Whole Parenting Family

BabyLoves Arrives and Surprises Us All


When I finally gave up any expectations, planned activities again, left the house wearing yoga pants, this little baby boy decided to come out, join us, release me from the bonds of pregnancy, birth, whatever you want to call it.

Nearly 42 weeks, and yet his arrival wasn’t even the biggest surprise of all . . . that would be his size! Nine pounds, 15 ounces, almost a 15 inch head, and almost 22 inches long. Big. Beautiful. Baby.

I’ve shared SuperBoy and SweetPea‘s birth biopics. Now that you’ve braced yourself for another rendition of unmediated labor, his story:


As I had given up on ever giving birth, late last week I decided it was time to resume life. I scheduled playdates, knit dates, went to see the Matisse exhibit at the MIA {amazing! too bad last weekend was the end of it! his work is stunning, of course, and the Baltimore Museum is lucky to have such a wide-ranging collection!}.

I even went clothing shopping with my sister for a few summer outfits for her! I waddled around Grand Avenue, determined to just focus on our induction date at 42 weeks on the nose, and expect nothing else.

Saturday was a normal day in the life of a largely pregnant woman. I cooked & tidied. My mom and I went furniture hunting and found a few great pieces! The kids went to the park with AA. I planned on going to the very early morning mass Sunday just in case anything were to happen later in the day and then I couldn’t get to mass.

Before bed I turned to my very sweet, patient, and supportive husband and said, “This baby is never coming out. Ever.”

Fast forward to all night long contractions off & on.

Fast forward to finally timing them around 4:30am.

Fast forward to getting over to my computer by 5 to get some bills paid, blog posts set to run, and emails responded to. I’d take a breather during a contraction, then type again.

Close to 6, I texted my double doula team and woke up AA. Because we’d had our false alarm, and because my water had broken first with the other two, it was hard to convince myself that yes, this was it. He was coming today.

My contractions were each a step to meeting him. It sorta washed over me–this realization that he was coming. And I wasn’t going to be pregnant forever. It was peaceful. I really wanted to birth in love.

Fast forward to me putting coffee on for AA, knowing he’d need it. I fried some eggs and toasted some whole wheat bread. Ignoring the softer contractions, we just ate like it was a hot breakfast date early morn, and not necessarily a meal to plough through so we could get on to the hospital.

The nurse midwife on the phone said to come on down; our primary doula was awake and heading over to meet us; my mom was fretting over me at the back door making mad eyes at AA that wasn’t it time to get going so she doesn’t have this baby right here?!?!

As we roll up to the entrance of St. Joe’s, contractions still coming, I think I hope the person who checks us in isn’t the same as the other weekend when I had really just peed myself.  It was. We said hi. Again. Awkwardly. Then he called up to maternity and down came a sweet nurse. Yes, we had to pause many times along the walk up for contractions, but they felt good.

They felt like this baby was moving down. They didn’t feel like they would kill me. When we got up to maternity, the midwife checked me, and I was happily proclaimed a 7 already! 80% effaced! Woot! These contractions had been doing their job.

Being GBS+ means that ideally you get two rounds of penicillin, four hours apart, so eight hours total. The nurse juiced me up and I got my dosage before I even got into the tub.

I leaned on every available wall in that room for the next 20 minutes while we waited for the birthing tub to fill up with just the right kind of warm water. The morning sun flooded the birth tub room. It looked so inviting.

I squatted, lunged, leaned, and lounged in there, waiting either for my water to break (so we’d see if there was meconium–a no-no for continuing to birth in the water) or to get out and have my midwife break it so we’d know where we could push.

My double doula dream team happened along these lines: our dear friend and doula from the other two births, Emily Rumsey, had only this tiny teeny window of opportunity wherein she’d be able to come. Miraculously this was in her very few hour window. Literally. She’s three for three. As soon as she’s done with midwifery school, she’ll have to catch these babies!

Our primary amazing doula Liz Abbene was able to be there too. She had been backup before with SweetPea, and ever since we’ve just loved her and her amazing family and childbirth education center, Enlightened Mama.

Back to the tub. We’d chat, I’d contract, and then we’d chat again. How things were going with so-and-so, what Emily learned at her conference, why I had Cat Stevens on my birth playlist, contraction, what activities the kids were up to this summer.

AA would apply counter pressure to my lower back and Liz would cup my forehead in her hand so I could just lean into her. She has naturally cold hands. Best doula hands ever.

After a few really strong ones, our lovely midwife suggested we check my progress as my water still hadn’t broken. I was basically ready to push! She broke my water and boooooo . . . meconium. Not a surprise for a 41 week+ baby, but no water birth.

We’d been at the hospital for three hours by this time and I was wondering when Emily had to get going for work. I eyeballed the clock and thought that I could push this baby out in the next 20.

Not birthing in the water was okay with me as I actually thought Oh good. My legs are tired. Being on my side on the bed, or on all fours, that sounds kinda nice. We whoooooshed my rolling bed right back to my original room, got the neonatalogist nurse to be there just in case he’d swallowed up that meconium something fierce and was in need of serious drainage.

I uttered a serious set of Hail Marys and then rolled on to my side, facing Liz and AA. Being in this headspace of about to push, knowing how much pushing sucked, but hoping against hope that because she’d broken my water and this was my third he’s just going to come out on his own with a few half-hearted pushes, right? meant that I was murmuring to myself:

I CAN do this. I LOVE you, baby {no, not my pet name for AA, literally, the baby}. I CAN do this. {Liz kept telling me, you are doing this} {And I wanted to ask her, can you do this for me?}

Popcorn break. Because you’ve been reading a long time. Go pop some popcorn on the stove and come back. Because the really hard part is about to start.

Where were we? Pushing. Yes, pushing. I’d pushed with SuperBoy for an hour, SweetPea for 12 minutes. His was okay, a nice pace, hers was terrible, a terrifyingly strong pace unmitigated pain contractions on top top of each other no break just pushing straight.

This one should be easy.

Push. Push. {No, he’s not out yet.}

Push. Push. Is he okay?  {Yes, his heart rate is great. He’s just fine. Keep going.}


Did I mention how much I hate pushing? So this ten minutes of half-hearted not working pushing was pretty much my purgatory. I looked at Liz, I looked at Emily, I think I said something like I really have to push, don’t I? They encouraged me: I really truly did have to push.

So I did. I pushed. I panted. I followed the directives. I blew some blood vessels in my face. My neck muscles hurt from straining so hard. I thought my eye balls would pop out. Liz rigged up this tug-o-war wrap with AA and I tugged like I wanted to win.

Baby crowned. Oh, no! Ran out of contraction. {Don’t push. Just wait for the next one.}

I’m feeling a real ring of fire here!!!!! The sweet midwife & nurse thought to give me a little oxygen to get my groove back. And to distract me from the crowning?!

PUSH PUSH PUUUUUUUUSH. Baby almost all the way out. PUSH PUUUUUUÜsh.

He was out. He was here. He was screaming. He hadn’t ingested a ton of meconium so they didn’t have to rush him off.

He screamed on my stomach as the cord wasn’t long enough to put him all the way on my chest. He screamed while we marveled at how BIG he looked. He screamed while the midwife watched the cord pulse for a few minutes.

Once it was allll done pulsing, AA cut it. I marveled at this big big big baby. How big? So big. 9 pounds, 15 ounces. One ounce shy of 10 pounds. That’s my big surprise: the world’s biggest unexpectedly biggest baby. No wonder pushing was such a beast. Three hours at the hospital, probably an hour or two really laboring at home, not too shabby.

I felt pretty terrible down there, and yup, the midwife thought to call in the OB surgeon who happened to be around to do the repairs. They were ahem complicated so it took him ahem a very very long time–he was very precise and generous with the lidocain. The more numbing the better at this point! As it was almost two hours, we all got in a nice chat.

Liz chronicled the impact of our conversation with him on her monthly newsletter. She’s way more eloquent than I am, so read it and have a little moment of awwwwww for yourself.

Our son was born; he latched like a pro; we stayed at the hospital and were served icey water and Motrin like royalty; we got to visit with our very own midwife who’d given care throughout the pregnancy but couldn’t be at the birth, along with two others we just love.

Oh, and I lost my glasses for about 12 hours so that’s why I’m so squinty in these pics. Of course, that also meant I couldn’t see the broken blood vessels on my cheeks, or the belly jelly that postpartum makes of your tum tum. I’ve considered losing my glasses forever.

Family came to meet him, the kids loved him, and it was just a party.

Let’s never push a baby out again, though, okay?

Mega thanks to my family who has helped every single day, AA’s great work who gave him a whole week off, and our incredibly generous friends who have brought meals almost everyday!! My recovery is slower than I’d like and the help is immeasurably a blessing. THANK YOU!!




dada and boy






  1. Lyz on May 28, 2014 at 8:37 am


    • Natural Mama Nell on June 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks, snazzy & sweet lady!

  2. Kate on May 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Wow!! What a lucky little guy he is to have you for a mama.

    Also . . . my babies? Mr. 7 lb 8 oz and Miss 8 lb 6 oz? BOTH of them had 37 cm heads! Yes, almost 15 inches just like your 10 pounder … hmmm. Thanks, giant headed husband.

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Good gravy! Let’s blame our melon headed husbands. For sure!!

  3. Helen on May 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Many congratulations, Nell and AA! It looks like the siblings are already well and truly in love with baby. So cute.

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you so much, Helen!

  4. Kerry on May 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    What a lovely story. So impressed with your ability to grow (and birth) such a fine-sized baby!!! Although, sorry for your lady parts… The accompanying photos are fantastic. Miss you and your beautiful family. LOVE to you all.

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      You are so loving! We can’t wait for you to come home and meet him!!

  5. Caitlin E on July 29, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Gah! I love birth stories… Good job Mama (10 weeks late) and I feel blessed to actually know your Little Dude in person! *muah!

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 29, 2014 at 12:10 am

      Our little boys are buddies now! Aren’t birth stories (horrifying) so great!! I’m blessed to know you, friend.

  6. […] to head back to the room to rest. Given that it took me almost 7 weeks to recover from bebe’s epic birth, I should have known I’d be beat up by travel. Good thing there was lots of chocolate […]

  7. Micaela on May 18, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    How did you know I needed birth stories today? Especially happy stories about big baby boys. ❤️

    • Natural Mama Nell on May 18, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      Thinking about you and wishing that baby would COME!