Cora was born on September 8th at 10:42 A.M. She was 19.5 inches long and weighed just 6 lbs 2 oz. Here is the story of her birth.
A little background: Grace came two weeks early and in a little over two hours. Since second babies tend to come even faster, we had people on call to rush over at a moment's notice to babysit Grace so we could get to the hospital. My main goal was to not give birth on our kitchen floor. I also decided to go for a natural childbirth again, though after experiencing the incredible pain of delivering Grace, I was totally open to getting the epidural if I needed it.
The night before Cora was born, almost two weeks before her due date, I felt some contractions, but fell asleep. In the middle of the night, more painful contractions woke me up. They were pretty regular, so we decided to play it safe, had my friend Sarah come over, and we went to the hospital. They began monitoring me, the contractions slowed down, and an internal check told me that I was still just 1 cm dilated as I had been for over a week. We went home, sent Sarah home, and went back to sleep.
At 6:45 I woke up to painful contractions again, so we went to the hospital again around 8:30. My friend Claire met us there to take Grace. I was feeling very discouraged because my contractions were very painful, but I figured I was probably still barely progressing. I was so relieved to find out I was 8cm dilated. I knew I could do it without the epidural again.
I spent the next hour in active labor. Cora was head down, but facing my stomach instead of my spine, so all of the pain was in my back. With every contraction, Michael pressed his full weight and strength into my lower back as I whimpered and moaned. He later told me he was shaking from the exertion!
A little before 10:30, my body started pushing, and my nurse wheeled me into the delivery room. That's when the real battle began. I lay on my left side with Michael holding my right leg. I fought the urge to push with all my might (an impossible task) so that my body could slowly stretch rather than tear. After about fifteen minutes of pushing, Michael excitedly told me he could see her head and that it was full of black hair. My doctor broke my water (how was it intact so long?!) and Cora's head and body slid out with just one push. She lay quiet for a few moments and then started wailing - the most beautiful and relieving sound! Within a few minutes, they placed my prize on my chest for those wonderful first snuggles.
Many mothers talk about being bowled over by maternal love the moment they see their children born. I didn't experience that with either birth. For me, my maternal love took a backseat and instead, I was flooded with relief to be done and wonder, amazement, and awe that that tiny, crying girl was Cora and that she was mine.