I’m Christa, mom to three kids (Mason, Kyla & Emilia) I get to parent every day and one special little girl who I get to hold in my heart, Elena. If my name or my kids sound familiar it’s because I help run the Harrisonburg Playgroup! There are a ton of moms in that group and I’m often running into people who know me through the group. You’ll also find me at birth circle every 2nd Monday of the month.
After finding out what I was having when I was pregnant with Mason & Kyla, I decided that I wanted to be “Team Green” with my January 2016 baby. It was hard work especially since I got multiple ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy thanks to a previous PROM in my pregnancy with Elena. With our baby being due in mid January I began to get anxious about having our next little one in the middle of a snow storm especially as rumors were rampant that a huge storm was coming. I was so concerned that I even went over with Misty all the things we would need in case we got snowed in and I also read up on what to do if you accidentally have an unassisted home birth.
I went into labor with my 2nd daughter, Kyla at 39 weeks and 2 days. In turn I had convinced myself that Baby #4 was going to come at the same time or even before. When 39 Weeks and 2 days rolled on by I began to get a little anxious. If I didn’t have this baby soon my mom and sisters wouldn’t be able to attend due to a commitment they had. Not to mention that snow storm that everyone had been talking about was still being talked about and the dates were getting more and more concrete. It wasn’t long before I hit 40 weeks and Baby 4 was still happy as a clam. Despite having some prodromal labor it became clear to me that this baby was coming when it wanted too and I was pretty sure it wanted to come with the snow.
The snow was set to start on January 22nd the day I turned 41 weeks. The day before I started to lose my mucus plug in the early afternoon, confirming for me that this baby was coming with the snow. The same thing happened with my last pregnancy and as I continued to lose my mucus plug I knew that labor was finally starting. I spent that day and evening doing typical nesting things, cleaning out the fridge, straightening up the house and making sure we had everything packed for when it was time to head to the birth center.
I went to bed that night around midnight with not much happening but it wasn’t long before I was up again at 4am with contractions, that while manageable, certainly weren’t going away. It wasn’t long before my two year old woke up and then Mason followed quickly behind. I labored while I made them breakfast. Shortly after I woke up Bly and my Aunt Denise who came to be with me since my mother and sisters couldn’t be there. That entire time I labored before my Aunt and Bly woke up was strange. The contractions were fairly close together but very manageable. By the time I woke them up they had gotten further apart but were certainly stronger.
A quick look outside told me the weatherman was right, we were going to get snow and it was going to be quite the storm. Around 10am I checked in with a friend who lives in Staunton and she informed me that it was coming down hard. I touched based with Maya again at this point because I wanted to make sure that we got to the center before the snow got bad. We agreed to meet at 11am. By 10:45 my contractions where every 3-5 minutes and the snow had started to come down. It was falling fast and sticking. Ironically enough it was around that time I decided that I wasn’t quite ready to go to the birth center. I was so nervous that I would lose my momentum.
Despite my concerns Bly and my Aunt urged me to go, like I had mentioned my contractions were every 3-5 minutes and the snow was coming down fast, they were worried. So in the car we went. Of course in the 20 minutes it took us to get in the car and to the birth center I had one ridiculously mild contraction. My fear was coming true.
We arrived at the birth center around 11:45, Maya was already there and setting things up. Labor is a funny thing. It felt like my contractions had all but stopped (they hadn’t). Even so I got in the tub in hopes that it would relax me enough for things to speed up. I spent some time in the tub and then feeling like nothing was happening I transferred to the bed. About two hours had passed at this point but it felt like 20 minutes. I’ve found that I enjoy laboring alone or rather with no one talking to me during contractions and minimal touching. Bly, Maya and Misty had all come and checked on me at some point (sometimes silently). At some point I could hear everyone talking outside and I was in the birthing room by myself so I went outside to join in on the festivities. I got a little something to eat and it wasn’t long before I felt a little queasy and my contractions started to piggy back. At that point I was feeling unsure of myself and my labor. I was concerned we’d be snowed in all weekend. I described my contractions as “annoying”. I was ready to have a baby in my arms.
I must have recognized something in that queasiness because I asked Misty who had arrived a bit earlier to check me. I just wanted to see what we were facing (being snowed in etc). So she checked me and I was an 8 with a bulging bag. Pretty much exactly where I was when she checked me at home with Kyla’s birth. Apparently that’s all I needed to hear. I decided to get in the tub. Right when I was getting ready to get in I felt a small trickle down my leg and was fairly certain it was my water. Misty confirmed. I *knew* that once I got in the water things would move quickly. So while I got in I refused to let myself sink down until everyone was in place. I was waiting on Nikki Trent, my birth photographer who thankfully had the foresight to already be on her way despite me not letting her know since I didn’t think I was that far along. I was also waiting on Bly to come back in from shoveling (he was trying to stay on top of things so we could get out and get home when the time came) and I wanted my kids to be there. Once everyone was there I sunk into the water. That was the moment I started to transition.
I cried, something I hadn’t done in previous labors. I began to push with all my might, it felt very different from my previous birth. My water fully ruptured shortly after I began pushing but Baby 4 didn’t just slide down like Kyla did.
I’d like to tell you that I laughed my baby out. That I was calm and serene. But I’ll be honest. Transition and pushing makes me curse like a sailor and don’t you even think about touching me (just ask Misty and Bly). I believe something along the lines of “If I didn’t know you had to check the baby’s heart beat I’d tell you to get the heck away from me” may have come out of my mouth. Heck may not have been the word I used.
Remember when I told you something felt different? Turns out something was different. Baby #4 had its arm up by its head and while baby was super helpful and tried to get that arm out it hurt like no other. Ever felt a baby move while in the birth canal? In case you haven’t it doesn’t feel good. AT ALL.
Once that arm was fixed we had one more little push and baby was out and in my arms. Everyone was so anxious to know who we had just brought into the world but I was too stunned to check right away. While it was probably less than two minutes between birth and looking to see if we had another little girl or another little boy it felt like ages to everyone else (or so I’m told). I’ll never forget the moment I looked to see that we had brought another little girl into this world. Not knowing what you’re having and then finding out in that moments after giving birth is a very special thing.
She was born at 3:05pm About three hours after arriving at the birth center and within 16 minutes of when I started pushing and had the big gush of water. It felt like I was pushing forever but that wasn’t the case at all. I actually pushed less for this baby than I did with Kyla who was closer to 25 minutes.
After giving birth we spent some times cleaning us both up, nursing and taking pictures.
As always it was a wonderful experience and while it would have been nice to hang around even longer we knew we had to get on the road back home. We packed up and drove home carefully in easy 6 inches of snow. By 7pm we were home loving on our babies, playing video games with our oldest and watching the snowfall.
I felt beyond blessed that despite the epic snowstorm everything went great and we were able to be home with all of our kids. Our little baby girl had to wait a whole week until her mommy and daddy decided on a name, Emilia, and another week before she got her middle name, Marie.
Little miss Emilia Marie is now 2 1/2 months old. We’re adjusting well to her arrival. It feels like she’s always been apart of our family, she fits right in. We’re a lucky to have her.