Sweet little Eleanor was born on February 26th, 2014 at 6:53pm - two and a half weeks early. She weighed 6 lbs. 8 oz. and was 19 inches long. That morning Justin and I went into the doctor’s office for our regular weekly checkup, and we, along with our doctor, were shocked to find out that I was already dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced.
When Dr. Smith checked me he exclaimed that it was a miracle I was up walking around at that point, and that I should already be in the hospital. “Like, right now?” I asked stupidly. “Yeah, right now.” So Justin and I ran home to grab our half-packed bags, excitedly texting and calling our families letting them know that it was baby day! We checked into the hospital and they immediately set me to an “emergency” delivery, and by the time our anesthesiologist gave me my epidural I was already at an 8. I considered going natural for about 2 seconds, since I was already so far along and had felt almost no pain, but by the time I had this baby girl I was so grateful that I didn’t follow through with that idea.
Justin and I suspected that little Nora might come early - since I was at 1.5 cm and 80% at my first weekly checkup, and then up to 3 cm at the next one. Justin was supposed to be out of town for work the day she was born, but thankfully cancelled his trip last minute. I was so grateful for that little miracle, and am so glad he was right there with me throughout the delivery. He was so, so supportive and was my strength through every push.
The 26th was a Wednesday, and it was such a beautiful day. We had a gorgeous view of the mountains through our window at the hospital and the sun shone through all day long. That morning I had woken up with some contractions, but they weren’t extremely painful and were still 10-12 minutes apart, so I didn’t think anything of it. My nurses kept exclaiming that they had never seen anything like it - at an 8 and no pain! I felt like I was somehow cheating the system, and I still don’t know why I was lucky enough to go through my entire pregnancy and labor without ever having real contractions. My labor nurse (Lori - who I was and am completely obsessed with) let me know that since the baby was already so low I should only have to push for about 45 minutes to an hour.
I started pushing around 11:00, with Justin on one side of me and my mom on the other. Justin’s mom was on camera duty, and would occasionally hold my leg when my mom needed a break. I pushed for about 20 minutes before Lori claimed that she could see lots of dark hair already! I was so excited and asked for a mirror, and I watched the rest of my labor. (I had sworn off the mirror before getting there, but then was so grateful I changed my mind. It was incredible being able to watch the whole thing and I highly recommend it.) After about an hour of pushing we could still see sweet little Nora’s head, but she didn’t seem to be getting any further. I was getting tired and was losing energy fast, so the nurses kept bringing me Otter Pops to try and get my blood sugar up (I’m an idiot and requested blue--hence the blue mouth in half of our photos :)) Another hour of pushing passed, and Lori mentioned that she thought the baby might be turned on her side, and that there was a possibility that we’d have to use forceps or a vacuum to get her out. I told her I didn’t want to use either unless we absolutely had to, and that I wanted to try to keep pushing.
After one more hour of pushing I had completely lost all my energy and told everyone that I couldn’t do it anymore. Luckily my doctor had just arrived and hurried in to help. He checked the baby and confirmed that she was turned - she was completely posterior (face-up), which is why I was having such a hard time getting her out. He flipped her and then tried using the vacuum, but at that point I was so swollen that she still wasn’t coming. He finally had to give me an episiotomy, I gave one more large push, and we finally heard her first little cry.
Once they placed her on my chest the tears and screaming stopped, and she opened up her dark eyes and stared right at me. Justin and I were sobbing and kept exclaiming how beautiful and perfect she was. Laying there with both of them was honestly the most incredible and spiritual moment of my life, and I would go through a million more hours of pushing to experience it again. This little babe is truly a miracle and I have never felt so much love in my life.
Although the aftermath was pretty brutal (thank goodness for that epidural!) I still think that that day couldn’t have been more perfect. I had my sweet husband by my side, giving me strength and telling me over and over again that I could do it and how great I was doing. I had my two sweet moms taking care of and supporting me. I had the best nurse I could have asked for - who was just the right mix of warm and fuzzy and down-to-business, who stayed late to be with me and told us she loved us before heading home. And now I have the most perfect little soul as my daughter and she’s healthy and strong and we’re so crazy in love with her.
Little Eleanor is truly a miracle, and I thank my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ every single day for this angel that we get to have in our home. Motherhood is such a beautiful thing, and even though there are literally millions of babies born every year, I still feel like such a rockstar for doing what I did and my experience still feels so special and unique. Every day with Nora is magic and every step we overcome together makes me feel like I’m the best mom in the whole world.
These past two weeks have been a whirlwind, but at the same time I don’t really remember what I did with myself before being a mama. We’ve gotten so much love from our friends and family, and have been so grateful for the meals and visits and loving texts and phone calls. Nora had bilirubin and had to be on a light bed her first three days home - which was so hard because we couldn’t hold or swaddle her - but now she’s doing great and looks more Argentine brown than jaundiced yellow. She has her dad’s thick hair and mouth and nose, but my eyes and long fingers and toes. We both struggled with breastfeeding at first, and I had my fair share of breakdowns, but we’re doing much better now and I think we’ve almost nailed it. Everybody told me it would just take a couple of weeks to adjust, and they were right. They also told us that we couldn’t comprehend how much we’d love her until she was here, and they were right about that too.
Watching Justin become a dad has probably been my favorite part of this whole experience. He’s head over heels for this girl. He holds her every chance he gets and walks her around the house telling her how beautiful and perfect she is, over and over again. They lay on the couch and watch TV together, sit at the computer and car shop together, and he’ll stay up with her at night walking up and down the hall until she falls asleep. He’s been more than helpful, and I feel like I literally haven’t done anything besides feed her because he’s so willing to do everything else (and would probably be more than happy to do that part too, if he just had some boobies :)) I honestly feel like I’ve fallen in love with him all over again, because I’m seeing a brand new side of him that is just so sweet and special. And Nora is just as obsessed with him and he is with her. When she’s fussy or upset all he has to do is talk to her and she’ll calm down. I’m so thankful to have such a great baby daddy by my side.