A Grand Entrance

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nora's entrance into the world was an exciting one. Obviously that's true for every baby, but Nora came into our lives in a way that I never imagined.

I posted on Friday about how I was disappointed that nothing was really happening in terms of labor. I had been experiencing some Braxton Hicks for sure, but it never progressed beyond that.

What was weird is that during the day on Friday, both Michael and I had expressed a "feeling" that we would somehow end up with a 9/11 baby. When I left work that day, I felt like I wasn't going to be back, so I actually stayed an hour late to wrap up some things just in case.

When we got home, we went on a nice 2-mile walk. Then, we made bourbon chicken for dinner (a bit spicy!). Since I had worked late and we had walked before dinner, we didn't sit down to eat until 8:30ish. After dinner and clean-up, we settled onto the couch for the evening. We decided to watch a DVRed episode of House (we STILL have a few episodes to watch from the end of last season--oops!). As we watched, I received texts from one of my cousins and one of my girlfriends, asking how I was feeling. I responded to them at 9:55 and 9:56 p.m., telling them that I had been having Braxton Hicks for two days, but that they kept going away! No news to report.

Right around 10 p.m., I felt this cramping in my lower abdomen. It honestly felt like diarrhea cramps, so I wasn't sure what to make of it. Still, it got my attention enough to make me look at the clock, and when I felt another one 8 minutes later, I started to wonder. By 11 p.m., I had experienced several more of the cramps, and they had grown closer together. Michael and I started to think that this was probably the real thing.

I was not entirely convinced, though, so we decided to wait it out longer. I brought up Contraction Master on the computer, and spent some time tracking these "cramps." Sure enough, they were coming at 3-4 minute intervals.

Initially, I wanted to try to labor at home as long as possible, so I suggested that we go lie in bed and try to get some rest. Once I was lying down, however, I realized that the contractions were even more uncomfortable, so I got back up. Also, we started to discuss calling our parents--my dad wanted to drive up from Virginia right away, so I wanted to give him as much notice as possible. The problem was that I didn't want him to start driving until I had my labor "confirmed" at the hospital. So, essentially just for my dad's sake, we decided to get ready to head to the hospital.

Still, we took our merry time. We both showered, I gave Michael a haircut (seriously--between contractions!), we finished packing, etc. At a little after 1:00 a.m., Michael had packed up the car and we were ready to leave.


Hospital Bound from Heather K on Vimeo.

After parking and getting up to the L&D ward, then getting signed in (The lady at the desk was S-L-O-W. Helloooo, I'm in labor, here!), by the time we got settled into triage, it was probably close to 1:45. I was hooked up to monitors and had my vitals taken, and the nurse told me that a doctor would be in soon to check me.

As we waited, I called my dad to let him know that while I hadn't been checked yet, we were pretty damn sure that this was the real thing. My contractions had been getting stronger and stronger. The call history on my cell phone shows that I made that call at 2:14 a.m. As I was talking to my dad, I felt a warm gush and said, "Um, I think my water just broke!" I told my dad to hit the road.

A minute later, a doctor poked her head in my curtain and said, "Did I just hear you say your water broke?" I told her yes, so she said she would check me. When she did, she told me that I was already at 5 cm. I was so happy to hear that I was making good progress. However, with the broken water came contractions that had heavily increased in intensity. Instead of being able to easily manage them with breathing techniques, I was suddenly gripping the sides of the bed and writhing in agony through every single one of them. I wanted so badly for them to get me into a real room so that I could use a birthing ball, walk around, and possibly get into the tub. Unfortunately, the L&D ward was extremely busy, and they were having trouble clearing people out of rooms fast enough--they didn't have a room to get me into!

The doctor came in and asked me if I'd be wanting an epidural. I told her I wasn't really sure, but after a few more contractions, I said yes. She said they'd get my IV started in triage, then have the anesthesiologist meet me in my room when I was moved.

It seemed like eternity was passing, and things were moving so slowly. A nurse did come and start an IV line in my hand, but didn't hook it up to any fluids. Meanwhile, I was moaning and groaning in horrendous pain, and started to find that I had barely any time between contractions. The doctor and nurses must've noticed, because next thing I know, the doctor is standing over me saying she's going to check me again. This was sometime before 3:00 a.m. She said, "Heather, I think the reason you're in so much pain is because you're about to have a baby." She checked me, and I was 8 cm.

I knew at that point that there was no way I'd be getting an epidural. I said as much to the doctor, and she said, "Well, we'll see. We'll call anesthesiology and they'll see what they can do." Even in my state, I knew she was a lying liar.

Because I was moving along so fast, they finally came in to get me to move me to an L&D room. I remember getting wheeled down the hall just grunting and whining because the pain was unbearable. They got me into the room and I remember looking up at the doctor and nurses and just BEGGING them to help me. I was saying things like "Oh my God, I'm going to die!" and "Someone just knock me out!" Looking back, the things coming out of my mouth were pretty hilarious. I begged them to give me something in my IV, at least to "take the edge off," but they said that I was so far along that anything they gave me could potentially affect the baby. Instead of giving me the drugs, they simply kept telling me that I could do this.

Shortly after getting into the room, they checked me again and I was 9.5 cm. She told me that if I started to feel pressure, I could start pushing. Sure enough, I felt tremendous pressure, so with my next contraction, I started to push.

Meanwhile, my mom was making her way to the hospital, taking her merry time as she thought that there was plenty of it! Later, she told me that her guest pass said she had signed in at 3:18 a.m. In the middle of pushing, a nurse came to me and told me my mom was there and asked if it was OK to let her in. I said yes and my mom walked into the room when the baby was crowning.

I pushed and screamed and pushed and screamed and soon enough, they were pulling my baby out and holding it up. The way they were holding the baby, I had a perfect view of the area between the legs, and I knew right away it was a girl. But I think it was my mom who first said out loud, "IT'S A GIRL!" We all cried a little and it was overall an amazing feeling. Honestly, though, the most amazing feeling was knowing that the baby was out. My pain immediately subsided. It's incredible how that works.

Nora Grace was born at 3:29 a.m.


Nora - Brand New! from Heather K on Vimeo.

If you're keeping score--contractions started at 10 p.m. Left the house at 1 a.m. Settled into triage around 1:45 a.m. Water broke and dilated to 5 cm around 2:15 a.m. Baby was born at 3:29 a.m. In other words, I went from 5-10 cm and pushed a baby out in a little over an hour.

Whoa.

In the end, I did not have a drop of drugs, which I never expected to do. When people would ask me what my plan was, I'd tell them that I was just going to go with the flow and see how things happened, but I was not at all opposed to the idea of an epidural and figured that I'd likely end up with one. I never imagined that I'd be one of those women who progressed so fast that I wouldn't even have the option!

I give major credit to all of the women who choose to go natural, and for those who do so while withstanding much longer labors. It was the most painful, hardest thing I have ever done and mine was so, so short! I told Michael afterward that it felt like someone was stabbing me in the abdomen with 1,000 knives. Or slowly and surely ripping out my insides. Neither one sounds very pleasant, does it?

The doctor I had been dealing with in triage was (I believe) a resident. She was the one who started the process of delivering my baby, simply because the on-call doctor from my practice was in another birth. However, my doctor did make it into the room shortly after I started pushing, and he was a tremendous help in delivering Nora. Anyway, because things happened so fast and he came in at the last minute, he didn't know much about me at all. Afterward, he asked me what number baby this was for me. Imagine his surprise when I said Nora is my first! Everyone was joking that next time, I better head to the hospital after my very first contraction!

I am so, so, SO glad we left for the hospital when we did. I shudder to think what may have happened if we had waited it out longer.

At the end of the day, I am so grateful for my birth experience and wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone keeps telling me how lucky I am, and believe me, I know.

This little face makes me feel oh so lucky. And so totally blessed.

33 comments:

~Jaime~ September 15, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

I don't even know you and I'm sitting at my desk crying. What a beautiful and touching story. Nora is beautiful and perfect and what a great idea to do the quick video in the car. So so so cute. You're so blessed.

Mrs B. September 15, 2010 at 9:46 AM  

You're a rockstar. Great job!

nikinikinine September 15, 2010 at 9:51 AM  

Congratulations mama! She's amazing and even though it was a painful labor, it was SHORT and uncomplicated! So amazing. Enjoy and god bless!

Shauna September 15, 2010 at 9:53 AM  

What a beautiful story. Births never end up quite as we expect but somehow once that perfect baby gets here, you can't imagine it being any different. Congrats again mama!

elizabethashleyphoto September 15, 2010 at 10:00 AM  

What a wonderful story! I was cracking up around the time when you said you were screaming "I'm going to die!"...I had to stifle my laughter from my desk at work.

Congrats again! You are definitely blessed! Can't wait to see more photos and hope all of you are doing well.

basebell6 September 15, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

congrats on such a quick, empowering, and perfect birth story! she is so perfect! enjoy her!

Michelle September 15, 2010 at 10:30 AM  

You are awesome!!! Looking back, are you thankful for your fast labor? Or do you feel that you "missed out" by not having a longer birthing process? A 9 month build up over in just a few hours! She is so beautiful!

Christine September 15, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

This is a great birth story - you did amazing Heather! Obviously your Dad didn't make it in time - was he already driving when you gave him the news? I'm also glad your Mom (just) made it in time - since you were also worried about that in one of your other posts!

Nora is precious - can't wait to hear about her first day home! :)

*A* September 15, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

She is absolutely beautiful and I am so impressed by your birth story! You are awesome ;) Congratulations!

Sarah,  September 15, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

Congratulations Momma, she's beautiful! I love the name Nora, it's so pretty, and unique! I'm a tad partial to the middle name Grace as well... my niece was born on the 12th and her middle name is Grace.

Cherish every moment with her... before you know it, she'll be walking, talking, and going off to Kindergarten. They grow up so fast!

Anonymous,  September 15, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

What a great story! Congratulations again!

~Kristen M.

Heather September 15, 2010 at 11:35 AM  

Thanks all! She is so amazing; we are so in love. I'm going to try to post later today or tomorrow with more pics and an update on how we're all doing. :)

Elizabeth Ashley--The doctor and nurses kept saying, "No, you're OK. You can do this. You're not going to die." LOL. It certainly felt like I was on my way out, though! ;)

Michelle--No, I don't feel like I missed out at all. I felt every contraction, every pain, I felt her coming out. The only thing is that it was hard to concentrate on anything else but the pain. But once the baby was out, all was OK. Overall, it was amazing and I wouldn't change a thing.

Christine--No, my dad didn't make it. He had about 8 hours to drive, and was only an hour or so into his drive when we called him to tell him Nora had been born. The thing was, even if I had called him and told him to drive after my very first contraction, he wouldn't have made it to the hospital in time! She was born at 3:30 and he was there by 10:30, so it worked out just fine in the end.

Lindsey September 15, 2010 at 11:53 AM  

Congrats Heather! she is adorable!

Eric's Mommy September 15, 2010 at 11:59 AM  

Wow! I'm so glad you had a fast labor.
I absolutely love her name too, she is beautiful.
I also love how you gave Michael a haircut before you left for the hospital, that made me laugh :)

Jen September 15, 2010 at 12:04 PM  

Wow. I have tears in my eyes. What a great story. It's amazing that you had such a short labor. Congrats again. She's beautiful!

Lauren September 15, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

I have to say, and I hope no one takes this the wrong way. I think most babies when they are born are super ugly {I probably think this because I don't have kids of my own}, but Nora is the first baby I actually think is absolutely ADORABLE. She has got to be the cutest baby I've ever seen.

Gia September 15, 2010 at 1:20 PM  

She is perfect, Heather. And even though you thought you were going to die, you were blessed for it to be over with so quickly! I can't wait to get an update of how she is doing now that you are home AND a NURSERY REVEAL!!

Rachel September 15, 2010 at 1:44 PM  

Congrats. I loved reading your experience. I think we all say strange things during deliveries and look back on them laughing. The immediate relief of pain is wonderful though huh? Beautiful little girl you have there :)

jack+alli September 15, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

what a great experience, i only hope my labor is that short!
congrats, you did an amazing job!

Ms. H September 15, 2010 at 6:50 PM  

Congratulations Mama K!! You, Nora, and Michael make a perfect little family. You are truly blessed to have brought a beautiful, healthy little girl into this world. Enjoy all the moments as I am sure they will pass too quickly. Love to you and yours from Wisconsin!!

amazingly awkward amy September 15, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

shes absolutely beautiful!!!!! congrats mommy and daddy!!!! heather you have to change your info from mom to be to proud mommy!!!

Stephanie,  September 15, 2010 at 9:41 PM  

thank you for posting this!!

She is just so gorgeous!! You and Micheal must be so proud!!!!

What a wonderful birth story!

jlynn September 15, 2010 at 10:36 PM  

She is absolutely beautiful and you my dear, are awesome! Congrats again... you are going to be an amazing momma :)

Janelle September 15, 2010 at 10:38 PM  

I agree with Lauren, i think most newborns are rather funny looking, but Nora is a real cutie!
Well done on the birth Heather, you sound like you did a fantastic job, and thanks for sharing your story, i've been waiting to hear it since i saw your IT'S A GIRL post :) Congrats!

tab890 September 15, 2010 at 10:48 PM  

Your story brought tears to my eyes! Nora is so beautiful, congratulations again!!

Vanessa September 16, 2010 at 2:46 AM  

I am so so happy for you all! She's beautiful, just like her mommy! Enjoy all the intimate time getting used to your family of 3. This is truly wonderful. what a sense of completeness!

Wishing on stars September 16, 2010 at 3:43 AM  

Heather your post made me laugh and cry, multiple time. It's strange how happy you can feel for a person you've never actually met. You helped me plan my wedding, gave me advice for my blog and I feel like your a friend after reading your blog and talking to you on here. I'm very happy for you and your addition to your family.

Congratulations again, to you and Michael, and the rest of your family. Nora is beautiful.

Lindsay September 16, 2010 at 7:01 AM  

Aw...Congrats to you and your husband on the arrival of your little girl!! Wishing you both all the best! xo

Mrs.Laker September 16, 2010 at 9:11 AM  

She is adorable!! Can't believe what an amazing birth you had!!! She is a lucky girl to have you as a mom!! Congrats Heather!!

Pie September 16, 2010 at 9:57 AM  

Heather, this is a beautiful and amazing birth story. You are very lucky and blessed although the pain is hard to take. I was there just 6 month ago, this story brought all those memories back. Enjoy every moment with your new bundle of joy, as time flies, and today I can hardly remember how my son looks like only 6 months ago...

Congratulations once again!!

Lorena September 16, 2010 at 10:53 AM  

I sat here and cried at my desk. I am so happy for you two! I cant wait to hear about your new adventures in parenthood.

Congratulations on such your new bundle of joy. Shes beautiful!!

Terrace Hill September 16, 2010 at 2:13 PM  

Nora is simply one of the most beautiful little babies I have EVER seen. Congratulations!

*Can't wait to hear who the apron winner is :)

Tahnie September 18, 2010 at 2:19 AM  

How amazing! She is so incredible! Labor is so hard. I dilated from a 1 to a 10 in HALF AN HOUR. No joke. Without an epidural. I thought I was going to die. ;)

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