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Friday, July 25, 2014

a package from Heaven.

I went to bed with a nasty case of heartburn. It was awful with a capital "A." I stacked extra pillows behind me so I was sitting up hoping that I could get some sleep. Off and on I dozed until about 1:30 am. I got up to use the bathroom as was the case every night while my belly was rounded with a baby curled up inside. I didn't want to wake Cale as I wiggled my way back under the covers, deciding that I was going to try lying flat again. 

Within minutes I felt the tightening of my uterus. Braxton Hicks again. Oh brother. I had come to love their appearance in my life but with already not sleeping well, they were more of an annoying guest. I tossed and turned a little unfortunately unable to be completely stealthy for my poor husband next to me. He rolled over irritated that I kept moving. I finally found a position that would at least last long enough for me to fall asleep again-or so I thought.

I kept feeling the contractions coming. Hmm...typically they only last about 15 minutes before I don't feel them any longer. One look at my phone showed that they had been going on for 45 minutes! It was time to start timing. 

My first timer logged was at 2:42 am on April 23rd. The contractions weren't strong and very inconsistent. Looking back they read 7 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, 10 minutes apart. All over the place and lasting anywhere from 50 seconds to 25 seconds. 

I decided to wake Mama up since I couldn't sleep anyhow. I didn't want to keep moving and wake Cale up all the way...and I couldn't help but get a little excited! Was this really going to happen?!

I crawled up on Mama's bed letting her know contractions had been going for about 45 minutes but had been all over the place. We watched I love Lucy and continued timing my contractions. About 30 minutes later I lost my plug. The papers still said it could be a few days before baby was going to come, but I wanted to be ready just in case it was going to be soon.

I let Mama know I wanted to sweep and mop before this baby came. I couldn't sleep and I was way too restless to just lay in one spot anyhow. She thought I was crazy but helped me clean the floors at 4 am anyway. What a sweet mom I have! ;)

The adventure actually began at this point when we came to the living room to start sweeping and found that Scratch (our cat) had brought in a mouse-a live one. Now please try to imagine with me...Mama and myself in our jammies chasing this mouse through the house while I'm pausing every few minutes during a contraction. 

It was the craziest sight to see. 

I'm sure. 

As many times as I called out through a contraction that I wasn't going to give birth in this house with that critter running around-I had no choice. That bugger got away and wasn't found until a few days later by the cat himself. 

Once floors were swept and mopped and dishes were loaded in the dishwasher, we went back to bed to rest. I was exhausted from not getting hardly any sleep through the night! 

At this point contractions started coming faster and stronger. I Love Lucy was playing again and at one point Mama asked if I was having another contraction. I was and she pointed out that I had just had one. We started timing again and as I look back the log shows:


Mama insisted that I call Shannon my midwife but I kept saying the paper says they'll last longer and at that point they were only lasting 30-45 seconds. 

Mama won. I called and I'm so thankful I did. They were starting to get pretty intense and even while on the phone with Shannon I had another. She encouraged me to get some food and because in my head my legs needed to be shaved I took a shower as well. 

It was at this point that Cale woke up. I let him know things were happening and I was pretty certain the baby was coming. 

At first he didn't want to have anything to do with me. Not because he wasn't excited, it was because he was scared to see me in pain. He hated it. He was so afraid that something was going to happen to me that it made him nervous for weeks prior. 

He sat on the bed on his phone and that was ok. I had tried ahead of time to get myself prepared that if Cale wasn't able to be there when Nora came out-that was ok. It wasn't the end of the world and he would get to meet his daughter eventually. We had friends ready to come pick him up if needed.

When Shannon showed up and checked me, I was already 6-7 cm and progressing quickly. At that point every time I had a contraction, I was getting down on my hands and knees. She kept coming over to help me relax through each contraction but I realized since I was holding myself up, I wasn't able to relax. I found my way to the couch laying on my side as Mama and Shannon worked on filling the birth pool up with water. Cale came out of the room and Shannon showed him how to push on my hips through each contraction to give him something to do and give him a way to help.

I heard Shannon say it was about time to get in the pool and at that point Cale got up and left to the room. I quickly mentioned to Mama I thought he was done and that as soon as Mike and Rachel got into town that Mike might need to take him. 

A couple minutes later, I was getting off the couch to get in the pool, Cale came out of the room wearing his swim shorts. I had set them out just in case but at that point he wasn't even looking at me. This brought so much joy to my heart! 

At that moment as we climbed into the pool together, something in our home shifted. It was a very obvious spiritual shift as well as physical. 

My pain was still very much there-increasing in fact, yet there was nothing about Cale that showed he had a brain injury. He sat against the pool and I rested against his chest. He held me; encouraging me and praying for me. He prayed for Nora that she would come out ready to say hello to us to meet us. He prayed for me that God would make it not hurt and that I would be safe. He prayed that he would be able to help me. 

I wasn't in the pool for very long before Shannon checked me again and I was already 9cm. I will say, there was a very big difference between contracting out of the water compared to in the tub. If we have another baby, I pray that a water birth is our option again. I wouldn't want to deliver any other way! 

Once I was describing how I really should run to the bathroom quickly, Shannon checked again and felt her head. It was time to push.

While still pregnant, I remember saying that I was afraid that I wouldn't know when it was time to's true. You just know! Wowza.

The entire experience is such a blur and yet at the same time I feel like I can remember every detail. My mind still can not grasp that I actually pushed her out and now have my daughter! During the pushing I was having extreme pain north of where she was coming out. Shannon checked and little Nora had her hands by her face so with every push her elbow was digging into me. 

She still constantly has her hands by her face ;)

At one point Shannon asked if Cale wanted to feel her head. At first he said no but then said, "sure." He also felt her ear. It was bazaar. I ran my fingers over her head almost shy to meet her and touch her. Even now as I type this out and remember, my heart picks up pace. 

After 4hrs and 41 minutes of active labor (the 41 minutes was pushing) out came the sweetest package from Heaven! I couldn't believe it. 

At 9:11 am on April 23rd 2014 my whole world changed. 

Everything in me was different. 

I suddenly loved differently. I look at the world differently.

For years, I prayed for the little baby I was holding. For years I prayed for her. Waited for her. Cried for her. I ached for her. 

There was a point in my life that I thought I would never get to meet her...yet, here she was in my arms. 

My daughter. 

Our daughter.

As the three of us were there as a family, Cale prayed over us. Can I just say that it was the most precious beautiful prayer I've ever heard? I can't even remember what was said, my heart was so full. And you know what? I know God's heart was bursting with joy as well. 

The music was playing in the background, there was conversation around us and the warmth of the water was against my skin. 

Life was continuing on outside of our home. People were still going to work. School was still taking place. Everything else was just as normal as could be...

For us, life had stopped. 

She has truly been the most treasured gift. We're so very thankful that we get to be her parents and help her live life and experience all that God has in store for her. 

She's a beautiful addition to this journey that we're on. 

{this is part one to the nora story. part two to come.} 


  1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I am so glad Cale was able to be there, and even better, able to support you. I hope you don't mind that I direct TBI families to your page. I feel your perseverance and realness will help them in their journeys.
    Heather in California

    1. Heather! Of course! That's the whole point of this blog and our story :)

  2. Kathleen, your words have brought your experience to life! You are an amazing story teller. What a beautiful experience you had with Cale and Nora. God's presence was definitely evident, your words make Nora's birth feel holy.

    I am so happy for you all!

    1. Thank you Kandi! It was crazy to "relive" the day!

  3. This brought tears to my eyes...right at the point of Cale coming out of the room with his swim shorts on and getting into the pool with you!! It is so scary for a man without a brain injury to experience childbirth with his wife so I am so proud of Cale for the way in which he handled himself. God gave him courage!! God gave him peace enough to be with you. Your man was with you. What a blessing. What a lovely story. I agree with the other person...that you are a wonderful story teller. (Ever thought of writing a book?) Thank you again for sharing your life with us...I see the Lord in your lives so much as I read your posts. Thank you. Looking forward to hearing the rest!!
    Your friend in Christ, Emily J.

    1. I'm so proud of him too! I was very aware of how well he was doing and how amazing it all was even while labor was happening. And the book...I started writing a few years ago. I'm not so great at it! ha.

    2. Ummmm...I had not been able to watch the video until today and oh, wow...almost left me speechless but now that I have regained my composure I have to say that I am so proud of both of you! I really am not sure that my husband would have been able to do that in a pool with me and me not having any pain meds! Truly, Cale has done what some men would probably not do and he looked fairly peaceful in the photos!! Seriously! How wonderful your friend was there with you too! I'm amazed. Who was taking all the photos or were the ones there just trading off the camera? They documented the whole thing so well. What a blessing to have the photos!
      Emily J.

    3. AMAZING...WOW(the video)! LOL!!

    4. Our friend Laura was the photographer! She does amazing photos!!! I'm always so thankful for her! :) and yes, I was so proud of him as well! :)

    5. Oh and I'm so glad you loved the video! I was really not sure about sharing it, but then didn't see why I wouldn't! It's too special not to share! ;)

  4. WOW!! My granddaughter just watched the video clip with me. It was beautifully done. I can see where the water birth would be wonderful. What a beautiful experience for Cale, for you. I had home births, but I didn't have the ambience around me like you did. I remember leaning up against my hubby while our son was born. I am so proud of Cale, of you both. Thank you for sharing so personal an experience with us.

    I look forward to meeting Miss Nora. I love you,

    1. Marion, I remember your last visit here that you told me about your births! So awesome!!!

  5. Beautiful!You both are very special,Enjoy these days,Nora is precious!

  6. What a beautiful blessing your story has been to me this morning! THANK you for sharing this portion of Nora's birth!

    1. Yes! I'm so thankful I decided to share! :)

  7. Oh Kathleen! I am crying happy tears for you and Cale, and both your families! What a beautiful birth story, and how perfect an answer to many prayers! I have followed your blog for many years, and have prayed for this moment with you both! God is GOOD and I am rejoicing! I cannot wait to read part two of her birthday! I hope you and Cale enjoy every moment of your "babymoon".
    Best always,

  8. This was beautiful!! It made me cry -- thinking of the whole process is truly amazing. Our God is so amazing; how he creates something so wonderful out of almost nothing! This was awesome. Also made me think about my 4 birth experiences and what a miracle each child truly is. Thanks for sharing!!


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