Norah's Birth Story | Jackson, MI
I have had the pleasure of photographing Sarah and Noah's family for the past couple of years. So when she contacted me to photograph her birth with their newest little, I was humbled and accepted on the spot. It is such an amazing feeling when people ask you to come into such a special moment for their families and take part of it. It is one of my favorite things I love about births, how it brings people together.
When Sarah contacted me, we had already begun preparing for an early gestation birth. With her son Greyson, she delivered at 34 weeks, and we both figured she would most likely not make it full term with Norah as well, especially since she was breech. She did surprise us though, breaking Sarah's water at 36 +6 days, only a day shy from being the technical "full term" gestation.
We planned her maternity photos the same week as her ECV appointment at U of M, actually 2 days before if I am going to be honest with you. We wanted to get them in there before she might have to deliver. When Sarah went to her appointment though, Norah was flipped, but they decided against inducing and performing a C-section because her iron was too low, and to let Norah cook a little bit longer..
Though, that is not what she had planned.
Friday night, it was a little past midnight, I received a call from Sarah. She was being admitted into Allegiance (Even though she didn't want to be, but that's a different story) because her water broke and she was laboring so hard and fast that she wouldn't have made it to Ann Arbor in time to deliver with her OBGYN doctor there.
I was only there a short while, before they started prepping Sarah and Noah for a C-Section delivery since Norah (which is a combination of their names, in case you didn't catch that) was breech again. This was alarming to Sarah, since she was trying to avoid a C-section as much as possible, and she started to freak out quite a bit. I remember having to run to get the nurses because she was hyper-ventilating while her mom was trying to calm her and was loosing consciousness.
Even though, she had complications with her iron, her anxiety, and a few other complications that Norah had from the stress of delivery that made it to where Noah was not allowed in the OR either and Sarah had to be put under anesthesia, Norah still came out a beautiful and healthy baby girl. It was amazing to see the support and love she had already in her few hours of life on this earth.
Norah Ava Rainwater; Born May 20, 2017 at 1:47 am. Weighing 6 lbs, 1 oz and 19 inches long
Of course, I had to share a bit of Norah's Birth Video...
Since we were not able to be present for the full delivery of Norah, I asked Sarah a few questions about what she remembered from her delivery to give a full insight of her birth story..
• What time of year was it? What was the weather like? Did it have any affect on the day?
When I found out I was pregnant, it was the end of September and I had just began a new semester at Jackson College.
It was a shock to both Noah and I, that's basically all we spoke about all day; we were so nervous to have two so close together!
• Were you delivering when you expected? If not, were you early or late? How did the timing affect your feelings leading up to the day? Were you more than ready to have a baby, or was the whole event a surprise?
I definitely always had a gut feeling I would be delivering early because Greyson (my firstborn) was 6 weeks early, so I had the vibe Norah was going to come early too.
With her though, I was only 3 weeks and 1 day early, so ALMOST full term.
That day though, I kind of knew it was going to happen; I had that gut feeling ALL day, but I didn't want to believe it.
I was 100% unprepared for it to happen as fast as it did and the way it did though.
• Who was there with you? How did they handle the labor process? Were you grateful they were there? (Or did you find yourself wishing otherwise?)
Noah drove me, but my mom also met us at the ER front entrance because I had called her in a panic.
To my surprise, my mother was a lot more calm than I had originally expected her to be.
I actually was afraid to have her in the room, she worries like me and I didn't want both of us to be panicking simultaneously, but she was actually one of my best supports while I labored.
I was really happy to have included her even though it wasn't originally planned.
I was glad to have Noah there too, but I wasn't allowed to have anyone in the C-Section room, my mother or him.
• What did contractions feel like? Were they what you expected? How did you handle them?
Contractions were exactly how I remembered them with Greyson, I just couldn't wait for it to end; I just continually squeezed Noah's hand and my mom used a cold washcloth on my face because I was SO hot.
I just remember consistently telling them to just hurry up and wheel my downstairs once they had already decided a C-Section was necessary since Norah was breech.
• If your baby was born via C-section, what was the surgery like? Did you feel prepared for what you experienced? What did the operating room look like? What could you see? Feel?
My C-Section was honestly terrifying. They originally told me Noah could be in the room with me, but when they wheeled me down their I had quite a few panic attacks.
Then Norah had a bowel movement in the womb---so it was declared an "emergency" after that, and they refused to have Noah in there with me, and put me under FULL anesthesia for my surgery since I was panicking.
I was completely scared and kept crying and asking for Noah, I was a huge baby. They just kept shoving the oxygen mask on my face so they could put me under faster.
I didn't get to see much, just lots of blue sheets and metal medical utensils and I remember it being ICE cold. It took all of less than 5 minutes before I was asleep, they worked pretty fast.
I was not prepared to have that traumatic of an experience, never want to feel that again.
• What thoughts went through your head as you progressed through labor? Did you surprise yourself in any way as you dealt with the circumstances?
In the beginning, when my water broke, I was excited, but that soon turned to panic when they realized she was breech and I would probably need a C-Section.
While I was going through contractions, I was mostly just nervous to find out if I was going to need a section or not.
When they told me it was a for sure thing, I went into complete panic mode.
It just got worse until I was put under anesthesia. I didn't surprise myself there; I basically knew deep down I was going to freak out if they said I needed to have a C-Section, and I did REALLY bad.
• How long did you push? Were there complications with your delivery? How did you handle them?
I didn't have to push at all. Since Norah was breech, I had to have a C-Section.
I had a lot of blood loss during delivery due to low iron and a few other things, so I had to have two units of blood transfused.
I didn't handle post-delivery very well physically, my body took a really hard hit from having two babies back to back, but it has been so, so worth it.
• What was the first thing you said when you saw your baby for the first time?
I honestly couldn't tell you, I was on a lot of medications and barely awake from being under full anesthesia.
It makes me pretty sad honestly! I wish I could remember
• What was your overwhelming feeling after your baby was delivered? Relieved? Happy? In pain? Sleepy? Giddy?
Post delivery I was in a lot of pain, so I was on a lot of medications for the first few days so I was also super sleepy.
Although, having Norah was such a happy feeling, I was so nervous to have her and her brother meet!
• What other details do you remember postbirth?
Seeing the pictures of Noah and my mom with Norah right after she was born, was so touching. Alex caught a few moments that are so genuine, I'm so glad she caught them on camera, such as Noah holding Norah for the first time.
The expression on his face shows how much he loves our babies. Also, to see my mom play such an active role was awesome to see.
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