Hi sweet baby Grey,

Somehow, a year has passed and you are ONE! I feel like I blinked and you are now a teetering, babbling, silly, loving, obsessed with your big brother, hides in all the small spaces, climbs all the big spaces- one year old. It’s been one whole year that you have been in our lives and things are exponentially better because of it. One year that our hearts have grown bigger than we could have ever imagined, one year of seeing Bowie grow to be a loving, doting and patient big brother, one year of ups and downs and milestones and a few scary moments in between and one year of growing as a family of four.

I never shared Grey’s birth story because I honestly just forgot to press publish. It’s been here, sitting in my draft folder all along but Mamas you know. Life is busy with one, busier with two but oh those moments you never forget. The birth moments that bring tears to my eyes as I write this, the first moments where they put them on your chest and you feel them, you know them, before you even see them, and those first moments, in our case, as a family of four. We could not love you more baby Grey. Thank you for choosing us. xx Mama

I was 4cm dilated at 38 weeks. I knew this baby boy wasn’t going to wait much longer. I felt fine, great even, so we went about our normal routine. I don’t know if it was all mental but I went into a sort of calm before the storm mentality. I didn’t feel that pregnant, even though I was near 38 weeks! At my 36 week appointment and 3 cm dilated, my doctor didn’t think I would make it to the weekend. The weekend came and went. She was pretty surprised! I felt strong, grounded, and productive and felt ready when this baby would decide to come.

We went to Lost Pines for a family day and spent the day swimming and playing in the sand with Bowie. We went on as many family dates as we could and I spent as much time as I could with Bowie, sometimes probably pushing myself a little too far. Like chasing a toddler at the Thinkery. Most likely what dilated me to 4.

The morning of Grey’s birth date was a normal morning. I thought I had lost my mucus plug a few days prior but nothing had changed so I convinced myself it was just normal discharge. We woke up and went to Tom’s coffee followed by a trip to Target. When we got home around 11:30am I started to feel some contractions but they weren’t consistent. An hour or more a part, I thought maybe they were more like Braxton Hicks, which I had never experienced. We had lunch and put Bowie down for a nap around 1. It was around then the contractions started picking up and although I wanted to labor at home as long as I could, Michael and a few friends encouraged me to call my doctor.

After speaking with the nurse who spoke with doctor, it was decided I would wait at home for another hour and we would see how the contractions evolved. Bowie woke up around 2 and we called my sister in law who was going to stay with Bowie while we were at the hospital. We had already called her once and then called her off. I was in denial that I was in labor earlier but the contractions were now about 20 minutes apart and I knew it was happening that day. I called back the nurse who said, it’s time to come in.

Around 3pm, the contractions were about 10 minutes apart but I was in no pain. They weren’t uncomfortable and I could talk through them. We said a very tearful goodbye to Bowie and headed to the hospital.

In the middle of a website redesign, I wanted to tie up a few loose ends with my developer. I was emailing and texting her on the way to the hospital. As we neared the exit, I told her I would have to go because I was in labor. A conversation we still laugh at today!

We checked into the hospital at 3:30pm. I was 6cm dilated with contractions about 5 minutes apart. Still in a bit of denial, I asked the nurse if she thought I was going to have a baby today. She looked at me and said, yeah you’re going to have a baby. She also offered to let me go home for a while since it was my second but I decided against that. I actually like hospitals…and was excited to be back. They checked is into our room and we settled in for what we thought would be a long day and night.

We didn’t love our first nurse. I gave my husband a look as the nurse fumbled around the room, apparently new to the hospital that day, just my luck. He understood right away and stepped into the role of my advocate. I was having contractions, and although not painful yet, he anticipated my needs before I could even say them. She left an hour later and I was so relieved.

The next hours were pretty easy. My mom and sister came in, we laughed, took some awkward family photos and I breathed through my contractions. Around 6pm, my doc came into check me and I was 7cm. Still no pain. She offered to pop my water bag, my water bag didn’t pop with Bowie until 9, saying that it was most likely holding up any progression and that popping it would most likely make things speed up.

Hearing this made me really emotional. I had an unmedicated birth with Bowie and that was my plan with Grey. This time around,  I knew what loomed ahead. I knew the pain, the pressure, and the ring of fire that awaited me and I wasn’t trying to get there sooner than I needed. I wasn’t in pain yet and didn’t feel like I needed to rush this along. When she mentioned that popping the bag could bring on stronger contractions, it brought me to tears and brought anxiety that I couldn’t quite explain.

I was anxious for the pain I was about to feel, unsure if I would have the strength to go unmedicated and if I’m being honest, anxious about what your arrival would mean for our family. It may seem silly to still be anxious hours from meeting you (and looking back it was so silly) it’s the truth.

After more tears and getting a pep talk from Michael, I knew I was ready to meet Grey. We told our nurse to let our doctor Dr. know I was ready for them to pop the water bag. Minutes (maybe an hour?) later, she came in, popped my bag and asked me to empty my bladder. While doing so, like literally sitting on the toilet, I felt the pressure to push. This pressure is what I was waiting for because I knew it would mean the pain would be over soon. After yelling at the nurse, “he’s coming!! I’m going to push!” I could barely make it back to the bed.  I thought I was going to have you on the toilet! I had to stop and breathe through a contraction while walking from the bathroom to the bed which was maybe 6 feet away. Once settled and finally breathing into the nitrous oxide correctly, the nurses couldn’t figure out the tank earlier, I started to yell again, “I’m going to push. He’s coming!” They called the doctor and when she checked me, I was at a 10. Screaming into the nitrous mask, I started pushing before they were ready for me to push. I held my legs and started to push. The doctor wasn’t quite ready and I remember seeing a nurse rushing to get her scrubs on. I pushed for maybe 5-10 minutes and you were here. My contractions were 30 seconds apart so there was no downtime in between contractions like with Bowie. They were fast and furious and it felt like one big, never ending push. I do remember the ring of the fire but it was at that moment I was thankful for the fast contractions because I could just pushed through it.

When I finally opened my eyes, I was surprised to see all the staff in the room. I’m not sure how long my eyes had been closed. I saw your dad take his wedding ring off because I was squeezing his hand so hard and I could see your grandma in the corner motioning to my sister to join her. They laid you on my chest and you had one little arm raised up in a fist as if to say, we did it. And we did sweet boy. How we ever lived without you, I don’t know but you completed us in that moment. Happy, happy birthday my angel.