Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cora Rose - Birth Story

It's already been 12 weeks since Cora was born, so I thought it was high time I wrote out what I remember of her birth story before I forgot it.

I should have expected it, but my labor seemed to start and stop a bit after my due date. I had a stretch and sweep the day before my due date, because I was getting anxious to get things going. As much as I told myself I would have zero interventions, I was *over* pregnancy. I was in a lot of pain for the last 6 weeks of pregnancy. I sprained my foot at 36 weeks, and my hips ached from about 30 weeks forward, getting worse after my sprain since I had to compensate for my limp. Stairs became agonizing. I was told to do as few stairs as possible. Um... My washer and dryer are in the basement, kitchen and living room on first, *only* bathroom on 2nd floor along with the girls' room and the sewing room, then our room on the 3rd. Stairs were a necessity. I was a hurting unit... I limped for about 4 weeks. Even after Cora was born I had about a month of limping.

On Sunday the 8th (Easter) I decided to try hand expressing to see if I could keep my erratic and easy contractions into something else. It worked, but if I stopped, they stopped. Around 4am I got out of bed and went downstairs to hang out on the couch since I couldn't sleep. I woke up and watched Matt get ready for work. I told him I thought today was the day, but he said I wasn't "that far" and that he was going to work. I was shocked, but since he works relatively close by, I let him go.

At around 8 I called a friend to tell her where things were - 3 minute apart and getting stronger - she freaked out on me. I called Matt to tell him to come home and he told me he was an hour and a half away on a delivery. The friend decided she was coming to get me and take me to the hospital. Since it was Easter Monday, my neighbor was still home from work (middle school language arts teacher), so it was no big deal to have her come over to take care of my girls. Christina arrived around 9am and we left for the hospital (about 30 minutes away).

We got into triage around 10am and wouldn't you know my contractions all but stopped. 20 minutes without a single blip on the contraction monitor. I was thinking, that's it, I jinxed it. Should have stayed home longer. But I was dilated to 4cm, so they admitted me. Matt arrived somewhere in that hour or two we spent in triage.

I met my nurse, Sue, and decided she should have been my nurse for all of my babies! She was wonderful! Sue had birthed all of her babies naturally; it's such an encouragement to be surrounded my natural birthers when you're in the midst of it. Sue got me in the tub to get my body to relax and get the contractions going and was ready to bust out the electric pump when I got out. My midwife Lisa came in and offered to break my water since I was far enough dilated and contracting regularly. I felt like I was on a timeline now (Matt had left work for the day and I just felt like "Ok, time to get the show on the road"). So I had her break my water to get the contractions stronger. That was around 1 or 2pm.

My water breaking was when things really kicked in. I'm fuzzy from there on timing and details. Project Runway was on TV. Matt was watching - I think he knew better than to change my show when I was in labor. It was Season 1 reruns. Ohhh Austin Scarlett, you've always been 97 kinds of eccentric.

My midwife Sue kept talking to me about the waves at the beach. You have to ride them. No use fighting them, they'll just bowl you over. I have every intention of being up during my labor, but once my water was broken I don't think I stepped out of that bed! I laid back and went limp during contractions. I could tell things were progressing because I was becoming less aware of my surroundings and getting more vocal (read: LOUD). With Oceana and Joshua I held Matt's hand during transition. With Naomi I held onto my yoga ball. This time I turned my head toward Sue - Christina and Matt were nearly completely ignored - sorry guys. I laid my head into my pillow and vocalized through the contractions.

I saw Sue begin to prep the room - such an encouragement when you feel the contractions are never ending. Then she heard me change and get grunty. I knew I was getting close too. I was sitting there thinking, "Maybe I should get on my hand and knees?" Before I could say a word, Sue said, "Maybe you should get up on your hands and knees." Talk about a kindred spirit! Even got the same name.

I slowly moved to my hands and knees, leaning foward onto my pillows and I felt something change. I'm sure that was the last little movement needed to settle Cora into my pelvis because I *knew* it was time. I started shouting about feeling ready to push and asked Sue if I could push. Love it! She says, "No you may not. You know just as well as I do that if you push on a 9cm lip you'll get your cervix all swollen and this will take forever. Roll over so I can check you." It took a few contractions, but I turned back around and she checked me. "9cm and a lip," she said. And I gave a really ticked off "Gahhhh!" in return.

About 2 minutes later I felt a *real* urge and I was at 10. She had called in my midwife somewhere in there. Sue had told me Lisa was her favorite to deliver with. She said, "She'll lower the end of your bed to the floor, kick her shoes off, and sit down on the end of your bed and birth that baby barefoot. And she did. I saw her kick her white crocs off toward the bathroom door and I knew we were in business. :)

Lisa sat down at the end of the bed and asked, "How long did you push with your other babies?" "10 and 15 minutes". She laughed out loud and said, "We won't be her that long." 5 minutes later she said to me, "Susie, reach down and take your baby." So I did! I picked her up quickly and suddenly there were nurses screaming, "SHORT CORD SHORT CORD! Susie, lower her down!". I brought my hands way down and they clamped her and me immediately. Afterwards they explained that when I snatched her up the cord had completely severed between us. She and I were perfectly fine, but there was blood everywhere because of the rupture.

After the initial freak out over the cord, the comments started "Wow. She's a big girl!" I admit, I slid my hand under her bottom before anyone had said girl. I didn't want to ask if it was definitely a girl, but needed to be sure. when they took her to be weighed, the nurse looked to me and said, "Do you want to take a guess?" I knew she was a bit bigger, so I guess much larger than I though she was - 8lbs 14oz. She was 8lbs 15oz. Oh my word.

When the nurse was checking Cora out, she measured her head at 14", then her chest at 14". Everyone in the room was shocked. I knew I had pushed after her shoulders were born and I never remembered pushing past that initial shoulder pop. But I had to actually push her all the way out. 14" and 14" - makes sense! It was then that I looked up at Matt and we had our final conversation about her name. "Cora?" *shrug* "Cora Hope?" *head shake* "Cora Rose?" *shrug*. "Ok. Cora Rose. Cora Rose Sams." Talk about last minute!

Our recovery has been so great. Cora fed well, never a problem with that. They did insist on blood sugar checks because she was "large for gestational age". I thought that was ridiculous. They had said it needed to be done for 24 hours. But after 12 hours without a bad BG level, they discontinued them. She was perfectly fine. No jaundice, good sleep, great nursing. It was a breeze. Minus that whole, "I just had a baby" thing. My recovery was much better after  Cora than with Naomi. More like Joshua's labor. I was up and around an hour or two after he was born. I walked really slow the first night, but by the next day I was up and around without feeling weak or a lot of pain. We had a quiet day and a half in the hospital and then came home to brave life with 3 girls.

She's almost 12 weeks old and smiling and laughing now. She's getting close to being ready to sit up in her Bumbo. She loves "talking" to us and loves to be carried. I am in love with this little girl. She is so precious!

Cora Rose
Born April 9th, 2012 @ 4:52pm
8lbs 15oz, 21in

And yes, for the record: Oceana's birthday is April 11, 2006 and Naomi's is April 10, 2009. The girls are one day short of three years apart. We couldn't have planned this if we'd tried. Oceana was an scheduled induction, but Naomi and Cora were spontaneous labors. So funny!


  1. Thanks for sharing :) I love birth stories :)

  2. That is so awesome about their birth dates! What a beautiful birth story. Congratulations!

  3. Samuel was 8lb 15 1/2oz. I remember the nurses telling me if he had wiggled a little on the scale, it would've tipped the 9lb mark, so we've always just said he was 9lb. My biggest baby!

    Cora is beautiful!!

  4. Stories like this give me hope to one day have a "normal" labor and delivery. :) After 24 hours of sunny-side-up agony with Jack and little Liam getting hung up on his cord and needing an emergency section, I'm praying your story can be my story next time! Way to go, Mama. You're awesome!

  5. She definitely matches your other girls in facial features! Such a cutie. I'm glad to hear that your labor went well. Congratulations!

  6. Suzie:
    I retouched the photo of Cora Rose and it came out beautifully. If you'd like it, I just need to know where to send it. I can be contacted using the contact link on my blog,