He left the yoga ball.. and his wallet. At this point, contractions were every 2 minutes and HARD. I was nervous about getting in the car for 20 minutes, but I said a prayer and somehow got in. Adam killed the coaching, God was kind to clear the roads and we made it to the hospital around 4pm. There was a point while we were in the car where I thought "I don't want to have this baby in the car!". I had a really intense contraction and could feel Chloe drop down during it. It was bizarre.

Again, I wasn't sure how I was going to get from the car all the way through the parking garage, into the elevator, through the building and up the elevator to triage. (In hindsight, I guess Adam could have dropped me off, but I couldn't not have him with me.) Well, we ran into our first road block when we made it to the hospital door and it was LOCKED. Oh my gosh, I could have died. The sign told us to go to another entrance on the other side of the hospital (nope). Adam dropped everything and started to run to the other entrance, but I yelled at him to just call Rachel. Then I heard him say something in a relieved voice (my eyes were closed 99% of the time once we got in the car). A random man, who I will endearingly call JESUS, happened to walk by and let us in. Adam ran to get me a wheelchair, but with COVID I assumed he wouldn't find one so I just attempted to walk. He found me sitting in a chair further down the hallway... with our bags and everything still back at the door. Priorities, people.

We got up to triage and I said I wanted the epidural ASAP. I was working through a few contractions standing next to the bed and they told me I had to get in the bed so they could pump me with saline in prep for the epidural. You better believe I found a way to get my booty on that bed. Rachel checked me and I was 6cm. Adam said "Did you hear that?? You're 6cm!" That was exciting, because with the other girls I was barely dilated when I got to the hospital. We were in there for about 40 minutes or so while they monitored baby girl and got me hooked up to the IV of saline. (Side note: I was in the triage room right next to the check-in area. I opened my eyes at one point when we first got in there and the door was open while I was standing next to the bed, completely naked. Cool, cool.) They asked me if I wanted the COVID test and I loudly said "NO". As they opened up the door to roll me to a L&D room I opened my eyes and saw a doctor standing there and he said “We’re all set up in the room, I’ll just follow you down there.” It was the anesthesiologist! I could have cried tears of joy.

As soon as we got in the room, they moved me into the bed to immediately get the epidural around 4:45pm. (The anesthesiologist kept telling me I was doing a great job controlling my contractions before he got to work. I'm sure he says that to everyone, but of course in hindsight it made me think... "Could I have gone natural?" Adam gets so annoyed when I say that. haha.) I didn't love my epidural with Aiden - I couldn't feel anything from the waist down. I loved the epidural with Emerson because I could still feel pressure, but no pain. The whole time this anesthesiologist was working on me, I kept praying that God would guide his hands and let it set up correctly. Well, God over-delivered. It was glorious. I could still fully move both my legs and feel pressure. Best epidural of all time.

When I finally opened my eyes, I said "Hi everyone, nice to meet you!" One of the nurses getting me hooked up looked super familiar. I said "Where did you go to high school?" She said "Yeah, we know each other!" Such a small world, she went to high school with my friend Lindsay and was good friends with Adam's freshman year college roommate.

So then I just got to hang with Rachel and Adam for awhile. I lay on my side and they put a peanut ball between my legs to encourage dilation. I remember they did it with Emerson, too. Rachel went to go do her job after awhile and Adam and I got some time together to soak in that we were going to meet Chloe soon!

I told our sweet nurse, Margaret Ann, I was feeling some pressure about an hour after got to the room, around 5:55pm. (Well, I told Adam who then told the nurse. He made fun of me because basically my only job was to let them know when I felt pressure. I turned to Adam and said "I think I've been feeling some pressure." He was like "What? Tell them!") She said she'd call Rachel to have her come check me, but then decided to check me herself. Margaret Ann was having a tough time tracking Chloe on the monitor because she kept dropping lower and lower. She checked me and said “Oh, yep. There’s her head. You’re complete.” Adam and I looked at each other and I said “What does that mean?” She said, "You're 10cm. It’s time to have a baby!"

She called Rachel up and I said I wasn’t really in a rush to start pushing. I’d rather wait for Chloe to come down a bit on her own. I pushed 1.5 hours with the other girls and didn’t really want to do that again if I could avoid it. At 6:10pm, Rachel said we’d try a couple pushes and if I wasn’t really making progress we’d stop and try again later. As soon as I put my feet in the stirrups, she said “Oh, you’re having a baby in the next 10 minutes.”

I pushed through one contraction and Rachel got suited up... COVID-style. I pushed through the next contraction and then Chloe just kind of slid out on her own. I couldn't really see over my belly, but Adam looked at me and said "She's coming out!" I looked at him and just said "What??" The next thing I know I feel a baby sliding right out of me. Rachel told me to reach down and pull her up to my chest. At 6:16pm, she was here! It was just Adam, Rachel, Margaret Ann and I in the room. (Well, and Chloe.) We had a window in our room and the sun was shining in. It was so peaceful and intimate... it was honestly kind of magical. It felt like we were the only ones in the hospital. Adam prayed over us and I was able to have her on my chest for that amazing golden hour. It was surreal how quickly she came and just so wonderful. I'm sure she cried when she was born, but I look back and just remember this totally zen time meeting our girl.

Introducing our daughter, Chloe Kaye Baker
May 25, 2020
6 pounds 10 ounces
20 inches

There's nothing quite like watching this guy meet his girls for the first time.

Our midwife, Rachel. I was so, so thrilled she got to deliver Chloe.

For anyone wondering, the answer is yes. A baby on your chest is STILL the greatest feeling in the world.

Other random notes from Chloe's birth / hospital stay

She was so little! I can still picture her little booty as I lifted her up to my chest. Rachel thought she may even be under 6 pounds, but she surprised us all at 6lbs 10oz. Being so little, she immediately reminded me of Aiden, but she quickly made some little Emerson pouts. I think she looks like her own little self, but also has hints of her sisters. She definitely has Emerson's nose!

Her umbilical cord was around her neck and foot when she came out, but I didn't even notice. Thanks to Rachel for doing some weird magic to untangle her as she was coming out. And thank you Jesus that she was totally fine! I had no tearing or stitches, which was a fun first and led to an incredibly simple physical recovery.

When the baby nurse arrived, she was rubbing Chloe's back trying to make her angry (rude). Most babies take more time coming down the birth canal, so their chest is compressed and they are able to work out all the gunk in their lungs. Since Chloe came so quickly, she didn't. During our hospital stay, she was constantly trying to work up the fluid in her lungs. It was kind of scary sometimes and GROSS. It was red and brown and would come up in alarming amounts. It's so fascinating to me how the nurses man-handle little babies! But whatever they do seems to work.

She nursed pretty quickly after delivery and has been a pro since. Something I'm so thankful for!

Since we're living in the times of COVID, no visitors were allowed. After hearing the horror stories in some other states of women not even allowed to have their spouses with them, I was just thankful that Adam was with me the whole time! Even so, I was bummed that the girls didn't get to come meet her in the hospital. We FaceTimed the girls shortly after she was born, but I honestly don’t really remember it? It was a pretty boring hospital stay without the revolving door of family.

Speaking of COVID, I initially declined the test in triage, but once we got to our mother/baby room we changed our minds. Since we declined the test, they treated us as if we were positive which meant: if Chloe had to go to the NICU we couldn't go see her until I tested negative; we were quarantined to our room; they wouldn't do the hearing test in the hospital; and all staff had to put on these hazmat suits to enter our room. I decided to get the test, because I knew I wouldn't eat the hospital tray food and knew I needed to get some food in my system for multiple reasons; and we felt bad for our nurses who spent a solid 5 minutes getting dressed and undressed each time they came in. Adam volunteered to get the test, but they said they only test the mom and just assume the dad has the same results. That felt so silly since it was Adam who was leaving the room to go get me food. I was already quarantined in there just being a new mom! This means I had the luxury of getting stabbed in the brain with a q-tip after pushing out a baby. Joy! Thank you, Jesus - I was negative.

We did a fun pool for Chloe, like we did with the other girls. With her due date being May 19, the latest anyone guessed was May 22. I remember thinking they were MONSTERS, yet home girl didn't even arrive for three more days!

Ok, I think I covered all the bases. Chloe girl, we love you more than life. We are, once again, overwhelmed by the kindness of God and His good gifts. I'm honored to experience the magic of another baby. Three girls... pinch me!

P.S. Sorry, Chloe girl. Don't expect monthly updates on this blog. Mama can barely get breakfast on the table before noon at this point.

P. P. S. I do not have early babies. Aiden showed up at 41 weeks, Emerson at 40 weeks 5 days and Chloe at 40 weeks 6 days. Geeze, girls.