Nora's Birth Story: Part One

Who here loves a good birth story? I do! But I haven’t actually written out my sweet girl’s birth story in it’s entirety before. So in honor of her impending first birthday, I thought I’d share it. My birth stories aren’t the norm, and usually involve way longer hospital stays that we anticipate. But they are also so full of grace and love and goodness. ((Just a word of warning, there are a few non-graphic birth photos to follow. Not immodest, but a bit of blood and a fresh baby)). For Nora, it all started on the morning of what was supposed to be my baby shower.

The day began with my then two-year-old telling me:

“Mommy, you go to the Dr and get bahby Ora out today?”

I chuckled. Yes, oh how I wanted that relief. I was hugely pregnant and had two weeks to go.

“Someday soon, sweet boy.”

My husband asked what I wanted to do to make this day extra special since it was “baby shower day”. I told him I wasn’t sure and proceeded to sit down to breakfast with our toddler. Not three minutes later, I stood to go to the kitchen and felt my water break. I sat back down, laughing. You know how when your pregnant, you spend months wondering how you’ll “know” when it’s time to go to the hospital? Well, with both of my babies, I know because my water just breaks way before I show any signs of actual labor.

“Ha, hey babe? My water just broke.”

“What?! Are you serious?!”

I stood up and felt another rush. Grossest feeling ever.

“Yep. I’m sure. Can you get me a towel?”

We hurried around packing bags (she was two weeks early), laughing at her timing, and trying to soak up every last second with just our little guy before adding his sister to the mix. Henry wanted nothing to do with my hugs but I smooched his cheeks and squeezed his tiny body anyway before handing him over to my Mom and heading to the hospital with my husband.

Our drives to the hospital to have a baby are some of the calmest rides to have a baby I think I’ve ever heard of. Stephen went through the drive through for breakfast before we rolled into the ER. I felt like all of the nurses think I’m a faker when I come in saying that I need to admitted (water breaking is an immediate admittance, by the way, contractions or not). We went through the initial check-in, monitored her steady heartbeat and even saw that I was actually having a few light contractions and even dilated! With my first, I was induced from stage zero. Everything about his birth was assisted and forced. Including a steady pitocin drip, epidural, and vacuum delivery. To have my body performing unassisted was an amazing answer to months of prayer.

What followed was hours of walking around, bouncing on a birthing ball, hungry delirium (they really should allow moms to eat more than popsicles and jello), and sweet one-on-one time with Stephen. We watched an Office marathon broken up by moments to groove to music and taking moments to pray and worship. My body was progressing naturally, but very slowly. My nurses were so divinely appointed. Always who I needed in the moment that I needed them. They were patient with me, and my body. Never once was an intervention forced upon me. They always offered advice on how to naturally change something to maybe try and progress things. I am forever grateful for good hospital staff.

Finally, after an exhausting day, things got real. I decided to get an epidural to prep for the impending likelihood of Pitocin. My pregnancy with Nora was filled with a lot of anxiety. I had surrendered a lot of fear and prayed more than ever before. But still, I was living in complete fear of the memory of that drug and didn’t want to feel that ever again. I went to the bathroom one more time wire-free and God answered another prayer. My body started what would later be discovered as the transition phase without any drug induced help.

Moments before, our nurse sent the anesthesiologist to another room since I wasn’t progressing quickly. I hung onto my husband and breathed in the smell of his shirt for comfort. I could feel my body beginning to push without me and the contractions were long, strong, and close together. This was childbirth. The lack of sleep and food, however, left me in an extremely emotional state. I couldn’t get my head in the game, I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t stop crying or mildly panicking. This is also transition. Just when I didn’t think we’d be getting an epidural in time, a sweet tiny woman rushed into my room. She placed my epidural in record time and sweet relief flooded my body. I was able to catch my breath. Stephen read scripture after scripture over me and to me and peace filled the room.

Soon, the room exploded into busy as everything was prepared for Nora’s entrance. Because of some complications from Henry’s birth, I didn’t get to have but a quick five minutes of skin-to-skin time. So the moment I saw those little lines on the pregnancy test nine months earlier, the only thing I dreamed about was getting to snuggle my girl for as long as I could. The thought of her little warm body in my arms is what propelled me through as my Doctor walked in the room and asked “Ok, everyone ready? Let’s push!”

Three sets of three pushes later, there she was. My daughter. My girl. My Nora. She was so round and completely perfect. Eight pounds of heaven. I looked up at my husband and watched as he teared up over his little girl. There is not a more magical thing in the world. And the good news? I got to snuggle her for hours.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the years it’s this: Our Heavenly Father cares so deeply about us. He cares about the big picture as well as the tiniest of personal details. His answers to prayer may not line up exactly how we want them to. But over time, I’m sure that if you look at those little details, you’ll see that He cares about your heart too. He met us so kindly in Nora’s story that I’m not sure that I can look at it without singing his praise.

Our story didn’t end here with Nora. In fact, we had quite an adventure. Like I said, we don’t have your cut and dry normal birth stories. So stay tuned for part two soon!

All photos courtesy of my amazing husband who actually remembers to pick up my camera in crazy moments like this. Isn’t he awesome?! I will treasure these forever.