Luna's birth story is definitely a miraculous one. We never thought she would come the way she did, but God sometimes has another plan for us. He knows what experiences we need to become the people we are supposed to become. Apparently, he wanted me to have a natural birth... In the front seat of a car... going 85 mph.
I had a vision of how I wanted the birth to go. I didn't want to get to the hospital at 8 cm dilated, like I did with Sophia (I really wanted to make sure I got that epidural!). I wanted to have more time to prepare myself: take pictures; text everyone that I was in labor; dress myself in a comfy rob, warm socks; have my hair done; toes painted; and, maybe a little makeup. (This list goes on... but at the very least, I wanted a shower before going to the hospital!) I was all on board for the epidural; after having it last time, I couldn't imagine it any other way.
I wanted to take things slow.
But, in the early morning of Febuary 20th 2016, my labor went everything but slow. I woke up at 2:30am to the feeling of painful cramping. I am the worst at knowing what the difference is between contractions and just plain old Braxton hicks. They feel the same to me. After a while, I assumed I was experiencing actual labor, so I found my phone and fumbled to find the app that helps you time your contractions. (Why I wasn't prepared and had this app already downloaded is beyond me.) As I was timing them, it appeared that my contractions were happening every 3 minutes and they were lasting about 45 seconds long. So I think to myself, Yeah, ok, I should probably wake Danny up and start getting ready to go to the hospital. I tell him that my contractions are starting to become more regular and that we probably should get ready to go. It's now 3:00am. Danny asks me "Ok, should we go now, now? Or do you need anything? Do you want to take a shower?”
You should know when I am contracting, I feel like my uterus is being magnetized to the center of the earth. But, when I'm not contracting, I feel like I could jump and frolic in a field of flowers and not have a single care in the world... that I'm in labor.
I say, "Sure! A shower would be nice." Two minutes into my shower I'm clenching my uterus, What the heck was I thinking?! I don't need to prim myself up, I need to get this freakin' baby out of me!
So with the last contraction fresh in my mind, I quickly get out of the shower and rush to get dressed. By now it's 3:30am and we have everything ready by the door. I'm pacing back and forth during contractions. Right before we are about to head out the door, Danny had to run upstairs to get something. By the time he left the room I decided to have a quick bowl of cereal, because hey, no one wants to be starving while they are in labor. Danny comes downstairs, perplexed as to why I wasn't out waiting in the car.
We get into the car and make a mad dash down the drive way. Five minutes down the road we realize we have Sophie's car seat. We had planned for my Mom to bring Sophie later to the hospital to make things a little less stressful, but in the rush out the door we were bound to forget something. We thought about what we should do. Do we really want to drive back and drop off the car seat? That's probably what, five or ten minutes? Is that extra time of pain really worth it?
I was not contracting at that time, so I figured what the heck.
We turned around and about a min later I regretted my decision. The pain was getting more intense where I started to feel back labor. We get back on the road and continue down the highway towards St. Elisabeth's Hospital in Enumclaw--about a 35 minute drive from the house. It's 3:40am now and the roads are pretty much clear, which made speeding not a problem. But every now and then I would bark at Danny that he wasn't going fast enough. The speed limit was 35 in some areas and he was only going 50! Then the dreaded pushing urge came... Wait what?! I can't have this baby now! In the car! No way! My mind flashed back to that time I watch a YouTube video of a mother giving birth to a 10lb baby in the car. I remember thinking, Wow! Kudos to that mom! I could NEVER do that! Fast forward 2 weeks and here I am, in labor on the highway, beginning to push.
"Nooo! I don't want to be that story! I don't want to be that story! I don't want to be that story!" I chant to myself. I look over to Danny and tell him "The baby's coming!!! I can't stop pushing! She's comingggg!" Danny says, semi calmly, "It's ok Ashley. Everything's going to be ok, we are almost to the the hospital. Just try not to push." Then, after I just come to terms that nothing's stopping this baby from coming, I decided to take a look at how things are going down there. I pull down my pants, positioning my legs up on the dash board so I could see using the visor mirror. There, sure enough, was the little purplish head of my baby beginning to crown.
"I see the head!!!!" I yell.
Danny screams and slams on the gas, idiot that he is.
Then head started to come out. Due to Danny's blooding curdling scream I don't think that he was taking my "the baby's coming" chant very seriously. After I pushed her head out it only took one more push till the rest of her came out. She was born en caul. After a few seconds the amniotic sack ruptured and burst onto the (rubber) floor mats. At first she let out a little whimper followed by little bursts of wailing. It was such a surreal experience to be able to catch her and bring her up onto my chest myself. This gooey ball of a baby was finally here now in my arms and I delivered her on my own, going 85 mph! (Danny, rather than stopping, finally decided that he needed to go faster…)
She was so tiny, thank heavens, and every little cry was such an reassurance that she was alive and ok. We were still concerned for her health since we had her in a car. Because of the traumatic experience, and because of how fast we were going, Danny accidentally drove past the turn to the hospital and had to reverse the car a bit to make the turn (it was pretty comical). We drove up to the entrance and, not even thinking about waiting for a wheel chair or help from the medical staff, I jump out of the car and waddle up to the doors in the light Washington rain.
And yes, my pants are hanging down, umbilical cord dangling out of me and attached to Luna. I'm in shock! I'm acting all on impulse by now. Get baby to doctor. Fast.
We get to the entrance, but the sliding doors don't open!!! We freak out until we read a sign that says, "Please use Emergency Room entrance after 2pm. Thank you." That would have been nice to know at the hospital tour I went to a couple months before. So I begin to wobble/run my way around the building until Danny yells, “ASHLEY! Get. In. The. Car.”
Oh yeah. Duh! We drive around the hospital to the emergency room and, needless to say, the doors open. I wobble in and the receptionist jumps out from behind the desk, taken aback at what she is seeing. She ushers us over to one of the ER rooms followed by a heard of more hospital staff (probably everyone on call, it wasn’t a very busy night). The delivery nurse checked all our vitals and everything seemed to be fine, except for Danny, who a nurse started treating for shock.
Because I had Luna in the car, her temperature was down a little, so they kept giving me warm blankets to swaddle her in to get her temp up. Danny, once again, had the privilege of cutting our 2nd daughters umbilical cord. (I'm was so proud of him. He hates blood.) All in all, recovery seemed to go by a lot quicker this time. I felt more in control of my body (shortly after the birth I was up and walking around the hospital… compared with how bed-ridden I felt after Sophia). More alert and aware of my surroundings. As the nurses were cleaning me up, Danny made phone calls to family that I just gave birth in the car. Pretty much everyone thought we were joking. I don't blame them. When Sophie arrived with my mom, she was still a little bleary-eyed, sleepy, and somewhat confused at the little bundle I was holding and snuggling.
Deciding on the name wasn’t too difficult. We both liked the name Luna. Danny liked it because of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter and I liked it because it meant moon and could be understood by many different languages. There were a couple other names on the table, but after seeing her we decided Luna was a good fit. Since we chose Sophie’s middle name, Edith (named after Danny’s paternal grandmother), We figured we would have Luna’s middle name be Bebe, named after my paternal grandmother. Later, after a phone call with my cousin that day, I learned that Luna’s middle name had an even more special meaning since her birth had been just a couple days shy of when my grandma had passed away 6 years earlier.
Luna was born at approximately 3:56am and weighed 6lbs 6oz and measured 19.5 inches long. Danny says he remembers the exact spot on the Enumclaw-Black Diamond Road when she first came out but on her birth certificate, the place of birth just reads: En Route. Also, another funny thing, in the picture below they wrote on my hospital band: Del in car (Delivered in Car). When we finally got our hospital bill, we were pleased to see that there was no delivery fee, just the cost of hospital stay for 2 nights. Man, birthing your own baby has its perks!
And that’s the story of how our family of three…became a family of four.