Nora’s Birth Story and Life Updates

posted by Andrea | 12/12/2011

I’m back! 

After being on maternity leave for almost 3 weeks, I’m back; and I have a mountain of new tips and ideas to share with you! But first, I thought I would take a few moments to share a little about Nora’s birth story, update you on the last 3 weeks of my life, and answer some of the MANY questions I’ve gotten via email, facebook, twitter, and blog comments.

Seriously — isn’t she just the cutest!


Nora’s Birth Story:

Nora was born on Tuesday, November 22, which was 4 days after my LAST due date… so I think it goes without saying that I was more than ready for her to be born!

Dave and I woke up at 5:30am and I soon realized that my stomach was feeling a little “crampy” — and that those crampy feelings were coming about every 8 minutes. I told Dave to go to school but to be ready for me to call.

I knew Nora would be born that day! 

I quickly did a load of laundry, cleaned out the fridge, showered, finished packing the hospital bag, and tried to clean out my Inbox as much as possible!

By 9:30am the contractions were every 5 minutes and at 10:30, Dave decided to come home. It was absolutely perfect timing for Dave because he only had a half day of school on Tuesday and then the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving — so he didn’t even have to deal with sub-plans or getting behind with his grading and lesson plans!

We got to the hospital just after noon — and by that time, the contractions were getting pretty strong. It took about 45 minutes for me to dilate from a 1 to a 4 so they quickly moved me to the Labor and Delivery room around 1:00pm.

About 2.5 hours later, Nora was born! And just like that, we were a family.

{Nora at 10 days old}

Life with Baby:

Wow — where do I start? Life with a newborn has completely rocked my world — more than I ever thought possible {feel free to say “I told you so”!}

Obviously I knew my life would never be the same {believe me, about 462 people have told me this!} I knew I would get less sleep, I knew I would be less productive, and I knew it would be a challenge… but even still, there was absolutely nothing that could have fully prepared me for being a mom!

Yes I had a bunch of meals and snacks in the freezer, yes the nursery was completely ready, yes we read a bunch of baby books, yes my Christmas decorations were up, yes I had a bunch of my Christmas shopping done… but all that planning ahead still didn’t prepare me for how totally overwhelmed I would feel when we brought Nora home on Thanksgiving Day.

The fact that this tiny baby was totally dependent on ME for everything was just so overwhelming — especially since I felt like I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Add in the fact that I’ve never NOT been able to schedule my days, I’ve never NOT been able to sleep through the night, and I’ve never NOT been able to “do my own thing”… and it was a recipe for a complete melt-down!

Thankfully Dave was absolutely wonderful. He put up with my tears and continued to reassure me that I was doing a great job. Our families have also been really supportive by making meals, inviting us over for dinner, watching Nora for a few hours, and even staying the night once so we could sleep. Without them, I’m not sure I would have made it.

The last week has been much better, Nora is sleeping more at night, she’s growing and gaining weight so I’m not as worried about how much she’s eating, and I’m slowing feeling like my days have more of a schedule… which I so desperately need.

Praise the Lord!  

I know we still have a long road ahead of us, and I’m hoping things will only get easier as we start to develop more of a routine and get used to living with a baby; but for now, I’m just happy that Nora is healthy and happy {for the most part!}

Q & A’s:

As you can imagine, I’ve gotten lots of questions already — so I’ll answer a few of the most common ones below.

What was the worst part of your labor?

Definitely the contractions! My labor went so quickly that I never had time for an epidural… so I felt all the contractions. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but by the time I started pushing, the pain level was close to a 9 or 10 for sure!

What were you most surprised about during labor?

When my water broke. I was always so worried that I wouldn’t know when my water broke and every time I felt a drop of wetness I would think — could that have been my water breaking? However, when my water did break {like 10 seconds before I started pushing} it was SO much water! I kept thinking, what if that had happened at church or in the mall, or in our bed at home! 

Also, I was surprised and how little pain I had during the actual delivery. Everything I was told made it sound so extremely painful but I honestly only felt pressure… no real pain.

{brand new — only one day old}

Where you instantly in love?

Honestly, I don’t really even remember what I was thinking or feeling when they put Nora on my stomach after she was born. I remember thinking: how on earth was she inside me? and then thinking: she’s mine… she’s perfect… but what should I do now?

Later that evening when Dave and I were talking, he asked me if I felt like a mom yet, and I said “not really”. It was still so surreal; and although I’m totally smitten now, I honestly would not say that I was “instantly in love”.

What do you remember most about your labor?

Like I mentioned earlier, it was just so quick — but I definitely remember the feeling when the doctor said, “one more push and you’ll be parents”. I pushed and literally felt my stomach “deflate” and all of a sudden there was no pressure any more.

Also, Dave got to cut the cord so I’m sure that’s something he’ll remember forever.

How was your hospital stay?

It was amazing. We delivered at St. Mary’s Hospital and were SO impressed with their staff, nurses, doctors, and facilities. I’ve never been a hospital patient before so I didn’t know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised. We even celebrated our first family Thanksgiving in our hospital room — and actually had a really good Thanksgiving dinner, complete with pumpkin pie!

Why didn’t you let your sister be your nurse?

One of my sisters is actually a Labor and Delivery nurse at St. Mary’s hospital so while she was definitely around during our hospital stay, she was not my nurse. I know a lot of people thought that was crazy, but I just didn’t want my sister to be my nurse. I wanted her to be a sister and an aunt… and I’m happy with that decision.

What is the best part about being a mom?

When she smiles!

What is the most overwhelming part about being a mom?

Oh boy, where do I start! Probably the fact that this little girl depends on me for everything. The lack of a daily schedule is also extremely overwhelming for me… and while we are starting to see sleeping/eating patterns, it’s still nothing like my pre-baby ultra-structured days!

How are the international students doing:

I don’t think they are really that interested in the baby — which is fine. We talked with them a lot before Nora was born and made it VERY clear that we did not expect them to babysit or be responsible for her in any way. We also said that they were welcome to hold her if they wanted to, but they didn’t have to.

The girls say they can’t hear Nora crying at night, which is good — no sense in all 5 of us being up!

How is Dave doing?

He’s a natural… honestly! He’s so patient {both with Nora and with me} and SO helpful. I know he’s tired too, but he’s always so excited to hold Nora when he gets home from school — even if she is crying and a little cranky.

So that’s it for now. Our lives are just a little different than they were a few weeks ago, and while I do miss my schedules and crossed off lists, I think I’ll be able to adjust.

Plus, she’s just so darn cute — a keeper for sure 🙂

Thanks to my friend Jodi for the amazing newborn photos! And thanks to all the amazing moms who wrote guests post for me while I was on maternity leave. Such great motherly advice!


Filed under: FamilyParentingPregnancyChildren

Leave a comment


  1. Amber Wallace


    She is just precious! A baby definitely will change your life but all for the best for sure.


  2. anne


    Thank you for sharing your birth story! Love the photo of your before/after family in front of the french doors!


  3. paulette


    What a beautiful baby, Andrea! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. It was wonderful to read about your experience! Enjoy!


  4. sarah


    Congrats on the new baby girl, congrats on making it through the first few weeks (in some ways they are the hardest), Congrats on getting your head together to post something I’m sure it felt great to resume some sort of routine to your day. For all the stuff in between, just Breath!


  5. DawnW


    Wow,you were working even while having contractions! No one can accuse you of being lazy 🙂 She’s adorable,and those are beautiful photos.


  6. Jenny C.


    Oh Andrea, what a beautiful blessing she is!!!! You know, I remember when my hubby and I drove away from the hospital with our baby girl and I thought “how in the world can these people let us take this tiny bundle home when we are totally clueless!” But, here we are almost 16 years later (she’s on the verge of driving now!) and by the grace of God we’ve all survived!!! I remember this little poem my mom had that I always kept in mind, it goes “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow for babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow, so quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep!” For some reason this simple little poem helped me keep my perspective when things got crazy (which can happen often with kids, as wonderful as they are!). God bless you, Andrea, and a very Merry Christmas to you and your precious family. Love, Jenny C.


    Andrea Reply:

    LOVE this poem Jenny! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


  7. Stacey


    Nora is so beautiful! The pictures are so precious. Loved reading your birth story although i must admit it makes me insanely jealous of how quick it went for you, lol. my water didnt break until after i was in labor for a long time and had already had an epideral with my first baby so i didnt really feel anything and i didnt expect that it would break on its own with my daughter. When it did happen i seriously thought i just peed my pants in Joanns fabric. It wasnt gushing out or anything so i completely thought that maybe there was just a lot of pressure on my bladder. Not sure why i was so naive about it since i was a week overdue but hey, Im just really glad it wasnt a big gushy mess in a public place;)

    Glad you are back but please remember to take it easy and enjoy your time with Nora, its a crazy time in the beginning but it goes way too fast:(


    Andrea Reply:

    Haha thanks Stacey! Yes, my labor was much quicker than I ever thought it would be — especially since it was my first and I’ve always heard horror stories of how first labors tend to be very long.


  8. Shannon


    Beautiful pictures, Andrea! She is a beautiful little girl and you are a beautiful family.

    Don’t worry…your schedule will return to normal…just remember that it will take time. Also, relax and don’t over do it! Take naps when you can. Then you will get sleep for a few years and then she’ll start DATING and DRIVING! LOL! I think I’ve told you before, but my “baby girls” are now 20 and 16 years old.

    Don’t be hard on yourself, ask for help when you need it, and enjoy your snuggle time!


  9. Jen K


    You are doing GREAT, Andrea. 🙂 You will get used to a new kind of scheduling. I have been thinking on and praying for you guys. I remember those feelings of being overwhelmed after going home and realizing that this was IT and I was responsible. That never changes but does get easier to handle. Feel free to call or email me when you have questions or need help. I will be more than glad to help when you need it (even if it is only to vent 🙂


  10. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper)


    So fun to read your updates, congratulations again! I just had to comment and say THANK YOU for being honest with your readers. So many women feel guilt and shame if they don’t “fall in love immediately” or “wish the baby would just sleep” when they tried for years, etc etc. We must encourage each other and the only way we can do that is by being real with each other. Praying you all continue to find your own groove with schedules and that the journey together as a family is blessed.


  11. Jen @ BigBinder


    Andrea I am so happy for you!!! Your comment about your water breaking made me laugh (mine broke in bed both times – first sign of labor) because I thought “what if this happened in the STORE!”

    It was a relief to me that I was still the ‘same person’ on the other side of having a baby – it meant I had to SLOW DOWN and have lower expectations about what I would get done each day, and that is a continuous lesson and journey 🙂 But with every stage – not just infancy, but everything – you will think OMG, this is the BEST STAGE YET! I’m excited to meet her, hope she makes a public appearance at a WMiBlogs event soon!


  12. Chalyse Meiklejohn


    Congratulations! She really is adorable! You are so lucky. You must feel blessed! My husband and I are patiently waiting on God’s timing for our own little bundle of joy… we miscarried our first child just 2 weeks ago, so it is hard. But seeing your family and Nora’s precious face makes me so happy! I just can’t wait for a baby of my own. I’ve been praying for your family! Enjoy these moments with your baby girl!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you so much Chalyse — this is probably one of the meaningful comments anyone has ever left on my blog. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss and even though I don’t know you — we’ll make sure to keep you and your husband in our prayers too 🙂


  13. Laura


    Those are fantastic pictures…of course it helps with such a beautiful subject 🙂


  14. Lora K


    Love this 🙂 The other posts were great but it’s wonderful to hear from you again!
    Glad you’re getting a little more settled in and that your families have been amazing and supportive! I got a chuckle out of your “instantly in love” answer. When Beto was about 2 months old I remember thinking, “Of course I’ve loved him since he was born…but now he’s really grown on me and I love him SO much!” She’ll grow on you 🙂 I’m sure she has already!
    So excited to see you soon and meet your precious little girl!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Lora — I think we’ll keep her!

    See you this weekend 🙂


  15. Bonita


    I just discovered your blog a few nights ago when I had insomnia and knew immediately it was a keeper. I’m so happy for you with your new little girl and you look amazing! She’s adorable and looks like her pretty little mommy.

    As I was reading nearly everything on your blog the other night I wondered how you would fare when your baby came since babies and children don’t always cooperate with rigid schedules. Sounds like you’re doing amazingly well and I’m sure with time you’ll find your groove. It will never be the same as before, but you’ll figure out how to make it work.

    When my first child was born my mom told me that when my son was a year old I’d realize how much my patience and flexibility had increased. She was right. I’m sure you will discover the same.

    Enjoy that little one every moment that you can!