Norah’s Birth Story

EBB8978F-9D6A-482B-9788-6A4B8687D881The Week Of:

The day we were blessed with Norah Grace was quite the day…Let me rephrase…Quite the 2 days…  I’ll start with the week of her arrival.  The plan was to call my mom and have her come to Kansas once my labor had started.  However, my mom had an intuition that Norah would be joining us before my due date and my doctor told us that she was expecting me to have a very fast labor, so my mom decided to come early.  I was already 70% effaced, dilated to a 4, and Norah was positioned at 0 station, so I really thought labor would be fast too.  My mom and little brother came down for the week and she was determined for me to have Norah by my due date, September 4th… and so was I! I was HUGE! Like, HUGE, HUGE!  I gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy and I’m sure only 30 of it was baby:) I was SO ready to meet little Norah and say goodbye to the extra pounds!  I could hardly walk at this point:) Determined to kickstart my labor, we went all out while my mom was here. She bought lots of chocolate, black licorice, stocked my freezer with hot wings and greasy food, primrose oil to ripen my cervix, and red raspberry leaf tea to strengthen my uterus.  She encouraged me to do anything and EVERYTHING she could think of to help Norah get here.  We watched funny youtube videos because supposedly a good laugh should help contractions,  then we watched sad movies because we read maybe a good cry would kick start things.

Anytime we were sitting around that week my mom made me sit on my exercise ball and bounce to try to start things.  She was hilarious! I absolutely loved having her here! Chris and I went for lots of walks, curb walked, and did all kinds of fun things to try and kickstart labor;)   Well, every night that week we thought Norah was coming.  Around 7:00 every night I would start having crazy strong contractions.  Chris would pull out his guitar and play worship music while I would sit in my rocking chair and rock through the contractions.  We were convinced she would be coming, and then about 4 hours into the contractions they would stop. UGGHH… I was very discouraged after 4 nights of this.  One of the reasons my mom wanted Norah to get here by my due date was my younger sister Heather was due with her little girl and my mom needed to get back home to Colorado for her birth as well. (They ended up being born only 4 days apart!) 

During this week of Norah’s birth, both of Chris grandparents went to be with the Lord.  It was very sad but also an amazing blessing the way they went.  They went two days apart and both very peacefully. They were married over 50 years, raised 7 healthy kids, and have grandkids and great grandkids a plenty! God is so gracious!  Their funeral was to be held Saturday morning and Chris was asked to be a pallbearer.  

Day I:

Well, on September 1st, the day Chris was suppose to be in his Grandparent’s funeral, I was woken up at 5:30am by a sudden gush in my bed.  I thought, great! I just peed myself, which wouldn’t have been that surprising:)  Thank goodness we were advised to  put trash bags under our sheets! I sat up and then realized maybe my water had broken. I woke Chris up and told him my water had broken or I had just peed myself.  I stood up and well, my water BROKE!!! There was water everywhere! It wouldn’t stop!  Every time I would step, there was more water! It was hilarious! I woke my mom up and the three of us were in hysterics!  We were laughing so hard which only made more of a mess:) My water broke in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in our living room, in the laundry room, in the car on the way to the hospital, and my favorite…All over the parking lot in the way to the hospital!  Not at all embarrassing:)  I wasn’t in any pain but, I could feel my contractions.  We had taken bradley method classes and had been advised what to do in this situation.  Chris, my birthing coach, made me drink a gatorade and eat a healthy breakfast before we went to the hospital.  He juiced me some fresh orange juice for me to drink after delivery.  Fresh orange juice is a great recovery drink!  We packed extra hydrating drinks, honey sticks, and healthy treats to snack on for energy during labor. I am SO thankful we did this! Little did we know, we were in for quite the experience, and no pack of 2 lil’ crackers was gonna cut it!   We got all checked in and everyone was so nice, but acted surprised I was in such high spirits.  I didn’t stop joking throughout the entire process.  Whenever I get scared or uncomfortable, humor seems to be the antidote, so I thought as long as I could keep laughing, I wouldn’t get too scared and for the most part, it helped.

When I got all hooked up, the nurse informed me that my contractions were strong and only 3 minutes apart!  I had no idea!  I had been praying for a pain free delivery and so far, I was having one!  I stayed active for the first…day:) I would have to get in bed every hour for monitoring and this was my least favorite part.  Some of our nurses were funny and kind and one nurse even bought me a giant twix to enjoy after Norah’s arrival.  That twix was SO good:) I know they were only doing their jobs, but I hated my IV and the monitors. They would apologize every time they hooked me up but this part was painful and uncomfortable. The IV and monitoring bothered me more than any of my contractions.  I was allergic to the gel used for the monitors and the wireless monitors weren’t working that day. So I had to get into bed every 20 minutes or so to be monitored. All I wanted to do was walk and it seemed like every time I would get int the bed, my labor would stop. I mean, it didn’t seem that way, it was that way. I was so frustrated to the point of tears.   Well, about 10 hours into labor, I started having serious pain, the good stuff.  I had been having contactions all day but now they were staring to get real serious!  Some of them were peaking all the way to the top of the monitoring screen! I had company all day which I think helped me manage my pain.  A lot of the girls from my bible study were stopping by with gifts and plenty of labor humor.  Those girls made my entire pregnancy experience such a blast! Between the surprise chocolate milks, fat jokes, and incredible  prayer, I wouldn’t want it any other way!  (Thank you ladies!)

(Our last picture as a family of 2!)

So, back to labor.  I thought surely Norah would be here any minute but after at least 20 hours I was still at a 4!  WHAT?!  I couldn’t believe I hadn’t progressed past that point after a day of labor.  Well, I finally got to a 7 and that’s where things really got hard… I felt like I was in transition for days! I did not want an epidural and although I was in pain, I never asked for meds.  We prayed, played lots of worship music, tried several birthing positions, and used bradley method pain management suggestions.  Around midnight my contractions got nuts! They were non-stop and I was having contractions on top of contractions with no break in between.  There was about 5 hours that I went into a trance that I don’t really remember but, Chris tells me I did good.  I began shaking and this lasted for several hours.  Well, I finally hit 24 hours since my water had broken.  I couldn’t believe I had been in labor for this long.  I didn’t understand how this could be, especially since I had been expecting a fast delivery.  My mom and Chris were amazing! They stayed up with me through all of this.  They alternated rubbing my back, legs and arms, tickling my feet, playing with my hair, and praying over me.  My primary love language is physical touch and I wanted it more than ever during labor.   We originally were not going to let anyone else in the room with us, but I turned into a giant momma’s girl and am so glad she was there.  My mom was so encouraging and whenever I would felt scared, she knew exactly what to do. I think one of the most difficult aspects of this birth was I never felt comfortable. Not physically, emotionally, or mentally and I know this all played a huge role in the way this birth looked.

Day II:

At 26 hours of labor, I began to run a low grade fever.  This is not so good.  The doctor kept letting me try to have Norah with no medical intervention, but once I hit 28 hours she decided she needed to intervene.  She hooked me up to some antibiotics to protect Norah from any infection.  I was getting so tired both physically and emotionally. I was still having contractions but I wasn’t appearing to progress as far as dilating goes.  Fearing that I would be too weak to push once Norah did arrive, the doctor gave me the options of getting an epidural or C-section… I wasn’t given any other choice. I was so devastated as I did not want either of these interventions and was confused why I may need either. I cried so hard when they told me this.  I wanted so badly to have a completely natural delivery.  I felt like a little kid hearing I was going to be punished and wanted to do anything to avoid it.  I asked them if there was anything else I could do, but the doctor said at this point, these were the only options I had. I was told they were afraid I would be too tired to push if I didn’t have an epidural and I wish so badly I would have had the knowledge to better advocate for myself as this is no reason to intervene this way.  I now know, although I hated the epidural more than I could have expected, that I was actually very lucky to be allowed to continue pursuing a vaginal delivery at all. Most doctor’s would not have let me try this long.  I remember looking at Chris and being overwhelmed with fear and disappointment.  I did not want an epidural. I didn’t think I needed it or understand why I needed to have one. I cried so hard as they administered it and I felt so defeated.  I was given the lowest dose I could be given and unfortunately it only numbed one side of my body & I would learn after delivery that it caused some nerve damage,  leaving the administration point hurting for over a year.  As they laid me back into the bed, I crashed.  I fell asleep & was woken up 2 hours later by the doctor was checking me and I was ready to go. She asked me how I felt about being at a 10 and ready to push.

 Oh man, I was psyched! Apparently, sleeping was truly what I needed to feel comfortable in this space, as it allowed me to fully progress.  I had been given a low dose of medicine in my epidural, but my legs were still pretty numb when I awoke.  Chris and my mom helped hold my legs and after pushing only 5 times, SHE WAS HERE!!! At 11:32am, after 30 hours of labor, Norah Grace Pahls was laid on my chest!   Holding her for the first time was AMAZING!!! I covered her in kisses, and she was just so perfect! Her little cry was SO cute!  Like a little velociraptor:)  I pulled her up to my chest and she started breastfeeding almost immediately!  It was the most incredible thing I had ever experienced.  She was perfect!  Everything around me faded and all I can remember in that moment was, Norah…Our sweet little Norah, whom we have prayed over and anticipated like nothing before, was in my arms!!!  That moment changed our lives in the most incredible way.  

 I gained feeling back in my legs and body almost immediately so I was able to get up and move around.  I got to enjoy the delicious orange Juice Chris had juiced me the day before…SO Delicious!  Chris gave Norah her first bath and everything else they were able to do in our room.  Chris’s parents showed up and ordered me the BEST…I’m talking, THE BEST pizza I had ever had. I love food, but I have never enjoyed food like that! 1A5C7497-33E8-4CBF-8967-5DF895282C6E


I am so thankful for everyone who helped take part in this special time in our lives.  My awesome husband, incredible mom, family, friends, the young ladies, our church family who covered us in prayer.  Although, things didn’t go how I had planned, God taught me so much through this experience and, like always, He provided and blessed us with a precious, beautiful, healthy girl!!!
What we learned in our birth with Norah, about the birthing system, policies & the differences between natural and medical birth, taught us so much and gave us the opportunity to research and make different choices for our future. I struggled for over a year with different parts of this birth that I later learned was birth trauma & quite normal with many hospital births. From being teased by staff about asking to do what my body was telling me, teased about not wanting meds, unnecessary medical interventions being used for convenience, not knowing I had more choices than I did or how to advocate for those choices, the physical trauma of my epidural…. All things that many accept as normal but do not have to be. Norah’s birth gave us the gift of learning we wanted something different and paved the way for so many new and incredible experiences for our family.