thirty-seven weeks: a live birth story

There are moments in life that stick: things worth remembering. My water broke in bed in the early morning of December 10th. It felt like a full release of nine months of waiting. It felt like the beginning of the thing we've wanted to experience our whole lives. After hours of waiting, the pitocin made my labor much more painful, and the epidural took the pain away. Then there was stillness; almost sleep, before the rush of nurses. They were kind and gentle, but purposeful and almost panicked as they talked about her heart rate. It had spiked or dropped. They couldn't get it to even out again. They put me on oxygen while they continued to try to calm her by manipulating me side to side. We weren't afraid, Matt or I. Peace. Beautiful, unexplained peace.

Then they thought they should check me again, even though it had only been an hour. I shouldn't have progressed far yet, but if I had it would explain her heart rate. 8 cm. 90% effaced. Joy. Excitement. They put a peanut ball between my legs to see if it would help her move down, and the next time they checked me I was 10 cm. 100% effaced. The doctor was in a C-section. If I could, I was supposed to wait.

The nurse said we would practice pushing, to see if I could move her. For a moment, I wondered if I would be able to, but after ten or so pushes, I could see the top of her head. The top of her head! The doctor came in and suited up, and moments later our daughter screamed: a loud, bright sound. Open eyes. Arms that beat the air. Everything I needed her to be. Alive.

She laid on my chest first, and there are no pictures, because the photographer wasn't back in the room yet, but I'm glad that Matt and I got to experience that alone. A world of three for a moment.

Then family returned. A handful of the people who love us hard. Charlotte's welcoming committee.

Charlotte Pear Nowak was born at 1:19 p.m. on December 10th, 2015. She was 20 inches long, 7 pounds 15 ounces. Everyone kept telling me how small she was in person, but she seemed gigantic. So big compared to her brother, who was born dead at twenty-five weeks. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, and we know how blessed we are to have her. We went home from the hospital the next day, and I'll be playing catch up this week to tell you about the rest of her moments so far.

Here are some of the pictures of her birth, taken by our friend Hannah Grace.


  1. So excited for you both! Great pictures too! She's precious!

  2. Beautiful pictures! Beautiful baby! Hope things are going well for your little family as you adjust to life with a newborn!


I adore your lovely comments!