So here she is, the cute face we'd been waiting for:
Nora Grace Brock was born on Wednesday, September 5th at 10:25pm. One of the nurses at the hospital said that third babies have to make an exciting entrance. And if this is true, Nora is no exception. With Elisa and Jonathan labor was induced. I was in the hospital from the get-go. With Nora I was really hoping to go into labor on my own, and be at home for the first part of labor, not have to be on monitors etc. We had scheduled an induction for Sunday (13 days late - since doctors don't really like babies going over two weeks late).
So, when we hit 9 days late I decided it was time to go on a walk. And what better place to walk than up Mt. Tabor, the dormant volcano that is right by our house and is a huge city park. So I set out pushing both kids in the stroller... uphill to the playground... and then jarringly, back down the hill... probably around a 3 mile walk. If anything was going to get labor going, I thought this really might. Sure enough, around 3:00 contractions became regular. They were still far apart and not very intense... but they were regular.
We went to dinner in the cafeteria, came back home and got the kids to bed. Around this time the contractions were getting more intense and closer together, (probably about 5-7 minutes apart) but still not too bad. Greg and I had a brief discussion about whether or not we should call his mom to come over so that we could head to the hospital... and decided that I would get in the bath for awhile and then see what we thought.
Flashback to my doctor's appointment 3 weeks earlier. I asked my midwife when I should head to the hospital. She said that for second or third babies the rule of thumb is when contractions are 5-7 minutes apart, but that she tells people to follow their instincts and go when they feel like contractions are picking up and getting intense. (This was apparently the wrong thing to tell me. I should not have followed my instincts, I should have gone when contractions were 5-7 minutes apart.)
The bath was very relaxing. I wasn't timing the contractions, but they didn't seem as bad in the bath. I read a book and relaxed for awhile. However, when I stood up from the bath the pain became a lot worse. I almost couldn't stand up for a minute. That's when we decided to call Wanda. She lives about an hour away. The pain was much worse and the contractions were pretty close together at this point. I remembered in my birthing class they talked about groaning in a low voice through contractions, so that's what I started doing. It really helped. Greg and I were considering whether or not to call someone else to come over until Wanda arrived. But, I still thought that I was a ways away from actually having the baby... so we decided to wait. Wanda was due to arrive any second when all of a sudden I felt like my water was going to break. I stood up and leaned against the bed and my water broke, and in that instant I realized that there was a head crowning and the baby was coming RIGHT THEN. I started screaming, "GREG, THERE'S A HEAD, THERE'S A HEAD! AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Greg ran into the room, called 911, and caught the baby all in an instant. All of this, from water breaking until Nora was in our arms took less than a minute... a lot less than a minute.
After she was out there was a second of panic while we waited for her to cry. I seemed to remember the doctors suctioning out babies mouths, so I wiped her mouth with a towel and she started crying (and didn't stop for a very long time). Right then Wanda walked in. She heard a baby crying and looked into the bedroom with the most shocked expression I've ever seen. We had nothing to do at that point but wait for the ambulance to show up, so we took a picture.
The paramedics showed up. They clamped the cord and let Greg cut it. Then they loaded me and Nora into the ambulance. Greg followed behind to the hospital. We entered the hospital through the ER. I felt a lot of eyes on me and baby as we came through on our stretcher. When we got to labor and delivery we were instant celebrities. We were definitely the most exciting delivery that had happened that night. We got to our room and they took Nora to check her temperature and weigh her and do all of that fun stuff. Meanwhile, I still had to deliver the placenta and have a few stitches. The nurses and doctors were great and we tried to answer all of their questions about Nora's birth. They laid Nora on me and covered us up with warm blankets to try and get her temperature up (she had gotten a little chilled through the whole ordeal). At some point Nora also started grunting a little with each breath. The nurse was a little concerned by this but said that sometimes this happens when babies don't get a good squeeze coming out. Finally around 3am most of the nurses left and we were able to try and get some sleep.
Sleep was short-lived though. Throughout the night they checked on Nora fairly frequently. In the morning one of the nurses noticed that Nora looked a little blue around the mouth. Her blood oxygen level was low and so they took her up to the nursery to check her out and try to figure out the cause of the problem. Poor baby... she was hooked up to all kinds of things. Pretty quickly they ruled out any heart or lung problems. But they were concerned that she may have an infection. So they started her on a course of antibiotics. We knew at that point that we would be staying in the hospital for at least 2 more days and possibly 5 more.
It was a bit of a rough go in the hospital. I couldn't really hold Nora easily. Nursing didn't go well. Nora just wanted to sleep. I felt out of my element in trying to deal with all of the various cords and tubes that were attached to her. A lot of times when I was trying to nurse her, I ended up having to do what they call "finger feeding." That is where you stimulate the sucking reflex by putting your finger in the baby's mouth and then slowly drop in milk with a small syringe. Nursing/feeding sessions could take an hour and a half and at the end Nora would have drunk less than a teaspoon of milk.
They discharged me from the hospital on Friday, but let me stay just down the hall in a boarder's room so that I could be there to feed Nora. The next day they did another set of blood work. The first time her blood work had been (in the words of the doctor) "pretty crummy." But this time it came back "perfect" which surprised the doctor. And so on Saturday afternoon we were able to bring Nora home. I was so glad to get home to Jonathan and Leesi, and of course, Greg. And I think Nora was glad to get home too. The first night we were home she totally figured out how to nurse.
So everyone wants to know how the older kids are doing with the transition. Elisa is a total pro at being a big sister. She loves having a baby around. Jonathan seems to be doing well too. It's still an adjustment though... Nora takes a lot of Mommy's time. And now that Elisa has started preschool, I think it is hardest for Jonathan. He lost a lot of Mom attention, and now his best playmate is gone 3 mornings a week.
Greg and I are slowly remembering how to parent a newborn, and learning what it looks like to be a family of five. We are pretty smitten with Nora. We're trying to savor the newborn stage, but looking forward to nights with a little more sleep too.
So that's the story. Moral of the story: better to go to the hospital a little too soon, than a little too late!