Wallace's Birth Story | part two

Find part one here. This is the part when stuff gets real. Real long and real intense, that is. ;)

After going to bed at midnight on my due date, I was up at 2 am to pee. I remember feeling a contraction but noted it was the same as before, not terribly painful and coming maybe every 8-10 minutes. So I went back to bed, until 4am when I jumped out of bed and sprinted (fast-waddled) to the bathroom.

I thought I was peeing all over myself, completely incontinent or something. I did not feel a classic 'pop' like I did with Truman and Cecelia (Porter's waters were broken during my induction). And once I sat on the toilet, I didn't keep peeing forever so I wasn't sure if my water broke or not. I did notice some mucous though, as a bonus 'sign' that this was the day. Twenty minutes later I have a note on my phone stating, 'My water HAD to have broken. It just keeps coming out!' Thus began the process of changing my underwear and shorts about five times from the hours of 4am to 7am.

At some point I finally got out of bed, filling Nate in on my leaky status. He was super excited but I told him he could keep sleeping for now. It was strange to be in an empty house without the kids in the morning but also really peaceful and perfect. After packing a few last minute things, I took Henry for a walk outside. That seemed to get my contractions going more frequently, spacing to the 4-5 minute mark but still not painful. I was listening to birth podcasts and some affirmations, getting myself amped up to do the dang thing. After about ten minutes I realized it was ridiculous to be walking around our neighborhood because I was sort of gushing water with every contractions. Nate had texted to see if I wanted to walk somewhere to get coffee but I said I needed to come home to change my clothes again.

Beautiful morning for a walk.

Also, same due date, three years later. This time I was actually going into labor though!

Last belly pic ever!

When I came back Nate was making coffee and eating breakfast. I bounced on the ball for a bit and started laundry because I literally had one pair of clean underwear left at this point, and I found some old pads to wear, too. Around 7:30 I asked if Nate wanted to take a walk with me because anytime I'd sit down or stop walking around the house, my contractions would space out to the 10+ minute mark.

During our walk I told Nate, 'I feel like I'm mentally preparing for a race today, like I'm going to run a marathon and all of my training is coming to a head right now.' We said how perfect it was that the kids were sleeping over, the timing was so great with mom flying in later in the evening, we were both off work as of the day before, and since it was a Saturday there would be no traffic getting to the hospital. And it was my actual due date which is pretty fascinating in itself;)

About to do the dang thing, together!

At 8am, I called the birth center at the hospital. They had me call triage. Triage connected me back to the birth center, before taking my number and paging the triage nurse. She called me back and asked how far along I was, how close the contractions were, and other signs of labor. When I told her about springing a leak at 4am she was basically done talking to me and said, 'Yeah, you're going to need to come in now.' I was shocked she wanted us to leave right then, since my contractions were still irregular but I guess I can see her point: 40 weeks pregnant with fourth baby, Strep B positive (I'm four-for-four with that one!), and a history of fast labors once they truly begin? I guess it's good to get situated at the hospital.

When I told Nate that we needed to get checked at the hospital, he was in a mild state of panic and HAD to set up my mom's air mattress downstairs before we left...which also turned into cleaning the basement a little bit. I figured we wouldn't be totally turned away at the hospital but I was still nervous that this would be a super long process, with the 4am time stamp hovering above my head. And I still wasn't convinced my water had broken but deep down I knew this was game time.

We got fully packed up and I said goodbye to Henry, looking around our kitchen in disbelief: the next time I saw this room I'd no longer be pregnant and baby Wallace would be here! It never gets old, you guys.

The drive to the hospital was uneventful, I had two contractions that were obvious but not horrible. We called Nate's parents together and Truman answered the phone. They didn't know if the baby had already been born, of if we were coming to get them for the day. When we told Truman that Wallace wasn't born yet but we were driving to the hospital RIGHT NOW to have him, Truman very non-chalantly said, 'Okay.' Nate asked if that was alright by him, and Truman said, 'Yep.' I couldn't help but chuckle at my big seven year old and later he told me he was 'super nervous' when we were talking, because he didn't know if Wallace was already born or what would happen. We also asked to speak to Tony and filled him in on the water breaking and this being the real deal. He wished us luck and sounded super excited/flustered, too!

Walking into the hospital:

We got to 'admitting' at the hospital at 8:45 and noted it was all new in the past three years, a totally different set up. She took down our information and appeared to have been waiting for us for a while, asking if I was Julia before I could say my name. Then came the fun wheelchair ride up to the floor, when she told us our room number (room 250--not the same two rooms as the other kids!) and I realized I wasn't even going to triage first. She asked if this was our first baby, then wanted the breakdown of our other kids. I think we said, 'Seven year old boy, five year old girl, boy whose third birthday is next week, and then this is a boy,' close to twenty times during our hospital stay. Nearly everyone responds, 'That girl is going to be the only princess, huh?' If only they knew Cecelia;)

Wheeling past the nurses station, we got a lot of smiles and 'hellos' from the staff. "And this will be your luxury suite, where you will have your baby," the admitting attendant announced. It looked exactly like the other rooms from years ago and again, seemed incredibly surreal to be there. (Also, not really a luxury suite, I think that was her joke).

My nurse, Kelly, came in and introduced herself. I immediately liked her a lot, she had been at this hospital for fourteen years so I'm not sure how I didn't have her in the years past. She did the intake questions, had another nurse start my IV (blew one vein in my right hand and had to tackle the left hand), lab drew my blood from my arm, and then Kelly checked me. Still a 3cm and still 75% effaced, plus super posterior. Hmmm, so the contractions after my appointment had done nothing? Bummer but whatever, I knew I was staying anyway. Kelly had looked at my pad and said, 'Yep, your water did break,' even without doing the test they sometimes do for confirmation. They started the first dose of antibiotics at 10:15, and said they had to run for one hour. Then I could get my IV capped and only needed to be monitored for baby's heart tones for 20 minutes each hour. Ideally they wanted me to get another hour-long second dose of the antibiotics four hours later but I was seriously hoping baby would be out by then. ;)

She paged my OB, who was not on call, and I prayed that she could come anyway. But Dr. D came into the room a little bit later to say that my OB couldn't make it, so she would be the one delivering today. Apparently my OB was very apologetic on the phone and wanted me to know she was sorry for missing it! Turns out she had one of her four kids and was in charge of going to two softball games that day, and she knew the timing would not work out to come in between.


Dr. D and Kelly both asked me plenty of questions about 'options for pain control' and I said I wanted to avoid an epidural if at all possible. The doc seemed fine with that but also said she would be willing to let me have one earlier than my normal OB usually does---because she didn't want me to wait until it was too late, at a 9-10cm and I was ready to push. I said that the last two epidurals I had weren't wonderfully effective for pain relief, I had gotten them around 8 cm both times, and I just wanted to push past that point of no return and get to the finish line without the drugs. I said I also wanted to avoid Pitocin because it's the WORST for intense contractions that are unrelenting, but I knew that if my current contractions didn't pick up speed I'd probably have to have some Pit. All in all, my conversation with Kelly and the doc was really positive and I felt ready to get the show on the road!

I walked the halls for a bit even while being monitored and pushing my IV pole. I told Nate to hang in the room and I think he listened to a podcast while I rocked to some Hypnobabies;) After the antibiotics were done, they monitored Wallace for 20 minutes and he looked great. So I kept walking and bounced on the birthing ball Kelly brought me, peeing seriously every 15 minutes or so.


At 12:30 the doc came to check me and I was the same 3cm that I had been yesterday at my appointment. UGH. We had the Pitocin talk and she said the contractions really needed to be 3 minutes apart, not 8-10 minutes apart, and she thought I'd move very quickly with Pitocin. She promised to keep it 'at a two' which is apparently the lowest dose, and wouldn't increase it unless I needed it. So I glanced over at Nate and reluctantly agreed to the Pit.

As soon as the doc waked out of the door, before the nurse hooked me up to the drug, I swear to you that I had my first 'real' contraction. I had to close my eyes and definitely noticed a change in intensity. I was watching the monitors and noted that my contractions were now magically three minutes apart and were much stronger than before.

'Am I hooked up to Pitocin right now, ' I asked Nate?

We both double checked my IV and it was most definitely still capped off, but just mentioning Pitocin seemed to have done the trick. When the nurse came in to start the Pit I asked if I could talk to the doc again, because things were changing rapidly. When the doc came back in she offered to check me again, saying, 'You know I could just do a pretty rough sweep and it would likely get you going without Pitocin.'

It was a VERY rough sweep that made me yell out, but I was a 5cm---so two more centimeters in just 30 minutes. YES. 'Okay, you don't need Pitocin,' the doctor announced. I was relieved but also needed to get my game face in gear because things were moving at lightning's speed.

At 1:05pm, the nurse came and starting setting up for delivery. This was a mind boggling to me, but I was listening to my Hypnobabies Easy First Stage track on my ball and didn't really notice. I was reading some of my affirmations and focusing on relaxing through each contraction. Remembering to keep my jaw and hands relaxed really helped, and I would just try to go completely limp on the ball when a contraction hit. The mental light switch visual that they teach in Hypnobabies also sort of worked, as did the notion that, 'These contractions cannot be stronger than me, because they ARE me.' Favorite quote ever! I also took a break to verbalize to Nate, 'This is going to be intense but it will be worth it, and over soon. Wallace is coming to meet us. I can do this, because the pain I'm feeling now cannot compare to the joy that is coming our way.' Sometimes I think you have to fake it until you make it, and verbalizing those things to Nate, having him support me in this endeavor, was hugely helpful to me.

Nate took this picture without me knowing it, because he said he thought baby was coming SOON and he wanted to grab the time:

I got back in bed at 1:25pm for another check and was feeling super hot, dripping in sweat, and felt kind of pukey. She announced that I was a 7cm, and I remember thinking that I was entering transition soon and this would all be over in a blink. FORESHADOWING: nope.

After that check, I couldn't really move out of the bed. I was totally relaxed on my back, with my legs bent up and falling to the sides, and I wanted to hold Nate's hand with each contraction. I tried not to squeeze him with all of my might because I wanted to remain relaxed but I definitely did need to grab him for reassurance each time a wave hit---which was still about every three minutes or so. I knew that laying still on my back was probably a bad move (at least that is what all of the natural childbirth people have told me) but Kelly assured me if I was comfortable there, to keep doing my best. She and the doc both remarked on how calm and controlled I was, and I felt like I was letting my body do it's thing without worrying too much about what birth should look like.

Around 1:50pm I started making those deep, strange moans through each contraction. This is the part when things get very hazy for me, but Nate has written down that I was checked and found to be at an 8cm. He also wrote, 'Doing great' but I'm not so sure about that part. They also started the second dose of antibiotics here and my legs started shaking uncontrollably as I laid there. I think at 8cm was when my mental work REALLY began. I thought to myself, 'Transition is the shortest, but most intense part of labor.' I sort of peeked at the clock and decided he would probably be in my arms within the hour. (NOPE).

The notes are spotty after this, but Nate wrote that at 2:15 I was still stuck at an 8cm. I remember the doc saying something about a 'thick band around your cervix that doesn't want to move'. The nurse and doctor were with us, and had me go into the bathroom to pee to see if that would help. I felt pretty strong on my feet but also very hazy, like I was having an out of body experience and watching from above. The doc said, 'Just please don't have your baby on the toilet, Julia,' and in my head I focused on the notion that it might be that close for her to worry about a toilet baby! I didn't want to drop the baby in the toilet either, but I did like to hear that she thought it was a possibility;)

After peeing I wanted to try standing at the side of the bed for a little bit. As I was standing there, I got hit with an intense contraction that was literally three peaks for intensity. I remember thinking this was NOT FAIR AND I DON'T LIKE THIS ANYMORE. I also started to feel the urge to push, and felt my body starting to do it for me without warning. This was incredibly strange because I've definitely never experienced pushing without an epidural. Note to self: although you thought the other epidurals did not help, they really DID help make it less intense. Hind-sight is 20/20, I suppose.

Standing and pushing was not comfortable, so we tried getting me back in the bed. I think I was checked again and STILL at an 8cm, and this is when I sort of started unraveling mentally. I heard myself starting to swear, to panic, and would say things like, 'I'm sorry but I can't do this anymore, this sucks so bad, I don't want to do this, I just want this to be over.' All are things that I know are classic transition phrases, but I even told Nate that I was mentally tired and feared I was losing my focus. Nate told me I could do it, and that I WAS doing it, and reminded me that I was strong enough to have this baby. The nurse and doc had been great throughout this time frame, saying that they knew I wanted to avoid an epidural so we agreed they didn't even have to mention that word again. If I wanted one, I promised I would ask.

Kelly did ask if I wanted something in my IV to take the edge off, and I remember half crying the response, 'Sure, whatever. It's not going to help me anyway.' She assured me it wouldn't take the pain away but it might help me to relax more between contractions and I totally did not believe her. I also started feeling paranoid, like maybe I wasn't even at an 8cm and they were lying to me to keep me calm. Totally rational thoughts, but when you are fighting some major inner demons mentally, and physically you are about to bring a baby into the world, stuff gets REAL.

Ready for baby:

After she gave me some Nubain in my IV, I did feel a little more calm in between contractions. I no longer wanted to open my eyes and literally could not stop my body from pushing although I was not yet complete. One time I asked/yelled, 'Wait, what are we doing here? Am I pushing or not?' The doc said I wasn't complete and she wanted my cervix to move, so she manually tried to push it aside during a contraction. I screamed so loud that I'm sure the patients four floors down heard me, but I did not care as long as it worked. She said she didn't want my cervix to tear from all of the pushing and noted I was now about a 9-9.5cm. Seriously, kill me now, transition is supposed to be the fastest stage of labor!!!! What.The.Heck.

I remember kneeling on foot of the bed, arms draped over the back of the bed, asking Nate for water and cold wash cloth. I would just kind of moan at him and he'd rub my shoulders and say how proud he was of me. He read me my affirmations, had me look at pictures of the kids on his phone, and told me this would all be over soon. At some point I remember them all watching the baby's heart rate and I was convinced that he was in distress, but I didn't even want to ask. Later I found out that his heart rate was dropping from the 130s down to 105-110 bpm which is not awful, but at the time I was pretty sure my baby was not doing well. That anxiety and fear I had tried so hard to avoid during this labor was creeping up in a bad way, but I just didn't know if I could plow through. They pulled out the oxygen and pulse ox for me to wear, and I figured it was because the baby needed oxygen. Later Nate told me it was because they were worried about me because I was pushing so hard and wasn't taking deep breaths anymore.

Nate says at some point around here, they gave me Pitocin to help get rid of the cervix that wouldn't budge. I was in a different world at this time, no recollection of Pitocin or anything being said to me. I remember bargaining with myself internally: "Okay, the worst case scenario is that they knock me out cold and cut me open to get this baby out. That doesn't actually sound too bad, maybe I should suggest it." I never verbalized that inner negotiation to ask for a c-section, and I honestly didn't really think about an epidural as something that would help me anymore. I was getting tired of pushing because I was sort of trying to hold back from going all out, but I was still bearing down with all of my might.

FINALLY, praise the Lord above, she checked me at 3:25 and I was complete. If I've done my math right, that means for nearly two hours I was stuck in transition from 8-10cm. My cervix just wouldn't go away despite moving around. I was pushing during that entire time, I going to mental war with myself, I was struggling to stay positive, and I was exhausted. But I was complete, which were the sweetest words anyone has said to me in this life.

Now was time to push for real, so I assumed the standard position in bed laying on my back with my arms curled under my legs. Nate was on my left side, Kelly on my right, both helping me to hold my legs up. I could feel absolutely everything, and could tell that I was moving my baby down with each push but I'd feel him slide back up when the contraction was over. I'd hold my breath, push for a count of ten, take another deep breath, and do it two more times during each contraction. I remember thinking, 'I am probably going to have fourth degree tears, or my butt is just going to fall out of my body,' but I didn't even care at this point. I just wanted him out, and focused every ounce of strength on pushing my hardest. The doc and Nate had to tell me to breathe, and I guess my face was turning completely purple while I pushed. I had the oxygen mask on at times and remember Nate telling me, 'BREATHE, baby, breathe.'

As a side note: Hypnobabies tells you to 'breathe the baby down' and avoid 'purple pushing' in labor. I did not listen to that track during Wallace's descent and don't think it could have helped me, because all I wanted was to speed up this process. Hypnobabies would be ashamed, I'm sure.

After a contraction I said, 'Wait, is this the most effective position for me to push him out?' The doctor later told me that was a hilarious statement, because I was quite composed and asking very matter-of-factly after such a long journey to get to this point. Eventually I felt the ring of fire and knew it had to be close. The doc said, 'He has hair like daddy,' and also mentioned that this head was really big. GREAT thing to hear as I'm pushing him out!! The nurse and I had talked about skin to skin contact after birth, but now is when she said, 'he might not be able to come right to you, depending on how he looks. He might need to go to the warmer.' That made me really sad but no less determined to get the baby out of me, so with that I curled up even tighter and pushed with all of my might.

After twenty minutes of pushing when complete, and over two hours of pushing total, Wallace's head finally emerged. I remember shrieking because the pain was so great but the joy was so close to the surface. The nurse said, 'Oh, he IS posterior,' and with the next push his body shot out of mine. At 3:46pm, Wallace Stanley was a born and was immediately screaming. They placed him on my chest and I started to cry from the sweetest relief I've ever known. Our boy was here and he was crying, and wet, and warm.

There are no words for the moments after birth. None. Indescribable.



I was saying to Wallace, 'I'm so glad you are here!' while Nate cut the cord. The doc asked us his name and said that he looked wonderful, and I had done an excellent job. Nate and I kissed, he was taking a few pictures and then I felt my placenta coming out---another first for me, since I didn't have the epidural. I also felt the OB smashing down on my stomach to check for bleeding and that part was excruciating, but over quickly. I had one small internal tear that required a stitch, and some other issues 'down there' that I'll mention later if you're lucky. ;)

I wanted to nurse Wallace but asked them to weigh him first, thinking we might need to take our sweet time bonding...and I needed to pull myself together before trying to nurse him. I was a hot and sweaty mess but I've never been happier, truly. I think I achieved the oxytocin high that natural child birthing folks like to talk about, but I was also mentally SPENT and still in shock that it took so long to get him here. I noticed that I was having a hard time focusing with my eyes but figured it was because of the intensity of the moment. More on my eyes in the next post, but if you've seen my Instagram posts, you know the story on that one.

They took Wallace over to the warmer and Nate went with our boy. He was 8lbs, 12oz and 21.5" long. Also his head was 36 cm which is apparently very large. Apgars were 8 and 9 and he seemed super angry to be out. I noticed his little cock-eyed cone head from my view on the hospital bed and asked Kelly if he was really positioned posteriorly. She said he was sunny side up, and Nate said the OB was trying to manually turn him on the way down but Wallace wouldn't budge. I'm really surprised that I didn't have horrible back labor with his skull up against my back, but obviously there were still some issues with him descending the right way. Perhaps that's why I had a slow leak of my water without instantaneous labor following the break, like it had always done before. Perhaps I was stuck in transition for two hours because his head wasn't pushing on my cervix effectively. Also, he is our biggest boy, beating Porter's weight by 3 ounces. Whatever the reason, Wallace did not exactly fly out of my body.


But he is here and he is absolute perfection. And my goal of having a calm, peaceful birth was totally successful until the final two hours of labor. I did it. WE did it--Nate, Wallace, and myself along with the doctor and nurse. We have our healthy, sweet, fourth baby. And because of that I feel empowered and proud, and I wouldn't change a thing about how it all went down. But I definitely feel like I never, ever want to do that again. ;)

Third installation coming soon, featuring postpartum thoughts, the kids meeting the baby for the first time, the hospital stay, and the aftermath of physical trauma from this birth.


  1. Dying. Love his whole story and that you achieved your goal. Having done 1 drug free I agree about all the things you mentioned - I didn't think Trent's epidural was that great until I didn't have one, the ring of fire is legit, feeling the placenta come out is weird, pitocin is the worst if you are trying to go natural (and why I think I couldn't with Paige), so cool how birth is universal. If a crazy miracle happened and I got pregnant again, I would try for natural again - nothing like it! Can't wait to read part 3!!

  2. Ahh I love it! Way to go, mama, it is no freaking joke and it sounds like you rocked it. I did hypnobabies for just Finn (kind of listened for #2 but didn't really use it), and I have no idea who the hell coukf pull off *not* purple pushing. I certainly did it all three times. So many of your sentiments were familiar to me in my experiences. (Also the "and I'd like to never do that again!") Wallace is perfection...a million congrats! :)

  3. Wow - you are a rock star😃 Congratulations!

  4. Oh, man! So intense!! Thank you SO much for sharing all the details. :)

  5. Oh that heavenly moment of meeting for the first time. It's insane how quickly you can jump from feeling like you are going to die to the immense relief and joy when you hold baby for the first time. Reading birth stories will never get old, I don't think. Haha!

  6. Welcome to the world Wallace- what a great birth story! You did it!

  7. What a great, albeit long, birth story. That first picture of you holding him made me tear up. Congratulations!


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