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The Fertility Diaries: 3 Friends, 3 Paths to Pregnancy

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A Second Chance continued...

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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