Cora’s Birth Story

Cora Ann was born on 10/2/16 at 5:19am.  9lbs 3oz and 20 in long

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My first labor was what is called a precipitous labor.  Fortunately in that case, I was already in the hospital for observation when my water broke and contractions started.  Gretchen was born 3 hours later and by the time we realized I was complete, it was too late for an epidural.  I really wanted one the second time around and hoped there’d be time for one.  Spoiler alert: hahahaha, NO.

This time around I was expecting another fast labor, possibly even faster, but the OB warned me there was no way to know until it happened.  I hoped things might be different if I went to term. Gretchen was born at almost 36 weeks and I had already passed that mark with this pregnancy with no signs of impending labor.  Growth ultrasounds in the last trimester indicated that Cora would be big but they tend to be off a pound or two in either direction, so they’re not an accurate predictor of size.  The scan I did at 37 weeks suggested she was anywhere between 7 and 9 pounds.  So not small but probably not huge just yet.

By 37 weeks her head was low down in my pelvis and causing a lot of discomfort.  I was hyper paranoid about my water leaking like it did during my last pregnancy and this paranoia led us to two trips to L&D that turned out to be false alarms.  One between 37 and 38 weeks, and one just 2 days before she was born.  From 37 weeks to the end I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced.  They could feel her head and the bag of water when they checked me so I knew she was ready to go as soon as that bag of water broke.  For this and several other reasons we scheduled an induction for 39 weeks all while hoping she’d come on her own.

Two nights after my last false alarm I had some cramping at bedtime but this was not unusual since I’d been constipated for a couple of weeks (sorry, TMI but if you’ve been pregnant before, you know all the unpleasantries!)  I got out of bed and bounced on the yoga ball for awhile and did some stretches, trying to get some relief from the pain.  When I got in bed around 1am I noticed the cramping had started to come and go and that I was actually contracting so I started timing them.  They were anywhere from 3-6 minutes apart, sometimes with a 15 minute break if I changed positions. Usually they were about a minute long but not very painful, just annoying since I wanted to sleep.  I told Tyler about them and he asked if we should go in and I said no since they were so irregular.  Around 3:15 they stopped altogether and I fell asleep.

I woke up with a start at 4:20 when my water suddenly broke. I jumped out of bad faster than I knew possible and immediately called my sister to come over and then called my doctor to tell her we were coming in.  It wasn’t until after those calls that the first contraction hit, more water gushed, and I felt the intensity of the pain and knew it was going to happen fast again.  Tyler ran next door and woke up our neighbor to come over and wait for my sister to arrive.  Our bags were already packed and in the car from the previous trip to L&D so we hopped in and sped to the hospital.  Since it was the middle of the night we hit every green light and with every contraction I told Tyler to drive a little faster. They were about 2 minutes apart at this point and less than a minute long.  It took us 10 minutes to get to the hospital (10 miles away but we were driving on residential streets, not the highway!)  He dropped me off at the ER entrance and I went upstairs to check in.

As I climbed into bed I told them “I know there’s probably not time, but I’d really like an epidural this time around.”  When the nurse informed me that involved drawing labs first I knew there was no way it was going to happen.  They managed to get an IV in between contractions and when they checked me I was complete (this was probably 40 minutes after my water broke).  My doctor arrived shortly thereafter when I was feeling the urge to push and they quickly got me up into the stirrups.  She was out in 4 pushes, born at 5:19 am, exactly 59 minutes after my water broke and active labor began.

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Once again no time to change into a hospital gown so I delivered in a t-shirt!  More comfortable anyway.

My OB and the nurses were incredible during my delivery and after.  They knew how to keep me calm and coach and encourage me.  Tyler let me squeeze his hand so hard I thought I was going to break it.

Since she was full term (born at exactly 39 weeks, the day before my scheduled induction) she got to spend a lot of time on my chest after the birth (Gretchen was early so the NICU team had to assess her for several minutes right after she was born).  She cried quite a bit but quickly settled down once we had her warm and snuggled up.  We could not believe she was over 9lbs and I was immediately very relieved she was already out and didn’t have a chance to grow any more gigantic!

We are so SO thankful that my water broke in the middle of the night when we were both home and there was no traffic to battle with on our way to the hospital. I’m glad I followed my instincts and didn’t wait to go in.  Even though I expected a faster labor this time around, I was thinking maybe like, 2 hours this time, not 59 minutes!  I get panicky thinking about the what ifs if it had happened at a different time or place.  Gretchen didn’t even know we’d left for the hospital until she woke up the next morning and her aunt was here instead of us.  She was soooooo excited to come to the hospital and meet her baby sister later that day.

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Thanks for all the well wishes, we are settled in at home and doing really well!

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