A mom in Chicago has gained nationwide attention after taking the bar exam, while she was in the middle of giving birth.
Brianna Hill, a recent graduate of the Loyola University School of Law, went into labor during her first day of testing, delivered her son, and then finished the test, with a great deal of support to help her make it through.
Originally, Hill’s bar exam was set to be in July. But the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the test date back to October, with Hill’s original due date of October 19th cutting things close. “I thought I would only be 28 weeks pregnant when I took the bar,” she told CNN. “However, due to the pandemic, the test was pushed to October and I was going to be 38 weeks. I joked about taking the test from my hospital bed. Lesson learned!”
The test is staggered in 90-minute increments over four days, and for the remote version, test-takers have to remain in front of their computers at all times, to prevent anyone from cheating. “I started the second section and 15 to 20 minutes in, I started having contractions,” she said to Good Morning America. “I had already asked for an accommodation to get up and go to the bathroom because I was 38 weeks pregnant and they said I’d get flagged for cheating. I couldn’t leave the view of the camera.”
Once that section was over, Hill said she stood up, and realized her water had broken, and that she was in labor. But she remained calm and focused. “I took my break, got myself cleaned up, called my husband, midwife, and mom, cried because I was a little panicked, then sat down to take the second part because my midwife told me I had time before I needed to go to the hospital,” she told CNN.
From there, she and her husband went to the hospital, where their son, Cassius, was born. And Hill’s entire team was on board with making sure she finished the exam. “The whole time my husband and I were talking about how we wanted me to finish the test and my midwife and nurses were so on board. There just wasn’t another option in my mind,” she said, explaining that hospital staff arranged for her to have an empty room to test in, with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.
“There were all these professional women supporting me and my professional goals, even though I just became a mother and it was their job to support me in that,” she said to Good Morning America. “My biggest takeaway is that I have an incredible support system from my mom … I called my husband to tell him my water broke and he said, ‘OK, we’re going to figure out how you’re going to finish this test’ and all my law school friends texting saying, ‘You got this.'” In between breaks, Hill nursed her son, giving a whole new definition to the phrase “supermom.”
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