It all started when my water broke Monday morning around 4:45, right around the time Ryan's alarm was going off for work. I hadn't been sleeping well that night so I was already awake when I felt a little gush of water, so I got up to get a towel and laid back down as Ryan woke to his alarm and I let him know that he probably wouldn't make it to work today. I decided to jump in the shower and get ready then climbed back in bed to hopefully sleep a little more before the kids got up and my contractions started. About an hour after my water broke, I started getting contractions here and there. They were spacy enough that I could still sleep which was nice. Ollie woke up first and came in and said, Dad, what are you doing here! So we both told him that today was the day Nora was coming and seriously I wish we had a picture of the look on his face. It was like shock and pure joy and excitement all rolled into one. Shortly after Ami came in and Oliver told her and we all jumped around and snuggled in bed. Ollie decided he wanted to stay home and be apart of the excitement so we started the day with breakfast and cartoons. Nothing much had changed with my pattern, still 6-8 minutes apart.
It was a rainy day so we decided to go to Starbucks and grab some hot cocoa and treats and then head to the park so the kids could play while I walked laps around the park to see if that would help things pick up. I decided to call Dr. James and make sure he felt ok about me giving myself the afternoon to let labor kick in. Since I was gbs positive, I wanted to be a little more careful with my water being broken. He said it was totally reasonable to wait 12 hours and at that point I might want to head to the hospital to get my round of antibiotics (treatment for gbs). My Dad met us at home after the park to get the kids and I decided while things were relatively quiet on the labor front, that I really should get my nails done before I can't for a few weeks. It would be a nice distraction from my contractions:) So the kids went off to play with my Dad and Ryan drove me to the nail salon. The ladies at the salon were like, wow, when are you due? And I responded with, probably today! I didn't tell them my water was broken, they would have freaked out, but they did notice my slow walk and contractions I was breathing through. So funny.
After nails, we were off to the hospital. It was about 3:30 at this point and I was feeling discouraged because my labor hadn't really kicked in. I was really bummed thinking I'd have to get pitocin at the hospital to help things progress. Ryan and I said a few prayers on the way that my body would kick into gear and I wouldn't need anything to help me birth this baby. We got to the hospital (Saddleback Memorial) and the nurses checked me in, made sure my water broke and started my IV and antibiotic. Honestly those prayers were heard for my labor to start because right as we checked in, my body really started getting serious about this labor. My contractions got harder and faster and I was so grateful (or reminding myself to be grateful) as I felt the sensations of labor take over. Ryan and I walked laps around the floor and around 6:00 I was really feeling the intensity. Dr. James came in to check on me and he said he's be back in an hour to check me. I hadn't been checked yet because my water was broken and we didn't want to increase the chance for infection. So an hour later he was back and after a few very tearful contractions that made me sure I was almost there, I expected to hear I was at 9 cm. In true unpredictable labor fashion, he said I was at a 6. I reminded myself that I can dilate 4 cm's in an hour and just push through it. My mom had just shown up at this point and my cousin Andrea who was going to take pictures. The next hour was kind of unreal. My contractions were very intense, the most intense I've felt in all three labors, and I caught myself wanting an out. I asked Andrea if she wanted to tag team me for this labor:) It was really really hard. Ryan was there, reassuring me that I could do it, that I was almost there. Gosh do I love that man. I could never ever do it without him. In 45 minutes I dilated to a 10, a little intense, and really started to feel pushing urges. The nurse wanted to keep checking me and asking me not to push and I kindly, or maybe not so kindly, told her that I was ready to push and that she better get Dr. James in the room. I was on my hands and knees at this point in labor because it's what felt best to me. When Dr. James came in he said let's do this, and I asked if I could stay in that position to push and he said why not. (Have I mentioned I love that man?). So I started bearing down, which felt a million times better than dilating (opposite experience than Amelie), and honestly it felt pretty good to be in control. I felt my baby girl moving down and then back up as I would push and then take a break. I remember saying out loud, "she just went back in!" It's so hard to know how far you are from meeting your little one at this point. Dr. James said that I was in charge and that if I wanted to I could meet her very soon, with the next contraction. So at some point I just said to myself, I am in charge and I can push with all my might to get her out. I remember her head coming out and yelling for someone to get her out (classic) and then having to push harder than I thought I would to get those little shoulders out. But within no time at all I felt her slide right out and Dr. James put her right under me, propped up on a pillow. Her cord was a little short so I couldn't really move much and just sort of hovered over her while she opened her eyes and looked around at everyone. She didn't cry at all and was just so peaceful. No one rushed on her to suction her or put blankets on her. She was just sitting there taking this new world in. It was honestly magical. When her cord was done pulsating, it was cut and I turned over onto my back and held that little body close to mine. Ryan and I just sat in awe at what just happened and what little person our love created. I got to hold that little baby uninterrupted for almost 3 hours before the nurse came in and asked me if it was ok to bathe her and weigh her. Heaven. Nora Marie was born at 8:00pm weighing in at 7 pounds 14 ounces, 19.5 inches long. Nora, you are so loved and we are so lucky to have you in our family.