His story begins unofficially on Wednesday, June 8, 2015, which was day one of my five days of prodromal labor. From Wednesday until Sunday, I lived life in one block of seemingly pointless contractions after another. Sunday morning’s bout of contractions was by far the worst. They started at 2:50am and continued to occur consistently, ranging from 7-10 minutes apart, until 9:30am when they stopped completely and without warning. My best friend Kim, who had flown in for the birth, laid with me and timed them from 3:50 until about 5:30 when we decided to call Scott home from work. We were finally convinced that the contractions might actually lead to a baby. Obviously, we were less than thrilled when they came to their sudden stop.
After some umming and ahhing about whether I really wanted to go to church after being up most of the night contracting, I decided I could sit miserably at church just as easily as at home, so I got myself dressed and ready, complete with 5 inch stilettos and a face that just dared people to cross me. Scott, half-joking but mostly serious, warned everyone we came in contact with to “do not look at Claire in the eye”. By this point, I had gone 5 nights with little to no sleep and I was over it. But, I survived church without causing anyone harm and even managed to enjoy the messages shared during the meeting. After the main meeting ended, Kim and I left to go home so I could relax.
Around 4:45, just before the rest of the family would be getting home, we got off the couch and started to make dinner. That’s when the contractions started back up, yet again. I worked through the contractions to finish up dinner and eat with my family, then we got out Disney Scene It for a little family game time. Throughout the game, the contractions intensified just enough that I was now bouncing on the birthing ball to stay comfortable. Kim was timing them religiously and we got to a point where they were anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes apart. At this point, I decided we should probably go ahead and get to the hospital. I was worried because with Turner, my third, the contractions never were consistent or close together until just minutes before he was born. I arrived at the hospital to have him with contractions ranging from 10-15 minutes apart and I was dilated to a six. I had him less than 2.5 hours later. I felt that with this baby, we should err on the side of caution and not wait too long to go in. I may have joked about giving birth in the car, but I really had no intention of that ever happening. We called my father in law to come pick up Turner, loaded the girls and our hospital stuff into the car and headed out.
Despite nice, consistent contractions the entire time we were playing games, I didn’t have one contraction the entire drive to the hospital. I started to doubt myself. We got to triage around 8:15 and when they finally checked me at 8:45, I was dilated to a 3. 45 minutes later, I’d had maybe 2 contractions, neither of which was anything to get excited about, and when they checked me at 9:30, I hadn’t progressed one bit. I requested to be sent home as I had no intention of hanging out in the hospital when I obviously wasn’t in active labor. I figured I was in for yet another night like the four previous… contractions that would keep me from sleeping, but never become the real deal.
My birth photographer had met us at the hospital as she too remembered how quickly things had moved when Turner was born. She told me to follow her home and pick up a few essential oils she had on hand that are supposed to encourage labor. I insisted that we then pick up Turner from my father in law’s house as Turner had recently gotten in the habit of coming into our room in the middle of the night, searching for me. I didn’t want to miss out on a night of cuddling my baby before he was promoted to big brother, so we got him before heading home.
It was about 11pm by the time we were back at our house and had all the kiddos tucked into their beds. Scott, Kim and I settled in on the couch to watch a few episodes of Modern Family, and wouldn’t you know it! Those pesky contractions started up again. And they were coming every 10 minutes. And they were stronger than ever before and accompanied by some seriously awesome back labor.
I texted my other bestie Nicole, a baby nurse at the hospital I was delivering at, and asked her how I was ever going to be able to tell when to go back in. I felt like I’d made bad decision after bad decision trying to figure out if I was in labor or not. From calling Scott home from work early Sunday morning to running to the hospital Sunday night and then insisting on picking my sweet Turner Man up from Grandpa’s house when we headed home from triage. I told Scott and Kim that I was no longer willing to make decisions and if they thought I should go back to the hospital, I would go, but I was not going to be the one to make that call.
Scott immediately went into “sergeant mode” and took control. The perk of being married to a police officer. He works great under pressure! He and Kim timed my contractions and rubbed my back with a massager while I swayed back and forth while leaning on my birthing ball. At 12:30 my contractions had definitely changed in intensity and were coming every 7-10 minutes. Around 1am, Kim started saying she felt like we should go to the hospital. Scott said to wait through a few more contractions. I tried to remain as calm as possible while thinking that at the rate this had been going for the past five days, I was never actually going to have a baby.
At 1:30am, I had a super contraction- 2 minutes long and extremely strong. Scott decided we didn’t have a moment to lose and before I knew it, we had made arrangements to drop Turner at a friend’s house rather than wait for my father in law to make the 20-minute drive. Kim threw all of our stuff and my sleeping children into the car and by 1:43 we were on the road. Scott ran two red lights and at 1:50 we arrived at our friends’ house to deliver our sleepy and excited Turner to them.
We were in front of their house less than 2 minutes before continuing on to the hospital and my contractions were still coming strong and hard. I was starting to feel pressure and the thought of pushing had crossed my mind a time or two. I was panicking because I was so scared my birth photographer was going to miss the whole thing.
When we were just a few minutes away from the hospital, Kim grabbed my phone to call Nicole, who happened to have been called into work around midnight. Kim warned Nicole that we were just minutes away and I was feeling “pushy”.
We pulled into the hospital parking lot at 2:05. It took me another five minutes to get into the hospital as I had another huge contraction in the parking lot. I leaned up against a light post and did my best not to push while Cecelia ran to the ER entrance and grabbed a wheelchair. Scott rushed me into the ER where we looked around, unsure of what to do. There was no one at the front desk and a room full of people were waiting to be seen, but we did not have time to spare. Scott ran into a room where a hospital employee was taking someone’s information and insisted that she had to get us up to labor and delivery immediately. Scott raced my wheelchair through the halls while the ER employee followed as quickly as she could and got us upstairs.
We got to triage where I immediately asked to use the restroom. Looking back, they should NOT have let me leave the room. I’ve heard plenty of stories of babies being born on toilets, but none of us realized just how quickly things were about to move.
While I was peeing, Scott told the triage nurse that if I was still at a 3 or 4, she might as well run down the hall before shouting that back at me because I might hurt her. He was obviously joking, but I think that gave her the wrong idea. She seemed to be moving really slowly, taking my information and trying to hook me up to monitors when I had a nice, big contraction that got some attention. She quickly checked me and announced that I was at a 9.
Scott texted Kim the news at 2:21 and the nurse, Cheryl, ran my gurney to the delivery room that Nicole had prepped for me when Kim called her just before 2. At 2:23am, my girls, Kim, and my birth photographer all ran into the delivery room while the nurses helped me move from the gurney to the delivery bed in between contractions. I felt an immense amount of pressure, which I made sure everyone knew about, and Cheryl called for a doctor, any doctor, to get in there stat. There wasn’t time to get my midwife to the hospital. There wasn’t even time to get an ER doc to the room. Luckily, there happened to be a random doctor a few rooms over who had just finished delivering his own patient and he ran in just as my water broke. Just in time to catch the head as I pushed for the first time. One more push and our baby had arrived. The baby was quickly laid on my tummy and I begged for Scott to tell me if it was a boy or a girl.
Lincoln was born at 2:29am on Monday, July 13, 2015, about 15 minutes after we made it to Labor and Delivery and just 8 minutes after I was checked in triage. He took his sweet, precious time getting to the active labor portion of arriving, but once he decided it was time to come, things sped up in a big way!
Once Lincoln arrived, my mood instantly changed! After days of sleep deprivation and being so frustrated with my body, I was wide awake and absolutely enamored with my newest little guy. Our delivery room was filled with celebration and it was wonderful to share those moments with so many people I love so dearly. Scott cut the cord originally, then Kim got to do the second cut to make it nice and short. The girls took turns sitting next to me in bed, gazing adoringly at their new little brother. Nicole lovingly measured and weighed him, inviting the girls to help with the process even though that made it take longer than normal. It was such a happy day and I am so grateful to have amazing photos to help me relive it.
My beautiful birth photos were taken by the fantastic Mary Kriss of Mary Kriss Photography