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Monday, August 22, 2011

Motherhood Mondays: Alex's side of the birth story

Now that it's been more than a year since Toby's birth, and our second wedding anniversary is around the corner, I thought I'd finally ask Alex to share his side of our birth story. I'm always really curious about what it's like for dads, whether they're coaching breathing, getting their hands tightly squeezed or pacing the waiting room. So, below, Alex shares his thoughts... :)

Going into labor

It was a Monday night, more than a week before Toby's due date.

The day had been so ordinary: We had gone to the accountant, Joanna had done a Trader Joe’s shop, we went to work. We watched a TV show in the evening, and then I made a cup of hot cocoa. It seemed too regular of a day for us have a baby!

So, when Joanna started contracting, I felt, this is odd, surely she's just having cramps, surely…

Timing the contractions

Joanna began having contractions in the living room, and, when they got stronger, we moved into the bedroom. I timed the contractions using my old dive watch. The clunky watch felt imprecise compared to a digital watch; I remember thinking, I hope I'm getting this right.

The birthing books say that you're in labor once the contractions are consistently 3 to 5 minutes apart. I could tell that Joanna was being tough and stoic; she would tell me the contraction had started after she already looked like she was in pain; and then she would say, “It’s over,” and I would think, you don’t look like it’s over! She would still be wincing. I started thinking the contractions were actually much longer and closer together than she realized.

Deciding whether to go to the hospital

After a couple hours, her contractions were intense. I thought, OK, it’s 1am, we have to fish or cut bait. Joanna was being courageous and downplaying her pain, and the doctor answering the phone was being wishy-washy—so I felt like it was up to me to make a call…but I didn’t really know, because what my instinct was telling me (this is it!) was different from what Joanna and the doctor were telling me (this probably isn’t).

I had expected it to be like, oh, it's time, like a fireman going down a pole. Instead we basically had to decide whether to go into the hospital, which was weird. We decided this was probably it. We called the doctor and he said, ok, come in.

The big events in life never feel like you expect them to. When the moment is majestic, you expect that the heavens will open up, and the trumpets will start playing, but really your wife is lying on the bed with a roll of toilet paper and you're trying to figure out if you should keep making that cup of hot chocolate that you were making. No matter how magical the situation, you're still thrust back into these mundane life details: how to catch a cab in NYC in the middle of the night, I’ll carry the bag, should we take some snacks. It's funny how you normalize it.

The cab ride

Once we got into the cab, the adventure kicked in. It was Joanna and me together, it was a dark quiet night, and the emotions started flowing. And I started thinking, holy shit!

It was the middle of the night—Tuesday at 2:30am—the deadest possible time to be driving through Manhattan. Like a zombie movie when everyone has disappeared.

We were also both trying to take pictures, which was a joke because it was dark in the cab, and Joanna really wasn't in the mood to have her picture taken! I was crazy excited.

Feeling protective of Joanna

Once we arrived at the hospital, there was this long beaurocratic hospital check-in—Joanna was in pain and anxious, and, honestly, the triage doctor was being a jerk. I remember jumping up, thinking, I have to make sure she gets seen fast, but I was beating my head against a wall dealing with hospital paperwork.

You kind of want to grab the doctors by the shoulders and think, don’t you understand, my wife is in pain? Look at her—she was sitting on a plastic chair in the waiting room gripping the arm of the chair with her eyes closed, really in pain.

It was a big relief when they told us the labor was real. The nurse said, “You’re going to deliver your baby today.” What a thrill! I wanted to make sure Joanna got all the support and food and drink that she needed.

Trying to be useful

Once we got to our delivery room, my first impression was that it was really comforting and mellow: big with cream and dark green walls. I knew Joanna would feel more comfortable here. A giant Lay-Z-Boy recliner was in the corner, and I was like, that’s got my name on it.

At that point, there wasn't much I could do, but I really wanted to do something. It’s like that old joke, where the midwives would tell the husband, “Quick, go boil some water!” just so he’d feel useful and stay out of the way. Joanna was obviously in great medical hands. I was right there for her, but she was concentrating on her contractions in the hospital bed. She was really cool, calm and tough.

The weeks leading up to the due date, you have the sense of preparing to go to war; you have to prepare your kit, your tools, get everything in order. I had packed Joanna's nightgown, two cameras, nuts in case I got hungry. I even had music and DVDs, like we needed any of that.

Around 7am, Joanna decided to opt for an epidural. Right afterward, Joanna was totally painfree. We talked for a while and then lay together; I even fell asleep for a while. We both felt calm. I thought, ahhhh, it'll be easy going from here.

Back labor

We were surprised when, in relatively short order, Joanna started feeling lots of back pain. I kept going out and saying to the nurses, I know she's not supposed to be feeling anything, but she really is. I had that conversation with them like three times. They were giving me that we’re-really-nice-but-we’re-getting-annoyed-at-you kind of vibe!

Finally the doctor came in and realized that it was back labor. There was nothing they could do. I fed Joanna ice chips and put a cold washcloth on her forehead during each contraction. She would say, “Now, now!” and I was fast as lightning with that washcloth.

Pushing

A couple hours later—although it felt like five minutes—Joanna said she felt the urge to push. We thought that maybe we should call for the doctor again. So a new doctor came in to check everything out; she was super competent and amazing. She reminded me of an NCAA women’s basketball coach.

Then, all of a sudden, she announced it was time—and it was ON!

The doctor put on this crazy moon suit. It really did look like a deep sea diver’s outfit, bizarre. Everything happened so quickly. I was holding up one of Joanna’s legs, and a nurse was holding the other. Joanna was pushing hard every minute or so, and it was amazing.

Then I was seeing the crown of Toby’s head. The doctor and I were like, Go! Go! Push, Joanna! And it felt like such a rah, rah, sports event all of a sudden. Usually a doctor’s bedside manner is really calm and soothing, but she kept booming, “You do it, Joanna! You’re a strong girl!” She was really yelling in this coach-like way.

The most surreal moment I've ever had was when I saw the crown of Toby's head. That’s when it REALLY became real. All the way up until that it seemed a little theoretical that we were going to have a child. But then you’re like, whoa, this is for real. And then you’re really having a sense of anticipation, you’re like, in two seconds, I’m going to meet this child that I’m going to know the rest of my life. Two seconds!

So, Joanna was pushing, and I saw the top of his head, and I’m like, oh, crazy, he has more hair than I expected and dark hair… At first it was taking forever…it was a magical moment…I was about to see the face of this person…Joanna was like, I can’t do it…and the doctor kept saying, push, Joanna, push…

It was more suspenseful than anything I’ve ever done. I was dying to see his face.

Joanna said again, I can’t do it…and the doctor was like, Do it, Joanna, push, push!!! And her rah rah spirit was crucial to the moment…And finally, Joanna pushed as hard as she could and Toby slipped right out!

Honestly, watching the birth looked like a Georgia O'Keeffe flower; now I understand those paintings. It's like a flower opening up. It was amazing. I was so glad I got to be part of it. You really feel the awesome power of life and a women's strength, your wife's strength; it’s thrilling.

Also, to be honest, it was kind of like Alien.

After the birth

The nurses are rushing around; they’re holding up the wet purple baby and saying, “Dad, cut the cord!” At the moment, I was like, oh, no, I can't do that, but they basically insisted. So I cut through—it was basically like cutting calamari!

The second I saw Toby's face, I was struck by how sweet he looked. I was under the impression that babies would come out really misshapen and funny looking, but I was bowled over by how beautiful he was. My first thought was that he looked like Lucy (Joanna’s sister), and my second thought was, hey, he has my jaw!

The nurses handed him to Joanna first, of course, and she was glowing. I had the camera set on rapid fire, and doctor made a joke that it sounded like an AK-47. I probably took 300 pictures in the span of fifteen minutes.

Then nurses cleaned him, and then I held him. He was tiny and purple. It was literally the third time I’d held a baby in my whole life, and to think that it was my baby was thrilling. It was unbelievable—after all those years, wondering if I'd ever have a child, thinking it wouldn’t happen, thinking it probably wasn’t meant to be…and then here I was holding Toby. It was a profound moment, beyond description.

Then I handed Toby back to Joanna. She looked so beautiful, with this blissful, serene expression on her face. Relief, exhaustion and accomplishment all together. It must be what it's like to be on top of Everest.

She looked beautiful. I was in awe of her.

Thank you so much, Alex. (I found this so touching and eye-opening:) xoxo And I’d love to share more dads’ birth stories over the next few months.

Mamas, were your husbands or partners in the room with you? Did they coach you along? What has your husband told you about his side of the birth? Anything surprising? Would you prefer he stay by your head or by your feet? :)

P.S. More Motherhood Monday posts...

176 comments:

Otilia said...

Lovely story!

Jana Miller @ The Homeschool Jungle said...

You two are adorable....really.
xo Jana

xoxo, dania said...

aww! i love his point of view! such a beautiful story!

http://xoxo-carolinalove.blogspot.com

Kendall Marie said...

I love hearing his point of view!

Caroline Royce said...

How sweet!

Mona said...

Aw, this made me tear up! Toby is a lucky baby.

Jesse said...

such a lovely story, i just teared up. and then sent to my husband:)

Susy said...

Such a beautiful, beautiful story! Made me tear up! You two are extraordinary! Lots of love. x

Clio said...

that's so lovely. so so lovely

Amy Lauree said...

It sounds almost exactly like ours! The only thing that was different was that when my husband was cheering me on while pushing, holding onto one of my legs, I looked over at him and tried to say in the nicest tone, "Thank you for your support, but please stop talking, the doctor's encouragement is enough!" (What I wanted to say was, honey just shut up!)
He was so in the moment, full of excitement, he didn't have time to have hurt feelings and was happy to have direction from me. We laughed about it so much afterwards!

So great to hear Alex's side, it's so cool to see it from their view!

HollisJ said...

Sweetest. Post. Ever. Can't wait to experience this with my husband, my teammate.

I just realized recently (watching a Mad Men episode) that men weren't allowed in the delivery rooms back then. I honestly can't fathom this.

the lil bee said...

Alex, this gave me chills! You are an excellent storyteller and I loved what you had to say about the look on Joanna's face and your admiration of her. Paul kept telling me I was a "warrior" afterwards (and I really kind of loved it!)

BTW the photo of Toby at the very bottom is breathtaking. I am loving this Monday series, Joanna!

erica p. said...

I just loved reading this. It gave me goosebumps and made me laugh out loud!

Michele said...

This is such a beautiful love story. Your photos, your writing - it is such a gift to your family.

My husband was there for all 3 of our children and my MIL was there for the first two - I couldn't have done it without her. really.

xoxo michele

kelly said...

absolutely precious! (and that's coming from someone who usually gets a bit queasy or "tmi!" when it comes to birthing stories. :)) you two are adorable; thanks for sharing with us.

Desi McKinnon said...

what a great story. i love that you (alex) saw the whole cheering sporting side of it and that you weren't afraid to see toby slide out. i think that makes you a bit of a warrior.

allaboutg said...

This was such a beautiful read. I loved the calamari analogy too :) Happy wedding anniversary

Anonymous said...

Ah I loved Alex's view. I felt like I was reliving the experience with you guys all over again!! I adore how he was willing to do anything for you to make sure you were comfortable.

Regards,

Nicole

christine said...

beautiful

Michelle Woo said...

"... it was basically like cutting calamari!"

Love it.

Robin said...

So, so sweet. You made me cry!

I am inspired to ask my husband to write about Micah's birth from his point of view.

Love this series!!

Rachee said...

So lovely to hear from the dad's perspective. Your love and pride for Joanna and your baby boy is very apparent in this post. <3

Emily Donelan said...

can't wait to know how our story is going to go. this was great. thanks for sharing.

Katie said...

This is so sweet :)

leah vee of boy howdy daily said...

ahhhhh i loved to hear alex's side of the story! really really great!

Lauren Stacks said...

Such a great post. We're not planning on kids anytime soon, but this story made me choke up and becoming a little closer to wanting to be parents than I was 5 minutes ago. Thanks for sharing.

Lauren Stacks http://lauren-stacks.blogspot.com [book ends]

Sarah said...

I love this post. I loved your side of the story, too. My husband and I plan to kick off the baby making in January, so I really enjoy when you have Alex chime in and post. Thank you for sharing!!

Katie @ Chai Thoughts said...

This was wonderful! I'm in the kitchen surfing the web while I cook dinner, and you can tell Alex that his story was so enthralling that I completely burned the bacon I was cooking. :) Such a sweet story.

wonderchris said...

So beautiful - loved the other perspective!

luke and pamela said...

love this. i wouldn't let my husband read the birth story i'd written until he wrote his own version. it was so beautiful to see it from his eyes, and interesting to see what we remembered differently.

camila said...

So sweet!! I'm jealous, and am going to ask my husband to do the same! :)

Mandee said...

I love finally reading Alex's side of the story! And I find it so funny that he compares it to a sporting event. I guess you go with what you know, right? It was very sweet to read and thank you so much for sharing! You've got a great daddy for Toby!

Jennifer said...

I loved reading your birth story, and now reading Alex's version - precious! xoxo

sumslay said...

I love his perspective - so sweet and so guy-ish at the same time. The AK-47 comment craaaacked me up.

He sounds like a great man. So happy for you two, and so glad you have this documented!

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

My birth stories feel SO DIFFERENT. Here is my daughter, Edith: http://goo.gl/dVPGz

And my son, Eric: http://goo.gl/pRhvc

Joanna, do you think you will have more kids?

t. said...

Eyes brimming over here. To be likened to a georgia okeefe flower, now that's love, Jo.

Simply lovely. Just like your family.

jean goddard said...

I had never seen that last picture of Toby! I had two Caesareans, so I never experienced a natural birth. Loved your story, Alex.

JoAnna said...

I have never heard the guys point of view. I love it!

Heba said...

wow that so cute!

http://girlynote.blogspot.com

anna lucila said...

Not all mamas have husbands!! Respect!

jenna said...

incredibly sweet. i'm expecting my first in december, and loved thinking about my husband as i was reading this. thanks for sharing with us!

Helen said...

Oh my goodness!I love it when we get Alex's perspective on an event....so funny and honest and he always seems to answer the questions I want to ask.He gives great insight that creates such an amazing whole picture including the stuff that usually gets edited out (mundanity,loo roll,calamri-cord,etc!).He does this every time and I find it reassuring that someone else thinks parenthood is meh and awesome all at the same time!

nikki said...

I love that everything was punctuated with an exclamation mark!

this was terribly sweet

Catherine Masi said...

What a stunning and lovely tribute. Alex definitely has a way with writing that really captures the actualness (I know it's not a word, but my decaffeinated brain says it is)of a situation... he gets right to the point without excess and bravado, making the story so much fun and intriguing. You are both quite a team in that(and many)respects.
This was a wonderful read. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

wildchild said...

so sweet :) i love reading alex's writing. thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing this!

Krista said...

Aww, what a sweet guy! It's fun to hear birth stories from the dad's perspective.

When our son was born a year and a half ago, it was the first child for my husband but my third. I felt pretty experienced going into the situation, but poor Rob was so anxious that something would happen. My midwife had encouraged him throughout the pregnancy that he should help deliver our son. To my huge surprise, he did. And I just learned a few months ago that he has told all of his friends, in detail, about how it was the most incredible experience of his life. Pretty cool. I loved him even more after knowing that.

Bethany said...

Alex, I loved how you said that you got to a point where you just wanted so desperately to see his face! Made me tear up. Thank you for taking the opportunity to be candid about your perspective and experience. Blessings to you and your son, and of course, Joanna! <3

Amy said...

I don't really cry. Except now. I'm like a big ol' ball of mush. Thank you for this wonderfully sweet memory.

Happy Anniversary to both of you.

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

I loved reading this. RBB was planning on staying by my head, but as B started to crown the doctor said...look at all this hair!...so he did. He didn't want to seem rude telling the doctor he didn't want to look! I actually shared part of my birth story last week...I had a pretty plain delivery, but a surprising and odd stretch mark to show for it! Again, beautiful post. Sending it to RBB to read as well. Xo

hip hip gin gin said...

This was just so sweet, it is so obvious how much Alex loves you and how impressed he is by what you did that day! So lovely, I totally teared up. And it is nice to hear it from the dad's point of view, no one ever asks them what it was like to be on that side.

I loved what Alex said about how ordinary the big moments of life are. That is so true. I always sort of look around at those times and think, "but it's just a Tuesday" or whatever, it just doesn't seem like a special or important time, and yet it IS.

When the time comes for us husband will be staying up by my face, haha! I won't be looking in a mirror either. No sir. I'm pretty sure if I saw what was happening I wouldn't be able to continue.

Anonymous said...

i welled up reading that, and i'm at work!
beautiful.
my boyfriend was an angel. mine was a very different story as my bubba was breach so i had a planned cesarian. it was a very pedestrian experience for the most part, we were talking about Masterchef with the doctors 1 minute before he came out! but when i did get a bit emotional my boyfriend was so tender and comforting, he was a rock.

Theresa said...

Beautiful.

A Cup of Sparkle said...

a great story.. I enjoyed reading it. Happy Anniversary to both of you.

-Melike

acupofsparkle.blogspot.com

kati said...

again, here you are a big shot blogger and yet your posts are still just so genuine and authentic and lovely. which is why i've loved your blog for years now. that photo of you too in the cab makes me smile (i was induced twice so no anxious carrides for me). xoxo

El said...

That was both hilarious and sweet! I laughed out loud and teared up :) so well written and descriptive.

Kacie said...

I loved reading this. My husband wrote his version of our birth story in the days after our daughter was born, as did I and so did our doula. It's so powerful. Love the O'Keefe reference. You Dads are awesome.

Kacie
http://acollectionofpassions.com

Sugar said...

This is the first time I've read a Dad's side of the story and it was beautiful! Loved it. Thank you for sharing. I am passing it on to my Husband- since he'll be on that side in a few short months.

K said...

Thank you for sharing this. It was really lovely. The calamari reference was helpful too - hubby just asked me that last night.

Sunshine said...

How adorable!

wendy said...

lovely, what a great idea! so easy to forget that even though my husband and i went through the same thing, we each have our own accounts of the experience. can't wait to jot down our own memories of that amazing day.

DENISE. said...

I am SCREAMING with laughter! This is such an awesome, amazing story from his point of view. Georgia O'Keefe? Classic! Thanks so much for sharing :)

Jana said...

Great story! I think birth is a combination of aw's and ew's - or Georgia O'Keeffe's and Aliens - well put :)

I ended up with an emergency C in the end and, in true form, my husband went missing after walking in on my doctor in his underwear. He made it back and was telling me what happened when all of the sudden we heard a baby crying. Looking back on it (2 years ago) it seems surreal...and now we're gearing up for the next one due in December...

Anonymous said...

wow so beautiful and touching!!! really enjoyed reading this.

L said...

Beautiful birth story from the father's point of view. Loved the Georgia O'keefe reference. Hilarious, and sweet.

mledoran said...

My husband was my hero during the delivery of our daughter, Ember. He ran all over for me, kept friends and family updated (as we were the only ones in the delivery room), he got me ice chips, he played dice with me, held me up as we walked around the birthing unit trying to manage the pain. And especially when the doctor (on call, not my doc) wanted to rush into a C-section, my husband asked everyone to leave including the doctor and nurses so he could speak with me about it. Then, once they returned to the room he firmly informed them that we would like to avoid a c-section at all costs. He held my hand and helped me breathe the whole way through. So heroic!

Christy said...

This is so awesome! i love this perspective. I feel like we don't hear it enough..the father's point of view!

shelby h.k. said...

such a talented writer, and such a beautiful perspective. thanks so much for sharing such an intimate beautiful moment with us!!

you two are too cute. <3

xx

Anonymous said...

fabulous story. Ah....

A Sunday Kind Of Love said...

this was so beautiful! i had tears by the end :) joanna, i am really loving your posts this summer, but this one and the series on mothers (balancing home and work) are top in my book! it was so eye-opening to read a birth story from a father's point of view.

StephanieC-W said...

Yay, I've been waiting to hear his side of things! I'm expecting my first in 2 weeks!

Kristina said...

Love this story. It reminds me quite a bit of my own (I think my daughter is not much older than Toby - she's 16 months). My husband was a champ during deliver, he stood and held my feet, encouraged me the whole time and I'll never, ever forget his face when our daughter arrived in full. He was crying and I was exhausted and in that one second, everything - everything! - changed for us. It's a mental snapshot frozen in time that I know I'll have forever.

Heather said...

I just love this! Alex, thanks for being so honest; you nearly had me in tears. You are obviously a very wonderful husband and father. :)

Anonymous said...

i love these stories! They are so moving.

missmehoneybee said...

So sweet of you guys to share this with all of us! Very touching. We actually had our baby at home with a midwife and my husband was asking at what point he should boil the water too, so funny. XO

Venassa said...

It's great to hear that dad's perspective and it was such a sweet story.

Nadja said...

you guys are awesome, it's such a moving beautiful story, just like any baby is, made me cry just thinking of the beauty of it and how much happiness it'd bring to my heart when i have my own...kisses for your adorable Toby. (i've been folling your blog in the past 2 months and simply love it.

hila said...

that reference to 'alien' is classic :) It's so interesting to read alex's perspective, I often wonder what men feel during this process, and I'm so glad that fathers get to be in the delivery rooms. My mum told me that when she gave birth to my brother and I, my dad had to wait outside. It always seemed so bizarre to me to cut the father off from the process - it must be one of the most intense bonding experiences between a couple, and as a family. Gosh, reading this post gives me hope that things are moving in the right direction.

so beautiful, thanks for your honesty alex!

Jaime said...

This is the sweetest and most honest birth story! Loved it!

Jo @ In Corners of My Mind said...

So beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

avant garde design said...

i love these posts, i love the honesty of them. i have one child and while i was in labor i couldn't look at the mirror they bring you to watch the birth, it would have totally threw me off track. i too (begged) for the epidural and my husband stayed by my head, i think, at least most of the time. oh and i was saying i can't do it alot too, but i did! ;)

katelyn said...

i absolutely loved this :)

Anonymous said...

As new parents of a 3 week old baby boy, my husband and I love your parenting posts. I was having a rough evening tonight with a wailing little one, and reading this post took me back to our birth story, which perked me up and helped me keep things in perspective. It was such a touching and amazing experience that we'll never forget.

marla said...

haa...ncaa coach, love it! this was so sweet. and a great idea, i would love to have my husband write out his side of the story...i think i will. my husband was an amazing support and was by my side the whole time. our story has a bit of a twist as we were given an unexpected diagnosis at birth, but i think it's important to share your story whatever it may be. thank you [both] for sharing your story, beautiful.

Jennifer_NJ said...

so touching. Thx for sharing Alex's Toby story.
Brings me back to 1998, 2002 and 2007. My husband and I relive those moments over and over again of our children's birthdays. Not always easy to put those moments into words, but Alex sure did!

Laura said...

this is really just so great! love the way alex tells the story.

Ali said...

I think it's really interesting that Alex thought Toby looked (looks?) like your sister. As the daughter of an identical twin my dad thought the same thing and I think I act more like my aunt than my mom usually. (And I grew up away from my aunt so it wasn't even a proximity issue that's made us similar.)

MaviDeniz said...

That was such a nice story and i have to say, I never saw a newborn that i thought was cute. they always look so pink and wrinkly and don't really look cute till about 3 months or so; but that pic of him is beautiful. Honestly the cutest newborn I've ever seen.

Xo

Notes from Holly St. said...

that was so sweet! i love to hear things from a mans perspective. my husband was an amazing support during my labor. i had a strict above the belly rule but it all went out the window during the pushing part. he couldn't help but look and i'm actually glad he did. he said it was mind blowing to see the crowing of our daughters head.

i don't think i could've done it without him and every time i think about it i love him more and more.

p.s. I have a Motherhood Monday topic suggestions. I'd love to hear about sleep...naps and night time sleep. Stories, strategies, methods, so on...I need help and I'd love to hear what has worked for you and other moms. just a suggestion :) thanks!

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet story from your hubby's point of view.

Joanna Goddard said...

thank you for these wonderful comments! i'm going to send them to alex :)

whenpen said...

Alex is a fantastic writer and he just made an otherwise scary, nerve-wrecking birth post absolutely hilarious. I had to restrain myself from laughing out loud and slapping my thighs in the office.

The 'Smarty Pants' Family said...

way cute story!i loved it!

Kelsey said...

Ah, this is SO sweet. Thank you for sharing Alex!

Sobrina Tung said...

oh my goodness -- alex really is a great writer. such a great story. love the line about alien ;)

Christina O. said...

Aw, man. I almost cried. Thanks for sharing, Alex!

laurenjeanallece said...

My eyes are still spilling tears... This was so incredibly sweet to read. Alex and Joanna, thank you for letting all of us be a part of your special moments! Toby is a very blessed little boy to have parents who love him (and love each other) so much!!!

Lara said...

Like cutting calamari...

Hahaha! Perfect!

Thank you so much for sharing. Made me cry. Looking forward to having my husband with me too when we give birth in March. :)

Tara Galuska said...

So beautiful! Way to go to all Dads, Mums and babies of course.

superhappyjohi said...

Beautiful and so touching! Thank you!

Niki said...

I love Alex's face in that photo :) Toby hasn't even arrived yet and he already looks like the proudest father!

Love this post Jo and Alex, so honest and warming. Thank you.

Niki @ LQM&M
xo

nadia said...

Oh I loved this! So amazing to hear the other side of the experience. I literally laughed out loud at the calamari comment. So awesome.

xo Nadia

Anonymous said...

This is such a sweet post! Thanks for sharing Joanna & Alex :)

Fenke said...

aaaw - this made me cry.. . very emotional. especially the last sentences. so cute! maybe i can convince my alex to write his story down aswell...

The Sentimental Suitcase said...

Oh Joanna! Choking back the tears! So beautiful!

XO

Sam

Gabriëlla said...

Thank you Joanna and Alex for this beautiful post! xoxo Gabriëlla

Sewandthecity said...

What a very nice point of view! And it's true - it was a very sweet new born baby boy indeed!

Isolde said...

What a beautiful story! And very recognizable...especially the sports event part :)

jessica quadra photography said...

this was SO romantic and touching! thank you for sharing. i loved the bit about the georgia o'keefe painting and alien! ha! also, i've never heard of back labor?!

Bec Hem said...

Thanks Alex- I loved hearing your story. It's a pretty crazy business, this birthing business.
Our experience is still very fresh- just 7 weeks ago! My husband has never been good with blood/medical proceedures, so him staying conscious was always a big question mark! Thankfully (for both of us) he made it through, although hiding up the head end. But he did what he had to do to be there, and I totally respect that! It's funny that Alex says parts when very quick. A few blokes had said to Josh that time would fly- but he found it the opposite- says is was the longest night of his life! I was off in another world dealing with the contractions (no drugs!) so I guess it was a little bit of a lonely time for him.

Nomadic D. said...

Yeah, I just cried a little bit into my morning coffee.

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

Lindsay said...

that was so beautiful! :)

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing this, Alex. It was so touching to read a male's perspective on birthing.

My husband was the only person in the room with me. He was my rock through the whole experience. While he hasn't said too terribly much about the experience (he is a Marine afterall), he has mentioned on occasion that it took everything within him to stay in the room with me. He had a really hard time watching me in so much pain. I would have never had guessed though because he was awesome the entire time. During every contraction, he would lock eyes with me, gently brush my hair back, and tell me over and over again that I was amazing.

Whew...just thinking about that first moment when he held his daughter...I'm getting choked up again.

Sarah Jean said...

I skipped reading the headlines on google news today and read this while I was supposed to be working. I hate crying at work. This was so beautiful!

Karen T. said...

BEST.BIRTH.STORY.EVER. I love his voice. And I can so feel the love he has for you and Toby. Just amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

So sweet and honest and touching. I had to pause while reading a few times because I'm getting misty-eyed here at work! I always imagine how my boyfriend (future husband) will feel during childbirth. I think he will be much more terrified than I will! He thinks men are clumsy & useless in the room, whereas I'd be just lost without him there. Not that we are expecting yet, but we still talk about it a lot! Thanks for sharing! I remember my Dad saying he truly never felt like an adult until he was driving my mom to the hospital and he thought the same thing "Holy sh-t!!" :-)

Sarah Pugliese said...

"So a new doctor came in to check everything out; she was super competent and amazing. She reminded me of an NCAA women’s basketball coach." That is by far m favorite line. Such a sweet birth story. You two are an awesome couple. I hope that I can find that one day!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Alex for providing a lovley glimpse at the process - from the other end of the bed.

macaca grava por cima said...

it's just increadible how much they grow in only 12 months!!!
Alex point of view is 5*****!!! Just loved it.
Infinite blessings for the 3 of you

muchtomychagrin said...

Lovely story! Toby is ADORABLE, Joanna, I find myself swooning at how unbelievably cute he is.

I clicked on the Lucy link (the one where Alex said that Toby looked like her) and it trackbacked to the post where you had yours and Alex's baby photos. I find it amazing how you predicted that Toby will have blond hair on a big head and how right you were.

So happy for you guys. You're a beautiful family :)

Mrs. Kate B. said...

Aww, I love this! I definitely teared up more than a little bit (but, also, I am 7 months pregnant with our third and feeling very ... sensitive.) It is so nice to read a birth story from the Dad's perspective, and Alex's writing style is so simple and honest. <3

ginna said...

Oh my, what a touching story! My eyes watered up at work reading it. :) It is so hilarious and awesome to read a birth story from a dad's perspective--and it is so different from how a woman would think! With him feeling protective of you, "going to war" and describing the doctor as an NCAA coach--too funny. Thank you both for sharing! Can't wait to read more dad stories. :)

ana {bluebirdkisses} said...

I love reading the dad's birth stories...such a different perspective. Toby is lovely!

www.bluebirdkisses.com

Kiley said...

Childbirth is a cross between a Georgia O'Keeffe painting and Alien! Excellent analogy.

lori jo rebeles said...

alex's story brought me to tears as i can so remember the happiness i felt upon seeing each of our three babies and sharing those intimate moments with just my husband. each experience was amazingly different. especially baby #2, who my husband had to catch because she came so quickly. my husband and i and a nurse were literally the only ones in the room when she decided to come. as the nurse ran to get help, my sweet little girl elle was born. i didn't even have time for an epidural. i would love for my husband to write his version of that labor and delivery... it was so surreal!!

and now, after reading this, i am so ready to have baby #4!! :)

Renee said...

Beautiful! I'm a mess of nursing hormonal emotions after reading that! My husband was with me for the birth of both of our sons (2.5 yr and 9 mo), but I haven't really picked his brain about his side of the birth stories... he's going to be grilled when he comes home from work tomorrow morning! Thank you so much for sharing this, it was a refreshing perspective on birth. I have to go get my 9-month-old out from under a table now!

Jenni Austria Germany said...

this made me tear up. so sweet. i love all the random details he remembers.

NovelTeaMommy said...

That was really sweet and enlightening :) Also, it brought me very close to tears! I love birth stories, but having experienced it twice myself, reading it from a mother's perspective is nice but kinda...idk, familiar? I guess I've experienced the emotions on the mothers side, so it's really really great to read it from the fathers side.

alma said...

Such a sweet man of yours :) Love your story.
My hubby was in New York when I went into labor 5 weeks early and in Vermont at that time. We were in the process of moving to VT and I lived with my parents while he finished up his job. He made it in 5 hours time and still had 24 hours to spare (I was in labor for 36 hours) the rest of the story sound similar to yours and I remember his face of just bliss when he saw his son for the first time. Priceless moment :)

El said...

Cubicle crying! What a sweet hubby you have :)

jcrkelly said...

just lump me in with the other 30trillion women crying when reading this story! alex is a great writer a storyteller! it's a beautiful story that tells of your beautiful family :) happy *early* anniversary!

Nikki said...

BEAUTIFUL baby! Absolutely angelic! What kind of camera do y'all use? Your pics are always so beautiful!

R @ Learning As I chop said...

So great! That doctor sounds awesome. I hope mine is like her.

J.Mill said...

Joanna - Why were you laying in bed clutching a roll of TP? Did your water break then?

Love the story! Thanks for sharing!

Chantelle said...

Hi;

Just wanted to drop a line and let you know that a) I'm reading, and b) I really enjoy these Motherhood Mondays. As a newlywed, considering starting a family in the next few years, they are both calming and eye-opening at once.

Thanks.

- Chantelle

Meredith said...

So sweet. You two are absolutely adorable.

My husband was in the room and was the best coach ever. He let me squeeze his hand during contractions and fed me ice chips for 10 hours. I wanted him to be by my feet because I wanted to know everything that happened :) He was a great sport and a fabulous husband to our little Brooke.

stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed reading this and the other post Alex wrote from his view of things. They've been really eye-opening!

Ainsley said...

Thanks for sharing! It's so fun (and different) to hear a guys point of view on the situation... after all, you're both playing two completely different/strong roles!

Alethea Tan said...

It was a beautiful story. :) Thanks for sharing!

agapelife said...

This was so touching! My husband and I are planning to start trying around Christmas time next year and this made me so excited to get to that moment together.

I think I may want my husband by my head because he's such a great support and I think having them there will be comforting. But I also want what he wants because it will be the birth of his child too and he should be able to experience it from his preferred vantage point! But we'll see

Jessica said...

Each time I think I couldn't love your blog any more or be in awe of you and your adorable little family you just go and top yourself!! It's so awe inspiring reading Alex's story.

I'm still in college and always thought that I wouldn't want my partner to see the birth (more for his sake) but maybe I might just get lucky and meet someone as special as Alex. Here's hoping.

Glenda said...

Loved hearing Alex's side of the birthing story.

My hubby was in the room with me. I also had back labor. He'd hold my hand and I'd squeeze really tight. I had a cold wash cloth that I'd bite down on when the contraction was too intense. The first my water broke at home and he was born 7 hrs later. The second I got to the hospital and she was born an hour later. Both were an amazing experience.

17 beats. said...

I'm so glad you posted this ... I love hearing the story from the father's side. We forget that they are major players on this important day ! My dad recently sat me down and told me MY birth story from his perspective. My husband and I loved hearing it -- we are due around Halloween -- I couldn't believe how involved my Dad had been. I guess I should have expected nothing less, but I just assumed that my mom did it all on her own.

maticki said...

you are a lucky girl. my bf was there but he seemed distant and he wasnt much of a help. he sat there scared to look and only aftre she arrived did he get involved

I read your post and was wondering if I should ask him to write/tell me his side. I wonder what he would write.....

Erika and Jason said...

We just had our baby girl on 7-24. My husband was such a wonderful support but he also felt "useless" in the room. During the pushing he was whispering in my ear the entire time about how proud he was of me and telling me "you can do it!" He preferred to be by my head but also had to help hold my leg:-) What a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing.

Michemily said...

Teary-eyed . . .

SeattleMommy said...

Very sweet story- I like the dad's perspective.

My husband and I had our first child 8 years ago. His version of the birth story was very sweet back then although now when he tells the story it doesn't sound so sweet. I chose hypno-birthing (self hypnosis) because I am very afraid of needles and was too scared to get an epidural. My husband spent 36 hours with me during labor (in the hospital) coaching me through each contraction so I would stay relaxed. I must say I could not have gone stayed focused and relaxed without him. The pushing the baby out process took 6 hours but our baby girl was perfect. Four years later when we were in the hospital having our second child my husband slept about 18 of the 24 hours I was in labor. I did figure it out on my own and was able to keep the needles at bay.

Nina said...

oh I like that. what a great perspective.

my son's father isn't around. I didn't have any family. I had my doula. I talked to my sister on the phone around 730am and told her not to call me again, I'd be dead. (yes, a little dramatic) and then I had him around oh shoot I can't remember...1145 honestly he came really fast, like I went from a 1 cm (after a week in bed with amniotic fluid rushing out of me everytime I moved) to a 10 in 10 minutes...the dr came running in breathless and said "you made me run across the street" and the NICU team rushed in and then...I was tired and wanted to sleep because it finally didn't feel like my body was being ripped in half. and they told me I had to push and I said no. and then I did and he was there and everyone was so discombobulated by his fast arrival that after a few minutes the dr asked "did anyone notice the time" and my doula said let's just subtract a few minutes and that's what we did...

Anonymous said...

I love reading about other birth stories! I have an idea that is pretty fun. A photo essay of what motherhood means to you right now. see: http://sidewalksandsunshine.blogspot.com/2011/08/motherhood-to-me.html

Bridie said...

My husband said it was not disimilar to the cows giving birth on the farm where he grew up...such a romantic, not! I loved Alex's comments about seeing Toby's face. For me, that was THE most amazing thing in my life ever. It was like seeing god, which I guess in a way it is.

eleanor hope said...

amazing. i love the way the words flow and how alex makes you feel like you're experiencing the birth with him! so beautifully written.

Dee said...

OMG that was beautiful. such a sweet story. thanks for sharing. you guys are awesome...

hazel and hunter said...

it was so touching to read this! thanks for sharing

Elissa said...

AAaw... I teared up a little here. And that is the sweetest baby photo ever.

thinkpriddy said...

I love hearing the father's side of the story. It's comforting. That last photo of Toby is breathtakingly beautiful.

Nuha said...

this was so touching :) joanna, you are one lucky girl!

Bun said...

this was just beautiful. I am always curious about the male perspective during the process. makes me excited to share this future moment with someone I love! you are quite the lucky gal...
loved this post!

xoxo bun.
http://www.bybun.com/buns-blog

Anonymous said...

This story totally made me tear up remembering my son's birth 5 1/2 years ago. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Laughing out loud and crying as I read this ... thank you for sharing!

brianna said...

Oh man! I'm crying! That was so beautiful. :) Thanks for sharing!

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

So sweet! I think having my partner in the room was the only thing that kept me from having a panic attack because I had a c-section. The whole event was totally overwhelming and he helped me keep it together. It was also such a sweet moment for us, I really felt like the two of us connected on a whole new level when we first held our son. :)

Kate said...

I laughed and cried at this post! This was so cute- Toby will be so lucky to have this to look back on when he is older.

Aline Leite said...

This post came at such a perfect time!

I've been dying to know what it's like from the father's perspective since I'm due on September 27th. This made me so excited for the whole experience! I made sure to share it with my husband since we don't really know what to expect.

Thank you for sharing this!

alex said...

Ahh, beautiful story!<3

KtShortcake said...

What a great story, it gives you a real feel for the excitement and anticipation that fathers must feel. It made me tear up, but I especially love the comment 'Also, to be honest, it was kind of like Alien,' that really made me giggle. I love reading your Motherhood Mondays, they excite me for what hopefully lies ahead in my future. Thanks Jo!

Michele said...

Thank you for your husband's honesty. Childbirth is one of the most beautiful things but it is also a little bit like Alien. I'm really surprised that you can't fill-out the hospital paperwork before and they keep it on file until you go into labor.

Rhianne said...

Oh wow, this is amazing, what a great idea, I can feel the love and excitement from here :) thank you Alex for sharing your side!

Tina said...

thoroughly enjoyed this & the other post from Alex. love how he described you. precious. cracked up at his perspective of some moments.

Found said...

You two are so cute I can hardly stand it! And by "can hardly stand it" I of course mean I'm addicted to your blog and can't stop reading it. Adorable story (and adorable kid, obviously)

jen said...

this is so beautiful, and i have to thank you both for posting it. my fiance and i are fairly certain that we won't have children, but reading this brought tears to my eyes and pushed my "maybe, what if, you never know..." button. alex, you must be one hell of a partner and daddy!

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Gretchen O said...

What a beautiful post! made me laugh and cry (while at work ;)..Thank you for sharing!

Lisa said...

Love this. I feel you all the way on the back labor; had it until I opted for an epidural at 8 cm. I'm honestly not sure who was in more pain - me or my husband, who drove his hands into my lower back as hard as he possibly could with each and every contraction as it was the only thing that helped (and did it ever.) I knew how deeply I appreciated his help when I asked our nurse, at 4:30 AM, where he could get coffee. (And then she awesomely took over "his" job while he went!)

When I later asked him his thoughts on the whole process, all he could say was that it killed him to see me in such pain and to feel as if there were nothing he could do. It struck me that he did not realize that *he* was really the only thing helping me! And honestly, I don't remember if being painful - I remember him helping me.

Those of us with supportive partners/family/friends are so lucky.

Elle said...

Absolutely LOVED hearing a man's perspective and also, it confirmed that I will never ever ever give birth in a hospital if I can help it! The attitudes sound deplorable and so deeply discompassionate. Will choose a newer, kinder, much gentler way, barring any difficulties.

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