The new mom from Illinois is yet to receive the results from her exam, but already has a job—and a baby—lined up.
When Brianna Hill from Illinois joked about taking her bar exam from her hospital bed, she never predicted her little wisecrack would come true. Though the recent graduate from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago knew she would be pregnant during her test, the ongoing public health crisis threw her a massive curveball. Her bar exam took place much later than she first expected. While she was taking the remote version of the exam, she went into labor. Even though she knew her water had broken, Hill decided to complete her test before giving birth to her beautiful newborn, CNN reports.
Congrats JD & new mom Brianna Hill on the birth of her baby & completing the bar. We’re extremely impressed by how committed & resilient Ms. Hill was, and we’re deeply troubled the inflexibility of the exam left her no other options! #BarExam #Barpocalypse https://t.co/2B6prC2AlT— National Disabled Law Students Association (@NatDLSA) October 10, 2020
"I thought I would only be 28 weeks pregnant when I took the bar," the new mom said in an interview with the news outlet. "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!" Due to the pandemic, test-goers are taking the bar exam remotely. The remote version of the exam is composed of four sessions of 90 minutes each. The sessions are spread out over the span of two days. To ensure test-goers are not cheating, they are expected to sit in front of their computers the whole time as the exam is proctored. About 30 minutes into the exam, Hill felt something.
During the middle of her bar exam in a virtual setting, Brianna Hill realized her baby was on the way — and she plodded on.— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) October 11, 2020
“I took my break, got myself cleaned up, called my husband, midwife and mom ... then sat down to take the second part."https://t.co/9fZS3BGDVt
She explained, "I thought I felt something about 30 minutes into the test and actually thought, 'I really hope my water didn't just break.' 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." Though Hill knew she was about to go into labor, she simply could not stop herself from attaining her goal. So, she persisted. She stated, "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."
Once she was done with her exam, she was finally able to head to the hospital. She arrived around 5:30 pm and delivered her new baby boy at just after 10 pm that night. "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," Hill shared. "There just wasn't another option in my mind." The next day, the hospital staff provided the new mother with a private room and even hung up a "do not disturb" sign on the door. She was able to complete her exam and even nurse her newborn during her breaks. She said, "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. 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."
Brianna Hill rocks & has me beat! I got married 1L, had baby Cara 2L & Jake 3L (BYULaw)—in labor studying for Exams, nursing in bn Bar sections. 14 yrs later in labor w/baby James (our #7) while doing student writing conferences as Prof. SIULaw & nursing bn judging oral arg’ts. https://t.co/60eDJLqbKm— Val Behan (@MamaBehan) October 10, 2020
Hill is yet to receive the results from the bar exam, but she already has a job lined up for herself. While this is a heartening story about all the amazing things that women are capable of, it should also serve as a reminder of how we should not expect women to suffer in the name of empowerment. This is by no means an endorsement of the message that suggests that women must endure incredible challenges just to get by, but rather, an acknowledgment of Hill's tenacity and strength.
I hope she gets some rest and time with her child.— Ottilia Anna MaSibanda (@MaS1banda) October 11, 2020
I hope the same for all women.
I know that in this society that undermines women that it may seem like I'm asking for a lot, but I'm asking for fairness, care & for better.