Woman goes into labor while taking bar exam

CHICAGO -- Taking the bar exam is hard enough, but one Illinois woman took it to the next level by having a baby in the middle of the test.

Brianna Hill, a recent graduate of the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago, knew she would be pregnant during her bar exam, but she wasn't expecting a huge curveball in timing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I thought I would only be 28 weeks pregnant when I took the bar," Hill 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 remote version of the test is four 90-minute sections spread out over two days. Hill said the exam is proctored so you have to sit in front of the computer the entire time to make sure you aren't cheating.

"I thought I felt something about 30 minutes into the test and actually thought, 'I really hope my water didn't just break,'" Hill said. "But I couldn't go check and so I finished the first section. As soon as I stood up when I finished, I knew my water had broken."

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But even the realization of going into labor didn't stop Hill from accomplishing her goal.

"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."

Hill said she got to the hospital around 5:30 p.m. and her new baby boy arrived just after 10 p.m.

"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," Hill said.

So, the next day, hospital staff provided Hill with an empty room to finish the test and put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Hill took the rest of the exam in that room and even nursed her baby during breaks.

"I'm so thankful for the support system I had around me. The midwives and nurses were so invested in helping me not only become a mom but also a lawyer," Hill said.

"My husband and law school friends provided me with so much encouragement so I could push through the finish line even under less than ideal circumstances. And my family, especially my sister, just kept reminding me how I could do it even when I wasn't so sure myself."

Hill hasn't received her bar exam results, but she already has a job lined up.

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