Watching Your Baby Go Through Labour is Hard–But Then There’s This

by | Oct 24, 2019 | Uncategorized | 71 comments

What it's like to see your daughter in labour
Merchandise is Here!

I have always said that Katie was my worst labour.

With Rebecca, I was in labour for 10 hours. We got to the hospital too early, and they made me walk around the cafeteria for a few hours. I remember I spent most of that time in the bathroom at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, having contractions while sitting on a toilet, with  my mom in the next stall, trying to talk me through it. When they finally admitted me, I spent most of the time in a hospital room with just Keith. They barely checked on me, it was awful, and then, when it was time to push, she had some heartrate decelerations and they had to vacuum her out. I had a really severe tear, and my mom ended up holding her for her first hour of life while I got sewn up.

I always thought that labour was bad until Christopher was induced, and the pain was a LOT worse. Much harder to cope with. (he had to be induced because my water broke, and he was a high risk pregnancy and had to be born during the day when all the doctors were around, since he had a serious heart condition. He passed away a few weeks later).

And then there was Katie. I had been in early labour for about 5 days, but not making much progress. Regular contractions would happen for about 2 hours and then go away. We went to the hospital several times that week and they kept sending me home.

Real contractions began at midnight, and she was born at 5:15 a.m. It was fast, and the pain was incredible. Just awful. THAT was bad. That was the measuring stick I always used for how bad labour could be.

Until this week, when I saw my daughter in labour.

She had the opposite problem with Katie. Katie came quickly but horrendously painfully. Rebecca was in labour for a full 23 hours, and for about 10 of that she was having regular, painful contractions, but she was stalled.

Through the entire 23 hours, the longest break she had was 6 minutes. When she finally did progress, her pain was as bad as Katie by far, because she went from 6 cm to pushing in very, very little time. The only difference was when she went through that she had already been in labour for like 20 hours.

Yet when it came time to push, her whole demeanor changed, and Connor’s demeanor changed, and she was a champ, and he was out in 15 minutes, and he’s just perfect.

Grandbaby Born

It is very, very hard to see your daughter in labour when labour is hard.

But it is amazing to see your daughter (and your son-in-law!) with a baby.

Rebecca with her baby

He’s 8 pounds 1 ounce, and he’ll be coming home in a few hours. Katie spent yesterday with us getting to know her nephew.

Katie with Alexander

And my mom came down too to meet her great-grandson.

Nana Sheila with Alexander

He’s eating super well, and everything on him is working perfectly. So we’re all very grateful, if a little bit tired. (P.S. I have amazing pictures of Connor with the baby, and he honestly is an amazing dad, but Katie took them with her phone, and it’s early here, and I don’t want to text her to get them. So just trust me that he’s awesome with the baby, and I’m sure that pics of him with little Alexander will make their way into subsequent posts!) Pics of the new grandparents will have to suffice.

Keith with the baby

Grandparents with Alexander

But Katie will no longer be my standard for a bad labour. Really, the worst labour is the labour that someone you love is going through, when you can’t really help much. That’s the worst. But what makes it bearable is the tremendous blessing you get at the end.

Alexander

I know that some of you are going through difficult times with infertility or baby loss, and I hope this post doesn’t add to your pain. Believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve had a miscarriage, and I endured a baby death. And I know what it’s like to be petrified through an entire pregnancy that something bad is going to happen. In the broader circle of those who work for the blog, Joanna has also had a life-threatening miscarriage this year, and she’s been dealing with struggling to conceive as well. She shared a few posts on that, too, especially on learning to go to baby showers despite what she was feeling. 

But we also had so many praying for Rebecca during her pregnancy, and I wanted to give this update. Thank you so much for those of you who aren’t just on the email list, but are also signed up for our prayer list. So I understand how hard baby stuff is to read about, and I hope this hasn’t added to any pain. I just also want to share our joy at being grandparents, and it’s sometimes a hard balance to find.


And for something completely different: I had quite the big threads on Twitter last weekend about Emerson Eggerichs giving sermons where he minimizes abuse. You can see one such thread here

Quite the firestorm. So there’s lots going on in my life, and lots to update you with! But right now I’m grateful for the 10 hours of sleep I had last night after not sleeping for two nights straight, and we’re on our way to pick up two new blissful parents and one baby, and bring them all back home.

What about any of you? Any awful stories about labour? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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71 Comments

  1. Lindsey

    Congratulations, he is absolutely beautiful! Newborn phase is the most innocent and sweet of all the stages, and also the most fleeting – soak it up!

    I had all four of mine unmedicated. I didn’t have them in the hospital, but at a midwife birth center, so I was able to move around. I gave birth to all four in a tub. Being in the water really, really helped with the pain. I also was able to move from active labor (in which I frequently stalled) into pushing within an hour with each delivery after they would put me in the tub.

    I’m not sure if that’s an option in Canada, but if she wants to avoid having an epidural (next time), they call water births “the midwife’s epidural”.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      I second the midwife route. And even if you don’t deliver in water water during labour really helps a ton.

      Reply
  2. JennD

    My first baby, early labor started Friday morning, hard labor Friday night and he wasn’t born till early afternoon on Monday! It was absolutely terrible.
    My next baby, I almost didnt make it to the hospital in time because I just assumed that it was going to be another long labor. My husband had called my mom, while we were still at home and she could hear me laboring in the background. She was like, “what are you still doing home! Get her to the hospital! That baby is coming soon!” Of course moms always know best and baby number 2 was born about 45 min after getting to the hospital.

    Reply
  3. Melanie

    Congratulations to you and your whole family! Such a cute and precious bundle! They are worth it no matter how long and painful the process. I have watched people close to me go through miserable and dangerous pregnancies and NICU scenarios. Personally I had a miscarriage and a stillbirth. I have 3 wonderful children on earth now.

    We put Mark 10:14 on our stillborn baby’s headstone: “Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” To anyone currently dealing with the grief of loss, I also love Job 3:11-19. Too long to type out here, but as Job laments his loss, he paints a beautiful picture of where our little ones are now.

    Again, so excited for you all, Shiela! Rejoicing with you!

    Reply
  4. Cara

    After 4+ years of infertility and a miscarriage (thinking “what if that was it? My only egg?”), I got pregnant with my now 19 yo daughter.
    I have since had 3 more babies-one a surprise with no medical help! All 4 of my labors were embarrassingly easy and breastfeeding went well. I like to think God thought I had had all I could take of “my body failing me” and made that easy.

    I will say that with my last baby I decided to forego the epidural. Poor life choice. My epidural births were so calm and peaceful and nearly pain free and I didn’t have any significant tears. Number 4 was induced 3 weeks early because he was big AND i was at a 5 with a history of fast labors. He was 9 lbs 7 oz. 3 weeks early. And I tore. Because I had no ability to stop pushing to ease him out.

    I love birth stories and DEVOURED them for all the years I was dealing with infertility and during my pregnancies. <3

    Reply
  5. G

    Congrats! Beautiful baby!!

    I watched 2.5 of the clips from the twitter thread before I was too angry to watch more. So maybe he is correct about how men feel and their motivation- but the generalizing is so wrong. However, what happened to communication? I have a son who gets angry and storms off. I have taught him that he can leave a conflict in order to calm down and that’s honorable- but he needs to communicate what he is doing as he leaves. Because communicating your needs is honorable. And he talked about the filter as though wives should work around that- um your filter is your problem. I have a filter from years of emotional abuse, but I don’t expect the world around me to understand that filter- it’s my filter to understand and work through and communicate when I need help. Just as wives shouldn’t expect husbands to know what they need without communication- husbands shouldn’t either. And no- my sons aren’t going to be labeled as abusive because They know how to communicate well and show personhood to everyone.

    Thank you for exposing the darkness!

    Reply
  6. Jane Eyre

    What a beautiful baby boy!! I love the expression on his face: he looks so innocent and curious: “oh, you’re aunt Katie!” and “so this is Grandma.”

    So happy for your entire family!

    Reply
  7. Bethany

    Oh he is so sweet! Congratulations again. I am so happy he’s here!! <3

    Reply
    • Miriam

      Congratulations!
      Labour stories?!
      #1 (my IVF baby) went from 6cm to 10cm in 20 mins. I thought that was bad. But then…
      #2 (my natural baby) I went from 1cm to holding her in one hour! Now that was something else!
      Not sure if I want to go for a third…

      Reply
      • Joanna Sawatsky

        Wow! That’s incredibly fast! I was 3.5 to 10 in 1.5 hours with my daughter but yours takes the cake for intense!

        Reply
  8. Jessica

    Yay! Congratulations!!!!!

    My first baby, I was in some sort of labor for something like 36 hours. I think looking back on it (because of course you have no idea what you’re doing with the first, so this is my best guess in hindsight), that the first maybe 12-18 of that was the unproductive sort of contractions, maybe late Braxton-Hicks. But seriously, I was having some kind of contractions for 36 continuous hours, from Saturday night until she was born on Monday. It SUCKED. I had an epidural somewhere around hour 24, but when it goes that long, eventually it doesn’t do a whole lot. I look like I’d been run over by a truck in the pictures. (I was much more vain with future deliveries and wouldn’t let anyone take pictures until I had brushed my hair) I don’t think there’s really anything that could have been done differently there – it just took my body a long time to get from “Hmm, maybe contractions is a thing we should do” to “And we’re pushing out a baby”.

    Fortunately, it got easier (ish) with the 3 subsequent go-arounds, although baby #2 was 10’4 and face up so her butt pushing into my spine caused incredible back labor, which an epidural does NOT touch. I had a lousy midwife for that one and I wish I had gone with the same practice I used for my first for that one, but live and learn. I went back to that practice for the 3rd and 4th and both of those were amazing experiences. For #3, I was induced and my BFF was there with me the whole time and the epidural was sooo good and the whole labor was something like 11 hours, which for ME seemed like a walk in the park. The epidural was so good that it was still working perfectly at the pushing part and the OB was cracking jokes in between pushes and aforementioned BFF was about to tell him to stop but then she noticed I was laughing at the jokes so she figured, well I guess she’s doing OK then… And the 4th, we finally got it down to about 5 hours of actual labor and a different good friend of mine who was a nurse on the mother-baby floor of that hospital came in, and one of her good friends who worked on L&D was my assigned nurse and she stayed past her shift to be with me and the friend ended up clocking in. So I had a lot of 1 on 1 attention, which of course made a huge difference.

    Cursorily related, I was talking with some ladies the other night about birth plans as one of them is approaching her due date and I said that I wonder how OBs and nurses feels about those, because it was sort of a thing 11 years ago when I was pregnant with my first, to think about how you want it to go and write down anything you care about, but it’s completely out of control now. She said that they asked her about her birth plan and she said something like “I’m going to leave with the baby outside of my uterus” and they laughed and told her about how they get people with printed & spiral bound (I am not making that up) birth plans. I think it’s good to think about if there’s anything that really matters to you or is a medical need, but that MIGHT be a little off the rails…

    I just can’t even with Eggerichs and John MacArthur from this past weekend and am resting in the maxim I made up earlier this week: “People are dumb and we all need Jesus”

    Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      My birth plan: epidural and pain relief as soon as humanely possible; get my baby out of me in the medically safest way possible; if you’re not medical personnel or weren’t at the conception, you have no business in that delivery room.

      Reply
      • Jane Eyre

        Adding: the last part sounds like it might have been judgy towards women who want more support during the experience, but it was meant to be personal to my own preferences (and family).

        Even when they are not being toxic and abusive, my family is veeerrry domineering and very condescending towards me. They would not back me up and, in an emergency, it would be decision by committee and shouting me down, rather than just getting the (expletive) over themselves, clearing out, and letting medical personnel do what needs to be done.

        Reply
        • Joanna Sawatsky

          I’m so sorry you have to deal with that! But I’m glad you’ve been able to set up good boundaries that work for you and your family.

          Reply
        • Lizzie Carter

          Your birth plan sounds exactly like my birth plan! Even down to the toxic family bit. (Actually, my toxic parents don’t really know about our baby yet, mostly because I don’t really want my innocent, unborn child to be exposed to them *just* yet. And if my family ever tries anything, there’s going to be so many boundaries. And it starts with them not being at the hospital.)

          Also, much love and prayers as you deal with your family and everything! <3

          Reply
        • Heidi

          Some people in husband’s family were serious offended when I refused to let anyone be there except my husband and the caregivers. I wasn’t trying to hurt feelings, but I knew it would stress me out to have people around. I know people feel differently and of course that is fine. But, like you implied I just can’t image want anyone but my husband around while I am in any stage of labor or delivery.

          Reply
          • unmowngrass

            Can I ask something here? I have a bit of a wound that hasn’t healed, and I could use the validation, but I will ask only for a balanced, considered opinion from someone who is not hormonal and shouting at me 😉

            My niece’s 1st birthday was this past weekend, so we’re talking just over a year ago, when my sister was talking about her hospital plans. And I thought… expected… I’d be, like, corridor level people. I didn’t think I’d be in-the-room level people, but corridor level people, yes. Because that’s what you do when people you love are going through big things; you show up, physically, in person. It’s the only thing that actually counts. And also, this was going to be a big event in my own life! I’m getting a niece!! I’ve never had a niece before! This is going to be literally the biggest thing that has ever happened to me!!! And it’s all I’m going to be thinking about. So really, where else in the whole world am I going to be, except right there???

            Sister said that not only am I not corridor level people, I’m not even car-park level people, as in, DO NOT BE AT THE HOSPITAL AT ALL. She also said that’s it’s not a big event in my life, only in her & hubby’s life. Which is plainly just not true. Like, it can be a HUGE event in her & hubby’s life, and still be a BIG event in my life, right?? And she said that she didn’t want to have to be thinking about me, which is totally fair, but, if I’m not actually going to be in the room, I don’t see why she would be??

            Now, yes, yes, I know, Mum-to-be gets to pull rank., etc, etc. That’s what she did and I had to get used to it. But as I say, it did leave a wound. Made me feel disposable. So I guess my question really is, just because she’s allowed to pull rank over me about this, does it mean that my underlying point is invalid? I don’t think so, but I think I just need to hear someone else say it?

            Or if it does, why, exactly? Where is the flaw in my thinking here? What am I overlooking? Or what false conclusions am I drawing? Without that, it just looks to me like she’s just thrown all her toys out of the pram and then the rest of my family have just said that that’s allowed, and then that’s the end of it. No balanced, considered justice (or apology) for that kind of attitude… . Thoughts, please?

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            That’s a tough one. I know that Rebecca and Katie were really close, but Katie didn’t come down for the labour because we were with Rebecca, and she didn’t want a huge number of people around her, but she also knew she COULD call on her if she ever wanted to. But Katie left the second she could after the baby was born and spent the whole next day with us. She’d definitely say this was a big event in her life, too.

            I think sometimes new parents don’t understand how important the new baby is to other people in the family as well. I know it’s not the same thing, but I remember going through my girls’ weddings thinking that, in many ways, they were more important to me than my own wedding. I know so much more now than I did the day I got married, so weddings mean more. But also the wedding is kind of like the culmination of your parenting.

            All that to say that sometimes people don’t realize how, when you’re part of a family, what happens to you really does have an impact on those around you. We tend to discount that. And some people never really get it.

            So I’d just say, be the best aunt you can be and really be there for the child, but don’t expect your sister to ever really “get” it, even if that’s hard.

        • Jessica

          Hey, do what’s right for you. I really appreciated having friends there for those two and wish I’d done it for the first two deliveries (the BFF and I didn’t know each other that well at that time, plus she was great with child at the same time as both of my first two, and the second lived in not here then), but I totally understand not wanting anyone there other than the husband and medical personnel. By the end of my first labor though, I’d have let literally anyone in if they had the power to make it all be over…

          Reply
    • Becky

      >> “People are dumb and we all need Jesus”

      LOL!!! This is the best!

      Reply
    • Sarah O

      I do think people can get crazy with the birth plans, but in the US it’s a response to increasingly poor maternal outcomes from our medical industry and also increasingly common obstetric violence which stinks. Women don’t want to be trying to advocate for themselves when they’re in labour and they don’t trust their hospitals and providers so they try to protect themselves as best they can. It’s really great that Becca had so much support there with her!

      Sheila, maybe you could consider a men’s corner post with Connor on supporting your partner through childbirth? You seem to have lots of readers on that phase of life. I accidentally had an unmedicated twin birth last year. I was supposed to be next for epidural but then everything broke loose and I told husband “you gotta put on some gloves and catch this baby”. He PANICKED. Thankfully the nurse was able to get back in the room but it was only min it was from me saying that to baby A being born! 😂

      Reply
      • Joanna Sawatsky

        Oh my goodness that’s quite the dramatic arrival!

        And you’re right – it’s SO important to be an informed patient. But then you have to hold that in tension with the reality of whatever situation you’ve got ahead of you.

        Reply
      • Jessica

        I see a lot of that unnecessary medical intervention in comments sections and so on, on the internet but I don’t know anyone personally who’s experienced it. I mean, I believe that it happens but thankfully the areas I frequent don’t seem to be forcing C-sections and so on. I think they were talking more about things like what a rock star demands in their green room, only blue m&ms in the candy dish type stuff. I always say that parenting is a whole lot of not being in control (you can try but at the end of the day, they make their own choices) and labor/delivery is nature’s way of breaking you in to the feeling of not being in control.

        Reply
  9. Nathan

    How wonderful that four generations are there!

    Happiness to you all!

    Reply
  10. Becky T

    Congratulations to all! He’s beautiful.
    I’m preparing to see the same – my daughter in labor – in early February 2020. I know it will be hard, but oh, so worth it!

    Reply
  11. Manwithoutamap

    He is beautiful.

    Happy for you all.

    Reply
  12. Kristen

    It’s been a tough year for you, so it warms my heart so much to see your and your family’s joy, Sheila! Little Alexander couldn’t ask for a better family. Thank you for all you do and for being a safe place for all of us. God bless you all!

    Reply
  13. Rachel

    Can I just say I immediately skipped ahead to the pictures and then went back to read the text? Congratulations to your family. Babies are so precious.

    Reply
  14. Kya

    I haven’t experienced what you’re talking about, but I’ve seen it in my husband.

    I attempted to have an unmedicated home birth, but Kidlet entered the birth canal facing my hip, and they don’t fit that way! So I was at +2 and I just stopped having contractions. Off to the hospital, where they gave me Pitocin to restart my labor. Pitocin is NOTHING like natural labor–it was so, so much worse. But I was adamant about not having any pain medication regardless. After several hours of those awful contractions and unsuccessful pushing, I happened to look up at my husband, who had been by my side the whole time (he refused to leave and have a break even when they told him to), and he was crying. He rarely cries, and he didn’t even cry when our daughter was finally born (after using a vacuum to correct her head position), but he was crying then because I was in so much pain and there was nothing he could do. And because I had a girl, I will likely see the same thing someday.

    Reply
  15. Sarah O

    He’s darling! Congratulations family and well done Rebecca!

    Labour is just tough. I wish they didn’t insist on giving everyone pitocin in the US – they really cater to the hospital’s timeline instead of mamas. Basically you get a 12 hour deadline, pitocin whether you want it or not, then they start pushing cesarean. I’m glad to see that Becca had the support and time she needed to get through it!

    23 hours is a LOOONNNGGG time to be contracting! Bless your heart!

    As far as the disclaimers, we are supposed to mourn with those who mourn, but also to rejoice with those who rejoice. I think the second part is actually tougher than the first, but regardless today is a joyful day and you should rejoice! I rejoice with you! Welcome little Alexander!!

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      Exactly! It is often harder to rejoice with those who rejoice – especially for folks who have good reason to mourn. It’s not a sign of weakness to struggle to rejoice, but it IS the goal and it’s a high calling.

      Reply
  16. Jane Eyre

    As for “Love and Respect” : that makes me ill.

    From a theological perspective, men are commanded to die for their wives. But they can’t just puff themselves up and declare that they are amazing creatures who would face this (entirely theoretical) risk with bravery; they have to practise it every single day.

    I believe that if an intruder came in with a gun, my husband would put his body between me and bullets. My husband rubs my back in the morning, ensures that I eat a healthy dinner when pregnancy overwhelms me, keeps me stocked in yogurt for morning protein I can eat on the way out the door, asks if sex is too painful for me to continue, and holds me.

    He believes that I will protect our son because I work hard to ensure that this pregnancy is as healthy as possible, assiduously take my vitamins, go to my doctor’s appointments, research, avoid doing things I find enjoyable but are detrimental to our son, etc.

    It is a self-reinforcing cycle: we get used to doing that which we do, and while we pray we will never be called upon to sacrifice ourselves for others, we rehearse every day.

    You *cannot* abuse your wife, blame her, tell her to be more forgiving, tell her to handle painful sex for your gratification, and then step in front of a baseball bat, speeding car, or bullet to save her. That’s not how things work.

    Come to think of it, I think there’s a passage in the Bible about being trustworthy in small things and big things.

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      This is so true! Absolutely love everything you said here!

      Reply
  17. Becky

    Congratulations to you all, he’s beautiful!

    So my stories: My firstborn was a week overdue and had to be induced. Due to my vaginismus causing problems even then, I had to get an epidural before they could even insert the bulb thing to get things going. Then I was in labor for about 18 hours, but I couldn’t feel a thing. The downside to that was because I couldn’t feel a thing, I was just attempting to push when they told me to, and I got a nasty tear that didn’t heal properly, I had to have a second procedure done 12 weeks after because it was so painful to even walk, and gave me enough scar tissue that my OB/GYN sent me for my first round of pelvic floor PT.

    My secondborn was one day overdue, and things were going fine… until the spacing of my contractions suddenly went from 8 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart, I had to drag my husband from watching a playoff hockey game involving his favorite team, and I had the most agonizing half hour car ride of my life thinking I was going to give birth on the highway. Which I almost did, because by the time we got to the hospital, our son was born only about 27 minutes later. I’d been planning on an epidural once I got there, and kept telling myself the whole drive that I just had to hold out till then, and I was NOT mentally prepared for natural birth.

    For the third (and last, God willing, I’m so done) that I had last month, I honestly couldn’t tell if I was having real labor or Braxton-Hicks, because there was no consistent rhythm to the contractions. So I spent the first part of labor cooking dinner! After enough debate and me finally deciding I’d rather go to the hospital and take the chance of being sent home, we had just barely enough time to drop the boys off at my parents’ house so my dad could watch them, and drive to the hospital again. And then I ended up walking into maternity triage alone (my husband was parking the car) while 9.5 cm dilated, and not having time for the epidural again. 2.5 pushes, and she was out. But since I had a feeling that would be a possibility after the previous experience, I was able to deal with it much better. Honestly, though I can’t say it wasn’t painful, this was the easiest of the three labors and recoveries. (I still don’t want to do it ever again, though.)

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      Congratulations to you on your new little love! Enjoy the newborn stage. And all of these stories are amazing – it’s amazing how each little one comes into the world in his or her own way. (Unfortunately it almost always hurts like stink so… alas.)

      Reply
  18. Ngina Otiende

    Congratulations to Rebecca and Connor and all of you! What a sweet little bundle of blessing and joy he is!!😍😍

    Reply
  19. Melissa

    Many congratulations to all of you! ❤️

    Reply
  20. Ina

    My mom is not allowed to be present for my births for this reason (note: this is by no means a judgement on Sheila and Rebecca! Birth is highly personal and what comforts one person inhibits another.) I don’t want to see her see me in pain because I know it would distract me from labor. I love that it was a whole family affair for you guys though! That’s incredibly special.

    I’m so glad the little one is here now and praying for a peaceful recovery and easy bonding for Rebecca and baby! He’s absolutely precious!

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      Totally fair! I think that’s a really good point: think about what will make labor easier for you.

      Reply
  21. Lisa

    Congratulations! He is perfectly beautiful. That kind of pain is the only pain that produces a prize.

    Reply
  22. RNmom

    Sweet little face!! Makes me want another one! Congrats to you all!

    Reply
  23. Meghan

    My daughter is about 2.5 and we are thinking about trying for a second child. I’m nervous, though, and frankly a bit scared as well. Her birth and newborn period was so traumatic: 38 hour labor, trapped in the bed, pushed for TWELVE HOURS, emergency vacuum extraction, 3rd degree episiotomy, the works. We legitimately thought she was dying. I’ve never known a fear so deep and raw and terrible as that. And then she never stopped screaming for 4 months straight. Poor baby got a massive crick in her neck from being stuck in the birth canal for so long, but we had no idea because people kept telling us that’s just what babies do and we needed to suck it up and just deal with it.

    So I guess pray for me fellow readers? We dearly want another child or two or three, but even with a year of therapy I’m still uncertain I can go through childbirth and postpartum again, especially with a feisty toddler to care for this time around.

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      I’ll put your request into the prayer email we send out, if that’s alright! Thanks so much for sharing your heart – that sounds so scary. I’m glad you have a therapist to talk to. It’s so terribly hard when medical people don’t take you seriously. I’m glad you eventually got to the bottom of it but I’m sorry for the hard nights for you and your mama heart. Doctors made bad decisions with my mom and my care when I was born, too, so I screamed for 18 months. It was so hard for my sweet mom and I’m so sorry you’re dealing with the aftermath of all of that hard.

      Reply
      • Meghan

        It’s totally alright. My therapist has been very helpful. She’s using EMDR to help me reprocess the traumatic events. I’m definitely doing much better and can talk about the birth without getting a panic attack, which is very nice.

        Reply
        • Joanna Sawatsky

          I’m so glad you have a great therapist and have been able to talk it out. Praying for you as you continue to process.

          My pregnancy was very difficult and while my delivery was fast, I had two postpartum hemorrhages and then was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when my daughter was 8 months. It was a hard season and healing has taken time. I’m glad you’re on the healing journey, too. My prayer for myself, and for all of us, is that as we deal with hard things in life, that God would use them to make us more like him, more kind and loving towards others and able to be his hands and feet in the world.

          Reply
  24. Nathan

    I will pray for you and your family. Here’s hoping for another blessing!

    Reply
  25. Lizzie Carter

    Congratulations! I have been thinking of you all these past couple weeks as you waited and prepared. Enjoy your newest addition! (And Go Rebecca on 23 hours of labour!)

    Reply
  26. Michelle

    Oh goodness, the yawning baby pictures are just the best. Congratulations to you all!! Prayers and caffeine-fueled wishes sent your way!

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      I know! I think when he yawns he looks so much like Keith, haha!

      Reply
  27. Heidi

    I am so relieved he is here and everyone is safe! I was getting concerned when you hadn’t posted any updates the past few days. I prayed for Rebecca several times as I waited hopefully for this news. I’m so sorry it was such a hard/long experience. Congratulations on a beautiful son/grandson!

    I missed the podcast this week. 🙁 I understand you have much more important things going on. I want you to know though that I happily anticipate listening to them every Thursday with my morning cup of coffee. Thanks for doing them. They have been so thought provoking for me!

    Reply
  28. Kari

    Congratulations!! He is beautiful!

    My son, also named Alexander (we call him Xander), was a very difficult labor. All in all I was in labor for 27 hours. About 12 of those hours were strong painful contractions, and I stalled at 9 cm for several hours. I remember wondering if it was possible to die from pain (I didn’t get an epidural or any pain interventions.) When it was finally time to push, I pushed for two hours, but it turns out he had shoulder dystocia and was getting stuck on my pelvic bone, which is dangerous, so the doctor reached her hands in and maneuvered him out. Poor baby had bruises all down his spine, and I had a 4th degree tear and about a million stitches. He was 9.5 lbs. My daughter was a lot easier and quicker even though she was 10.5 lbs!

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      I love the versatility of the name Alexander – it can go in so many directions! Shoulder dystocia sounds terrifying – so glad everything ended up just fine and your little guy arrived safe and sound 🙂

      Reply
  29. Ashley

    He’s such a little doll! Congrats to you all!

    Reply
  30. Arwen

    Soooo happy for you guys! Rebecca was a champ! I loved reading this post. Makes me so happy! 🙂

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      She totally was! I’m so glad it all ended well. 😀 Glad you enjoyed the birth story! Thanks for rejoicing with all of us!

      Reply
  31. Ruth

    Congratulations to the new parents, grandparents and auntie!

    Reply
  32. Lydia purple

    Congratulations! Alexander is absolutely beautiful!

    Is that Christopher’s blanket in the pic with you and Keith? I love the redeemed blanket filled with a new bundle of joy.

    Labour is a really fascinating thing. You never know what’s gonna hit you, but the rewards are so worth it. With my fourth baby I had my worst Labour. Start and stop for 10 hours, then I went from 4 to full dilation super fast and the contractions where so powerful I was shaking with my whole being.

    Well done, Rebecca!!!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, that was indeed Christopher’s blanket!

      Reply
    • Elsie

      Congratulations! The pictures are beautiful

      Reply
  33. Chris

    Finally a picture of Keith with gray hair. All the other pics we have seen of him he looks sooooooooo young!!!!
    As for labor, they should offer anesthesia to the husbands too!

    Reply
  34. Flo

    Congratulations!!!

    Reply
  35. Mary

    First congrats to your daughter on her new baby and to you on the birth of your first grandkid.
    Second I just want to encourage you that while watching someone you love be in pain is extremely difficult, I doula’d for my sister’s births and found it hugely trying, I want to say that being there and simply holding space is doing something. It may not feel like much but as a doula it’s a large part of my job. You bring your experience, love and calming strength and presence to the room. You shared that in you own birth during labor you were rarely checked on (which is very common by the way) and why a birth partner or doula is so helpful especially with a first birth. It part of a long historical tradition for other women to come and support women in labor. Our culture has moved away from that and more towards an isolating clinical experience but I think we are finding our way back slowly. Just know I believe the gift of having a loving mother with her own experiences and strength present as a support at a labor is a priceless gift I’m sure your daughter will cherish and, if someday she has a girl, will pass on. Cheers 🥂

    Reply
    • Joanna Sawatsky

      That’s so lovely! My mom was present for the birth of my daughter and I found her being there so comforting, especially having someone else who had been there and could coach me through. Thanks for being there for so many women!

      Reply
  36. Natalie

    Awwww 😍😍😍😍😍😍 he’s gorgeous!!!! Such a precious little face! And that darling little yawn!!! 😍🥰👼🏻👶🏻 Y’all have been blessed! Enjoy this newborn phase! It goes by so quickly (as does every phase it seems lol. Like the Darius Rucker song “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”… gets me ugly crying every time)

    Reply
  37. Tiffany Rose

    Congratulations!

    Reply
  38. Rachel

    Birth stories are always interesting. When I was in labor with my first, I got to meet my mother-in-law’s newish husband for the first time. How awkward…I felt like such a mess. At least I’d had my epidural by then. Family members who I really would have preferred not to see were in and out of my hospital room the whole day I was in labor. My mother-in-law and her husband even came back to the hospital when I was still in the recovery room after my c-section (21 hours of labor and only 1 cm dilated. I was pain free but exhausted. So done.)at 3 am. Who comes to see someone immediately after unexpected surgery? Oh well. But ironically, he arrived precisely on his estimated due date. It was such an exhausting and irritating couple of days. He was in Nicu for a week, and they never did figure out why his respiration rate was slower than they wanted, but after his round of antibiotics, he was great.
    My second time around was so much easier and more enjoyable. Even though he was a week late, ugh, and sent my blood pressure too high to remain pregnant requiring me to have another c-section, it was great because I wasn’t in labor, so I was relaxed and my surgery was finished at 10 p.m. (we had to wait out the afternoon because I had eaten lunch–at least I wasn’t starving for over 24 hours like I was with my first) which was well before I would have normally gone to bed. Then, my parents had my oldest and no other family was in town, so it was just my husband, our baby, and me in the room until the next day aside from medical people going in and out. Despite my son’s bad reflux for the first whole day, he was in the room with us, and it was such a good, relaxed birth and recovery. I was so much happier.
    Anyway, congratulations to everybody upon Alexander’s birth. ☺

    Reply
  39. Rachel

    I loved the pictures. Congratulations !
    I had a hard labor 6 years ago.

    Reply
  40. J. Parker

    What a beautiful grandson! Congrats to all.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, J!

      Reply
  41. Ben

    Yeaaah, congratulations all of you, oh my, I’m grinning from ear to ear. so, so awesome!! Lol, how come you great folks feel almost like family, ahh, great, great job in all you do and thanks again but congrats, congrats!!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you!

      Reply

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