The Story of Nora Magdalene

In December of 2013, we were so happy to learn that I was pregnant with our fourth child.  Although we had been trying for a couple of months, I thought that it was unlikely that I would be pregnant this time around.  BUT, lo and behold, a positive pregnancy test!  What a gift.

We got to tell my family in person when we went back to Iowa for Christmas and we told Joe's family via Skype since we weren't going to be making a trip to South Carolina. 

We were planning to wait until the second trimester to tell the boys, but one snowy night when we were all cuddled up and reading by the fireplace, Joe just couldn't hold it in any longer.  :)  Love him.

Roman was VERY excited, per his usual, and Judah and Silas were mildly excited for a brief moment and then they wanted me to finish reading their story.

Although there were a few little things that were different about this pregnancy, we assumed we were having another boy.  That's all we knew.  All three of my previous pregnancies have had little things that made them each unique, and so we had planned to name this baby Ezra.  We didn't actually start calling the baby by that name, but it's the only name we had even considered. 

We went to my 20 week ultrasound and after an hour in the room, with a very laid back baby (who was not willing to turn over) I thought maybe we weren't going to get to find out the gender.  The ultrasound tech had already moved my chair up and down and had me roll over on each side and given me juice and sent me for a walk just trying to see all of baby's organs.  Finally the tech said "well, as soon as I can see the rest of the heart, we will be done." 
"ok", I replied.  "and do you think we will even be able to see gender today?"
"Well", he said "I think I know, but I want to check again".

Joe and I exchanged glances.  "well, we think we know, too", we told him.  "We have three boys so we are just assuming this will be another boy"

Then he said "Actually, I think this is looking kind of girly".

Kind of girly.  That's not exactly the definitive statement I was looking for.  Joe and I looked at each other in disbelief.  Not disbelief as in "shock".  Disbelief as in "he might be wrong...'Kind of girly' is not super convincing". 

The ultrasound tech finished up and said he would send a doctor in to look at a couple of things and we could ask for his second opinion on gender. 

When he left the room Joe and I both couldn't stop smiling about the thought of a girl but we kept saying things like "we shouldn't get our hopes up for a girl" or "I don't want to think it's a girl and then have the dr. come in and say 'boy'", etc. 

Obviously we would be so excited to have another boy.  That's what we had been thinking/"planning on" before we came into this room, but what a tease to even hear the word "girl"!

The dr. came in, checked on the size of baby's stomach (the tech seemed to think it looked a litlte small - it ended up being fine), and then asked if we had any other questions.

We said "Well, if we could get a more definitive statement on gender that would be awesome.  The tech was a little hesitant to say for sure". 

The dr. scans around and says "Ok, here are two legs and bottom.  This is where we would see a penis.  But we see these three lines instead.  This is a baby girl".

I held in the tears until he was out of the room but then they didn't stop for a couple of hours.  We made lots of happy phone calls to people who were just as shocked and thrilled as we were.  Fun, fun times.

Thus began my obsession with all things pink and feminine.  Hair bows!  Ruffly socks!  (Don't worry, Joe, I'm sure I'll cool it...around the time she graduates from high school).  Occasionally I would think that I had become a bit more calm and collected about all the girl stuff and then I would remember.  Baby dolls!  Braids!  Tea parties!  And I would melt all over again. 

I LOVE love love being a mom of boys.  But, man, I am pretty excited about this girl.

Also, it took me all of about 10 minutes to start on the girl name convo.  Joe and I had never agreed on a girl name.  We never had to.  Of course we had discussed them casually.  Joe loved the name Alaina for a long time. I never really had any that I felt were THE ONE. 

WELL, Joe's mom told us one day that Joe's aunt (who has three boys) had always wanted to use the name Nora if they ever had a girl.  Joe immediately said "I love that name".  I agreed that it was a beautiful name but didn't think much more of it.  In fact, some of our dear friends have a daughter named Nora, and so I didn't think we would really discuss it seriously.

I kept trying to come up with a unique biblical name since that was the criteria we used for all of our boys.  Some of my ideas:  Magdalene, Selah, Talitha, Lydia.  Joe was not a fan of any of these.  In fact, he kept coming back to Nora every time we had this talk.  I liked the sound of the name but it's not Biblical and it has become more common in the last couple of years so I kept dismissing it.  One day we started talking about using a family name as a first name  and a Biblical name as a middle name.  (The boys all have family middle names, so maybe for our girl we could flip flop it).  I started throwing out some family names.  Joe's grandmas are Vivian and Maysie.  Both beautiful..  I really like the sound of Maysie.  My grandmas are Alma and Beatrice.  Not a huge fan of using either of those.  But then I offered that my grandma Alma's middle name is Lenore.  Joe said "well, we could use Nora as kind of spin off of Lenore to honor your grandma."

Hmmm.  I liked the idea, but I was still hanging onto Magdalene as my favorite.  (You know Mary Magdalene was at the cross and she was the first to see the resurrected Jesus.  In fact, she was the one to announce his resurrection to the rest of the apostles. Kind of awesome).

One night just a few weeks before my due date, Joe asked if I was 100 percent for Magdalene.  I said that I loved the name but my only hesitation was that she would probably be called Maggie.  Which I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't my mom's dog's name.  Ahem.

I asked him if he was still 100 percent for Nora.  He responded yes.  He had been steadily in support of Nora for months (and had been manipulating the children into calling her Nora).  I asked him to explain why he loved it so much.  He started getting all sappy about it.  No, about her.   He said "I just picture this cutest litlte baby girl and her name is Nora.  That's just her name.  It's how I think of her." 

This girl has been so loved by her daddy and her brothers.  They are just smitten.  And have been since they have known she was a girl.  It's so fitting that she be named by them.  How could I not want that for her?  And so her name was decided that night.  Nora Magdalene.

Fast forward a few months and I am getting larger, more tired, and more uncomfortable by the day.  That means it's time to have a baby, folks.  Except that I didn't. 

Joe's famliy arrived on Aug 2 to spend a couple of weeks with us and to meet their first granddaugher.  Everyone had to be back home/at work by Aug 9 except for Mom and Theresa.  We assumed that most of them probably wouldn't get to meet Nora as I have never been more than a few days early.  But Mom and Theresa were planning to stay until Aug 18.  And I have never gone past my due date so SURELY they would get to cuddle a sweet new babe. 


This girl has been a curveball from the start.  :) 

Aug 13 was my due date.  That came and went with no sign of labor in sight.  I went to a dr. appt on the 14th and I was dilated 3 cm. 

But still...days went by...nothing happened.

Aug 18th we said a sad good bye to Mom and Theresa with still no baby.  My mom arrived just a few hours after they left.  We went for a nice long walk after she got here and discussed how crazy it was to that I was almost a week overdue.  On the FOURTH baby.  This is unheard of, no? 

On Monday, my doctor called and said she would like me to go in for a non-stress test and ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels.  My mom went with me for that appointment on Tuedsay, which was fun because she got to see the baby via ultrasound.

The NST came back just fine.  Meaning the baby's heartrate was fluctuating normally for the hour that I was hooked up to monitors.  The amniotic fluid, however, looked a little bit low, and so they told me that we would be inducing that night.

My mom and I went up to the labor and delivery floor and sat in the waiting room for a sweet forever.  Joe was going to meet us there and trade places with my mom.  They finally had a triage room ready for me after about an hour (or more?) in the waiting room.  Joe and I sat in the triage room for another couple of hours and watched movies while I was hooked up to monitors.  Finally, a doctor came in and told me that they may send me home or I may end up staying.  And then came back shortly saying Yes, I would definitely stay.  Then, came back again a while later saying all the L&D rooms were full and they were short on staff so they were going to send me home after all.  I would have my induction the following day.  I asked to speak to my dr. on the phone because they had kind of been back and forth on my staying or going home and I wanted to be sure that she was comfortable with this decision.  She was and so we finished our dinner and then headed home.  I only cried a little.

The next day I slept in a little bit and then we did what any woman about to have a baby would do.  We took the boys fishing.  :)  It was the best, actually.  I wanted to do something fun with them that wouldn't make me tired.  That was the perfect way to spend the morning. 

We had lunch, rested a bit, and then Joe and I headed in to the hospital. 

It's weird to go to the hosptial to have a baby when you're not in labor.

Anyway, our check in time was 3:00.  The hour of Divine Mercy.  (I am sure that was not an accident).  So, as soon as we finished all of the registration questions and they started my antibiotic for Group B Strep, we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  We prayed for all of you.  For the intentions that you asked for, and for so many others.  It was a beautiful time of prayer with my husband that I will never forget.  Usually when we pray for people while I'm in labor, we kind of discuss who needs our prayers before labor gets too intense and then we pray silently while breathing through contractions.  That has been beautiful, too.

But this was really neat because we really got to pray.  Hardcore. There were no contractions yet.  No nurses in and out yet because we were just waiting a few hours for the antibiotic to kick in before they actually started the induction process. 

Back to baby stuff.  When we checked in I was dilated to 4.  After we prayed we watched TV, had dinner and waited.  At 7:30 pm, they tried to break my water.  Excpet remember, there was not much fluid left.  So that didn't really do anything.  At 8:45 they started my pitocin drip.

Pitocin.  It is the devil. 

I had pitocin with Roman.  For 10 hours.  It was the worst pain ever.  I thought I was dying.  So you can imagine that I had a litlte anxiety about this. 

Contractions with pitocin and so different for me than natural contractions.  Without pitocin, your uterus contracts and then it lets go and you have no pain for the few minutes until your next contraction.  With pitocin, your entire torso contracts and then doesn't ever let go.  A contraction will end but you still have this aching pain all the way across your lower abdomen that never.lets.go.  EVER. 

So, I started having consistent contractions by 9:30pm.  By 10:15 I needed to be up and walking to get through the contractions and by 10:30 I was really in a lot of pain.  A little before 11 the resident doctor came in to check me.  (My doctor had gone to lie down).  I was at 7cm.  

You guys.  I was pissed.  I turned to Joe, almost in tears, and said "we probably have a couple more hours of this.  I don't know if I can do that".  I stood at the edge of the bed, feeling hopeless and making him rub my back for a couple more contractions. 

This is the part in labor where sweet, beautiful women turn into crazy monsters b-words.  Joe always tells me that I'm still nice during labor, but I do remember apologizing to him for something so I must have been getting snappy.

So, 7 cm.  I went to the bathroom (Joe wheeling my stupid pitocin IV behind me) and as soon I got in there I turned to him and half said/half shouted "oh, I don't have to pee, I have to push!".  I hobbled back over toward the bed and the nurse (who was in the room and heard all of this) said "I'll call the resident dr. back in". 

"NO, I said.  Call my dr.  This baby is coming right now." 

I remember Joe telling the nurse "you better hurry".  He said there were about 10 people in the room in about 30 seconds. 

We had made a playlist of music to listen to during labor.  Joe turned it on at some point during transition.  I remember hearing a couple of worship songs during labor, but I don't remember specifics. 

I usually don't remember much about pushing because HI.  There are bigger things to think about.  Like the baby coming out of me.  But I do remember one of the nurses saying "That's a cool song to be born to" and realizing it was  "Let it be" by the Beatles.

I pushed just a few times and Nora Magdalene was born at 11:30 pm, weighing in at 6 lb 11 oz, and 19 in long.  She had brown hair and she was as beautiful as we knew she would be.  It took her a minute to make a sound and so I started talking to her right away.  I think I was less emotional than I have been with the others because I was just waiting to hear her cry.  They put her on my chest and we were just in awe. 

We had a longer hospital stay than we anticipated, but she is healthy.  I'll save that story for another post. 

God's plan for bringing babies into the world is crazy.  It's amazing and so so crazy.  I can never get over it.   He is good.  And we are so so thankful for our sweet girl.