Cora Jane's birth story

As Cora is almost three weeks old, I figured I better write down the birth story because the fog of newborn-ness is already making my memory shoddy, so I shouldn't risk it any further than it already has been.

Of course as soon as I typed that sentence, Cora immediately started crying, even though I just fed and burped be continued in a spare moment. False alarm! Just a sleep cry. Which she does a lot, and way more than Kate ever least in my memory.

But I digress! If you're curious, here are Kate's two birth stories, part 1 and part 2. They're worth the read if you like very long birth stories about labor that doesn't like to be labor and end with cute pictures of a baby (as most do).

Same disclaimer as the last one: if you're squeamish or a male reader (do I have any of those?? haha) I highly recommend skipping this one. Lots of (somewhat) gory details ahead.

Here we go!

As you may have surmised from my incessant whining on every version of social media, Cora was not exactly prompt in her arrival. My due date was December 6, and the date came and passed with no movement on the labor front.

I was bouncing on the exercise ball every night, trying to eat spicy food, and feeling Braxton Hicks every so often in the last weeks of pregnancy. I'd go to bed with somewhat consistent contractions, and then end up falling asleep and waking up without labor having started. I was used to that with Kate's labor, but it's still disheartening when you really REALLY don't want to be pregnant anymore and your due date is fast approaching.

Above is the last bump shot we took on Sunday morning after church when I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Not exactly the most flattering photo of me (#endofpregnancytired) but we had to document it. Kate was NOT having the picture taking, so this was the best one of the 10 we took. Oh well. Also, Gap Maternity dress for the win - one of the two that actually fit me throughout the whole pregnancy. 

At 36 weeks, I was zero dilated and zero effaced, which was disappointing but not surprising. When the doctor checked me again at 40 weeks and 6 days, I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced, so that was super exciting! In the first 24 hours of labor with Kate I hadn't made that much progress, so it was a good sign that something was happening or that it'd be a little easier than last time. 

But seeing as it was already a day before I would turn 41 weeks, we made an appointment for an induction the next morning. Of course I still had high hopes that something would happen for me to go into labor on my own, but it didn't happen. 

So bright and early on the 13th, David and I woke up and headed to the hospital. Of course I was too nervous the night before to get a great night of sleep, so I was up at 4:45 and we made it to the hospital at 6 a.m.

They started my IV, which in my opinion is the absolute WORST part about hospital births. Of course I was GBS positive, so that's why I had to have one right away, but good lord, I was more annoyed by the stupid IV moving around especially after having her than almost any other part of the entire labor process, so yeah. Not my favorite part of the morning.

The nurse checked me and I was still the same as before - 2 cm, not more than 50% effaced. After all the checking in and question and fetal monitoring, my OB came in around 7 a.m. to try to break my water. He and the nurse tried 3 different times to break it. I'm not sure exactly what the problem was, because I could feel him at the very least pricking it, but no big gush of water ended up coming out so no one was sure that they had actually broken it. It was a very strange sensation and I got a little worried that nothing happened but it worked out.

After breaking my water, they started me on Pitocin and we kind of just chilled for awhile. Nothing was feeling all that painful - we watched some TV (glamorous hospital life with cable and everything!), texted some friends, watched the Office on Netflix, tried to talk more about baby names because we didn't have anything set for either gender, typical labor stuff. Just about every half hour the nurse came in and upped my dose of Pitocin to try and get the contractions going a little more steadily. I was having them at consistent intervals, but they weren't all too painful yet so it was pretty obvious I was still in "early" labor, whatever that means.

For some reason this time around, the fluids they gave me did NOT react well with my body. After every bag of fluid, the first one right around 8 a.m. and then 2 more times throughout the day, I got really shaky and feverish and nauseous and actually ended up throwing up each time, just once. Of course by the second and third times there wasn't anything in my stomach so it wasn't terrible, but I am not somebody who throws up easily so it was rather horrifying. (Before I got pregnant with Kate, I hadn't thrown up in about 12 years, and I only threw up from morning sickness twice with Cora's pregnancy.) The nurse offered to get me some anti-nausea medicine but every time she did, I immediately started feeling better and didn't need it. Perhaps in hindsight I should have taken some like half an hour before the next bag of fluids, but oh well. Poor David - if there's anything I hate worse than throwing up, it's watching someone throw up and he had to witness it multiple times in the span of 16 hours. He's a champ.

cliche matching jammies picture!

For awhile between 9 a.m. and about noon, I got to walk around the halls toting my very fancy IV pole and dolled up in the fancy back-and-front hospital gowns. We did a couple laps of the maternity floor, funnily enough followed closely by another mom in labor who was a little bit further along than I was so she was making more noise and struggling a bit more than me. I also bounced on the exercise ball for a solid couple hours with breaks to be monitored, which seemed to help my contractions get a little more steady but didn't really give me any relief like some people claim it does.

I'm getting fuzzy on the time line here, or rather actual time stamps, but after getting my Pitocin up into the 20s, I started to really feel the contractions. Again before being induced, I had high hopes of laboring at home for awhile, maybe possibly going without an epidural, and that thought kept going through my mind every time a contraction hit. I'm thinking it was around 1:00 p.m. that they started really hurting, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to get an epidural then or not. I was having two contractions lasting a minute each, two minutes apart, and then I'd get a longer 3 minute break before the next one. (This was a consistent pattern throughout my entire labor, which is interesting to me because I don't remember it with Kate? But maybe we just didn't notice.)

At this point I was standing up next to the bed, and gripping the bed rail as tight as I possibly could and swaying back and forth whenever a contraction hit. I definitely couldn't talk through them anymore - it was taking all of my willpower to not be yelling so instead I clammed up and shut my eyes through each one, trying to make my way through a couple Hail Marys but it usually went like this in my head: "Hail Mary UGH full of UGH what are the words to this UGH this hurts so BAD oh yeah I'm trying to pray OUCH full of grace OUCH" etc etc. I don't think I got an entire Hail Mary prayed the entire time, but I figured the effort was what counted.

I kept asking David if he thought it was time to get the epidural yet, and poor guy, he didn't know how to answer. It was pretty obvious I was in pain but I also didn't want to get it too early and then stall my labor out. Around 1:30 I finally told him "Okay, call the nurse RIGHT NOW I need this epidural STAT PLEASE LORD" and almost started crying because they really picked up in intensity. After he called the nurse to get the epidural I realized I wasn't going to make it the half hour without some sort of pain relief (I'm a wimp and probably just waited too long to ask) so I made him call her back and ask for the IV meds to tide me over until the fluids were in and I could get an epidural.

God bless my nurse Lexi because she was amazing - as soon as she got that second call she must have practically sprinted to the pharmacy and gotten them and then come right back and put them in my IV. And let me tell you, if you've never had those IV meds during labor it's worth it just for the experience. I instantly felt like I was drunk and the pain didn't matter anymore as soon as she stuck them in my IV. The room kind of slightly spun and apparently I had a kind of dopey look on my face but it was a good thing I asked for them, because it was a solid hour before I ended up getting the epidural. They didn't take the pain away, just like they tell you, but it made it so I didn't care what kind of pain I was in. Magic of modern medicine.

I'm trying to remember how dilated I was at this point, and I'm not quite sure - I think it was somewhere around a 5 to a 6 during contractions. Eventually the bag of fluids was all in me (yep threw up again), and the anesthesiologist came and gave me the epidural. Just like with Kate, I barely felt even the numbing medicine and had no bad reactions to her placing it, just sweet, sweet relief. This time I was a lot more able to lift and move my legs, but no pain whatsoever. It was glorious.

Once the epidural kicked in all the way, we got to take a nap (#heavenly) for another couple hours. Which was amaaaaazing. Knowing you're in labor and having contractions and being able to sleep peacefully during all that is beautiful. I think I woke back up around 4, still having contractions and everything but no pain, and then around 6 p.m. my OB came to check me...and I was still a 6 c.m.

BOO. I instantly got super worried about the fact that I'd basically made no progress in 4ish hours, and my mind jumped to c-section and baby troubles and all that jazz. I didn't voice any of this but my OB was not at all concerned and just had the nurse turn up the Pitocin again one more crank and said he'd stick around and come and check me again in a little bit. At some point in here they put Cora on an internal fetal monitor and had me on an internal monitor as well to make sure I was contracting the correct way, and everything still looked good so the nurse said not to worry but it was still hard.

David and I had a couple of worried conversations about the "what ifs" while I still labored for another hour or so. Around 7:15 my doctor came back in and checked me again - 9.5 cm, basically a 10! I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. I'm not sure why I was stuck at a 6 for like 4 hours and then went another 3 in an hour, but I was so happy to hear that things were happening and I was actually making progress in a significant way.

I missed it during labor with Kate because I basically had my eyes closed for 3 hours while I pushed, but the nurses came in and set all the instruments up and my doctor was in there, chatting away with us while we waited a little bit longer. Around 7:45 or so, they checked me again and I was a 10!!!! Best news ever! And they gave me the okay to start pushing.

This time around was SO much easier pushing-wise -- like I said, I pushed for 2 solid hours with Kate and I was so exhausted from so many hours of labor that I probably wasn't very effective. This time around I had two pushes and my OB was already commenting on how dark her hair was! Which was another surprising thing, because Kate was blonde and practically bald when she was born. So that motivation was exciting.

17 minutes of pushing later and Cora Jane was born at 8:07 p.m.! The doctor caught her, and lifted her up for David to announce the gender and we both said in shock, "it's a girl!". (Although to be fair, I definitely picked girl ahead of time although I wasn't confident.) And then I cried like a baby and kissed her for like 20 minutes because she was just SO beautiful and SO perfect and I couldn't believe but also totally knew that it was her inside me the whole time. She did a great job of instantly crying when she was born, and calmed down at the sounds of our voices, and it was just magical.

During the 2 hours of skin-to-skin time, we decided on her name which was David's pick. We both had a girl name picked out and when we were trying to decide between our two options, Cora just felt right. Afterwards we found out David has some distant ancestors with the name Cora so that's very cool and obviously was meant to be.

tired labor face, woof <3
We spent the night taking advantage of the nursery (hello, sweet sleep!) and she instantly nursed like a champ - much better than Kate did when we were in the hospital still. The next morning Kate and my family came to visit and it went pretty well. She had the biggest eyes and looked at Cora in wonder for a solid 10 minutes, asked to hold her and look at her fingers and toes a hundred times, and then she kind of moved on and wanted the attention back on her. (She's done great since then, but that's another post for another time.)

David's family came to visit later that day, and we spent another night and left around 10 a.m. on the 3rd day. Not before taking some cute pictures, though.

She has since perfected this face, and it's just as cute in person as you might imagine.

Whew. that was a DOOZY. Glad you made it through til the end - apologies for typos and such, I don't have the brain power or energy to go back through and make my usual corrections. I'm hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon soon, now that Cora's getting into a better rhythm and Kate has somewhat adjusted to her presence (and Mama's somewhat absence, you know). Thanks for sticking with it and look for more posts soon!


  1. Oh that's so wonderful Hannah!!!! She's so beautiful and I am glad everything went as smoothly as birth can go. Congratulations again

    1. Thank you Amy! We are stoked she's here!

  2. Congratulations! Love her name, love her little face, and love sleeping w the epidural during the end of labor, ha!

    1. Seriously, the best part of the whole birth scenario. :) Thanks Jenny!

  3. Congratulations! She is beautiful!

  4. Love love love. She is so beautiful with a great name! Great job momma :)

  5. I love birth stories! Thanks for sharing Cora's. :)

    1. Me too, times a million! They are always worth a read.


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