At 2:11 AM on June 27th, I woke up with mild back pain. I got up and used the restroom and walked around a bit. The last few weeks had been pretty sleepless due to various aches and pains, so I didn't give it a second thought as I crawled back into bed. I tossed. I turned. I turned. I tossed. At 3:00, I got back out of bed and heated up my heating pad I had sewn a few weeks earlier to help relieve these increasingly frequent pains. With the pack perfectly placed, I closed my eyes in hopes sleep would soon come. No luck. At 4:00 I took two Tylenol and by 4:15 I decided I should wake my sleeping husband. Gentle poking and prodding didn't do, so I gave him a good shake and he was up! Thinking this could be "it," I gingerly climbed into the shower at 5:00 with the hope I could make myself all pretty to meet my baby girl. The shower felt good, and helped calm my contractions which were now coming pretty frequently. I got out of the shower and attempted to do my hair but the pain was back in full force and becoming more than I could handle. Half-way through the process, crouched in the only position I could manage, I decided that beauty could wait, because this baby sure wasn't.
At 5:45, we loaded our pre-packed hospital bags into the car and headed down to Orem Community Hospital. As Jason was driving down 100 E in Pleasant Grove, a street pitted with potholes, I whimpered during a contraction, "don't hit the bumps!"
My contractions seemed to be slowing down, coming every five minutes instead of every two like they had been. As we pulled into the parking lot, I was worried I was going to be one of "those" moms. I start to climb out of the car and I'm hit with a crippling contraction, witnessed by the nurse who had also just arrived to start her shift in labor and delivery. She offers us a wheelchair, but the pain has passed and I decline. We walk in to the women's center where I giddily tell the nurse at the front desk that I was there because I was in labor. She looks at me doubtfully, but we're shown to our room anyway. Room 118, which I later hear a nurse refer to as the "check and send" room, is the smallest room but still very nice. The same nurse that witnessed my parking lot contraction is the nurse assigned to me, Anne Pennie, who also happens to be our neighbor. She checks me and I'm dilated to a 3, not much, but she can tell I'm progressing. She convinces Dr. Judd to let me be admitted and by 7:15 I'm feeling nice and comfortable with an epidural administered by the anesthesiologist Ben. At 8:23, Nurse Anne checks me and I've progressed to a 5 and 80 percent effaced. As she's checking me, my water breaks - no going back now!
At 9:45, Dr. Judd arrives and I'm now 7 cm and 90 percent effaced. Things are moving right along and we couldn't be happier. I'm the most comfortable I've been in weeks, so I decide to settle in for a nap while Jason watches "The Count of Monte Cristo" on my iPad. At 11:30, what feels like a flood of nurses and doctors come rushing in. Norah's heart rate has dropped and stayed down for far too long. Luckily, my epidural was just the right dosage so I could still move and feel pressure but no pain. Left side, right side, they have me turning every which way trying to find a position that suits Norah, while another medical team preps the c-section room just in case. On all fours with my bottom in the air and an oxygen mask on my face seems to be her preferred position (certainly not mine ...) and crisis averted.
By noon I was fully dilated and effaced - baby time! Because Norah's head was turned to one side, the "rest and descend" I was so looking forward to is useless, so Dr. Judd uses forceps and without even one push from me, the most precious baby was born. Weighing 6 lbs, 8 oz and 20 in long, this little being has brought more joy into my life than I ever thought possible. I've worn many hats in my life: cheerleader, journalist, wife, photographer, coach, etc. Of all the experiences I've been blessed to have, the most fulfilling experience I can imagine is to be the mother to this sweet baby girl.
I love you, Norah. Happy Birthday baby girl.
photo by Brittany Andersen Photography