Monday, May 5, 2014

Nora James Wendling's Birthday

I used to read birth stories and always found them interesting from an ok, now I better understand what to expect standpoint.  I like to hear how long it lasted for people and how bad they truly thought it was, but I have to admit, I’d skip over the parts about how amazing an experience it is because I just didn’t understand. 

Here is the story of Nora’s birth.  It includes the parts about how long it lasted and what the worst parts were, but now I understand.  I can’t help but cry every time I think about our experience of welcoming her – it truly was amazing.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
After being told that our lil peanut would more than likely arrive around 35-36 weeks gestation, it was safe to say that I felt well over-due as I hit the 38 week mark.  We were so happy that our girl was healthy and comfy in the womb, but mama was getting more uncomfortable by the day. 

Looking back, there were small signs that should have told me that Andy and I were both getting ready for our little to join our family.  As he came to bed the night before she was born he put his hands on my belly as he fell asleep.  I remember pausing to think; “this may be the last time for this!” 

1:00 am
I began feeling some cramping at about 1:00 am that woke me up.  Although it was nothing terribly painful – I was able to sleep through most of it – I decided to relocate to the guest bedroom just in case this was the real thing.  I wanted Andy to have as much rest as he could because I knew I would need him later.  

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
5:45 am
I was able to sleep through early labor for the most part.  I crawled back into our bed to update Andy at around 5:45 am.  At this point contractions had gotten closer together, but I still questioned whether it was the “real thing!”  Andy had a dentist appointment that morning so he decided to go to that and call me when it was over to see how things were progressing.  About the time he called to see if he should head into work or not, the contractions were coming closer together (about seven minutes) and getting increasingly uncomfortable.  I still hesitated to ask him to come home (I had a serious fear of being the false alarm girl and was in labor denial), but I went ahead and told him that I thought he should come home to walk with me and see if things continued.

8:30 am
As soon as Andy got home we headed out for a walk.  At this point the contractions were hard to walk through so our walk was relatively short (just around the block).  As we inched closer to our house – about two houses away and extremely close to a garage sale that was going on that morning – Andy’s back started to tighten up.  Andy indicated that he had sympathy symptoms for much of my pregnancy – eating, cravings, sleeping, etc. – so it shouldn’t have surprised me when he started talking about how he thought he was having sympathy contractions.  We both stopped walking as we laughed, and to keep things interesting, my water broke right there – in front of the garage sale.  Luckily, it started raining almost simultaneously so I don’t think anyone noticed the extremely pregnant lady with wet pants as it was camouflaged by rain.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
I had hoped for a natural birth long before I became pregnant.  Once we found out that our little was head-down, Andy and I prepared to welcome the peanut into the world with as few medical interventions as possible.  So, once my water broke, I had hoped to labor at home for at least a little while longer.  We already notified our doula about the progress, and Andy called the hospital to ensure we didn’t need to come in immediately.  With contractions now coming pretty quickly (five minutes or less apart) and intensely, Andy began loading up our car for the hospital as I mainly labored in our bed for as long as I could.

10:30 am
As the contractions grew in intensity, we headed to the hospital.  We called Melissa – our doula – and had her meet us there rather than our house as it was pretty clear that things were happening relatively quickly.  Once at the hospital, we were checked-in to a triage room so they could assess my labor.  The first time a nurse checked me – in triage – I was already almost five centimeters dilated (this was probably around 11:00 – 11:30).  So, they quickly got us to a labor and delivery room and it wasn’t long before contractions began to come one on top of another.  

2:00 pm
I had envisioned my birth playlist echoing in the background while Andy massaged my back as I labored through, but as things progressed quickly, I mainly just stayed focused on each contraction as Andy stayed close by.  We were so blessed to have an amazing nurse – Cindy – who was supportive of my birth plan, and of course our doula – Melissa – in the wing to help as things got more intense.  Luckily, labor stayed pretty calm and there was never a time that I wanted to give up and ask for pain medicine.  And, I was fully dilated and ready to push by 2:00! 

As they prepared me to begin pushing, I remember looking up at Andy in anticipation.  I was certain we would be meeting our daughter shortly.  Pushing was a journey all its own and extremely tough.  We’re not sure if she changed positions a few times as she worked her way out but all signs indicate that she did.  I am so thankful for the amazing team at St. Luke’s.  Because we were consistently making progress during the two hours and forty-five minutes that I pushed, no one ever mentioned additional interventions, and Nurse Cindy did an amazing job at keeping me motivated.

But, no one did a better job than my husband.  He never left my side and seemed to constantly say the things I needed to hear.  I searched his eyes multiple times for motivation and found it each time.  I also kept some of my favorite words in my head as I inched closer to meeting our daughter.  I find running analogies everywhere, so as I reached the end of my rope I kept thinking about the last .2 miles in the marathon we ran a few years ago.  Because as Kristin Armstrong says…

".2 is the metaphorical distance between you and any finish line in your life, anything you have ever dreamed of doing or becoming.  It's what's separating you from your truest, most authentic self and your most actualized life.  It's what's worth thinking about, strategizing about, planning for, training for, and going for. 

.2 is simultaneously the end and the beginning.  Because when we cross one finish line, we arrive at the next start line, carrying with us everything we learned from prior distance."

Our race was long and at times extremely hilly.  But, I knew, while pushing, that this was our finish line and our start line.  And, Andy and I were going to cross this one together.
Photo by Heart Shot Photo
4:46 pm
Our little peanut was born at 4:46 pm on April 24, 2014.  She weighed in at 7 lbs, 12 oz and was 21 ½ inches long.  In her pediatrician’s words (not mine, of course), she is perfect!  I was able to push her out with no medical interventions – they never even placed an IV port in me!  And, Andy and I were able to experience the rush of joy as they placed her in my arms, together.  Thirty-one months after we started trying for our family, Nora James Wendling was welcomed into a room full of love.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo
I cried as we left the hospital.  Not because I was scared or anxious but because I knew that we were leaving behind an experience that we were so lucky to have.  Although Nora’s birth was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, I left the hospital feeling like we were leaving a great vacation behind.  We were so lucky to deliver a full-term, healthy baby and to be going home with her.  We were lucky my labor progressed the way it did, and that we were able to have the birth we had hoped for.  But, more than anything, we are lucky to have her.  

Photo by Heart Shot Photo


  1. Love love love! tears in my eyes. you brought me back to my own birth with Adam. the unknown of your first birth and what to expect...and it ends in eternal bliss you. Congrats to you and Andy!

  2. yeah Nora James! I have to tell you it took me forever to find your blog (like 10 minutes for real). You might want to put some links on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. I can't wait to meet your little peanut!


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