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. AAAAnd i am in the cube, putting of emails and balling! I flashed back to birthing my Chloe and the magic that ensued is overwhelmingly great.Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment with us all. That’s exactly what makes this haven you have create stand out and above the rest.

    Best & Bisous!
    Miss Kelly

  2. Thank you for sharing your amazing story! I have tears rolling down my face! Reading your story actually made me excited at the idea that I might give birth someday. I didn’t really think that was possible. Congratulations to you and your husband on your perfect little boy :)

  3. WONDERFUL love story.
    So similar to our own.
    I had no idea you could love something instantly.
    Isn’t birth such a crazy amazing journey.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Big LUV!

  4. so beautiful and what a gorgeous little fella! i love reading birth stories, and i’m glad that i’m finally reading yours <3

  5. Thank you for sharing this story with us! I just went through it myself and reading your story brought tears of joy to my eyes and made me remember pieces of my own story that I had forgotten (my husband fed me ice chips??) – I too did the roar! My husband said I turned into Clay Matthews at the end – I’m so proud of that! Thank you again – fantastic tory :)

  6. this is such a beautiful story Joanna! I can’t believe this is just me reading it now, a year on! it made me cry and smile and laugh so hard when you said you ROARED! amazing!

    love jojo xx

  7. Thank you for sharing this story. I loved reading it and I look forward to giving birth someday. What a magical experience. :)

  8. Joanna, this is so beautiful, I LOVE your writing style and to hear it all so detailed is awesome. Makes me so excited for my turn one day. :)

  9. I just recently found your blog and it was amazing to read this! I’m completely crying and laughing at the same time :) Especially about that part where you roared; oh my gosh I love that! And your husband sounds like such a great man. Congratulations to all three of you again even though it was over a year ago! I hope every day after has been and continues to be even more amazing :)

  10. I feel very pregnant right now! haha I’m not even preggy! You remind me of my pregnant patients back then. It’s always awesome to read birth stories! You did great! Thanks for sharing! :)

  11. So, I’ve read this a few times, but just read it again for fun. Oh my goodness! I’m laughing and crying and remembering my little baby’s birth just 5 months ago. They get big so fast and I really miss his little, soft body. This was beautiful to read.

  12. Wow! Reading your story brought me to tears and then sent me laughing with the Mick Jagger comment. So inspiring. I can only hope to have as lovely of an experience when the time comes for me.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  13. christine says...

    Enjoying going through your past posts, as I have just found your blog yesterday. I was caught off gaurd by your beautiful, just beautiful, birth story. I don’t really want to have childern, not by birth at least, but am so moved and have tears in my eyes reading this. Thank you so much for sharing, I throughly enjoyed it.

  14. Anonymous says...

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful birth story. I don’t read blogs, but my first born daughter does and she sent yours to me. She knew after hearing her own birth story from me that I would enjoy yours; especially the part about “roaring like an animal”. I gave birth to her (5 hours labor total and no epidural) 25 years ago. I have often remembered making an “animal noise” and wondering who made that noise before realizing it was me. It was the first indication that I needed to push. I fell in love with her in the womb and that love has remained! Wishing the same for you!

  15. ohhh…. i know i’m a little late to this, but this may be the best birthing story i’ve ever read :)

  16. Thanks for a weepy lunchtime read. Not sure how I got on this post but it was lovely. Hard to be a working mom and away from my own babes each day. Fun to relive my own birth stories. So unbelievably sweet!

  17. being 7 weeks pregnant with our first I have to tell you this is amazing. for as much as I cried in fear of actually giving birth (go figure, not anything else) this really makes it seem ok, even great. thank you so much for this- and btw, Toby is just so beautful. Thanks Joanna!

  18. I just started reading your blog and I must say this was such a heart warming and lovely story and a great way to start my valentines day!

  19. It’s maybe the tenth time I read the story and I still find myself crying when he’s finally in this world. I have three children, but they were all born via cesarean sections and I haven’t had the chance to marvel like you did, even though hearing their first cries were, indeed, the most mystic moments of my life.
    Thank you!

  20. Bawling like a baby. What an amazing story of nothing but love and happiness.

    x

  21. Marie says...

    This is such a wonderful birth story. It brings me back to my childrens’ births, esp., my son’s who was my first. “Slippery fish” is indeed a perfect description! LOL It’s funny–our husbands look remarkably similar. They could be brothers! Motherhood is so fantastic and indescribable,but you have done a wonderful job!

  22. What a wonderful story…and the photos of your angel just making me wish for more kids..I miss the time when they were newborn:)

  23. I read this blog post two weeks ago, and it catched my heart! You wrote your story so sensual and intensive! I think every woman should read this blog post because it’s sounds so pure and true and just amazing filth of feelings. You teached me the beauty of birth and mother-feelings and i felt like I would be in my own future-pregnancy. Your post really attends me for the last two weeks and I hope I will think of it, when I am becoming a mum.

    Just the best from switzerland

  24. Alison says...

    Wow, my best friend reads your blog religiously and I wanted to check it out for myself. I absolutely cried, at work, all by myself in the main office while reading your birth story. Absolutely beautiful and you have the best husband ever!

  25. I love reading your blog and your birth story was absolutely amazing! Congratulations!! God bless!

  26. First time reading your blog and I’m crying right now! What an amazing story, thank you for sharing. Congratulations!

  27. Such a beautiful story–I love this!

  28. what a lovely story. it is as if you are telling my story. i am crying right now. god bless you and your family.

  29. Hi Jo,

    I’ve only just started reading your blog and I love it! You have a new avid reader.

    Your birth story has just made me get all weepy. My beautiful girl was born on June 11th this year but was 2 weeks late so must have been due at roughly the same time that Toby was due. The way you described your labour really, really made me remember what mine was like, and I totally agree about finding a new respect for mothers and babies everywhere. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Love Jenny

  30. What a beautiful story. I can’t wait to be a mother.

  31. That was just awesome! I’m so excited for you. And yes, that regal, proud photo of him is my favorite, too!

  32. Shoot, you made me cry!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I remember being at that point, when you’re so exhausted and it’s all so painful and each push feels like it’s taking the last of your strength, and that’s when I felt his little head and it was just the encouragement I needed!

    Thank you for sharing this, so beautiful. Reminds me that I need to write my story down before I forget all of the tender little details!

    Yay, Toby! You’ve got a great mama!

  33. Corina says...

    oh my, oh my!
    such a beautiful story!
    thank you for sharing with all of us!

    a big hug for your family,

    Corina – Brazil

  34. your birth story has to be one of the most joyful ones i’ve heard! im an ob/gyn resident, so it’s great to hear about your wonderful experience! :)

  35. I don’t normally leave comments…

    Thanks for sharing your story, it was beautiful!!! it had me tearing too

  36. What a beautiful story! I am a nursing student so it was cool to read your story and piece together what I learned in class with it! Toby is a cutie :)

  37. JD says...

    I’m a bit behind in my reading, so I just read this post today. It was so beautiful and moving. I’m glad you had such a good experience and Toby is doing well. Those photos are awesome!

    My husband and I are trying to conceive now, so birth stories really get me thinking. Was it your husband’s job to take photos as your gave birth? How did he feel about that? I think having photos is amazing, but I’m not sure my husband would be able to handle me screaming and a camera!

  38. I could be going into labor at any minute, and reading this birth story has helped me gain some confidence about the whole thing. I’m so nervous that I’m not gonna be able to do it…but looking at your pictures and reading your feelings…I’m not so worried anymore! Thank you so much for the encouragement you gave through your words!! :)

  39. i m from brasil i m jail mr chairman globo tv mr roberto irineu marinho this men put police every day

  40. Anonymous says...

    Congratulation Joanne! Baby Toby is definitely beautiful =) Thank you for sharing this, its a real eye-opener. I cant wait to hear from your husband’s story,and you’re so blessed with such supportive husband at your side.

  41. this is sooo beautiful joanna! i felt the love and the pain and i just can’t stop laughing about the roar too!:)) congratulations!!! It’s pretty obvious Toby was born into a very good family!<3

  42. This made me tear up. In the library. I’m so happy for you!

  43. I am a new reader to your blog and am loving it.

    Your birth story was wonderful to read. Mine was a rough one so when I hear someone’s “easy vaginal birth” I usually feel jealous (to be honest) but your story was inspiring…and I couldn’t tell you why exactly but I really loved reading it. Thanks for sharing.

  44. Such a wonderful journey! I hope you are enjoying motherhood and this special time in your life.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

    Tracey
    x

    Maternity Lingerie
    Cake Blog

  45. A beautiful story and a beautiful boy! Congratulations! There is just nothing like it. I just gave birth to our son, Graham, on May 25th, too!

  46. every birth is an amazing miracle! and i never tire of hearing other moms share their experience- even if i don’t even know them. :)

    yours is precious~ as is your sweet baby Toby.

    we just welcomed our fourth last mon. the 20th.

    blessings to you guys~
    amber.

  47. G. says...

    This is such a touching story, reminds me of our birth. Toby is adoreable and you look fantastic. I mean-you´ve just given birth! I looked like crap..

    Hearty congratulations and a huge respect for you, your man and your baby!

  48. you three are so adorable…i have a lump in my throut, lovely story!

  49. Anonymous says...

    I am crying! Kisses from Montréal!
    Adelaide

  50. Such a beautiful story! I was in labor at the exact same time with my baby girl, Parker. Reading this gave me goosebumps…knowing that you were going through the same thing at the same time. Congratulations again :)

  51. Anonymous says...

    got me crying!

  52. The most amazing, beautiful story! i am shedding tears. I can’t wait for the day that I am able to have a moment like this! xo thank you for sharing!!!!

  53. Darling Joanna,

    You are just the sweetest most adorable thing ever and this story is amazing.

    At your wonderful words I got teary-eyed and chills–it seems so perfect and wonderful–and made me look forward to the day when I will have a baby of my own.

    Your doctors and nurses all seemed to do such an amazing job. And your husband seemed so amazing and so there for you throughout the whole thing.

    This story is wonderful and SUCH a pleasure reading, dear. I am so glad you shared it.

    Life is a beautiful thing. ♥♥

    XOXOXOXOXOXOX-
    Rachel

  54. Awesome birth story. I love that your husband was so there for you, your doc and nurses too. You did really well. After my first baby was born (I have 3) I felt like I could do anything. I felt so high, so powerful and connected to mothers all over the world.

  55. kathryn says...

    Beautifully told, and congratulations!

  56. beautiful!
    I laughed, I cried. What a great experience. Thanks for sharing!
    and CONGRATULATIONS!

  57. Lovely story. Welcome to motherhood. I completely agree with having a million babies just for that moment. Oh to just relive that… Enjoy your sweet boy.

  58. Anonymous says...

    I’ve had four, and you nailed it–the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t want to push…. Subsequent deliveries were easier, though. ;-)

  59. so precious and beautiful, Joanna! I am weepy and happy now having just read your story. thank you so much for sharing. ♥

  60. What an amazing birth story!
    Well done and congratulations to you both once again…

  61. I read your Birth story Monday morning before going to work but didn’t have the time to leave a comment. It moved me to tears, what a wonderful story! I dob’t have any children yet, but that’s the kind of tale that makes me want to have one! Thank you for sharing this with us!
    xx
    Nina

    http://ontheroadtonina.blogspot.com/

  62. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and intimate story with us! So amazing!

  63. Wow… like wow! Such an amazing story and you tell it so so beautifully. Had to send this to my pregnant friend (hello if you read this!) as think it will help her a great deal. So got teary reading this which I didn’t think I would xx

  64. Anonymous says...

    What a beautiful story!
    My sister is waiting triplets, and I was pretty nervous on her behalf.. But now, I’m not!
    And:I have always been afraid thinking of giving birth, and I didn’t actually think I would want to go through with it.. but now I think I will:)
    Thank you!

  65. oh wow! no dry eyes here. beautiful. thank you for sharing x

  66. awwww :’) i cried! i can’t wait to do this myself one day …AND blog about it!!

    xo.

  67. Nicky says...

    My goodness, I didn’t realize that this was just 3 days ago!! Now, I kind of feel like I’m getting to share in your joy. Your story was very enthralling. I’ve never even given birth, and I found myself unconciously pushing with you during delivery. (How crazy is that?!) Thanks for sharing it with us.

  68. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are such a beautiful writer, and your descriptions, pleasantness, and grateful cheery perspective both boost my spirits and make me cry every time I read this. I love how much you love your familiy and your husband loves you.

    You are such a delight, and I hope you continue to share your love with us.

  69. Just catching up late– as per my usual. ;)

    I love kids, but have never found myself wanting to be a parent… just love helping and working with other people’s children.

    Still, though, I have to admit you told this with such intimate detail and so purely, it DID bring tears to my eyes a couple times. ;)

    Congratulations!

  70. Thank you for sharing that. Giving birth scares me and I just hope if I ever have to go through it, it’s as calm as yours. Congratulations to you both and Toby is adorable!

  71. I started following your blog when I was three months pregnant. You had just announced you were pregnant too. Strangely enough we had our babies on the same day. Love hearing your story. It brought lots of good memories for me.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Emily

  72. hi Joanna, thanks for sharing your birth story with us :) He’s beautiful.

  73. Joanna I just sat down to read your story, and it is the most beautiful thing. I laughed, I cried, my heart was in my throat with anticipation! I love that you remembered all the details so perfectly and are so willing to tell this to your readers… It has made me so excited for labor, and I have been totally terrified! You and you hubby just make it sound like the greatest adventure you will ever take and I can’t wait to share this with my husband too :o)

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  74. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. It seriously melted my heart! I’m at the half way point in my pregnancy now and I’m scared to bits about the birth process but as I read your story I realize it is all more than worth it in the end! Congratulations – what a beautiful baby boy he is!!

  75. You are the sweetest mom! And little Toby is absolutely beautiful! What a sweetheart!

  76. You are a CHAMP!

  77. joanna, your story brought me to tears (of joy, of course!) and makes me so happy, ready and excited to have a baby with my husband. your candid honesty is inspiring and comforting. thank you so much for sharing your amazing story!

  78. So beautiful, I love birth stories. Yours made me tear up. You are a blessed family. xo.

  79. Thanks for sharing this! Beautiful! Last night at my “butts and guts” class at the gym I thought about your amazing strength through your delivery – and it was serious motivation to get in shape so someday I can be ready for my own babies! Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  80. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  81. Amazing! The picture of you (with tears in your eyes) holding Toby brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing! It was a beautiful and moving story!

  82. I heart birth stories (I edited a little book of them! Belly Button Bliss: A Collection of Happy Birth Stories), and I absolutely adore your story! So sweet, so tender. It melted my heart to hear all the ways you appreciated your husband throughout the birth. It is so, so helpful for women to share how strong they felt in labor and how supported they felt by their partner and their care providers. You have a beautiful story, and a beautiful family. I so enjoyed reading this this morning! xoxox

  83. Beautiful birth story. It takes me back to it all and how magical childbirth is. I have 3 little ones and that feeling of just had a baby is the best in the world. You look so kind and nurturing. Enjoy your boy.
    Sharon
    http://wildtribe-wildtribe.blogspot.com/

  84. Wow – I have to admit that I’m rarely a blog commenter, but I had to tell you that your story overwhelmed me. It must be such an incredible experience that’s both a little scary and completely exhilarating. I’m not quite ready for kids yet, but I know when it’s time for that day, I’ll be coming back to read this story to give myself that extra boost of encouragement. xoxo

  85. oh good grief, you got me – still so fresh for me too. I have a 20week old son, Josiah. Sigh.. your photos are lovely! Yes, I fell for the old need to go to the toilet scenario and had my son in the bathroom right in front of the toilet!!! eeek, the nurse just caught him! It was my 2nd baby so I should have known :-) But I dialated 6cm in 5 contractions and never thought I was anywhere near about to push! fun

  86. you are an incredible story teller : )

  87. Anonymous says...

    No offense but you should have considered a birth center instead. Getting an epidural and all the hoopla with the hospital stay, so unnecessary. Yawn. Try giving birth naturally and then talk about the pain.

  88. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing such a special experience. All the mammas in the world can relate ‘n appreciate : )

  89. What a sweet story and such a lucky girl! Your family is loved be all your readers!

  90. This is the sweetest story! I was smiling and crying at the same time. Thank you for sharing this lovely story.

  91. Kris says...

    Wonderful story! Thank you for sharing! You look RADIENT in those pictures.

  92. Such an awesome story. :) You were so lucky to be surrounded by such positive people!! And what a beautiful little boy you have! Thank you for sharing!

  93. such a sweet baby! thanks for sharing :) you look great for just giving birth! congrats <3

  94. Thank you for sharing your amazing birth story with us! I love that adorable Toby is a fellow Gemini :) He will keep you hopping! You are a beautiful writer and you moved a lot of women (me!) to tears with your honest experience. Thank you so much for sharing. Can’t wait to read Alex’s POV! Congratulations again! :)

  95. Yours is the best birth story I’ve ever read, you have such a captivating way of writing. Thank you so much for sharing this, and for showing intimate photos. Toby and you breastfeeding for the first time was the sweetest (and the cab shots were hilarious, even though I knew exactly how you were feeling!). And just from your photos I can totally see how calm Alex is and what a fantastic father he would be/is.

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  98. love to read it.
    love your blog!!!

    wish you the best.
    huggs and kisses from Portugal!

  99. Congratulations! I agree, I would have a million babies just for that feeling again too. Nothing better in this whole wide world!

  100. I read every blurry word. And now I want another one. Congratulations, again.

  101. Such a beatiful and moving story, congratulations for your sweet family.kisses from Lisbon, Portugal.Daniela

  102. Oh Joanna what a beautiful story! The breastfeeding pictures are incredibly beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations!

  103. these comments are so incredibly lovely; thank you so much for being so wonderful!! xoxoox

  104. Thanks for sharing your story. It was beautiful and had me feeling all warm inside.

  105. Joanna – You made me laugh, smile and tear up throughout, what a beautiful story. (Totally worth the wait.) Thank you for so openly sharing your lives with us! Best wishes to you, Alex and Toby.

  106. Anonymous says...

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I have 10 more weeks left of my pregnancy and hearing how wonderful your experience was really helped but my mind at ease. thank you for that. Xx

  107. A great read! Thanks for sharing. I’m due in March and really excited/nervous about the birth. Reading this was very interesting, and actually gave me a confidence boost! Our bodies are amazing – I CAN DO THIS! :)

  108. So heartfelt! Thank you! Happiness is making me cry.

  109. What a beautiful story! I remember those exact feelings with both of my children! Enjoy each moment with your little man! xxoo :)

  110. Anonymous says...

    Oh Joanna, this was just wonderful and brought back my own memories of “oh no, this isn’t labor” and then delivering 30 minutes after arrival!

    From Alex’s wonderful coaching to your not being able to sleep for the excitement of at last having Toby to see and hold, and his own brave role in birthing… a beautiful life story for you three to cherish forever!

    Thank you for sharing – looking forward to Alex’s point of view!

    xoxo judith b.

  111. Your amazing. I loved your birth story, and I can’t wait to hear Alex’s side of it too!

  112. So amazingly beautiful. I will be misty for the rest of the day.

  113. this is the first birth story i’ve ever read and i’m moved to tears! thank you so much for sharing. i want my husband to read it to :).

  114. Thank you for this! I am 24 weeks pregnant today with my first (a boy), feeling my little guy kick just moments ago. Reading birth stories has really helped me with my nervousness about the impending event, and yours is no exception. I was welling up at the end. I can’t wait!

  115. thanks for sharing your precious experience in such a positive light. love it. so neato.

  116. oh sweet sweet joy. thank you for sharing.

    funny, they thought I would take all day too – I went from a one (if that) to a 10 in about 10 minutes, freaked everyone out…the dr arrived panting from running across the street. and then I told everyone “ok go away, I’m tired and just need to sleep a little, please?” and no one would let me sleep.

  117. My daughter is 20 years old and to this day when I hear a birth story I cry and I am right back to the moment of her birth. Never fails. What a special time it is. I wish you all the love and happiness that mothering will bring to you, congratulations. And, thanks for the memories.

  118. What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing. It makes me want to have a baby. Shh. Don’t tell my boyfriend ;)

  119. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I feel so weepy too! I’m due in about 8 weeks and we just finished our pre-natal classes. I love hearing stories like this!

  120. So beautiful. I’m only 19 and not even married and that makes me so excited to start a family…eventually.

  121. i love how you said you actually roared. my sister who thought she might also be modest during delivery said afterwards that she wouldn’t have cared if the entire red sox team walked in and saw her in all her glory– i think youre in a totally different mindset while pushing a babe out of your vajay.

    thanks for sharing :)

  122. I feel so much less scared about labor now!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Toby is so beautiful, and you looked so beautiful throughout the process! I can’t believe how great you looked at the hospital!

    Congrats, Joanna and Alex!

  123. Klara says...

    Thanks for your story!!!! Useful for both me and my husband – baby expected 18 of october.

    Kisses and hugs from Sweden

  124. thank you for sharing your beautiful story, i couldnt help to cry while i was reading it!

    i’m going to have a baby for the first time in about a month and a half so i’m very very touched by this.

    I wish you the best

  125. Beautifully written – we love how Alex found time to take photos on the way to the hospital! Congratulations!!!!

  126. This story has me in tears! So utterly beautiful and amazing. I love how you say several times how excited you were during labor. We read so often of mums to be feeling anxious or scared or just tired but you being excited is so lovely. I have told my friend about this story as she is having her own baby boy soon. :)

  127. Ok, this made me cry, in a good way. :)

  128. Thank you for sharing – this was so lovely and heartwarming to read! You look amazing in those photos! And Alex looks soooooo proud! :)

  129. Thank you for this bit of sheer happiness. Your story is so full of hope and joy. Wishing you all the best, truly.

  130. My goodness that brings back memories, especially the roaring part! I was traumatised for days after being so vocal – it really is primal isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, it brought tears to my eyes. Now I think I’ve gathered up enough courage to have another little one thank you! x

  131. Anonymous says...

    As I read this I felt as if had been transported back to the 50’s…..why would you want to share this “birth story”? It is obvious you had no idea what was happening during labor and gave into an epidural after almost zero effort.Women like you make me wonder, what exactly do you think makes your story special? The answer is NOTHING. You concieved a child and gave birth like a cow. Good work, “mom”. Maybe you can have a redo and try it the natural way when you get a fucking clue. You had an epidural and layed on your back to “push”…. it is “women” like you that hold us back. Your birth story is a fucking embarrassment. Try again. Also you have absolutely no idea what back labor is until you’ve actually felt it. Ugh. You make me sad. Way to hold us back girl.

  132. Anonymous says...

    Very mooving and touching, thank you for sharing! All my girlfriends are pregnant, I am not in that place in my life now, but it has been great to be able to understand how it feels.

  133. Aaw breath taking story Joanna! You are so brave, thanks for sharing!
    XoXo

  134. Dear Joanna,
    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s always a great chance to learn and feel encouraged for mothers-to -be to read or listen to successful birth stories. It literally put tears in my eyes while reading you story.
    I found that giving birth is the greatest experience in my life that made me feel closer to God… Women are so blessed with this unique gift bestowed them. The nurse at the Lamaze class once told the men in our group: ‘if you think that you love your partners already… You’ll love them infinitely more after you’ll see them give birth to your children’… Of course she was right! I am so happy for you and for your husband. But I am overjoyed for your baby who had a great loving start to his new life… Welcome to our old, humble, surprisingly beautiful planet we call Earth :))
    Sedef
    PS I shared your story as a link on my blog: http://parentcoachsedef.blogspot.com/2010/09/great-birth-story.html

  135. Joanna, this story is so wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. It’s so inspiring…definitely made me a little teary eyed too :). And now I really can’t wait to have a baby someday. :) :) Love to you and your beautiful family!

  136. congratulations! i can’t help but be one of your readers who has to clutch onto a pack of kleenex reading your birth story and following the growth of you new beautiful child. what wonders a baby can bring to the world! best wishes! you’re so lovely! <3

  137. Anonymous says...

    Birth is a moment of undiluted good.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  138. Thank you so much for sharing! As a woman on the verge of jumping headfirst into the adventure of babies, it’s so nice to be able to read real life experiences. Yours sounds beautiful! Congrats!

  139. As an avid (and I mean AVID) lurker, I had to comment. This was beautiful, in only the way that the most hilarious and adorable birthing story of all time should be told! Thank you for…giving me hope that I can someday be maternal (I mean, I cried reading this, and am still weepy. I can be maternal, right?), squashing my own future birth worries (roaring? me?), giving all women a glimpse into the true beauty of becoming a mother :) while remaining the same poignant and articulate Joanna we know from Cup of Jo many years ago (okay, I’m not THAT creepy, maybe just two!)

  140. So beautiful! Thank you for sharing! Your family is so adorable.. This made me excited to have a baby some day!

    –Shelby

  141. amazing. incredible. I am literally sitting here with tears in my eyes! thank you for sharing your story with us and being so honest and personal. I don’t think I’ve ever read such an honest accounting of giving birth… I felt like I was right there with you, feeling what you felt. though the thought of giving birth is a bit frightening to me, your story reaffirms my desire to one day bring a little life into the world. such an awesome thing we women can do! Toby is a hero and you are too! and Alex. oh, Alex. what a sweet sweet husband you’ve got there. can’t wait to hear his perspective! thanks again for sharing!

  142. ali says...

    i’m trying not to cry reading this. thanks for sharing. i’m excited for my turn sometime in the next month.

  143. I totally teared up reading this. I don’t usually read birth stories because … I don’t really… I guess I’m afraid there will be too many details or something. But I loved your story and that you were so brave and Alex was so supportive. Thank you so much for sharing such and intimate event. I can’t wait to have babies. xo

  144. such a beautiful story joanna.

    the birth of new baby truly is a miracle. so glad you shared with all of us!

  145. Anonymous says...

    Oh Joanna…I’ve read your blog for about a month and I’ve enjoyed EVERY post. But especially this one…thank you for your courage and strength and inspiring women like me who are so close to this next step in their lives…Wonderful.
    J

  146. Thanks for sharing…. So precious xo