A wonderful surprise: The birth of Nora

By Published On: July 1st, 2017Tags: ,

We weren’t sure if we wanted children. My husband, Chaz, […]

We weren’t sure if we wanted children. My husband, Chaz, and I met when we were freshmen in college. Our relationship began as friends which quickly grew into a lot more! We were married young and very in love. This July, we will celebrate 12 happy years of marriage, and we will have a new little one to be thankful for.

I found out I was pregnant in my bathroom stall at work. I had not been feeling well for about a week thinking I had the flu. I was ready to call the doctor since my symptoms were getting worse. At the time, I didn’t know I was pregnant, but the first indication was not liking coffee. The smell of it made me want to vomit.

I called my girlfriend and asked her what she felt like when she was pregnant. That day, we had a meeting, and she stopped and got a pregnancy test for me. I left the meeting early because I wasn’t feeling well, and I had my first class that night for the fall semester. I took the test in one of the bathroom stalls. It didn’t take more than a couple of seconds for the test to show up positive! I cried as I was overwhelmed with all different kinds of emotions. That’s where our baby girl’s journey began—an amazing day in August of 2016!

I have always admired moms, and most of my girlfriends did the whole “mom thing” before me, so I knew I would have a wonderful support group. Since our girl was a BIG surprise, my husband and I went into planning mode! I was quite ill until about 15-16 weeks, and those months were very challenging. I had started a brand new managing position for a start up project, so I was very busy and sick!

My goal was to do a natural labor in the hospital. Our lifestyle is healthy, and I was determined to work out through my entire pregnancy. I was able to keep up with that after 16 weeks until about 7 months.

Wanting a natural birth is much different than having a natural childbirth. I started having contractions at 39 weeks. They started at 2 a.m., and I labored at home as long as I could. We headed to the hospital around 5:30 p.m. that evening. At that point, I was not able to talk through the contractions, and they were 5 minutes apart for more than 1 hour. I was only 1 centimeter dilated—a big disappointment!

I had two choices: go back and labor at home or walk the hospital halls. I was very uncomfortable, but powered through with essential oils, breathing, affirmations and a fabulous labor coach, my husband!

We walked for a few hours, stopping every 2-4 minutes to breathe through each contraction! They were significantly more intense, and we were hopeful I was more dilated! Thankfully, I had dilated to 4 centimeters, and I was admitted!  All I wanted was to get into the labor tub!

As labor progressed, contractions started to come every 1-3 minutes, and they were very strong. I made it to 6 centimeters, and at that point, it was past 27 hours, and I was about out of juice. We came into this whole journey with an open mind, and now looking back, that is the best advice I could give to those wanting a particular birth plan!

I was so exhausted and knew my body could not continue without some kind of medical intervention. I cried trying to make the decision, but I’m so glad we made the choice to get an epidural! Once that had been given, I was able to rest, eat two popsicles and laugh! It was 4 a.m., and I had made it to 8 centimeters. Not feeling much but rectal pressure, I was able to truly relax and prepare for who was to come—Ms. Nora!

Her heart rate started having some late decelerations, so I was put on oxygen and sugar water, and it woke her right up. I was not contracting as often, and she kept falling asleep. The doctor broke my water, and that moved things along quickly! It was 8 a.m., and I was feeling intense pressure. I was checked at 10 centimeters and ready to push! I practiced pushing only three times, and she was crowning already. The doctor was called in, I pushed for 20 minutes and she was here!

Nora was born at 8:53 a.m. on April 13, 2017. She was 7.6 pounds, 20 inches long! She had lots of hair and such long legs. The moment they put her on my chest, I lost all track of time, and that moment will forever stand still in my memory. It was the most incredible and challenging experience of my entire life!

I had only a second degree tear and had no complications with the placenta delivery. Both my husband and I had a tremendous appreciation for the hospital staff. Our journey was the greatest accomplishment, and now being parents, it has drawn us closer and more in love. She has given us a wonderful gift that we love, and it was a wonderful surprise!

Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!

By Liz Gilbert