My due date was Friday, November 23. Since we had no baby yet, Kevin and I went out for dinner with my parents to DeLuca’s – the restaurant where my parents had eaten the nights before both my brother and I were born. We were hoping that family tradition would hold with this one, and sure enough, I had my first real contraction at 10:30pm Friday night.
Unfortunately, I had eaten pizza instead of the spaghetti dinner (which seems to be the crucial facet of the DeLuca’s baby plan) and was in labor all day on Saturday. In fact, I had sporadic contractions all weekend long — they were never more than 18 minutes apart, but never less than about 6 minutes apart. The contractions were more regular if I was standing up or walking around, but as soon as I sat down they’d become erratic again. Check any of the books or websites and these are sure signs of pre-labor.
After more than two days of this and one visit from our doula, Ari, we were both getting pretty frustrated and really ready for something to happen. At 1am on Monday morning, we called the Birth Center Triage to talk to a nurse. After telling the nurse about my contractions, she assured me that we were still in pre-labor and urged me to take Tylenol (for the pain) and some Benadryl (so I could sleep) and talk to my doctor about it on Tuesday. Well, the Tylenol didn’t do a thing, but I did get a little sleep (waking up for each sporadic contraction, of course).
Around 5am on Monday, I went downstairs to time my contractions for a while, and I was really excited that they were a very regular 10 minutes apart (and each lasting about 90 seconds). Finally we were getting somewhere! I slept a little more, and then at 7am my water broke. I woke Kevin up to share the news with him, and we timed the contractions some more – now they were regularly 7 minutes apart (and about two minutes long). Just before 8am, the baby’s head finally moved off my tailbone (where it had been pressing for hours) and suddenly I felt the very curious, undeniable urge to push. We called Ari who uncharacteristically ordered us to “GET to the hospital NOW!”
Kevin flew out of bed (like a cartoon character with smoke coming out of his feet) and threw bags into the car, and off we went through Monday morning rush-hour traffic. We got to the Birth Center Triage window at 8:15am. A small cluster of nurses exploded after one look at me, a wheelchair appeared from nowhere, and we flew to the examining room. Kevin held me up for one last “don’t push, don’t push, don’t push” contraction and a cursory examination drew “oh, honey, you’re complete!” and “page doctor smith!” and the wheels on the examining table came unlocked. We sprinted into room 9 (the closest to triage) at 8:23am (the nurses telling me “if you feel like pushing, honey, you go right ahead!”) and 18 minutes and 6 pushes later, Nora came into the world at 8:41am.
Nora was amazingly calm and alert just after birth. Kevin cut the umbilical cord and we spent a few minutes counting her fingers and talking to her. I suddenly realized – “hey, it is a girl, right?” – because no one had announced it. A nurse laughed and made Kevin check. Sure enough, that ultrasound had been right and Kevin and I pretty quickly decided that she was a Nora and not any of the other names we’d been considering. Ari grabbed the camera from our bag and took several pictures; these are our two favorites:
And that’s the story of Nora’s entrance into the world!