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The Fertility Diaries: 3 Friends, 3 Paths to Pregnancy

A Second Chance

As Jody waited to see if IUI would help her conceive, her friend Jenny's own long and very anxious wait for a child was thankfully coming to an end. After the devastating loss of her son, Andrew, to SIDS a year earlier, Jenny was due to give birth in August. Both she and her husband, Sean, 37, could hardly wait to get their daughter safely into the world and to bring her home. Jenny prayed that she wouldn't have to leave the hospital with empty arms once again.

Jenny: I was four days overdue when I went into labor. I'd already been sent home from the hospital once, the evening before — I'd been having contractions all day, but my cervix wasn't even a centimeter dilated. Then at about 4:30 a.m., I woke Sean with all my moaning as I tried to work through the contractions. He insisted that we go to the hospital, but I said I wouldn't go there until my water had broken. I didn't want them to send me home again! Then just as the six o'clock news was coming on, I heard a pop, and I knew. When we got to the hospital, I was between four and five centimeters dilated.

Labor and delivery were still fresh memories for Jenny, but she was relieved to find that the experience of giving birth was much different this time. With Andrew, the process had been long and difficult, ending in a cesarean section. This second labor was much easier — Jenny had an epidural at around 11 a.m., and two hours later she was almost fully dilated. After just two or three pushes, Eleanor Grace Taylor was born at 1:26 p.m. on August 10, weighing in at a healthy 7 lbs, 9 oz, and with a very full head of dark hair. The relief was overwhelming as baby "Nora" was placed on her mother's chest and parents and daughter cuddled close.

Jenny: We hadn't found out the sex ahead of time with Andrew, but this time we did. Knowing that we were having a girl was a relief in a way. If we'd had another boy, I think that there would have been a lot of comparisons with Andrew, which would have been hard. But Nora can be her own little girl. We were able to celebrate her birth as opposed to reliving what had gone on before. That was so important for our first child after Andrew's death. We both want more kids, and Sean wants another boy, so, of course, we'll still have to deal with the loss — but I think having Nora first helps.

Still, Jenny and Sean knew all too well that delivering a healthy baby wasn't the end of the story. When the family went home two days later, it was with Nora hooked up to an apnea monitor. A band around Nora's tiny chest was connected to a remote alarm unit that beeped — loudly — if her heart rate dropped or her breathing stopped. (Although research offers no clear answers as to whether subsequent siblings of babies who've died of SIDS are at higher risk for this disorder, many parents like Jenny and Sean choose apnea monitors for peace of mind.) "The first night we had her home, it was going off nonstop," says Jenny. "It petrified us. The first time it went off, I'd just dozed off on the couch and I lurched up so fast I think I ripped a stitch. You don't know if it's a false alarm or not."

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