Sunday, March 25, 2012

1 week old [labor & delivery]

stretching to show her whole 19.75 inches

not a happy camper
Nora Jean is one week old today. We have been home since Tuesday around noon, and we are quickly adjusting to life with a little one. She's a very easy adjustment for the majority though -- a little doll with a wonderful temperament. She sleeps through the nights, eats every 2-4 hours, and does all of her "business" perfectly too. Her resume is quite impressive.

She has been out and about a lot this week too for only her first week. We took her to Target just a few hours after we got her out of the hospital. She slept through the whole experience, which probably means she loved it. She's been back to Target a second time (it will feel like a second home to her, I'm sure), on the CTA buses (for an appointment), to the doctor's office, to the DHS (human services) office, to the park for a walk, and this morning we ventured out to church. She's quite the well-traveled baby, and she snoozes in her car seat and Lulu wrap easily.

Her Arrival Story:
(Warning: If you don't want details, don't read any further!)

Last Saturday, March 17th (St. Patrick's Day), I started to have contractions mid-afternoon. But these were funny contractions, because they didn't hurt at all. I just knew it was a new feeling, with definite tightening in my abdomen, and we started timing them to check their frequency. They were 2 minutes apart and very regular. I knew I needed to get up and start walking around to really activate them and see if they were the real thing, and since we needed to go to Target for a few things anyway, we decided to get all the hospital-things around and head out. (Big surprise, we went to Target, huh?!) The contractions still continued to be very regular, and still didn't really bug me much, as I was able to talk and laugh through all of them, but they did start to increase intensity.

We called the doctor from the Target parking lot, and she told us to come on in and get checked out. (Side note: I was very relieved to hear that one of my preferred doctors from my practice was on-call for the night.) We went to the hospital and got checked in, and they measured me at 4 cm. I had been 3 cm. earlier that week at the doctor's office, so this wasn't really much progress. They told me that the doctor would probably want to break my water sometime that night if the contractions didn't really turn up the heat, but I could start walking to see if that would help. So Mr. Allen and I walked the very small loop of the triage floor for an hour. Then I was rechecked and measured at 5 cm. The nurses were satisfied with this progress and said they expected me to progress at about a centimeter per hour. I figured that to mean, since it was then 7 pm, the delivery would happen around midnight, which seemed a long time off. I had called my mom during our hour of walking and discussed breaking my water and I decided that I wanted that to happen so we could "get this show started."

I was then moved to the labor and delivery floor and a doctor broke my water. Let's just say, things definitely started to change. We continued to walk on the new floor and my contractions picked up quickly. I was having to stop and breath through them, struggling to stand at times because of the pain. I dealt with nausea and almost passed out at one point, and around 10 pm, I decided to head back to my room and rest for a little while. The contractions continued at 2 minutes apart and I, well, was in a LOT of pain. At midnight, I asked to be checked again for progress, and in my mind was at the end of what I could handle. I thought to myself, 'I want to be at least at 8 cm to keep going without medicine.' But when the doctor checked, I was at 6.5 cm and I asked for the epidural.

After the medication, I felt amazing. Mr. Allen laid down to sleep and I rested for a few hours. I was such a happy camper when he came back in the room after they gave me my first dosage that he texted his mom and asked "Who is this? And where did they take my wife?" I really was a different woman. Around 3:30 am the nurse checked me again and said that I was at 10 cm and fully efface, it could be game-time at any moment. She said that my doctor wanted me to "labor down," which means let the baby come down lower and lower on her own, letting the contractions do their work since I wasn't experiencing severe pain, which would result in less need for extended pushing.

At 5 am, they woke me up (I finally fell asleep for 15 minutes), and I woke Mr. Allen up, and we got ready for go-time. We were about to start practice pushes, and then the doctor walked in and said, "Let's make them real pushes." They said Nora was already visible before I even started pushing, thanks to the laboring down. At this point, I could feel my contractions working because I hadn't re-dosed the medicine in a few hours. I was ready to push and felt excited to know that an end was so close and we would finally meet our little one. To be honest, I thought the pushing-part was so much fun. I was ready to be done and I knew that I just needed to get through this little bit. And a little bit it was - after just 20 minutes of pushing, at 5:37 am, Nora Jean Allen was born. She cried immediately and they put her on my chest. I was overwhelmed, too much so that I don't think I even cried. I just stared at her and was so, so much in love.

Her stats:
born at 5:37 am on March 18th, 2012
19.5 inches
7 pounds 4 ounces
(and so so beautiful)


  1. She seriously is one of the most beautiful newborns I've ever seen! I'm glad everything went so smoothly and that she's so wonderful!!! Congratulations to both you and Shane! I'm so happy for both of you!