Nora Joy. Our sweet October sunshine girl is here! She was born ten days early on Thursday, October 19th at 9:13am. She was 7 lbs, 6 oz, 19 inches long and absolutely beautiful in every way.
Since the day we found out that I was due near the end of October, I had the 19th in my mind as the day I really wanted my daughter to be born. Both of my high school best friends have their birthdays on that day so I thought it would be special and fun for my little girl to be their birthday buddy. But I never expected it to actually happen! Such a sweet little gift on top of everything else. :)
Earlier that week (on Monday) I started having some actual contractions. I always have Braxton Hicks throughout my pregnancies but I could tell these were the real deal. I was so excited thinking labor was starting! The contractions never got consistently time-able, though, and they never worsened in their intensity. By dinner time they had fizzled out completely. I was hopeful that labor would start up that night or maybe the next day, but Tuesday and Wednesday were totally normal days with maybe one or two real contractions sprinkled in just to keep me on my toes.
I went to sleep kind of disappointed on Wednesday night after a day of trying things to get labor going (walking around, eating spicy foods, bouncing on my yoga ball). The next day was the 19th and it looked like we were going to pass right by it. Oh well, I thought, she would come when God’s timing was perfect for her. I fell asleep around ten and was woken up about 3 hours later (around 12:45am on Thursday, the 19th) to contractions.
I stayed in bed for about half an hour timing contractions on an app I had on my phone. Alex happened to wake up and notice what was going on but I told him to try and get some sleep while I figured out the pattern. I was expecting it to be like my labor with Jameson, with contractions staying consistent and progressively getting closer together and more intense. But these were totally all over the place, sometimes feeling really intense and sometimes fizzling out before they got started. They were 6 minutes apart, then 3 minutes apart, then 7 minutes apart, then 11 minutes apart, then 4 minutes apart. It was a mess haha.
I texted Alex’s cousin Michelle (who is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital we would be delivering at) and she happened to be working! She gave me some advice and then I called my midwife (Stacie) at 2:17am to let her know what was going on. Since there was no set pattern with the contractions Stacie advised me to take some Tylenol, drink some water, and try to sleep. If it was real labor, it wouldn’t go anywhere.
I ended up laying on the couch in the living room watching The Office for awhile as I kept trying to time contractions. They were still ALL over the place but never more than 11 minutes apart. I found the pain to be far far worse laying down, but getting up made the contractions come closer together. Eventually I settled on resting on the couch between contractions and getting up to move around as I felt one coming on. Alex was able to help me here and there by rubbing my back, praying over me, and talking me out of hurrying off to get an epidural. And I was asking for it hardcore this time. I don’t think I ever asked for it with Jameson’s labor, but this time on top of contractions I felt so sick to my stomach all night long. And honestly I was scared about it being a very long, drawn out labor since the contractions were a hot mess. I was worried about how to know when to go to the hospital, worried about when to have Alex’s dad come over to stay with Jameson, worried about speeding through the end part of labor and not getting to the hospital in time (we barely made it with Jameson). Basically I was just fearful and not trusting the Lord.
Finally around 6:20am I got up, threw up, and decided right then and there that we’d better just go to the hospital even though contractions were still kind of random. The intensity of them was enough to push me to make the decision. I figured the worst that could happen is they’d send us back home. As soon as we decided, I had a 20 minute stretch of no contractions at all. I was able to get all our stuff together, say goodbye to Jameson (who happened to wake up right before we left), and get into the car with no problems. During the 20 minute drive to the hospital I had one good contraction and nothing else. I started feeling silly for having us head out since labor was obviously slowing down. But then we were there and I knew I should at least have them check me out.
The nurses at the front desk were kind of like, “You’re in labor…?” and I wasn’t able to give them the pattern of contractions because there wasn’t any. I guessed they were on average about 10 minutes apart. They checked me in and sent me to triage where, lo and behold, they found I was 6-7cm dilated and 90% effaced! “Yep, you’re having a baby today!” the nurse said, and I looked at Alex and kind of just shrugged my shoulders. Guess we’re meeting our daughter today! It was 7:20 am and the sun was finally up.
Shortly after that I was moved into a labor and delivery room. The tub was filled with warm water and ready for me, but I had to wait a bit to get in because the baby’s heart rate dipped down every time I had a contraction. They let me in a little while later and it felt sooo nice. I never got to use the tub with Jameson because he came so quickly. This time I was able to use it for ten whole minutes hahah. All of the sudden I felt like my water had broken (hard to tell in the tub, they later said it didn’t break completely) so they hurried me out and back to the delivery bed since the hospital doesn’t allow tub births. Everyone was standing by watching me closely because they knew once my water broke, she would be here within a matter of minutes.
Sure enough, pushing contractions started and it was go time. Alex prayed over me and then we got started. I was trying to be careful at first because I pushed Jameson out so quickly that his poor little face got bruised. I didn’t want the same thing to happen this time. But with each contraction, her heart rate would dip again. So I started actively pushing with Alex holding my hand and Michelle by my side. Ten minutes later I was reaching down to pull my daughter up and onto my chest in one of the most incredible moments of my whole life.
Everything felt so surreal but also so vibrantly alive. There is nothing in the world like it. I was holding her and crying and looking at Alex in amazement and everything was perfect. I couldn’t believe she was here (and looking so much like her big brother) and it was less than two hours since we arrived at the hospital. I think once we got there and I knew I could relax and have my baby safely, everything just got moving. I never did find a pattern in the contractions, though. The closest I got was between 5am-6am when they were about ten minutes apart. Besides that, my labor never really followed a set plan the way it did with Jameson. And honestly it never felt quite as intense as it did with Jameson. I think part of the problem I was having all night was thinking it would be worse than it was.
Holding his daughter for the first time.
God was so gracious to me and gave me such a wonderful labor and an amazing delivery. From start to finish it was only about eight and a half hours and I was able to do it completely naturally, the way I had been wanting to and praying for. It all fell into place even better than I was expecting! Alex went to get Jameson a little while later and he was able to meet his sister just a couple hours after she came into the world.
First picture as a family of four!
The next 24 hours were filled with a few visitors (mostly family), lots of brand new baby snuggles, and plenty of rest for me (although honestly this recovery has been incredibly smooth and simple). I could barely take my eyes off my daughter the whole time (still have trouble looking away). She is breathtakingly beautiful and so so sweet.
Jameson’s first time holding his sister. I couldn’t stop crying!
Oh! And her name. ❤
It was a debate the entire pregnancy about what we would call her. Alex had his favorite, I had mine and eventually we decided to wait until she was born to settle. We both liked each other’s top picks but we wanted to be sure we chose the one that fit her best. After she arrived, she looked so much like Jameson that I honestly couldn’t see either name on her. Alex saw “Nora” right away (probably partly because that had been his top choice all along haha). I didn’t want to give up on my favorite name (which we may use in the future if we get the chance) so she didn’t have a name at all until probably 6 or 7 that night. Finally I looked down at her, tried both names out, and Nora just fit. The dark wavy hair, her sweet and even-tempered personality, the classic feel of the name…it all just fit. There’s no other way to describe it. And knowing that Alex was so sure and so in love with the name…how could I choose anything else? I was a little sad to leave my favorite name behind but Nora is my favorite name for her, my daughter. We gave her the middle name Joy because it’s my middle name too and because my dad always used the acronym of it to teach me about what true joy is… Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. JOY. I want to do the same for Nora.
Her name literally translates into “a joyful light” and she is exactly that. Our little sunshine girl. I fall more and more in love with her each time I look at her (which is all the time) and she fits into our family as if she was always a part of it. I can’t believe we were ever without her.
Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of our sweet Nora girl. ❤
And just a few more from our hospital stay…