Motherhood

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

  1. Hi! I’m still so freaked out by the idea of pregnancy and labour but your birth story is so real, horrifying, scary, comforting, sweet, funny all at the same time! Yay you and motherhood!

  2. wow. I laughed, I cried. I remembered details that I’d forgotten. I can’t imagine not having my husband in there – on the one hand, I’d like to live in the time when all moms had the luxury of being stay-at-home – on the other hand, I loved that my husband was a leg-holder and there with me the entire time!

  3. Thank you for sharing your birth story with us and all the pictures! I still remember my daughter’s birth like it was yesterday.

  4. Randi says...

    Here I am, 4 months pregnant, reading your birth story with teary eyes! Thank you so much for sharing, it makes me so excited to have this experience!!!!!!!!!

  5. Kimberly says...

    I read your blog daily and I’m not really the commenting type but here I am sobbing/smiling/laughing over your beautiful story! Thank you for sharing the magic of your precious family and for being so brave with your story and photos! It is beyond inspiring.
    K

  6. You made me cry! I can only imagine how much immense love you must have for your little Tobias. I’m kinda scared about one day giving birth, but your story really inspired me and made me think it wouldn’t be so scary. Maybe not that scary at all.

  7. OMG – your birth story made me laugh, cry, smile and cry some more. Wow. It’s amazing.

    I love the part where you roar, Alex’s encouragement, your determination and the overall honesty of this post. What an amazing story and how amazing to have it all in writing now, too :)

    Thanks for sharing.

    :)

    A.Co @ A.Co est. 1984

  8. I am giggling & getting teary-eyed and weepy too. What a great birth story :)

  9. amazing AMAZING story! thank you for sharing joanna! so moving & inspiring…

  10. I am so touched! : )

  11. I’m glad I’m not the only one crying right now! What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing!! Such a blessing.

  12. oh joanna- you have me in tears. im so happy for you and your family, what a touching story. thank you, thank you for sharing. xo, k

  13. just finished crying after reading your story.
    Thank you for sharing, it was so so beautiful and makes me even more excited to have babies some day.

    xx
    Nikki

  14. Simply lovely.

  15. What a beautiful story! I’m teary eyed!
    Congratulations!

    renee

  16. sweet!!!:)

  17. Renee Loiz says...

    such a sweet story! thank you for sharing!

  18. Such a touching story. Thank you for sharing! I’m sitting here all teary-eyed. I’m no where near having a child, but your story definitely reminded me that I have something to look forward to in the future. So much love in this story and the photographs!

  19. what a truly amazing story. thank you so much for sharing. :)

  20. like the sap that i am i’m crying as i read this. it’s so wonderful makes me excited to finish my degree and become a nurse midwife and it makes me even more excited to have a baby!

  21. Chantel says...

    What a wonderful story! I felt this strange mixture of nerves and excitement at the same time. Probably because I know your situation is a very likely reality in my near future and I am still a little scared about the whole thing! The moment where you said that you couldn’t do it anymore..wow, I feel like I’ve heard that many times, from many women! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  22. this is a truly incredible story. so happy for you!!

  23. I just teared up from reading this! how amazing, what a cutie and glad to hear everything went fairly okay

  24. Thank You Joanna and Alex, I have been waiting for your story and it was wonderful. Thanks for sharing xxx

  25. Oh Joanna, thank you so much for sharing your intimate birth story. I was misty eyed!

  26. couldn’t not comment on this. seriously amazingly told, joanna. i felt like i was in your shoes, not wanting to push! beautiful story, beautiful family!

  27. I hung on every word! You should be a writer! heehee!
    Loved this,
    Have a pretty day!
    Kristin

  28. Okay so I just cried my eyes out!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

  29. thank you so much for sharing your story, joanna! congratulations again to you and alex … toby is a precious lil angel!

  30. Thanks so much for sharing this incredible story with us Johanna! I’ve never heard such a detailed birthing story; it actually makes me a little less scared of ever having a baby :) Congrats again!

  31. Thank you sooo much for this beautiful story! I will have to live vicariously through your wonderful family until I am ready!
    Congratulations, Toby is so adorable!

  32. I have to admit… I got a little misty-eyed reading this. What a beautiful and well written story! I just adore your little family, you guys are all so inspiring! Thank you (times infinity) for sharing :)

  33. I have to say that I really appreciate you sharing this with people you don’t even know. The way my life is unfolding right now, I am far from having a baby…but that’s okay because I am enjoying life as is. Your birth story inspires me though and sort of, in an odd sense, calms my fear about one day possibly having a birth story of my own to share. Thank you. :)

  34. My husband and I are expecting our first baby (a boy!) in about a month and we can’t wait for his arrival. I loved reading you birth story… thanks so much for sharing, Joanna!

  35. Laura says...

    I just happened to be listening to this http://www.we7.com/#/song/Efterklang/Swarming as I read this post; it seemed to fit wonderfully! (mind you, I have no idea what its about!)

    Thank you for sharing your story, so generous of you to share such a precious memory.

    Laura x

  36. thank you for sharing this beautiful and intimate story with us. i was riveted the whole time reading this. huge congrats!

  37. thank you for sharing this! i love the romantic aspect of giving birth that you shared with your husband.

  38. That was so beautiful. Reading it took me back to my own birth experiences. I have 4 beautiful children and the baby factory is closed here but I think you said it so perfectly, “I would have a million babies just for that moment.” So true, there is nothing, absolutely nothing like it. It is beyond euphoric.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

    xoxo
    lola

    http://lolaslustlist.blogspot.com/

  39. Wow how awesome! I’ve heard that about visualizing your body opening up…it seems an apt description of what’s going on. Any chance you’d be willing to share your awesome gyn’s name? She sounds incredible!

  40. Thank you for sharing this, Joanna! There’s so many details that will inspire and be helpful to moms out there. And it is such a beautiful story!

  41. It is so amazing to read such a detailed story of a little baby’s birth. Reading Alex’s encouragement definitely made me cry as I sit here at work reading and it makes me look so forward to the day that I have a baby. You can see the love in your eyes and Alex’s eyes and it’s so wonderful of you to share such a special moment with all of us. What a loving family Toby has been born into.

  42. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, sweet and amazing story. My eyes are filled with tears and my heart with joy. A million thanks and blessings to you and your sweet family!

  43. I am sitting here in tears…I read your story with bated breath…i totally understood your experience. i have a 12 yr old boy, as i type i still can’t believe it was that long ago…May you, alex and toby be filled with lots of love, laughter and life!! You have a beautiful family, God bless!

  44. What a lovely birth story. It actually makes me look forward to the birth of my baby in around a months time! Whereas before i was always a bit scared of birth, your birth story has made me look at things differently! Beautiful.

  45. Beautiful story, beautiful family. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  46. Monica says...

    Wow. You took my breath away with your beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. Your family is lovely.

  47. congratulations alex, joanna and toby!!!

  48. Karen says...

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

  49. have another!!

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

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

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

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

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

  55. Wow, incredible moment to share Joanna! So wonderful!

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

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

    And congratulations!

  58. Margaret says...

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

  59. Anonymous says...

    Oooh, so sweet and beautiful!

    Ana.

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

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

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

    beijos from brasil,
    julianne.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  69. Absolutely beautiful Joanna. Inspiring!

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

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

  71. joanna-

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

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

  73. Anonymous says...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  81. Anonymous says...

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

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

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

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

  85. This is beautiful. :)

  86. Beautiful story…

  87. Bella! Bella! Bella!

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

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

    thank you!
    love love love!

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

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

  91. Anonymous says...

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

  92. Anonymous says...

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

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

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

    Thank you for sharing.

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

  95. dark_chocolate says...

    Thanks for sharing, that was an amazing story!

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

  97. beautiful writing joanna…toby’s pretty cute too! :)

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

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

  100. What an amazing story! Congratulations!

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

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

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

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

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

    Congrats to you and your little family!

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

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

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

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

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

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

    what a sweet story

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

    thank you for sharing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    baby #2 – pulled over by cops because taxi wasn’t licensed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    magic.

    xoxo
    joslyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

  133. Beautiful baby, and beautiful story! Congratulations!

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

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

  136. jb says...

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

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

    Congrats again!

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

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

    Also, you looked so gorgeous in the pictures!

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

  140. Loved the story!!

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