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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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Kathleen said...

Aw, so beautiful! I'm sitting, reading, and crying with tears running!

Michelle said...

Joanna, this is beautiful. I'm so teary after reading this and absolutely in love with you, Alex and Toby. Congratulations on your sweet, beautiful family.

Erin said...

That was really, really lovely. It's great to hear moms be so honest and open about their experience.

I got a bit teary when I saw that picture of you laughing and crying when you first held Toby. So amazing.

xo

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

Oh thank you so much for sharing your story and your entire pregnancy with all of us. Toby is so beautiful and you are a gorgeous mother and family. I'm so excited for you guys!

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

Thank you for sharing. Reading this brought me back to my son's birth 3 1/2 years ago. We had a few similarities in our birth stories. Can't wait to hear your hubs side of it.

Laura Marie said...

Oh my gosh... crying and clicking my tongue in an "aw" sort of way and just so so happy for you... what a joy-filled day! :) :) Thank you for sharing!

M. said...

such a beautiful story :)

Sydney, The Rabbit-Hearted Girl said...

aw, Joanna, this is so beautiful and sweet. Thanks for sharing it with us. Toby is just adorable!

Jennifer said...

Joanna, now I'm all weepy from your beautiful birth story! I laughed out loud at your thought staying as you were and not really having to deliver, no big deal ;)
The photos are all wonderful, but I think the first photo of Toby feeding is incredible. You look so serene.
Congratulations once again to you, Alex, and little man Toby, and thank you so very much for welcoming your readers in and sharing so much of your lives with us.

Anastasia said...

There are so many great things in this post! I especially love how you heard yourself roar and how toby came out with clay puppy hands.

Colleen said...

This is so beautiful. Worth the wait, Joanna. I love your openness and honesty. It's empowering! xoxo

stephanie said...

Amazing birth story. I got all teary at the part where you mentioned all of Alex's encouraging words. And I also liked that you roared, because that's just awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this with the world.

Courtney said...

Joanna, I just reading this birth story brought tears to my eyes. I don't know you aside from your blog but you were able to evoke all of the emotions that I would feel if one of my friends was telling me this story in person. Little Toby is so blessed to have you and Alex for his parents and I can't wait to hear more stories as he grows up. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing this story with your readers.

best wishes,
Courtney

Estelle said...

Stunning and perfect. Every little bit. Congratulations and thank you for sharing it.

NK said...

Ah, sounds so similar to my labour. Thank you for sharing your story, it took me back to an amazing moment in our lives.

NS-H said...

Oh my goodness! I just read this, and then read it all over again. So, so sweet Joanna. I'm crying, but in the nicest way!

Anna Walker said...

Oh my gosh! So amazingly beautiful! Ha definitely made me tear up and isn't helping with the baby fever, I know you can recall :)

You lucked out big time with both Alex and Toby! :) I can't believe Alex had only help a baby maybe twice ever!

P.S. He really does look like a very tiny Mick Jagger in that one photo.

Whitney said...

Joanna thank you for sharing your story! We are due in December, and this makes me even MORE excited to meet our little girl!

Anonymous said...

This is such a lovely story! Congratulations. :)

Melanie's Randomness said...

Oh wow that is one of the most realistic story I've ever heard. awww & a touching story. Thank you for sharing. You have a beautiful baby boy. =)

Kristen said...

This is amazing! I've never commented here before but I loved reading this. I'm years away from having kids myself but this story is so inspiring.

kate reymann said...

I am sitting here weeping and remembering a day 23 months and one day ago when I got to finally meet my kiddo. Congratulations on your delivery and bringing that sweet boy into the world. You are amazing.

Dana Burch said...

Such a a beautiful love story, Joanna. xoxo

Keryn said...

You done good, Momma. Congratulations again. He's absolutely beautiful.

radhi said...

thanks so much for sharing! tears of joy for you and your sweet family!

sarah said...

amazing! thanks so much for sharing.

Briel79 said...

What a beautiful story Joanna! It made me cry reading it. :) I look forward to reading Alex's side of the story as well!

Gabrielle - Design Mom said...

So beautiful, Joanna! This will be such a treat for you to read and re-read over the years. Hooray!

Bianca said...

i love that you took the time to write this story. it is so sweet. and you look gorgeous through it all.
xoxo

Jennifer said...

Just beautiful :)

Erin said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It was/is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.

RedDirtRevival said...

Oh Joanna! What a wonderful story! Although! His hands are so big and cuuuuute!!!

Jessica said...

i kept checking back all day for this--so glad to read it! thanks so much for sharing. :) i love seeing the pictures of your new family.

Rhea (Greek Feaster) said...

Joanna, thank you so much for sharing! This is amazing. I can't wait to have babies. Lock me up!

hip hip gin gin said...

Oh for heaven's sake! I'm totally crying now! What a beautiful, sweet story! You are one impressive mommy, brings a whole new meaning to " I am woman, hear me roar" doesn't it? Congratulations again, and thanks for sharing this story with us!!
P.S. I'm really excited to read Alex's perspective, one never gets to hear the dad's side of the birth story. I'll have to make sure to share it with my husband, maybe he will learn something for when the time comes for us =)

Carol said...

Picture perfect. How can anyone look as good as you do while in labor?
Second: What is the brand of your glasses frames? I'm looking for them!

Haramaki Love said...

brought tears to my eyes.
thanks so much for sharing your story.

and a question for you, from someone who is on the fence on the epidural - are you happy you got it in the end?

lots of love and light to you and your family
xx

kami @ nobiggie.net said...

Oooh, I loved reading that. all the little details. Isn't it so great?!

So happy for you Joanna!

Chelsea said...

absolutely perfect. alex sounds like a wonderful husband and father, and you look simply gorgeous..even after labor and little sleep! what a blessed family.

Siri said...

What a FABULOUS story!!! I got teared up reading this. Thank you for sharing and for being so honest. I LOVED this and cannot wait to hear Alex's side as well!! Well done, all of you!

the teacup chronicles said...

What an awesome, awesome story. Alex is a champ! And you are warrior!! And Toby is an adorable little dude.

georgina said...

Wonderful, takes me back nearly 11 years when my beautiful daughter was born.
Except for the back labor... really didn't enjoy the back labor.
Congratulations.

ziazia said...

What a wonderful story! Births like that are so amazing and you get to enjoy every little thing that happens.

I had that same "don't touch me and i want everything to be quiet" reaction. It was unexpected because the books didnt say anything about it.
Congratulations to the three of you!

j said...

congrats again! You must do yoga or something to be able to concentrate so deeply. :)
Prior to having my kids, I've held one baby for about 4 minutes...I think when I was in high school. :P

Whimsy Being said...

What a beautiful story! I can't believe what our bodies can do. Can't wait to hear Alex's story as well =)

Soon, Then said...

Oh, Joanna! How beautiful and special and genuine! I feel honored to read about your intimate, special birthing moments. I think every mother can relate, and every woman ought to wish to experience that. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

Briana

Becky said...

What an amazing story! These pictures are incredible!

Patty said...

So beautifully written!

Lady Grey said...

Oh my god, what a beautiful story.... thank you for sharing this. I loved every line : )

Hollie said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the picture of Toby next to the little nose sucker. He looks so tiny.

nadia said...

Amazing story. My husband and I are planning to try for our first baby soon and your lovely story.. it makes me happy and excited for what's to come. Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you always! xo

Nadia

stephanie renee said...

such a beautiful story and we share the same birthday!

Tiffany Ashley said...

WOW-- Amazing story! You, Alex,and Toby have stolen my heart! The part that made my grasp my heart and tear up...

"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."

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!


xoxo- Tiffany

delightfully-chic.blogspot.com

Kayla Poole said...

wow. perhaps my favorite post ever read on a blog. thank you for sharing so honestly and openly. toby has such a strong, beautiful, sparkling mama :)

genevieve, sandbox romance said...

This is an incredible story. Thank you for sharing! May every day with Toby be magical.

Nicole said...

That was absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing! :o)

Tigergoose said...

Beautiful story...you make me appreciate mothers so much. The way you told the story was just darling. I'm an aunt for the first time today, so reading this gave me a strong, ongoing feeling of love. Thanks so much for sharing.

Marissa said...

Beautiful! You make giving birth sound exciting, not scary.

keithandcait said...

beautiful. thank you for sharing!

Taylor K said...

Joanna, that is SUCH a great birth story! I am a doula and LOVE LOVE birth stories. They're my fave. He totally looks like Mic Jagger and it looks like he breastfed like a CHAMP! Way to go Joanna, Toby and Alex! Awesome team effort. :)

Kristen said...

I read your blog every day and always think, I wish I was her neighbor. :) I have never commented, but sometimes this motherhood-bond connects us all. Thank you for sharing your story.

A Day That is Dessert said...

Thank you for sharing so much. I didn't get through it with dry eyes!

French Press Knits said...

Wow- I'm two months away from the due date of my first child. Thanks for reminding me what I have to look forward to- I was tearing up as I read, it is such a beautiful story.

Jessica said...

Hi Joanna,
This was so sweet, beautiful, and REAL. My husband and I are a few years away from having a baby, yet your story has stirred something inside me :) Thank you for sharing your story with us all!

Amanda VanVels said...

Such a beautiful story! It's nice to hear the whole story of a childbirth from top to bottom. I hope you're incredibly in love with your new baby boy.

jora said...

I cannot get enough of birth stories and I read them whenever I can....I simply LOVED yours. Especially the roaring part! :-)

kisses, jora

emily said...

such a beautiful story.. a million thankyous for sharing. I had heard so many stories about the pain and everything and have been terrified.. but your story tells it so beautifully and poetically I now can't wait! Congratulations and thankyou

lark + linen said...

I believe I teared up a totaly of 306 times. Such a beautiful story, thank you for sharing that Joanna!

Brittany said...

a beautiful story! mother's are the bravest beings in the world!

Bess Callard said...

so wonderful. reading it made me teary too. you all look so happy and in love, I hope you stay like that forever :)
xo

mon ami said...

Thank you for your honesty and delight while sharing this story. I am thinking of my own birth story a lot right now, my daughter's second birthday is tomorrow, and reading this brought back so many memories and emotions. What an amazing experience becoming parents and bringing a child into the world is. Thank you for sharing your own amazing experience. xo

asiabonacci said...

I loved reading your birth story. Thank you for sharing!

Kate said...

Oh Joanna! I'm totally sobbing like a baby. I love a good, complications-free birth story! Makes me so excited to have this experience too someday!

Jen Sc said...

This story was just so beautiful.
Thank you so much for sharing this intimate and private experience.
At times I was holding my breath and getting teary eyed!

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in about 6 weeks, so of course I am sitting here typing this through a blur of tears. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

jenny said...

Such a beautiful, beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing such intimate moments with everyone. I laughed, teared up, and fell a little in love with Toby. (:

Lauren O'Neill said...

So, so happy for you, Alex, & Toby! What a touching and beautiful story. I'll never forget my mom recounting my birth to me years later on my birth date + time :) Such a special moment, thank you for sharing your incredible journey. Can't wait for more updates as this sweet little man comes into his own!

PS Love the side notes :)

Amy said...

I had tears in my eyes from reading your story! Thanks for sharing :)

Jgee said...

Oh, that's a beautiful birth story that gave me goosebumps as I read it. The roars, the Mama's instant love, the warrior queens we are during birth, it's all pretty amazing huh?

Amanda said...

Amazing birth story! Toby is so lucky to come into the world filled with such love! xo

Suzy said...

What a beautiful story... thank you for sharing. I'm expecting our second baby in a few weeks, and this reminded me a lot of our first labour... things I had half forgotten, like wanting silence and not wanting to be touched. Congratulations again on your beautiful boy!

mle jean said...

reading this makes me want to experience birthing a baby so badly, and I usually don't think about that stuff. You are courageous, brave and amazing!! Good work, Best wishes to your family!!

Charly said...

Jo! Thank you so much for sharing!
This is so sweet, I cried!
May God bless your beautiful family always! Congratulations from Venezuela.

Daydream Lily said...

oh this is amazing, reading this I cant wait for the moment when I have my first baby. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
x

Toni said...

Jo, fabulous. I don't have a baby yet and reading this was beautiful! Thanx so much for sharing, being so honest! You simply rock! Toni

Jovana M. said...

SO Sweet and funny (at times!) :) That moment you thought "I could just stay like this forever" when you didn't want to push anymore is hilarious because my sister thought the exact same thing.

Toby looked like a trouper and you were definitely a lioness. Congrats! Can't wait for Alex's story.

Kristi said...

Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing, babies are so wonderful! I can't wait to hear Alex's side of this...I should have gotten my husband to write his side of our birth story. I'll bet it would have been pretty interesting.

Clelia said...

Really a sweet, sweet story. I like that you were honest about the pain and the doubts, but that you also captured the 'second wind' feeling - for those of us who haven't had kids yet it is definitely good to hear! You have the cutest newborn I have ever seen:)

kara lynn said...

i loved reading this! thank you for sharing!! thank you! all birth stories are so incredible to read!

Kimber and Casey said...

this was so beautiful! i love everything about this birth story, what a mighty woman you are! i felt like i was there! congrats again! he's such a cuite!!!!

Glenda said...

Joanna, thanks for sharing such a beautiful story full of love. ahhh motherhood... it's amazingly the best gift we can receive...it's so unconditional. Your birth story reminds me a lot like my first delivery, a son, minus the epidural. Back labor and I knew I couldn't do it without my hubby. The ice chips, cold towels on my forehead, the encouraging words... holding my hand and "hee, hee, heeing" with me... I don't know how my mother did it with my dad in the waiting room. Toby is so handsome. Can't wait to hear Alex's story! XO

Lars said...

wow

Amanda* said...

What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing!

Rachel said...

Such a lovely and warming story! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! xx

christiana claudia said...

Oh, Joanna, that was so beautiful! I had been looking forward to it all weekend. Thank you!
I loved your Mick Jagger comment.
Congratulations to you and Alex!

Taysa said...

This made me tear up while I was reading it -- I love it! Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us!

rachel said...

oh, joanna - thank you for sharing this! it was amazing to read, and you are an amazing woman.

cicilia said...

This is a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. Congrats to you and your family once again! :) Xo

Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** said...

Joanna, I don't think I've ever been walked through a birth story in such detail like this before. Thank you so much! I feel like I was there. I'm so looking forward to giving birth :) xo

dreamday said...

your birth story is so well told joanna...every detail brings back a flash of memory from the cold rush of the epidural to the total centered focus that just happens, there is no middle ground. i can relate to so much of it(i remember feeling so forceful about everything, especially not being touched!) and i'm grateful to you for bringing back the memories!!!
...except for the cab ride, wow!!!

Katie said...

I'm tearing up over here. Wow. I cannot wait for this moment in my life. Thanks for sharing such intimate details. A truly beautiful story! Even though labor and delivery is something that has happened literally billions and billions of times, each time it is SUCH a miracle. Oh here I go crying again!

etoilee8 said...

You did such a good job retelling this with such detail. I am always so curious about birth stories (as I'm quite TERRIFIED of labor). You didn't sugarcoat it but it still sounds like an amazing albeit exhausting/painful day. Good job, you.

Corinna White Charlton said...

Thank God for the miracle of creating us to grow and deliver healthy babies! WOW! and some of your lines are SO class! "I would have a million babies just for that moment" and "slithered out like a slippery fish." oh this was all so wonderful and beautiful and I teared up and got goosebumps. this will be a must read when i am pregnant! (and i cannot wait for my husband to be the father of my children; he is the most stunning man)

Elise said...

Oh my... such a beautiful, real, heart-tugging story. Thank you, Joanna.

kelly ann said...

i cried while reading this. what a beautiful, honest story. you're a warrior woman for going through this so brave and determined! :) thank you so much for sharing, joanna, toby is so precious!

lady warfield said...

A belated congrats, and job well done!
xx

etoilee8 said...

PS - You look really cute in the taxi ride even though you were in labor! Not many people could pull off that nine-months-pregnant-and-sorta-in-labor-while-wearing-glasses je ne sais quoi.

Lu. Lu. said...

a beautiful story and beginning. Thank you for sharing~

Lucy Gregory said...

Jo you make me want to have a baby!! You write so honestly and openly about the whole experience, I love it! :) Also I keep meaning to ask-what town does your grandma live in!? Cause I live in Cornwall too!! I live near a town called Truro, and the picture of your gran looks like its somewhere near falmouth?

Meghan said...

Amazing! I love reading birth stories and yours is incredible. It is so awesome what our bodies can do and what they are made to do! I would LOVE to hear Alex's side of the story!

I don't have any children yet (I have a dr. appointment coming up bc I have some health issues that might make it too risky - it breaks my heart to think I may not get to experience it) but my sister has 2 children and is pregnant with her 3rd. She said the same thing - she would have a million babies to feel those feelings. She said there is nothing like it in the whole world. She told me the moment the baby comes out and is in your arms is the best feeling in the whole world. :) I am so happy for you and Alex!

Abbey said...

Oh so beautiful :) Your well-told and well-lived tale had me weeping. Reminds me that all of us are those triumphant babies and all our mama's are heroic!

Dancing Branflake said...

So incredible! If someone was never baby hungry they certainly are now! I love this and I love how incredible of a writer you are. Beautiful!

amy b said...

What a great birth story! I too, in the midst of moaning a lot louder than I ever intended (I got the epidural but it wore off, even after they re-upped me), said I can't do this! But our nurse was amazing too, and I tried to picture Lila in a little rocket ship (haha, really) being shot out of a cannon. And I did it, too. Congratulations to your beautiful family.

Lívia said...

Oh what a beautiful story, im teary eyed :)
You are the cuttest new mother and toby the cutest new born baby
Can't wait for alex's version :)
Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Joanna, you and your family are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

I was scared of even THINKING of giving birth before I read this! Now I think I could do it! It's a good thing too, because I love children!

You are so wonderful.

-Ave

Kelsi said...

This is the sweetest story I've read in my entire life! You describe it so, so perfectly, beautifully, and accurately! It gave me chills. Congrats again on sweet Toby! He is precious.

marisa said...

This was the first birth story I had ever read, and it was wonderful! Thank you for sharing all of he details of that big big day. I hope I can keep it all together as well as you did when the time comes for me and my husband! :D

Hannah said...

You're going to be such a great mother (: Great, tear-jerking story..

Deb Oh said...

Joanna, this is SO incredibly beautiful and moving. I'm so happy for you and your beautiful family!

Erin of Knot and Bow said...

Joanna, this was really beautiful to read. Brings me right back to last July, and makes me want to write everything down (I can't believe you remembered so many little details!). Yay for laboring mommies and persistant babies!!

Jane said...

A beautiful story and so generous of you to share it. Toby is absolutely delicious!

It brought back such lovely memories of the birth of my daughter. Like you, we found it magical that one minute she was inside of me and the next she instinctively knew what to do as she latched on. And, like you, makes me weepy to remember...

Anonymous said...

I love a birth story. Thank you for sharing. You all are such a beautiful and talented family. I get to help birth stories happen, what an honor! Toby really is way too cute.

Katie Kolenberg said...

What a beautiful birth story! It reminds me so, so much of my own birth experience, with my very own Toby, who was also born with huge soft paws, just over three years ago. Thank you for sharing in such an open and honest way. x

Jennifer Feisty Hood Lum said...

beautiful, gorgeous, lovely, amazing, like a fairytale, so moving, i can't even describe it enough. thank you for writing this.

Camilla Leila said...

oh joanna, just sat here, crying and then laughing and smiling throughout the whole story. what a MAGICAL story. THANK YOU for sharing it with us. you are truly an amazing woman and mother.

way to go girl!

Beach Vintage said...

Warm warm congrats Jo. All the best for your new family. Had to chuckle about the Mick Jagger comment xx

Jennifer said...

This was so beautiful and touching. I was so anticipating reading your birth story, and it has far exceeded anything I could have hoped for!! Now your little boy will know just how much he is loved.

CC said...

What an amazing birth story. I am so happy to hear you had a positive experience...the photos are touching. Holding my little one for the first time was the most intense feeling that I have ever felt and it will never be forgotten. Thank you for sharing such a private moment in your life.

Monica said...

This warms my heart in so many ways!

Morgan Elizabeth Beck said...

I couldn't stop myself from crying and laughing with joy through the entire story. So perfect.

annie said...

Aw this is adorable. I was waiting all day for this and it is so exciting. Congratulations again!!! xoxo

Alie said...

Thank you so so much for sharing! I am due in about six weeks, and this really calmed my nerves. You were a rockstar in labor, and I can be one too!

clementimes said...

Wow, Joanna. Your birth story is something very special and to be treasured. What a pleasure for all of us to be let into such a beautiful narrative. Of course we all know someone who has been given birth, but to see it in the written word is something else. How special that Toby will have this story for his whole life. Wow!

Ashley said...

Such a sweet story! Thank you for sharing :) You will be an amazing mother! Congrats again!

Samantha said...

that story made me tear up too! so sweet..toby is a lucky kid! thanks for sharing :)

Robin said...

I have been checking here all day in hopes of reading this. So totally worth the wait. What an amazing birth story. Congrats to you & Alex & Toby!!!
xoxo

Cynthia said...

Beautiful!!!! Thank you for sharing. I feel like for the first time I could do that:) Thank you for the courage.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your familiy's birth story. I can't tell you how encouraged I feel after reading this.

KiraLynn said...

This is so sweet and beautiful! I have been waiting to read this story and it did not disappoint. Thank you so much for sharing!

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

that is the most inspiring, delightful birthing story i have ever read. you were so positive throughout! by the end of your story i was smiling!
xox alison

a whole lotta love said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing such an intimate experience with us. I'm 31 and debating about having kids right now. I've never been super thrilled about the whole labor process, but you make it sound somehow like this wonderful thing in and of itself. Did you have these kinds of concerns before getting pregnant or am I just weird? Anyway, Toby is adorable and I know you are an awesome mom!

jocelyn said...

thank you so much for sharing this! i patiently waited all weekend and it was so worth it!!

christine said...

Great story. My babies are now 16 and 12 and I remember their births like it was yesterday.

Maggie May said...

Joanna what a wonderful story to read as I ready for bed. You did a GREAT job, seriously, as someone who has done this twice- and is getting ready to do this again in November!- I have definite respect for your entire strength and spirit throughout. Yay!

Cella Babee said...

Joanne, this is so precious. I am only 20 (and definitely not planning on having a baby anytime soon!) but reading this post makes me excited for the time in my life when I will become a mother. Much love to you and your adorable family!

heather said...

an absolutely perfect story. i cannot wait for the day when i get to experience something so magical.

xo

Anonymous said...

wow! thank you so much for the detail. It actually made the whole giving birth experience seem a lot less scary!

Becky said...

Wow, what an amazing and touching story! Thank you so much for sharing and congrats/many blessings to all three of you! :)

Tamara Nicole said...

Seriously what a beautiful story! :-) I hope mine goes well like yours . . . someday lol. Congrats again hun!

sssdawna said...

wow, i read the whole thing...such a beautiful story : )

congratulations

Carolina said...

I felt so emotional reading your story. Such a beautiful family.... congratulations! :)

Sobrina Tung said...

What a story, Joanna!! I'm glad I waited for this :) You did such a good job describing everything, but now I'm scared of the pain. haha But that little face, oh that little face! That does make it all worth it, doesn't it?

Janet said...

Joanna, this is the BEST birth story I've ever read. My son, Jonah, has just turned 9 months old (9 in, 9 out) and your descriptions were a lot like how I remember my labour. I read so many birth stories before I had him, but so many of them made me feel like a had to be some kind of hippie wonderwoman without pain relief. And a lot of my friends made it sound sooo painful and horrible. Then when I went into labour and had an epidural, (I laboured a long time without it, but HELLOOO back labour), I wished afterwards after that I could curl up on a couch with some friends and tell stories about how amazing and intense and suprising and exciting the whole deal is. So I really loved reading your story, curled up on the couch, nodding and smiling and loving your photos. My favourite birth story ever!!!! Thanks for sharing it xo

ps. Toby is so AWESOME.

pps. Can't wait to read Alex's version either!

Bethany Struble said...

such an amazing story. i got an epidural only because of how small i am and the high chance of having a c section.. but birth is such an incredible thing. you get this newfound strength. reading your story just brought back so many precious memories. <3 thank you

Pearl Bhasin said...

Wonderful post Joanna!

This brought back many many happy memories for me. There's nothing like the first time. :) But second time is EVEN more fun, I can assure you. ;)

All the best to you, Alex and Little Toby!! :D

kati said...

beautiful! lovely! such magical moments. brings back sweet memories for me while reading yours :)

Jessica Catherine said...

I can't even convey the feelings this gives me! It is so beautiful and touching and wonderful and lovely and ahhh every good thing in the world. I cried happy tears the whole story. You are going to be the best mother and the strongest mother and Alex is going to be the best dad and the most caring dad. And you wanna know how I know you will be a good momma, because you remind me of my mum, and she is the best mum in the world. I do anything for her, and she would drop everything for me.

P.S. You know this story had to be touching if you got me, an 18 year old, to be crying up a storm.

Anyways, Congratulations! Cherish every moment, and even when he does something bad or makes the wrong choice don't get too mad at him! You never know how long you're going to have them.

Sarah said...

Oh, great story! I love the way you told this. So glad I didn't have to get a cab. I was in BAD shape when I headed out (twice). ;) Totally would've freaked out the driver. For sure.

Rachael K said...

Hi Joanna. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful birth story. I gave birth to my first child, a little boy, seven months ago and your story brought back all of my memories. I remember feeling the same as you during the pushing phase "I don't think I like this. If I don't push, it doesn't hurt so much, so I think I'll just stop for a while!" So funny now to think about it. I hope you're enjoying your lovely family and I'm looking forward to hearing Alex's story.

Anna said...

joanna, that is amazingly beautiful. it made me teary-eyed just reading & i'm sure i'll be spending the next few days day-dreaming about the day i get to introduce my babes to the world!!

you are such a lovely mamma. : )
xo-

the southern hostess said...

Thank you for this beautiful, honest, real look at childbirth. This will come in handy one day.

Khemy said...

I'm smiling, Joanna.

Purses Pastries Etc... said...

Joanna, this was beautiful! Toby will be so proud of his mom and dad when he grows up and reads this :)

The Fab Miss B said...

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story- you did it so well and included such good physical details. I've always wondered what it really feels like and enjoyed reading your description. Your immense love for your husband and little boy shine through in every line. Congratulations.

Jazzy Jaz said...

This is by far the most beautiful birth story I've ever read. It's so inspiring and I can tell that you really spoke with all your heart.. with feelings. Congratulations to your beautiful family! I've been following your blog for several months now and I become so energized after reading your daily posts. Very positive, a breath of fresh air and simply wonderful!

Cheers from Manila!

A fan of yours,
Jaja

Aliaksei Koval said...

Oh! Tobby is so cute! It was very interesting to read your story!

Anna said...

This is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing, Joanna!

shinta hawa thandari said...

aww.. that was just so sweet.. congratulation.. happy for you joanna..! :D

shinta hawa thandari said...

aww.. that was just so sweet.. congratulation.. happy for you joanna..! :D

Josephine said...

Ah, so lovely! I've been really looking forward to reading this! We had our sons within a couple of weeks of each other (and I also had back labour – ouchie) and was curious to hear what your experience had been like. The photos are gorgeous – you look amazing for someone who'd just had a 12-hour labour! I have photos too, but they are decidedly less glam and too graphic for public viewing ;-)
Congrats on Toby, he sounds (and looks) like such a delightful little chap!

Anonymous said...

what a lovely story--thank you for sharing such a special moment in your life with the rest of us! we dont have kids yet, and am always nervous about what it will be like to go through all of this, and your blog the last several months, and especially this post, have made it much more in the realm of reality for me! so thank you, and wishing you and your husband and your baby boy many more happy memories.

Tina said...

Oh what a wonderful story!!! I gave birth for the 1st time about a year ago and can TOTALLY relate - you got me all teary! You look so in love with your precious baby and it's just so beautiful!

melissa davis said...

I loved reading every word of that, Joanna!! Thanks so much for sharing it. :) Perfect timing, because I will be induced (which I'm not thrilled about) tomorrow night if I don't go into labor before then (I will be a week overdue at that point). I AM thrilled about meeting him- as is Sam! This last month has not been the most comfortable so we are ready- exciting!!! xxM

Charity said...

that is amazing, thank you so much for sharing that wonderful story!!!!

amynicole said...

Joanna, I loved reading every bit of this! I was laughing, choking up with tears, and re-reading my favorite lines and advice to my husband. This was such a beautiful story! I'm so thankful that you were so willing to share it! You are such a beautiful amazing woman, with a dashing supportive husband, and darling baby boy! Congratulations!

Melissa said...

Well done. You are a champ. So great to hear such a positive, healthy birth story. The three of you will be so bonded because of your beautiful experiance. Thanks for sharing, Im sure it will be a great inspiration and encouragment to many pregnant women and new mommys. congratulations again, Toby is such a sweet boy and has two wonderful parents. What a blessing.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

So beautiful Joanna... Made me remember my own two births. The most beautiful moments of my life and I'm not just saying that. Pain and all, labor is so intense and beautiful. Something zen about it. Thanks for sharing. Toby is so adorable!

thelittleyu said...

Joanna,

this post made me cry ! congratulations again ! such a beautiful, wonderful journey and i'm so glad that you shared it with us (:

Steph said...

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story with all of us!!!

bLiNd FoLd said...

Beautiful!
You look gorgeous, Alex very excited and Toby extremely sweet!
Never read a birth story, told in such a nice way! Pictures are great!
"I don't really have to deliver this baby; I'll just stay like this from now on, no big deal."--> I luaghed a lot!
wish you and your family a wonderful life together!

Frances said...

Thank you, Joanna.

It's such a beautiful and wonderful experience! Made me teary eyed.

Cinthia A. said...

oooooh Joanna! i waited soooo long to read this, LOVELY! Toby its gooooorgeous! congrats u all look soooo happy.
I feel happy too :)

Mary said...

Wow, what a great story and so positive too. Thanks for sharing! Best of luck to you and your wonderful family.

Kristina said...

thanks for sharing this joanna - sounds like a very intense, amazing, also painful, but wonderful experience!! my tears keep falling, you and alex look so happy on those pictures!!
and toby is the cutest!!
viele gruesse, kristina

Luisa said...

Amazing!! YOU are the hero! What an awesome story. I, too, have tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over. Hooray for moms! Also, Toby is impossibly beautiful. xoxo

Mary said...

Such a beautiful story.
I love the breastfeeding shots and commend you for posting them. It takes me right back to the birth of my first child and that first latch.
There is nothing as miraculous as the birth of a child.

Congratulations on Toby. What a treasure!

Love + Marriage said...

I'm sitting here, almost midnight,waiting for a call. My baby sister is in the hospital waiting for her labor to progress. There couldn't have been a better time to read your birth story!
Here's my favorite family tradition...every year my mom and dad recount our birth stories on our birthdays. I know mine so well I feel like I remember being there. And it always makes me feel special.

I'm so happy for your family of three!

Malwina Witkowska said...

made me weepy too :)
thank you for sharing.
M.

Notes from Holly St. said...

Joanna, was an amazing and beautiful story. I teared up through the entire thing! Thanks so much for sharing your little miracle with us. It's an honor to be a part of your life.

Brittany said...

this was such a sweet birth story! so beautifully written and with such love.

liv said...

Until recently I cared more for puppies than kids but you've got me! I have tears in my eyes and I really really hope that one day I'll live this magical experience. You two make me believe in love....

Tiffany Rose Parente Connors said...

Thank you for sharing such an intimate and precious experience - just beautiful.

takemyhandfollowmethere said...

This is just so inspiring, I can't stop crying! It really is so precious to read such beautiful and personal moments, thank you for sharing!

Diana Mieczan said...

OHhhh...As soon as I saw you posted the birth story I went to my kitchen, made a huge cup of green tea and settled down on my sofa as I knew it will be emotional and I will take my time reading it.
I am crying like a baby and I totally imagine the feeling of unconditional love and all the other amazing emotions....You did so well and Alex is real treasure for not getting all scared of delivery...Well done to you both!!! And of course Toby...he is such a sweet little guy and he has parents who love dearly.
Thank you for sharing your story...I cant wait to be a mom:)
Hugs and kisses, Joanna

Aimée said...

So moving, thrilling, beautiful!
Congratulations!

AnnaMeldau said...

At 23, and not thinking about having kids any time soon- I can now say I cannot wait for this happen. Its crazy to think that we sit at our jobs all day on computers, and sometimes forget that we can create, grow, and then feed a new life. Congratulations!

Mrs. Vizy said...

I have to tell you that I've waited all weekend for this. It'a great story. I can't wait to hear your husband's point of view :)
Congrats!

Alee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellie Balfe said...

Beautiful. It's the most amazing experience that we are given in life, I'm convinced of it! Well done and thank you for sharing your story.
xx

Rossana said...

Siete bellissimi! congratulazioni a tutti e tre! grazie per questa stupenda storia! ti seguo sempre con grande stima!
Rossana dall'Italia!

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