Cora’s Birth Story ~ Part One

I am posting the birth story in two segments for a few reasons; it is long, I don’t have the energy to write it all now, and I want to write it before I forget. I promise, promise, promise not to leave you hanging, this segment will go all the way through the birth. I am not cruel :).

For the 5 guys that read my blog, this post will contain way too much information for you. Here are the facts:

  • Baby Girl
  • April 2, 2009
  • Weighed as much as a bag of flour
  • Looks like her brothers and sisters

Now on to the story…

Wednesday April 1, 2009 I had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon. I decided to get my bags ready to go just in case. The baby had been passing all her weekly tests, but my blood pressure was creeping up at each appointment. I made the decision to stop by Target on the way to my appointment in order to pick up a few things I needed to take to the hospital. This was the first time I was on my feet for any significant length of time for the past four weeks. Not wanting to have a stroke at Target, I had a short list and spent about 15 minutes in the store. I even sat down in the food court before walking to the car, just to be on the safe side.

I wasn’t feeling great when I got to my appointment, but I hadn’t been feeling great for the past few days so I wasn’t too concerned. When I was called back they took my blood pressure and it was 180/100. I immediately had to lay on my side and wait for the doctor. The nurse told me I was headed to the hospital and that today was the last day I would be pregnant. When my doctor came in they took my blood pressure again and it was 170/100. The doctor told me he had already spoken to the hospital and they would be expecting me. He then told me not to worry, that I had made it to 36 weeks and the baby should do very well.

He then told me I needed to go straight to the hospital, I couldn’t go home, wait for my husband or do anything but go there immediately. I assured him I would and was very thankful I had my bags in the car. I knew my husband was in a meeting and could not be reached so I called home and told my mom to let him know to meet me there when he came home from work.

I arrived at the hospital to a packed maternity ward. They had one room and three patients waiting for rooms. I thought for sure they would take my blood pressure (it would probably be low, as it had been for all my other trips to the hospital) and send me home. I was okay with that, sort of. I had started to get headaches more frequently and didn’t want to have some sort of serious complication because I was turned away.

Thankfully, the nurse decided to give me the room. My doctor’s partner came in and we talked for a bit. They took my blood pressure and it was normal! We joked that I must love the hospital because my blood pressure always dropped when I arrived. She did a few tests and then told me she was planning on talking to my doctor and the neonatologist and they would make a decision.

About 20 minutes later she arrived and told me they were admitting me and would start the induction. Apparently I had one of the weirdest cases they had ever seen. I had some of the more serious symptoms but not a lot of the basic symptoms. They decided I was probably just a time bomb and that inducing would be best for everyone.

The plan was to start the induction with cervadil overnight. I could eat dinner, then they would insert the cervadil, I could have a sleeping pill, and in 12 hours they would remove it and start the pitocin. That sounded like a good plan to me. My husband went down to the cafeteria and got sandwiches, I ate as fast I could so we could get started.

About 2 hours after the cervadil, my nurse came in and told me there was a change in plans. Apparently it was against hospital policy to give someone cervadil who has had as many babies as me. Once the doctor figured that out, she had it removed immediately. I got an hour break, to get a shower and then they started the pitocin at 9pm. I sent my husband home as I thought why should both of us have a crummy night. I told him to sleep with the phone and I would call when things started moving.

The contractions hit about 10:30pm and continued 2 minutes apart for the rest of the night. I tried to sleep, but the contractions were just annoying enough to keep me awake. Around 3 am my doctor came in and checked me, I was only 3 cm! I tried to hide my disappointment, as I normally have very fast labors (one to three hours). But I also realized my body was not ready to go into labor at 36 weeks so I tried to stay positive. My doctor decided to break my water in order to speed things up. With my other kids, breaking my water meant the baby would be shooting out in the next hour. I decided to call my husband just in case.

It took her forever to break my water, and she joked that I had membranes of steel. I prepared myself for labor to hit any moment, but it didn’t. The contractions picked up a bit, but were still just annoying. I knew I probably wasn’t making much progress.

At 5 am she came back to check me and I was still 3 cm! Not only that but she had to break my water again. Apparently Cora had come down enough to seal off the bag. I told her I had never heard of having your water broken twice, but this delivery was nothing like my others so I wasn’t surprised.

At 6 am I decided I wanted an epidural. The contractions were still tolerable, but I was getting so tired I knew I wouldn’t be able to push the baby out if this continued for several more hours. I figured the epidural would allow me to sleep for a bit and I would have more strength for the big moment.

At 6:30 am they started the epidural. I have had babies with and without them so I knew what to expect, but wasn’t sure how well it would work since I had back surgery two years ago.

By 7 am I felt pretty good, the epidural was working, sort of. I still felt pressure, but the pain was gone. My doctor came in to check me and I was only 4 cm. I tried not to be discouraged and instead decided to take a nap.

At 7:20 am I remember looking at the clock and then falling asleep. When I woke up I felt so rested I thought it must be afternoon. I looked at the clock and it read 7:40 am. I had to laugh about my 20 minute power nap.

At 8 am my doctor’s shift was over and the midwife (another partner in the group took over). Before my doctor left she said not to be discouraged, she thought as soon as I hit 5 or 6 cm the baby would come quick.

My midwife checked me a little after 8 am and I was 6 cm. I felt pretty good about actually making some progress. After the midwife left I started to feel pretty crummy. I told my husband the epidural wasn’t working. We called the nurse and she offered to call the doctor to re-dose the epidural. I told her I would think about it.

About 9 am I started getting the shakes. I told my husband I thought things were moving quickly because my body had started to freak out. About 9:30 am my nurse came running in the room. The baby’s heart rate was dropping with each contraction. I hadn’t noticed because we turned the monitor down so I could sleep. She checked me and said I was ready to push. She then went to get the midwife.

Then came the longest 30 minutes of my life. With the monitor up I could hear Cora’s heart rate drop to almost nothing with each contraction. I tried very hard not to panic as I knew it would not help anything. At this point I am pretty sure the epidural was doing almost nothing because I could feel everything. I wasn’t sure what to do, but at one point I asked my husband to see if Cora was coming out. I think I tried harder not to have her, than to have her!

I then decided I couldn’t do this alone. With each contraction I prayed that God would bring her heart rate up and keep me calm. What happened next was a total miracle. I became completely calm and relaxed. I felt almost no pain and Cora’s heart rate, while still dropping was not dropping as low as before. My nurse was amazed at how calm I was just sitting there with my eyes closed. She was getting agitated that the midwife was still not there.

My nurse went to go find the midwife again (apparently she was not blowing me off, she was in the middle of a procedure) and I told my husband I was planning on pushing Cora out in one push so she would not have any more dips while being born. My nurse returned and told us the midwife was on her way. I continued to stay calm and pray through each contraction.

Finally the midwife came running in the room. As quickly as she ran in, she started to run out apologizing that she had come into the wrong room. My heart sank, was there someone else about to deliver too? My nurse started yelling at her that she was in the right room and the midwife came running back in. She then explained that she thought she had the wrong room because I didn’t not look like someone who was about to have a baby, I was way too calm.

They were ready to go in a few minutes and in one push Cora made her entrance into the world. They laid her on my chest and I couldn’t believe how small she was! At some point while she was laying there I started to feel funny, but I thought maybe I was grossed out by all the blood and everything else.

They took Cora over to the warmer and started to check her out. I remember my nurse picking up the phone and calling the NICU. The next thing I remember is my nurse on the phone again calling the NICU and asking what was taking them so long. She was not happy. Cora wasn’t crying very hard so I knew something was wrong. Finally the room was flooded with people working on Cora.

At this point things started to get a little fuzzy. As I was laying there trying to decide how to tell my nurse I wasn’t feeling well, she looked up at me and asked if I felt dizzy. I said yes, even though I wasn’t dizzy, something was definitely wrong. I don’t remember much after that moment. Apparently my blood pressure dropped significantly and I almost passed out. I do remember looking over at my husband who was watching them work on Cora. I hoped he knew what was going on, because I wasn’t going to remember anything.

At some point they brought Cora over to me and explained they were taking her to the NICU for several reasons, of which I don’t remember any of them. Then they left. At this point, my bleeding had increased so they were now treating me (as a precaution) for postpartum hemorrhage. I remember getting a shot and that is about it.

I wanted my husband to go with Cora to the NICU, but I really didn’t want him to leave me either.

Finally after about an hour I sent my husband to the NICU to see what was going on.

At that point I realized I was alone in the room, the weight of what had just happened started to hit me. I was getting sicker, the baby was in the NICU, and I had no idea what had just happened. I wanted to see Cora, but felt so bad I didn’t know how I was going to get out of bed.

This is the first part of Cora’s birth story and subsequent NICU stay. You can read part 2 here.

This post is linking to Amy’s Finer Things Labor Day Celebration.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. Congrats! I have a Cora too 🙂

  2. Oh Toni! I’m so thankful to know that you and Cora are home, safe and healthy. It’s amazing how quickly things can change. I can’t wait for the next part. (((HUGS)))

  3. Wow! I love how God supplied you with a peace that surpasses all understanding. God is good and knowing the end of the story, I can’t wait to hear how you all pulled through this all.

  4. I totally relate to the panic. My son was born a month early due to he had not turned and I had been unknowingly leaking amniotic fluid and was about out to put it frankly. The took him via c-section and I only got to hold him 1 minute and then they took him to the nursery. Next thing I know, they’re telling me they have to transport him to the NICU at Children’s and I didn’t even get to see him. I immediately ordered hubby to get in the car and follow the ambulance. I stayed in the hospital two days and I about went nuts from the worrying and the waiting. I probably should have stayed another day or two, but told my doc I was fine (a big lie, I was in alot of pain) but NOTHING was gonna keep me away from my boy any longer. Congratulations on the new little one, she’s a beaut! My prayers will be with you.

  5. My goodness what an adventure. I am so glad to hear the peace you had during delivery. The last picture of you and Cora brought tears to my eyes, it is so beautiful! You look like two little angels. And your poor husband! He must have been torn in two. How was his composure through it all?

  6. Aahhh ~ you sooo have a way of leaving people hanging on waiting for the next story!! 🙂

    God is so good!

    ~ Heidi

  7. I can relate to most of this, with my second baby. Can’t wait to hear the rest of it!

  8. I am so glad you are both alright now. Thank God. You are remarkable. What a story . can’t wait to read the rest. Hugs

  9. God is good! That is all I know to say. Oh, and thank God I already know how it ends.

  10. Oh you poor baby!

    How wonderful that God was right there with you.

  11. Wow.

  12. you know what struck me? God entered when you asked – every birth of mine was high risk (BP or temp issues) and when folks asked how I got thru it – I said, just as you did – it was a God thing – miracle cause any mom alone could never survive that without faith. You know faith works. Thanks for sharing that supernatural experience!

  13. It’s so wonderful to see how God answers prayer! Thanks for the great story–you’re amazing and she’s so darling! Thanks for being willing to share your story. I am expecting my second and it’s a “very high risk” pregnancy, so it’s so encouraging to see God’s hand working in other women’s pregnancies.

  14. Praise the Lord you are both safe and sound at home. I love the brief facts you gave for the guys. Not even the name. Every time someone has a baby and my husband gets the info first, he’ll tell me, “They had a little girl on Tuesday morning.” And I always ask what did they name her. He didn’t think to ask.

  15. I’m glad you are both healthy and home. God’s grace and timing is perfect!

  16. That is so amazing how peaceful you felt! The Lord does answer prayers! I can’t wait to read the rest.

  17. That is truly amazing!! Especially how God was able to keep you and Cora safe and calm during the waiting. I am so glad that you are both home and safe now!!

  18. krishnam says:

    I admire you! your calmness was the best you could do, can’t wait to read the rest of the story but I’m so glad to know that you and Cora are better and home! God bless you!

  19. wow your BP was crazy high. I was admitted at 154/104 and they were super not happy with that. With this pregnancy they said I could NOT be induced because of high BP–but I am going to have to double check that and use you as my real world example!! I’m so glad your NICU stint was short and you are doing well at home.

  20. You are a great story teller. You keep me on the edge of my seat. I think I can feel that way since I know you are home and Cora is ok.

  21. Oh, wow! So far it sounds a lot like what happened when I delivered my twins. Makes it much easier to read knowing you and Cora are safe at home!

  22. Yikes, I almost forgot to breathe while I was reading this. How scary for all of you. I’m so glad we get to read this AFTER we know that you and the baby are okay.

    God is so good.

  23. What a delivery! But she’s here and she’s beautiful! I also had a bag of flour back in 2000. Was just talking about her birth earlier today. My little one was almost 20 lbs. at 7 months. She certainly didn’t lose any time catching up! Best wishes to you and your family!

  24. I can’t wait to hear (read) the rest! Oh, and by the way, I love Cora’s picture in your header!

  25. Hi Toni,
    I’m new to your blog and love it! Baby Cora is beautiful! Can’t wait to read the rest of her birth story and also the next installment of “our story”. Actually, I’m very wrapped up in that story and was a little put out when I realized the whole thing wasn’t posted yet!:)

    Take care and God bless your precious family.

  26. Praise God for his grace and miraculous power. I am not one of the 5 guys who skipped the post, I read it entirely. Our youngest was born at 32 weeks and many of the things you shared brought back a flood of memories. I read much of your post with tears in my eyes. It was a scary time and had we not been able to turn to God for strength I am not sure how we would have managed. My beloved went into labor to early and they gave her mag sulfate to try and stop the contractions. Nothing doing, Jack was ready to make his entrance and he would not be stopped. (He hasn’t changed any in the 7 years since his birth.) The doctor listed all of the problems he would be dealing with by being born this early and he kept telling my now terrified wife “you must not have this baby now!” Of course it was out of her hands. Jack was born via c-section an hour later. He had to remain in the NICU for 17 days until he could swallow but PRAISE GOD other than his “I will do it my way” attitude, he is perfectly healthy and has had not problems.

    Thanks for sharing!

    God Bless!


  27. I just want to give you a hug.

  28. Love the name!

    Thanks for sharing…birth stories are so beautiful to read…each one so unique!


  29. Yea! I’ve been away from the computer for almost a week and a half. I was wondering how you were doing, and then to catch up on your blog, I find out that your beautiful baby girl was born on my birthday! Cora is a beautiful name, too! Congratulations!

  30. Thank you so much for sharing the birth story. I look forward to reading the rest.!! 😀

  31. Oh, girl, I know how you feel…well sort of. I had pre-eclampsia with my firstborn. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks and had him at 34 weeks. It was scary and there were so many yucky drugs involved, but when I got that epidural – after 12 hours of labor on pit, mag, amnio-flushing, and antibiotics – it was well-received.

    Glad that things are going well for you now. Our little boy turned three last month and he’s as healthy as a horse. He even made it to the 13th percentile for weight! Wish I could be that excited about weight-gain.

    We’ll continue to pray for Cora as she grows. And for your healing too!!

  32. did you ever post a part two?

  33. Membranes of steel eh? I have only had two babies, but I PRAYED through both of them. I am so glad everything turned out okay. Praise the Lord! You both sure do look beautiful even though you had gone through so much!

  34. Oh wow, how scary. Your story sounds so similar to my story with my first child (a son). I thought I was the only one who had freakishly high bp at the dr’s office only for the hospital to tell me that I was more normal…my dr was ready more than once to induce me. I thought I was exaggerating how serious the situation was…and then the deliver with the NICU, etc were very similar and scary.

  35. Cynthia says:

    I have a six year old Great Niece that celebrated her birthday yesterday. They are almost twins.

Speak Your Mind