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Monday, September 20, 2010

Our birth story

My dears, at looong last, I'd love to share our birth story with you. Here goes...xoxo
On the warm spring evening of Monday, May 24th, Alex and I were hanging out at home. My belly was getting enormous (and tight as a drum), so we took a few random snapshots, just for fun. Toby’s due date was more than a week away, so we didn't expect to go into labor anytime soon (let alone in a matter of hours!).
Alex and I had Indian food for dinner, and I roped him into watching The Bachelorette. (When you're nine months pregnant, you control the remote.)

After the show, we were just hanging out in the living room, when I started getting cramps very low down, like menstrual cramps. At that point in my pregnancy, everything was pretty creaky and uncomfy, so I just figured, “Ahh, more aches and pains, nothing new here.” As Alex and I chatted, I moaned softly and told him about the cramps, but I was convinced that it was false labor, since my belly wasn't tightening, like my birthing books had said it would. Luckily, Alex wisely ignored me and started timing my contractions. They were five minutes apart.
Over the next couple hours, the cramps kept getting stronger, and I went to lie down in the bedroom. I was pretty uncomfortable at this point, and I admitted that there was a small chance I was in labor, but I still doubted it. (What was I thinking? In hindsight, it was so obvious!) A little after midnight, Alex suggested we call the doctor. The doctor said that we might be in early labor, and if the cramps sped up and became stronger, we should come into the hospital. Shortly afterwards, the contractions became three minutes apart…it was game time!
Now that we knew it was (mostly likely) actual labor, Alex and I were out-of-our-minds excited. I couldn't believe it was really happening and that we would meet our baby soon. Alex grabbed our hospital suitcase, and we headed downstairs to catch a cab. We laughed at how obvious the scene must have looked to passersby: It was 2 in the morning, and a harried guy holding one small suitcase was flagging a cab, while his enormously pregnant wife clutched her belly beside him. What else would we possibly be doing?
(This photo cracks me up.) A cab stopped to pick us up, and I clutched the windowsill and tried to keep my moans to a minimum, so as not to freak out the driver. After a twenty-minute cab ride uptown, we arrived at Weill Cornell Medical Center. We were taken to a triage room, where the doctors decide if you should be admitted. They checked my dilation, and it was only 2 centimeters! You have to be dilated 10 centimeters to deliver a baby, so I had hoped that we'd be further along, but was thrilled to get the official word that we were in labor. Luckily, my contractions were so strong and close together that they admitted us. (The admitting doctor at first contemplated sending us for a walk around the block! Yeah, right!)

We moved into our labor room around 3:30am. The room was big and beautiful, and it felt very peaceful and hushed in the middle of the night. We couldn’t believe we were in the place where we would meet our little baby! It all felt very exciting and surreal. Our nurse, Erika, was really sweet and calming and explained that she'd keep an eye on us, and we could buzz her on a little remote control anytime we needed her.

For the next few hours, my contractions grew stronger and stronger. I tried different labor techniques, including walking around the room with Alex's support, sitting on the bed, lying on my side, splashing water on my face, and picturing my "happy place" (my grandparents' seaside village in England). Alex offered to massage my lower back (we'd even brought a tennis ball to help), but I was surprised to find that I didn’t want to be touched at all. We’d also brought calming music, but I wanted complete silence.

Another surprise: I’d expected to feel self-conscious about moaning. Weeks earlier, I had even asked Alex if he would “co-moan” with me (which I'd read about in a book) so that I’d feel less shy. (Since then we've laughed about it; it sounded a little ridiculous.) But during labor, I didn’t even remember that. I was just so focused on each contraction that I couldn't think about anything else. I tried to visualize my body opening up to let the baby move down and found it really helpful.

A third surprise was that I expected labor to feel really long. When I heard that labor can last hours or even days, I figured that it might feel endless. But in the moment, I was so incredibly focused that time passed really quickly. I'd look at the clock, and it would be 4:30am and then I’d glance back up just a few moments later, and it would be 5:30am. The hands of the clock were spinning! It felt almost like a cartoon.
As I labored, Alex brought me glasses of water and told me he loved me, which was so nice to hear and kept me feeling relaxed. I loved having him there. I don’t know how so many women of past generations could labor without their husbands in the room. (Alex's mom told us that her husband wasn't even allowed in!) Last fall, when we first found out that we were expecting, Alex half-joked, “I might be a hand-out-cigars-in-the-waiting-room kind of guy,” since he was nervous about being there during labor, but during my pregnancy and delivery, he was totally incredible. He’s naturally very mellow (a true Californian), so he brought such a calm energy to the labor room and made me feel safe and supported.

As the labor progressed, three things helped me more than anything else: Alex fed me ice chips, which were hugely refreshing. He put cold damp paper towels on my forehead and wiped my face during each contraction, which felt wonderful and helped distract me from the intense pressure. Most of all, I responded enormously to his positive encouragement. He’d say things like, “You’re doing a great job; you're so amazing; I'm so proud of you; our sweet baby boy is coming into the world because of you.” (Those words still make me tear up!) Every time he’d say something buoying, I’d feel a huge new wave of energy. I was amazed at how well positive encouragement helped, and I was so grateful to him.

A few hours later, around 7am, the doctor checked me again. After four hours of contractions, I had dilated only ONE centimeter! And I still had seven more to go. I was a little bummed. The doctor estimated that I'd probably labor all day and deliver sometime later that evening.
Alex and I discussed my getting an epidural and decided it would be a good idea. I got an epidural at 7:30am (which felt like a rush of ice water down my back), and the pain went away almost immediately. I could still feel a bit of pressure during the contractions and felt in control of my body and labor, but there was no pain at all. The following hour was blissful! Alex even took a nap next to me in a chair. He encouraged me to get some sleep, too, but I was too excited and just lay there thinking about Toby.

About an hour later, however, my lower back began to intensely ache. The nurse explained that I was having back labor, which was caused by the baby descending and pressing against my lower back. The doctors explained that although the epidural eases regular contractions, there's not much they can do for back labor.

As the labor intensified, I slipped into a focused zone. I was essentially feeling the contractions in my lower back. I couldn't talk other than moaning during contractions. I felt shaky and a little nauseous. (Looking back, I now know I was in transition from active labor to the pushing phase--typically the most difficult part of labor.)

Suddenly, around 11am, I felt a strong urge to go to the bathroom. I buzzed the nurse, and when she arrived, I explained, in all seriousness, “I have to go to the bathroom right away. Would you mind unhooking me from the heart-rate monitor and helping me walk over?” (Looking back, I realize how crazy that must have sounded! I just didn't think I was far along.)

The nurse explained that it would actually be impossible for me to go to the bathroom, since the baby was blocking everything; she said the sensation was caused by the baby moving down into my pelvis.

“It’s a good sign,” she said. “It means you’re moving closer to delivering the baby."

"No," I insisted, "I have to push now. Like really, really have to push. Like, I have this crazy huge urge to push and I just have to do it. Would you mind getting the doctor right away?"

I could tell that the nurse didn't really believe me, but after some convincing, she called the doctor. When the doctor arrived, she also doubted that I could have dilated so quickly. (After all, they were expecting me to labor all day, and it was only noon.) But when she checked me, her eyes popped.

“Oh, Joanna, you’re fully dilated!” she said. "It's go time!"

She pulled on a mask and scrub cap and called in her team of nurses and resident doctors. (The doctor who delivered us was a-maz-ing; she was tall and athletic and had the can-do spirit of someone who would climb Everest.)

“Dad, grab a leg!” she told Alex. (Before going into labor, I had demurely planned to ask Alex to stay up by my head, but at that moment, I didn’t care at all.)

The next part was like out of the movies, where you have your legs up and you’re huffing and puffing to push out the baby. It was so, so exciting and intense. I got nervous about the increasing pain, but the doctor said, “When you feel like you need to push, I’ll count to ten, and you push as hard as you can for those ten seconds.”

It was tough and I got a little freaked out by the pain. I would push really hard for about six seconds and then back off. At one point, I even found myself secretly thinking, 'I don't really have to deliver this baby; I'll just stay like this from now on, no big deal.' But the doctor and nurses and Alex were all cheering for me to push and giving me tons of encouragement. I was pushing and pushing, and at one point, I cried out, “I can't do it!” The doctor's awesome response? “Joanna, you CAN do it…you ARE doing it." Finally, after pushing for about twenty minutes, I thought, 'OK, Joanna, let's get this job done.' So I told myself that instead of being scared of the pain, I would just focus on the doctor's voice counting to ten, and that’s all I would think about for those ten seconds. So, for the next push, I put the pain out of my mind, and did an enormous push while I focused on her count each of those ten seconds. And, lo and behold, the baby’s head popped out! Everyone gave a hearty cheer, and Alex was just staring wide-eyed. The doctor told me to reach down and feel the baby's head, which was totally surreal and amazing and gave me another boost of energy.

The doctor instructed me to push when I felt the urge, and I kept pushing as hard as I could, but the next few times, the baby only budged a little bit. Then our doctor said, "You're so close, Joanna; this baby could be out with the next push.” And I thought to myself, 'Ok, then, if he can be out, he will be out!'

What happened next was really strange: I heard myself ROAR. I didn't know I was going to. But I just took a huge breath, squeezed my eyes closed, and put every bit of strength I had into pushing with all my might--and roared like an animal!

And then, whoosh! The baby slithered out like a slippery fish. It was such a funny, unexpected, amazing, thrilling feeling.
So it was at 12:40pm that the doctor placed teeny Toby into my arms. He was purplish-red and wet and crying, and my heart felt like it was going to burst. He felt soft and smooth, and I was weeping and laughing. It was so magical to be cuddling our sweet sweet baby in my arms after nine months. I would have a million babies just for that moment.
His lovely new baby lungs in action! What a little hero!
After a moment, the baby nurse took him to weigh and clean him. His mouth was so giant; he looked like Mick Jagger.
The overwhelming love of a mama starts immediately.
I couldn't stop gazing into Toby's squinting eyes and stroking his wet little head.
This is the photo we sent to our families from Alex's phone that morning.
Toby looks so regal and proud of himself in this photo! (And he had the hugest puppy-dog hands! They looked like they were made of clay.)
There's nothing sweeter than seeing your husband hold your new baby. (Fun fact: Alex had held a baby maybe twice in his life before this.)
After the doctors had left the room, Alex came close to me, and I cuddled Toby in my arms and gave him his first feed. He latched right on to the breast, and it was so cozy and intimate. I felt such overwhelming waves of love, and everything felt perfect and wonderful. The way our bodies work is so amazing; your body grows a baby (a baby!), delivers it and then feeds it with milk. I also have such great newfound respect for all mothers for bringing their babies into the world, and for babies for doing such a great job being alive.

Remembering that day still makes me weepy. Thank you so much for reading our story and being so lovely throughout our pregnancy, as well. It has been such a joy to share everything with you. This week I'll share a few photos from the rest of our hospital stay, and Alex would love to share his side of the birth story, as well. xoxoxoxoxoxo

644 comments:

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heidi adnum said...

Joanna, thanks so much for sharing your amazing story. It was a privilege to read. Your thoughts on being excited and determined inspire me to be less scared about childbirth! Congratulations, again :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, sincerely. This was so good to read.

Polly said...

This is such a beautiful story! It made me cry. Congratulations again for your beautiful boy xx

Anonymous said...

I feel a little weepy, too!

Thank you for sharing. Incredible.

E in Holland.

Caroline, No. said...

So amazing to read! And I love the first pictures, where you are both still messing around taking pictures at home and in the taxi... Thanks for sharing and congratulations again! x

Catherine said...

Awww - Toby's the cutest, what a hero your husband was, and you, wow, well done!

Great, great post x

la franglaise said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful birth story. It was definitely worth the long wait! ;) And you made it extra special by documenting every moment with photos. Bises xx

ps: I look forward to reading Alex's version too!

Katrin said...

So happy for your little family. Well done you!

Tracey said...

A great birth is a memory to hold onto until your last breath. xx

Anonymous said...

congradulations! wonderful to hear you had such a great time welcoming your little boy into the world. cant wait to hear papa's story too - love a great birth recall and a treat to hear the dad's experience, its amazing what we miss being in the thows of labour. so exciting. took me back to my 2 babies - i did the rexona blog with you a couple of years ago my daughter was just a 2 yr old and since then i had a baby boy a year ago - so its all fresh and made me weep like a baby!
thanks so much for sharing and enjoy all the gorgeous moments of motherhood, its priceless!
lots of love for the new familia!
elvira lopez
x

Elizabeth @rosalilium said...

Wow. Thank you for being so open and sharing your journey. It sounds incredible.

nath said...

wow. well that was worth waiting for. it took me back to the night of Iris's birth (at home, almost four years ago) and it's funny, i didn't think i could be in labour either. itv was one of the best nights of my life. motherhood and parenthood - it's a beautiful beautiful thing - thank you for sharing!

Sundari said...

This is so beautiful, you make it sound real yet also really unreal. I remember my baby sister arriving into this world, for a teenage sister it was very special. Congratulations once again.

George said...

What a great story! It still astounds me how much work goes in to creating every person!

George

Caddy said...

A beautiful story! Joannna, you and Alex had a such a great attitude throughout and so did the medical team. Reading this gives me a new appreciation for the human body and mothers.

littlewinterbride said...

what a lovely birthing story. I'm sitting here having my morning coffee with tears streaming down my face (happy tears) thank you for sharing....I hope someday soon I will have a birthing story to tell that's just as beautiful. Congrats again

Brit said...

Beautiful story... So nice of you to share it!

Ritsya said...

That is beautiful. What a miracle you hold in your hands everyday! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story of love.

Megan said...

ah! its 5:40am and Im starting my day all teary! (in a good way) Toby is the most handsome little man. What a wonderful story :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your birth story. Toby is so beautiful. My son is 11 and I never wrote my birth story but after reading yours I'm going. I delivered two weeks early and when I read your story I was surprised by how much I recalled. I though after 11 years the story would blured by I'm happy to say it's only stored in the hard drive that resides in my mind. Thank you, again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna,

I've been reading your blog every day for a pretty long time now! I remember feeling so excited when I read you and Alex were engaged..then your beautiful wedding... then pregnant..and now a beautiful baby boy!! You seem to have had so much happiness in such a short amount of time. It really makes me feel so excited for the day when I meet the right man, and hopefully everything will fall into place. It's a beautiful thing to witness. Your birth story was great, can't wait to read Alex's perspective on it!

Lots of love to you and your perfect family.

Katie, England.

Ps. When are you getting a dog?!

Claire said...

When I read the encouragement Alex was giving you I got so choked up and teary. It was a real team effort and it's wonderful how supportive of you he was: “You’re doing a great job; you're so amazing; I'm so proud of you; our sweet baby boy is coming into the world because of you.” Wow! What a beautiful story!

Astrid said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'm not yet a mother myself, but you make me look even more forward to it!

Tiffany's Small World said...

Beautiful!thank you for sharing. I really like your blo. Im now following


visit my fashion blog at


http://tiffanyssmallworld.blogspot.com

Lucy Calico said...

wow, definitely made me cry, what a beautiful story! You are such an amazing writer Joanna, seriously your honesty and truth is what everyone here appreciates so much! Thank you so much for sharing! So beautiful, life is a miracle!

xo

Lucy

Anne said...

What a beautiful story! And Joanna, I'm amazed at how good you look on these pictures! I was a mess after the birth of my baby girl. Happy for you! :)

Betty Bake said...

oh stunning joanna
much love for your gorgeous story and for letting us into your hearts :)
I love your blog

your little toby is precious

love
Betty Bake
http://bettybakeblog.blogspot.com

evie dear said...

thank you Joanna, that was beautiful :)

Annie said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful birth story! Every year on my birthday, my mom tells me the story of my birth. I definitely suggest telling Toby about his entrance into the world!

Monica said...

Amazing-tears-in-my-eyes story! Thanks so much for sharing :)

Chassity said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharig with us all. We had our first child 10 months ago and this brought back lots of happy memories.
Www.looklingerlove.blogspot.com

carina said...

All good things come to those who wait - Babies and birth stories!:-) Thanks for sharing - and can't wait to hear Alex's story - it's so seldom you get to hear what the father thinks and feels in this situation.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

I'm all weepy!

Sounds like you had a perfect birthing experience. I wish mine were like that. I had c-sections with both kids and neither went very well. I'll save you the gory details.

Having a kid is SO BIZARRE. I have all the scars and signs that I have 2 kids, but sometimes I don't really believe that I actually did it. It's so amazing, and that instant when the baby goes from your belly to being it's own being is really, I don't know, BIZARRE! Just thinking about it makes me teary-eyed and a little weirded-out, too.

Congrats! It's so amazing. The big question: Are you and Alex thinking of another one yet?

Ms Fran said...

I am woman ... hear me roar!!

Go you!!! What a great story and sweet little guy.

Big loves to you all.

XxOoXx

okaycamille said...

I love all the details and the intimacy of your birth story. Thank you so much for sharing! I hope it's only gotten even better from then on. Even as a total stranger I send you heartfelt congratulations.

Julie-Inspired said...

So beautiful Joanna..thanks so much for sharing!

Julie xo

Emma said...

This is so lovely...I *may* have shed a little tear :) ~ Emma

Victoria said...

What a wonderful story!!! I laughed, I cried, it was just so sweet! You have such a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your story!

Amanda said...

This is quite possibly the best, most-detailed birthing story I have ever read, and I'm so grateful to have come across it. Thanks for sharing, and many blessings to your family. :)

Chapstick Fanatic said...

What a great story! I giggled at the co-moan paragraph and teared up at pretty much every paragraph after that. What a great day to start the morning! He is so cute!

Tooty McFrooty said...

Such an inspirational story - huge congratulations! You make me feel like I really could do it one day! I love your honesty. xx

Victoria said...

Whenever I read a birth story I always cry, and this one was no different! Lovely to hear all the details. Yes, I too remember that roar that comes deep from within. Such a proud wonderful amazing moment when your baby arrives. Congrats again.

Jill GG (good life for less) said...

of course it still makes you weepy... it makes ME weepy and I am a perfect stranger! so beautiful and sad to think that personally I am done with that... those first moments and days are so precious. congrats on parenthood! savor the moments!

Kate said...

Such a beautiful post x

Leigh said...

Joanna! You are such a natural mama and obviously an incredible storyteller as well. I LOVE this. Love you guys!

fatfatsheep said...

Looks like the little beanie hats are the same "globally" ....
We have the same ones here in Holland.. ; )
It seems we have more in common than "only" labor pain...
So cute story!

kate said...

I love birth stories!! Always bring me back to my babies births & make me weepy too. Definitely the most amazing day of a mother's life. You did an amazing job! Thanks for sharing :)

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Big tears of joy for your lovely story Joanna. Toby does look extremely proud and regal. Thank for sharing such a wonderful time in your lives with all of us! ox

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

Joanna, thank you so much for sharing your birth story! I am filled with joy at the happy arrival of your son! You, Alex, and Toby make a beautiful family!

Martha said...

Joanna, This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a personal moment. I am in tears. All I can think about is giving birth to my little guy in January!

Ashley said...

Such sweet memories! Hooray for Toby! You all look gorgeous--so happy.

Kristin Jo said...

Love it. We had babes within weeks of each other, the experience is heavenly.

Jennifer said...

Beautiful story... love it (as the tears in my eyes can attest to!). Made me remember the birth of my babies... 15 and 22 years ago!!!

erin said...

such a wonderful tribute to the two of you and your sweet little guy. thanks for sharing your story, joanna--it's lovely.

LiveLikeYou said...

Congratulations! Your life will never be the same!

i-u said...

This is the most beautiful post I've ever read! :) I hope you don't mind, if featured you in my blog, to share your lovely story for those who chanced on my blog.

P.S: Toby is lovely. When I have children of my own, I hope one of them looks like sweet Toby. :)

World is My oyster said...

hi yes! thank you for making me cry so early. This is wonderful thanks for sharing

Kim said...

this is beautiful, and so worth the wait. i can tell you are a great mama already. xoxo

fairytaleincorporated said...

We are all connected with your gift of sharing...

...with tears of joy I send my heart and gratitude to you Joanna...

The Lil Bee said...

Jo, I have such chills reading this. It was such a sweet and heartwarming and at times really funny story! The first time I breast fed Devon was such a bond that I wasn't even expecting. Congratulations all over again:)

Now, when does Devon get to meet Mr. Man anyway?! xo

Emily said...

That is so unbelieveably beautiful. The passion you wrote it with and the amazing details. Makes me excited and scared to death to have a child one day. Thank you for being so open and sharing such an intimate moment.

Caitlin said...

What a wonderful and amazing story. It's so crazy to think that our bodies are designed to grow and deliver such a miracle of life. I'm so happy for your beautiful and healthy family!

Lindsay said...

so beautiful :)

Jill Wignall said...

I had a big smile on my face reading this! Thank you for sharing your story with your readers and I can't wait to hear Alex's side of it!

trishybee said...

thank you so much for sharing your beautiful amazing story! The birth story and the whole pregnancy story! I love your observations on how you felt compared to how you thought you would feel and will remember that whenever I have a child. Your son is just so beautiful. Congratulations :)

Alison said...

Oh my god the tears!! I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing. I’m 4 months pregnant myself so it was so fun to hear your story. My husband (still getting used to calling him that) and I found out we are expecting the Monday before our wedding in July! I’m already excited but now even more so. Congratulations!!!

Chichi Mangou said...

thank you for your beautiful story et congratulations for your wonderful little boy! you make me cry in France!!!
(PS: Alex's words are perfect!)

Katie said...

Definitely made me cry! Beautiful!

Chichi Mangou said...

thank you for your beautiful story et congratulations for your wonderful little boy! you make me cry in France!!!
(PS: Alex's words are perfect!)

A Sunday Kind Of Love said...

This was so beautiful! I definitely was tearing up while reading! Thank you for sharing this with us, Joanna!
(also, that whole thing about "demurely" wanting to ask Alex to stay up near your head made me laugh because that's always been my plan too! I guess when you're in labor all you care about is getting the baby OUT!)

PoetessWug said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for sharing your lovely story with us. I have never had children. Never even been pregnant, but I feel like I completely know what it feels like now that I've read your story. The details of his lips and hands and etc.....So amazing!! I can't wait to see more pictures and hear Alex's side of the story!!! :-)

Ari said...

Thanks for sharing. It's a beautiful story and so well told. Also perfectly frightening for young women :o lol

Kathryn Hager said...

Wow! I don't know where to begin. My husband and I have been married for 5 months and every day since then my husband has ask if we can have a baby and due to work and a huge remodel we have postponed pregnancy. We decided last week we would start trying and reading this really helped me. (sometimes I get freaked out at the thought of the "birthing process")! My husband is so amazing and has said if he could get pregnant he would for me! Anywho..love the story and thank you so much for sharing!

Melanie said...

beauitful (made me tear up)! thank you so much for sharing this intimate story.

Ashley Lynn Fry said...

All I can do is SMILE. Lovely birth story. Congratulations again!

xoxo

prettyshaw said...

What a gorgeous story!! Since I am seven months pregnant, I must admit that your very detailed account had me a tad nervous, but the end result made it all worthwhile. I hope my experience is just as lovely. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations to both you and Alex!

TheSensesFive said...

Oh Joanna what an amazing job you did! Thank you for sharing your story! xo

esdelope said...

Joanna - I completely echo what has been said above. That was a joy to read! The love and support you and Alex each have for each other is so palpable - even while giving birth, you each put each other up so beautifully. Toby is so fortunate to have such caring parents, and I wish you even more joy to come.

Becca

Rose said...

Hi Joanna, I loved reading this. It gives us all hope that we will be able to get through the pain and excitement with good humour and grace like you, Alex and Toby- well done!

Brittany said...

Oh, this made me so happy to read! Thank you for putting it online! I know you've been talking about getting it up for awhile and it made it that much better to look forward to. Thank you!!

macaca grava por cima said...

what a lovely lovely testemony... Bless you and your lovely family for adding so much love to the world!!
I'm less than 3 months away from my first son labour and I was very touched by your sweet sweet words, by the courage and realness of this text.
I'll just hope I'll be as courageous as you were! Can't wait to see my little baby boy :-)

THANK YOU for sharing it with us!

Claudia Cifuentes said...

This was definitely worth the wait, Joanna! Thank you for sharing your beautiful + inspiring birth story! Absolutely touching! Congrats to you, Alex + Toby, the champ! Toby, welcome to the world! xo!

Kristine said...

Wow. Your story made me cry and I don't have a maternal bone in my body. It briefly made me consider having baby.Congratulations. Your baby is beautiful and I am sure you will be wonderful sweet parents.

Prippy Handbook said...

I had no idea this would make me teary eyed... but I'm currently patting my face. Truly beautiful and thank you so much for being so brave and sharing this.

Claire Gibson King said...

beautiful, just beautiful. brought tears to my eyes!

MEGAN said...

Made me nice and weepy! Congratulations mama!

DeeDee said...

OH! This made me weepy -and I've seen hundreds of births!
What a joyous time for you. What a strong, amazing Mother. Much love to your entire family!

erica said...

toby really does have huge puppy paws!

Anna said...

Oh my goodness Joanna... you've just mad me have the most amazing flashbacks. It's such a rollercoaster of emotions on the day. I'm all teary just remembering it!

Miss Hothouse Orchid said...

Beautiful! So nice of you to share your sweet story! Congrats!

mary said...

I *loved* reading this - so honest and touching. I've bookmarked it to refer to when my turn comes. :)

Lauren said...

Beautiful story Jo! I started tearing up just reading it. Sweet little Toby has an amazing mama and papa!

nicole said...

Big tears of joy. Congrats! YOU ROCKED IT, Joanna! And, Alex, you were pretty dang amazing, too. Well done, Team Goddard-Williams! Very well done. xoxo.

tvmom said...

what a great story! thanks so much for sharing!

Crystal Patenaude said...

Just a beautiful story, Joanna! And now, I'm really looking forward to hearing Alex's side too :) Thanks so much for sharing!

You Are My Fave said...

You're such a champ. I love that you unexpectedly roared. Awesome.

Lauren said...

That was so beautiful! I'm at work reading this and crying. Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment in your lives. I cannot wait to have kids of my own. Congratulations!!

Nora said...

Thanks. I just found out I'm pregnant, and am terrified out of my wits about the whole giving birth-process. You make it sound - well, not so bad. Maybe even worth while experiencing. Why do all my friends and colleagues focus only on the agonizing pain and the gross details when they talk about giving birth? I really don't know how to face it all. So thank you. Again. This helped. A bit. (PS: Am really exited about becoming a mother - just wish the physical part of getting there was not as frightening).

Natalia said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story with us! It is so beautiful. You shared it in such a lovely, calm, present and controlled way. You really make me feel confident about having my own baby when that day comes!!

Red Penny said...

loved reading this... am about 5 weeks away from meeting my own little boy at cornell weill, and your story has made me feel such renewed positivity and excitement for this amazing experience. thx so much for sharing yours with us!

Mariena said...

This is SO awesome Joanna! I feel like if/when I get to have a baby I can do it. And I know I'll remember your story. It is so well written and the pictures are amazing. You and Alex are troopers, and Toby is beyond adorable. The photos of the first feed are so cute and funny. Toby looked to eager! Congrats once again. And thank you for sharing your story :-)

Mrs. R said...

Loved the story!!

The Sunny Side said...

Your sweet birth story brought tears to my eyes….thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

ChloƩ said...

Oh my goodness, Joanna. I cried and laughed out loud reading this. I don't even know you or Alex or Toby, but your story makes me so excited for me and my husband to have our first baby (I'm 20, so I've got a few years :)).

It was so nice to hear all of the things that happened that you didn't expect and what an amazing supporter Alex was for you.

Also, you looked so gorgeous in the pictures!

Melissa Blake said...

Joanna, what an amazing story!! I'm so glad you shared it with us...thank you. And Toby will enjoy reading it one day, too! xoxo

Congrats again!

jb said...

this is brilliant. thank you for sharing. it really was very lovely to read.

Katie said...

Such a sweet and honest story!! Thanks so much for sharing with the world ~ now I'm weepy too! :)

Candice said...

absolutely beautiful. makes my little heart all warm and fuzzy. :)

Ali B. said...

Beautiful baby, and beautiful story! Congratulations!

escalante blogger said...

Congrats guys. That's a very special love gift from God.

shayna said...

I really loved reading your story. It was very honest and real and personal. Thank you for sharing.

Sara Szatmary said...

I am totally tearing up. What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing!

StephanieC-W said...

Yay! I've been excited to read this. My eyes were all teary!
Thanks so much for sharing!

Marina said...

Sometimes it feels like ages ago I gave birth to my daughter. Reading your story (so familiar, every detail!), it feels like just yesterday. Weeping & laughing with you. Joanna, you were so beautiful. They (we)grow so unbelievably fast. Thank you for sharing.

Audrey said...

beautiful! i cried, felt like i relived my own labor and delivery (11 months ago) all over again, our stories are so similar. congrats on having such a smooth and no-complications l&d, and healthy child, good recovery. quite a blessing.

Joslyn said...

Joanna
This is so completely beautiful and special. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. You took me right back to the moment I had both of my girlies.

magic.

xoxo
joslyn

marissa said...

joanna thank you SO much for sharing this! you are such a lovely person and i enjoy your blog so so so much! this was such a great birth story! xoxo

corksandcaftans said...

big fat tear drops.

so, so sweet.

AnnaK said...

Oh my gosh Joanna. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm not pregnant yet, but this is exactly how I would hope it goes for me when I do get pregnant. The whole thing freaks me out and I love your line: "I don't really have to deliver this baby; I'll just stay like this from now on, no big deal." I imagine myself thinking/feeling that exact same thing.
Congrats to you. You have a beautiful family.

Mo Pie, Please said...

This is such an amazing story, Joanna. You really have a way with words! I teared up quite a few times and found myself overwhelmed with jealousy and happiness for you! Congrats again :)

Foxglove Accessories said...

Lovely. I'm anxiously awaiting the birth of my little girl in November, and this has made me even more excited! I'm so happy this was such a pleasant and moving experience for both of you.

Ashleigh said...

Oh what a wonderful story!
I love a good cry at work (*hides from co-workers*). Thank you so much for sharing with us. It was such a joy to follow along with the pregnancy and it will be just as exciting to watch Toby grow! Congrats again :)

Giovanna said...

Congratulations!! It's truly an amazing story, thank you for sharing. You have an inspiring energy and it makes me hope that I'll be as blissful as you were.

Taylor Sterling said...

wow thank you for sharing!I am nervous and excited for the day I have my first baby! You and your family are so sweet and special!

johnny said...

what a great story! I was recalling our trip to the hospital and how much trouble we had with the taxi:

baby #1 - First day on the job and didn't know how to get ANYWHERE

baby #2 - pulled over by cops because taxi wasn't licensed

lynne said...

This is so wonderful. Congratulations, a million times, to all three of you. You are such a great family.

Sincerely Sara Cate said...

You told your story beautifully. You had me rooting for you, and then welling up with tears all at the same time. Congratulations on your bundle of joy!

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Thank you SO much for sharing this with us. Beautiful!

Janice said...

WOW - what an incredible birth story! You did such an amazing job - thank you for sharing that!

After giving birth, you must feel like you can accomplish just about anything! :)

*sarah berry design* said...

Beautiful story Joanna! Beautiful baby, beautiful mama, beautiful family.
xo Sarah

Amanda said...

Oh, I love a good birth story. Even for people I don't even know, I always get a little teary eyed! Congrats on your beautiful birth - it sounds perfect, and Toby is perfect as well!

alli/hooray said...

Thanks for sharing your story and for being so honest + open! Congrats again to you guys on a beautiful baby boy.

Ana Carolina said...

I was born on the same day as Toby! Only a couple of hours later, around 14h30! That's the perfect day to be born! Thanks for sharing this amazing moment!

Vinyasa Mama said...

how lovely! reminds me of our own story just a few months earlier. crazy how you can go from almost no dialiation to completely dialated in a matter of minutes!

thank you for sharing!

shelliebellie said...

aaww you made me havr to go pull my scrapbook out of when my son was born. And no i'm so eager for my second to born, LONG ways to go. i'm only 11 & 1/2 weeks.

what a sweet story

mugspugs said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story! I am sitting here tearing up at my desk...congrats! Toby is so beautiful!

Shannon said...

This is so incredible. I've never heard anyone give the play-by-play quite like this. Congratulations to you and your lovely family and thanks for your blog, which is always such a treat to read.
~Shannon

sue said...

Truly an inspiration to every woman out there that she can deliver her baby!!! What a beautiful birth story. Congratulations to you and Alex, and welcome to the world, Tobey (albeit a little belated).

Bethanie said...

So sweet! I just had my baby 7 weeks ago and this brought back so many memories and definitely got me all teary.
Giving birth is the most amazing experience in the world, so so amazing.

Sheri Reed said...

Beautifully told, Joanna. Brought back some good stuff for me too. Yes, the roar.

amourissima said...

Dead giveaway that I am not working right now- I'm having a teary little cry over your fantastic post.

I've always been terrified of child birth- yes, I would love to have children but I just imagine that I would never be able to make it through the labour. You post though, it changed my mind. I know this all sounds silly but I am moved and this may have actually change a little fearful part of me.

Thank you so much for sharing such a private and personal experience. :)

Congrats to you and your little family!

Keri said...

This is such a lovely birth story. Thank you for being so open and sharing your complete experience, the highs and lows of laboring and giving birth. It brought me back to the births of my daughters! Toby will be so happy to have this record of his first moments later on. Lucky guy. Thank you for your honesty and openness!

Grandma Kathleen said...

My daughter and son-in-law just informed us that they are expecting in march. It made me cry! And reading your birth story made me cry. Having a baby is truly a miracle! Your little Toby is beautiful!

Heather said...

What an amazing story! Congratulations!

stephanie said...

oh joanna, thank you for sharing your sweet story. i've never gotten to hear such a personal view on the birth of someones little one before.

Monique said...

What a heartfelt story. I love that you describe the sounds you made as a Roar...What a fierce lady you are. Toby is so lucky to be born into so much warmth and love.

Ashlee said...

beautiful writing joanna...toby's pretty cute too! :)

Summer said...

Thank you so much for your birthing story. It was so beautiful and inspiring. The more women who share their birthing stories the better. It makes those of us who haven't had babies yet realize that there's nothing to be afraid of. Our bodies were made for this. As a newly pregnant person I cannot wait to experience the miracle of birth. :)

dark_chocolate said...

Thanks for sharing, that was an amazing story!

Meg said...

what a lovely story! joanna, thank you for sharing this intimate part of your life :) my sister-in-law had a baby last month (our new little nephew daniel!) and we weren't able to be at the hospital when he was born, and she is quite a private person and doesn't want to talk about the details too much, so hearing about your birth story in detail is extra special for me.

wonderchris said...

I was already crying when you said...that line still makes me tear up!

What a beautiful birth story - full of LOVE!!!

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This story was written beautifully and seriously made me cry. Congratulations to you and your new family!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this - thank you!! It started my day off right -- and I needed it!

Mariellen Cherry Rigby said...

WOW that was so sweet!! I am currently 3.5 months pregnant. This made me get more excited and less scared!!!

jacqueline said...

Such a wonderful story, Joanna! You can see the motherly glow in your face as Toby was being born into the world...so happy for you and your husband. Congratulations to Toby for making such a grand and beautiful debut!

lauren said...

oh my gosh... i am in tears with a huge smile on my face! thank you for sharing that beautiful story and your beautiful family! you are so brave and strong and so so very lucky, Alex too!
i totally remember what my mum told me about the day i was born and it is such a special moment to know. your little Toby will be so happy to have this one day!


thank you!
love love love!

Cosmic said...

Bella! Bella! Bella!

Thank-you for sharing this wonderful and priceless gift:)

Alleen said...

Beautiful story...

Janie Gleason said...

Ah, crying!

Nicola said...

This is beautiful. :)

Cassi said...

I'm sitting at my desk wiping the tears streaming down my face as my coworkers walk past me giving bewildered looks. This was such a beautiful story. Thank you so so much for sharing. I can't believe how smiley you were! You are glowing in all of those photos! You offer more encouragement to future mothers than you probably realize. Thank you. :)

Ale said...

What more can I say than breath taking?! The story, your emotions, the photos... what an INCREDIBLE story! Thank you for honoring us by sharing this intimate experience with us.

Megan Champion said...

What a sweet story, I never tire of hearing about the miracle of life. Thank you for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

So we just found out we are pregnant yesterday....today is kind of calm and blissful, I am sitting at work listening to "shape of my heart"-dominic miller....and then I open your blog and by the end of it...my face is wet, I have ruined my make-up and am a mess.
But it made me smile and I'm greatful for your post....It sure made my day.

Erika Peterson said...

What a wonderful story! I can't wait to hear it from Alex as well. Congrats again!

Grace said...

Oh Joanna, your story made it all so vividly real, and even though it did make me a little more scared about giving birth than I already was, I'm even more excited to become a mother eventually. I was so weepy while reading this, and bursting with happiness for you and your family. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us, it was amazing to be able to be a part of it.

Lois said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story, I loved reading it! Your family is just precious.

Paige Tice Broadbent said...

I have a feeling that every woman who just read this was teary eyes at the end! What a sweet story of how Toby came to be! thanks for sharing that with us!

jamieofalltrades said...

So sweet! Thanks for sharing your story.

Sunnydaze said...

This just brought me to tears, in the best way possible. Thank you so much for sharing!

Sharon said...

Well I am sitting here crying after reading your story. I really don't know why ...remembering the delivery of my own children and the 20+ years since those days, I suppose ...but your story touched me so deeply. Thank you.

Beverly said...

Congratulations to you, alex and toby. the great thing is you can show this to him when he starts learning to read and one of his first stories can be the first chapter of his autobiography.

the blessings and love of god to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have just started trying for a baby, and just making that decision together has had such an impact in the way I see our relationship and life in general. This story really touched my heart

Lael said...

I loved reading your special story! It makes me exited to one day experience the birth of my own children. How amazing and lovely!!

beth said...

joanna-

you probably hear this all the time (if not constantly!), but you are an outstanding writer. if you wrote a book, i'd easily be one of the first in line to buy it. not to mention that the topic of the story was wonderful. :)

Blue Is Bleu said...

I'm totally freaked out by motherhood and child birth but your story makes me feel like I could do it! :)

Toby's a beautiful boy... and he really did have big hands for a baby! lol So cute!

NotoriousMLE said...

Absolutely beautiful Joanna. Inspiring!

Diana said...

ahh, i'm weepy now too! what an amazing story, and what a sweet boy toby is. isn't it amazing that a person, a real live person is made like this, and born with his own unique personality?

Logan said...

Oh man, reading this made me cry at my desk! What a great story. You are so brave!

christie said...

amazing story! thanks for sharing. it makes me not feel so scared about giving birth. i needed to hear it. god bless you and your beautiful family.

Gosia said...

I was checking your blog every hour or so yesterday, and eventually I read your story today at 6 am GMC (time difference, I'm reading from Edinburgh). I was so moved I had to wake up my husband and tell him how beautiful your birth story was (there were tears as well). Congratulations and all the best in the world for your happy family! xxx

Framed said...

I am in tears, and transported back 17 years to holding my own baby in my arms right after giving birth. THANK YOU, Joanna. XX

Just Sweet Love said...

This was wonderfully told, Joanna. I loved every single part of it.

Not your goddess said...

Oh I can't wait to do this again!!!

Aline said...

What an amazing story! I don't think I've ever read a labor experience that gave me such a clear feeling of what it will be like. I've always wondered about these specific details, like what helped you and what you were feeling, and thank you for sharing them with us! Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy!

julianne rose said...

oh that was heavenly to read - i completely cried. i work in the developing world (currently in brazil, but mostly i've been in different african countries) helping try to educate women about maternal health - a woman in africa has a 1 in 12 chance of dying in childbirth, ah! and hardly any of them have any support at all - let alone a soothing husband. so whenever i read about successful, supportive, and beautiful births like this my heart aches at how special it all is, and how much i wish this experience were universal for women!

your story is gorgeous, and i'm so happy you shared it. thank you for bringing such brightness to my day :)

beijos from brasil,
julianne.

roysie said...

Joanna, thank you for sharing this beautiful story so candidly. Now I'm less apprehensive to have one myself (when the time comes). You are going to be a great mother!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, so sweet and beautiful!

Ana.

Margaret said...

Oh my goodness, this makes me so excited to be a mom one day <3

Charlie said...

I've been so scared of bringing a child into this world. After reading your story it doesn't feel scary at all, it feels beautiful. Thank you for sharing, it really helped me :)

And congratulations!

Maria del Mar said...

...So beautiful!!Is the most happy experience that I had lived. It´s a miracle. In this moment I had remembering with your experience these moments.When I watch my son...I think I´m very happy!!
I seem that I will be a good mom...;-)

photohogger said...

Wow, incredible moment to share Joanna! So wonderful!

Caroline Royce said...

Gorgeous!
I got chills and couldn't stop smiling. And how lucky to have a husband as wonderfully attentive and loving as Alex. I think the pre-hospital pictures are particularly adorable. It was definitely worth the wait. I especially love how you contemplate the abilities of the human body. It's truly fascinating.
I love reading about your life, Joanna. I'm so pleased that you enjoy sharing it as much as we love reading about it!

Cocoa Chu Chu said...

What a beautiful story. I can't stop crying as I read it. Thank you so much for sharing.

molly said...

beautiful and sweet.
I have six weeks to go before we will welcome baby boy #3 and reading your story brought back such a rush of emotions. It made me excited and anxious to experience it all over again.

Bianca said...

This was absolutely lovely and a delight to read! I have to say, I think my favorite quote is "When you're nine months pregnant, you control the remote." Congratulations on your amazing little one!

*Simply Colette* said...

Ok, I'm at work reading this... and now I have to secretly wipe my eyes. How beautiful! :)

13bees said...

have another!!

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story- I hope some day it will happen for me too :)

Design Scouting said...

congratulations alex, joanna and toby!!!

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