Annndd…we’re back for Part II of Porter’s birth story.  In case you missed the first half, go here

So many of you were upset (not really) that I kept you hanging.  Have you learned nothing from movies?!?!  The best ones are always told in parts.  That’s how they sell the big tickets. Winking smile  Also, the times indicated are generalizations…I didn’t actually look at the clock and write down everything as it was happening (wait…really?!?).  BUT Travis and I did sit down a couple of hours after the birth and jot down some things which has made it much easier to write these recaps. 

Oh..and I go back and forth between present and past tense.  Turn me in to the blogger police.


Where were we….

Ah yes…in pain…12 hours in…that’s where.

1:00pm:   I labor in every position I know how. On the bed, on the ball, on all fours in the bed, walking up and down the halls, on the toilet. Contractions are coming every minute and it feels like I’m in transition (the hardest part of labor – also the shortest). During Clara’s birth, transition lasted about 30-45 minutes.  The pain I was feeling was SO similar and started in my back, wrapped around my belly and then coursed down my legs.

Brian And Katie Torwalt Kingdom Come, I Will Trust You

Every 30 minutes or so, I would change positions.  What worked in early labor to relieve the pain wasn’t working anymore – positions that felt good (hunched over on the bed with my bottom on the exercise ball) now gave me no relief.

Sometime during the afternoon, Katy came and labored with me in my room.  She STILL hadn’t checked in to the hospital (this wouldn’t happen until 7pm).

Two sisters in labor together

One technique that helped me get through this period was VISUALIZATION (read about this in any hypnobirthing book).  This may sound dumb to some readers (but it might help others who are about to do the labor and delivery thing):  As each contraction came, I pictured myself standing on the seashore.  The contraction was a wave coming at me.  As the wave grew closer, I would shoot panes of glass out of my fingertips and block the wave from crashing into me.  Sounds ridiculous but I swear it helped – just took my mind off of the pain for a second.  I was like a super hero.

5:30pm:  I’m checked again, just KNOWING I’m at a 9.  Nope – the nurse says, “Eh, maybe a 5 or a 6.”  I want to hit the nurse.  She also says that Porter’s HEAD IS CADDY CORNERED BEHIND MY PUBIC BONE. <-important to remember and the reason why the contractions were coming on so hard and fast, yet making NO difference in my status.

5:30pm-6:00pm:  After 8 hours of hard labor (which isn’t the correct term, since ALL labor is hard), I opt for a dose of Stadol to help with the pain. All it did was make me feel drunk – still SO much pain.

7:15pm:  Checked again. No progress.

7:17pm:  After 19 hours of laboring naturally and talking (or screaming) it over with Travis, I opt for an epidural.  I feel discouraged and down.  This labor was not going AT ALL what I had expected, not what I had planned for.

7:52pm:  Anesthesiologist FINALLY makes it to the hospital. I said this to him – “Can you just move your f….?!?” I didn’t finish the sentence… a contraction. The drugs washed over me and I was able to finally relax a little.

8:00pm-11:00pm:  Since I got the epidural so late in the game, I could still feel each contraction but they were SO much easier to control.  As with most epidurals, my contractions started to slow down.  Not good.  Porter was STILL STUCK and making no progress.  I just knew I’d have to have a C-Section, something I most definitely did not want.

The next step was Pitocin to speed up my contractions.  <-three drugs.  I’d had three drugs given to me.  The exact OPPOSITE of the natural birth I wanted.

11:00pm:  As I’m being checked again, one of the nurses (an amazing one!) literally put both of her hands up in me as I’m having a contraction and she moves Porter’s head a wee bit.  It’s enough to get him dislodged!  YES!!

11:15pm:  After Porter becomes “unstuck,” things happen quickly.  I progress to a 10 and it’s time to start PUSHING.  I can actually feel each contraction so I know when I’m supposed to push.  Even with pain meds, pushing is HARD.  It’s super tiring and can take hours.  For this birth, it took a total of 2.  Two hours.

11:15pm-1:00am:  I push for rounds of about 30 minutes and then take mini-breaks (until the end where I got no breaks).  Travis holds one leg and a nurse holds the other.  They pull out the hand grips for me to hold and they help.

1:00am-1:17am:  Around 1am, the nurse calls the doctor in.  IT’S GO TIME!!

I’d seen a midwife the entire pregnancy but Dr. Van Duuren was on call that night (and I’m so glad he was there – he had such a calming presence – “a midwife in a doctor’s body”).  With each of these last pushes, he stretches and pulls me apart (sounds painful…it is..but also exactly what I needed not to tear).  He doesn’t speak a word and allows the nurses to coach and cheer me on.  With each push, everyone in the room tells me about how much hair Porter has or how close I am.  Needed!  I’m the type of person who LOVES encouragement (perhaps why I became a trainer?).  I KNOW that I can do this and I push harder and harder.

Two last pushes…one to get his head out and another for his body.  As soon as he leaves my body, the feeling of relief in the room is palpable.  Porter is instantly placed on my chest.

Newborn baby right after being born

Mom holds her new baby.

Big baby being weighed for the first time 8 pounds 10 ounces

Newborn has dimples

Instant bond.

Instant connection.

He nurses immediately (like a champ).  As I deliver the placenta and receive one stitch, Travis and I talk about who he looks like (Henry…he looks like Henry).  So much joy.  And RELIEF.  So much relief.

1 day old baby sticking tongue out

Beautiful newborn baby

I want to write more about expectations and reality….but that will wait for another day.

Today, 3 weeks later, all I can do is smile about those 24 hours.  I’ve already blocked out the pain.  I’ve already blocked out the 8 months of nausea.

And I already want 5 more kids just like this one.

These kids we make…they’re pretty amazing.


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  1. My first baby (a girl) is due in October. At first I was beyond scared silly, but the last few days I’ve realized I can do this and it will be AWESOME. I’m not in denial, I know it will hurt, but I also know that God created my body to do this. Thank you for sharing your story and helping new, soon-to-be mommas like me feel strong and capable approaching birth! :)

  2. Such a beautiful story! I love reading birth stories, especially as I get closer to the birth of my baby girl this summer. So glad you decided to share this:-).

  3. I can totally relate to that feeling of disappointment. I planned on a natural birth and had one for 22 of the 24 hours I was in labor, but it didn’t work out in the end and I had to have pitocin and then later an epidural. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with things not working out how I wanted, so know that your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to feel disappointed. But, others are right too and we are lucky for healthy babes.

  4. Great job and Porter is beautiful!! I think women are way to hard on themselves and other women with the “I did it natural” thing! As long as baby and mom are safe, it really doesn’t matter. God has ways of teaching us that we are not the ones in complete control and this only makes us stronger. I had two great births, two epidurals, and two happy healthy children and wouldn’t change a thing : )

  5. I love birth stories! Although I have to admit, now that I’m gearing up to do it again, it does freak me out a bit. I was hoping this one would be shorter and easier. :) But you were amazing, mama! So worth it for that gorgeous little guy.

  6. I agree with Janetha – I don’t think you need to feel discouraged about an epidural at ALL! Wow, you did incredible work, and you have a healthy baby to boot – I don’t think it can be anymore encouraging. Porter is beautiful and you are a rockstar!

  7. i was sad to read that you felt discouraged and down about deciding to get an epidural! that is nothing to be sad about. it’s not like it makes you any less amazing than if you hadn’t got one. drugs are there for a reason lol a very good one. in other news, your long ass labor sounds absolutely awful and scares the shit out of me. so thanks for that :) he’s so cute! can’t wait to meet him!

    1. I know, I know.. I just planned for a long time on something and it didn’t go the way I wanted. Looking back, it was certainly the right choice (I had 5 more hours to go!!!), but at the moment, I was disappointed. Ya know.

  8. I love birth stories…and I love that they’re all different. My 3rd was the only out of 4 that I went without pain meds. I did the exact same mental imagery of picturing the ocean and I also visualized myself holding yoga poses and then releasing them when I came off a contraction. I also had great experiences with epidurals so overall I am glad I experienced both but most important is getting those babies out safely. Labor & delivery definitely doesn’t always go the way we imagine, but it doesn’t make it any less magical or special. You did amazing and he is beautiful!

  9. I love reading birth stories too! Always so amazing and fun to read! I started blogging after Kaydin was born but I really need to get the timeline and my thoughts/feelings on my blog so I have it to read forever and ever! :)

  10. Wow. you are AMAZING!!! this made me hurt all over to read! So intense and so so SO tough. you are a superhero, seriously. And he is beautiful, thank you for sharing and congrats again!!

  11. Thanks for sharing your story. The beauty of it all and the miracle of birth made me want to weep. You and Travis are amazing.

  12. What a beautiful story- thank you for sharing it! I love reading birth stories because they are all so unique and wonderful. I can’t believe how perfect Porter looked after such a long labor. Such a handsome little man!!

    I was focused so much on having a natural labor with my first, but this time (due tomorrow!!), I’m much less rigid on my birth plans because I know I can’t control everything. Having to be induced 10 days past due with Hailey has me focused on a healthy baby and a healthy mom (as cliche as it sounds!) over anything else.

  13. Oh boy, birth stories always make me cry! I can’t believe I’ll be doing this in September. Congratulations on your beautiful boy!

  14. Labour and delivery is such an INTENSE experience, isn’t it? I think it just helps to prepare us for how intense parenting is :)
    He’s a BEAUTIFUL newborn! xo

  15. Gosh, beautiful and HARD. Which is guess is the definition of childbirth, yes? And the fact that we are so often humbled when our plan is not God’s plan! So thankful for your beautiful little man!! (And also remembering my labor/delivery with Sawyer, which was pretty similar. Those 2 hours of pushing were the WORST)

  16. Our children are born how they need to be.

    Susanna was 34 hours no meds with a C-section 2 hours later. I learned so much through that.

    My heart still wells with gratitude for Doreen, the OR tech, who had Christmas carols playing in the OR. That music calmed my tired body.

  17. I had one labor that went according to plan. One. Levi was 10 days late and I had to be induced, and then got an epidural. Cora came a few days late, after just 4 hours at the hospital, I labored in the tub and delivered in the chair, perfect. Lily was transverse, so I scheduled a c-section. But when I went in, she was head down. This happened twice. The second time we agreed I should be induced before she flipped again. I got two epidurals with that labor. Eric was born 26 minutes after I got to the hospital. It was very quick and a little too intense.

  18. I am so happy to hear that you just did what was right for you. I think as women (especially us type-A women) we can get really focus on a certain plan, or the way we think things “should” be. The last few years have taught me that you never know where life is going to take you, so you have to be open and accept the journey. Admittedly still a work in progress… But I love reading this!

  19. As a mom to be (July :) ) of twins – I soooo want a natural birth but they aren’t moving in the right direction…reading your post makes me remember we have a ‘preference list’ and a ‘plan’ but really all that matters is the amazing splendid babies arrive healthy and then we can deal with the reality and what those babies ‘preferred’ later. If only those babies listened to what we wanted!