Porter's Birth Story

I start off all of my birth stories with the same statement: I love reading other people's birth stories. I cannot believe it's time to write about my third experience birthing a baby, mostly because it's one of those very abstract/surreal concepts when I'm pregnant and wondering how it will happen. I imagined various scenarios for Porter's birth--when in the heck would he come out? How would he come out? Would it go way too quickly and would he be born in the van? Would he be stubborn and be my most difficult birth somehow? In the end, he wrote his own story and I couldn't have orchestrated it any better than what was meant to be. As always.

Before I go into the details, I'll summarize the birth for anyone who doesn't love reading the wordy version of events (what? how dare you!). I started paying attention to more painful but very spaced apart contractions around 10:30 on Thursday night. Decided to go to the hospital at 1:00 am, got there by 2:00 on Friday--just 5 hours before my scheduled induction. Nothing changed with the frequency of contractions (about 6-15 minutes apart, seemingly sporadic) and the pain was only a little worse (about 3-4/10), so Pitocin was started at 10:00 am--almost 12 hours after early labor began. I was a 4cm at 10:45 am when she also broke my 'very healthy bag of water' that just didn't want to break on it's own. Got the epidural at 11:30, was checked immediately after and I was already an 8cm. Began pushing at noon and out came Porter 12 minutes later. So I went from a 4cm to complete in one hour and 15 minutes this time, all because my water was finally broken and Pitocin helped bring the contractions closer together. Holy moly, talk about going from 0-60 in no time!

Now for all of the words imaginable...you aren't surprised, are you? Grab a coffee or an ice cold beer depending on your preference/time of day. I'll wait.

I wrote this blog post on my last night being pregnant. In it I noted that Nate straight up told me, 'I feel like you are going to go into labor before you get induced.' I was 99% sure that would not happen since NOTHING had happened all.freaking.week after maddening contractions and false alarms and intense mental warfare. But right when I published that blog post, I started to feel slightly painful contractions. It's ironic because earlier in the week I had super regular contractions that were 5-6 minutes apart for hours and hours (like 17 hours but who is counting?)....but they were never painful. And now I had the pain that I so wanted but the contractions were only coming every 10-15 minutes. Just couldn't seem to get the pain and the consistency together at this point, and spoiler alert: this would be the story for about 12 more hours.

I took a shower around 10pm because I wasn't sure I'd be able to fall asleep anytime earlier, and wanted to be ready to go for the induction in the morning. I gathered a few more things for my hospital bag and Nate did the same, then we watched Jimmy Fallon for a bit, and I reluctantly bounced on the exercise ball for cervical good measure. I took this video of Porter kicking in my belly, knowing it would be the last video of him moving from the inside. I noted that the pain was about a 3/10 at this point but told Nate 'there's no way this will happen before 7 am anyway, so whatever,' and tried to focus on the fact that my body DID seem to get the message that it needed to produce a baby after all.

We went to bed at 11:40 and I tried to ignore the contractions, which were still about 10 minutes apart. I laid there for about 45 minutes before deciding that I should call L&D because these actually did hurt enough to set off alarms in my head. Like, 'Ding, ding, ding....this could turn into something HARD CORE at any time. You've had super fast labors once they really begin. Let's not drop the child out in the van, okay?' Similar to the thoughts I had all day on Monday at 39w6days, convinced I was in early labor and it could progress quickly from there. That time it didn't happen but this time felt different....and I knew we were going in for the induction in a few hours anyway. Less pressure and less unknowns = a very good thing for me.

I called Labor and Delivery, and then also called the OB office's on-call number. Both of those nurses I spoke to said I should come in with my history of fast labors, being overdue, and having the induction scheduled in a few more hours anyway. My favorite question to answer was asked by both nurses: 'How many weeks are you?' Getting to say: "I'm 40 and 3, was due on Tuesday" was too much of a thrill for me. #BadgeOfHonor #BeingOverdueSucks. And I was really excited at the prospect of actually receiving all of my antibiotics for Group B Strep this time and felt relief in knowing we'd get there without being in full-fledged panic mode. Baby boy was ready just a little bit early than his set eviction time....but let's not forget he was still LATE in my book;)

I woke Nate up at 12:40 am, saying, 'Okay, we should go now. Sorry you only got to sleep for an hour.' And he said 'I was right!' and called his dad to say, 'We need you to come over now....yep....we are ready.' There is always something so special about that moment when it's officially baby time---so surreal to stand in the kitchen, antsy with nerves, waiting for Tony to arrive and staring at our quiet house thinking, 'The next time I'm here we will have a baby with us.' Nate and I gathered up our hospital supplies and vanity admission: I applied a bit of make up because I had time, and why not? ;)

Tony arrived at 1am and looked very tired but excited. We hugged and he wished us luck, and we were off to the hospital! I sat on a towel just in case my water magically broke since, hello brand new mini-van with fancy leather seats! We commented that it was so surreal to be on the cusp of such change and we were happy to do this drive in the middle of the night instead of work day rush hour a bit later. Coldplay's 'A Sky Full of Stars' came on the radio, and it's been one of my favorite/set-on-repeat-an-obnoxious-amount songs lately. I knew this song would automatically remind me of the last days of pregnancy with Porter, and now his labor. I had two contractions during our 25 minute drive and both were still about 3-4/10 for pain, and I noted they were about 9 minutes apart. I had to stop and breathe through them to focus but was already frustrated that they weren't coming closer together.

We checked into the ER at 1:45 am and got up to room 246 by 2:00. This was the room next door to the one where I had both Truman and Cecelia, and the nurse would later tell me that room 247 just had a delivery a few hours prior. Or else I could have gone three for three in the same exact room for delivering my babies!

My nurse was Julie and she checked me to find I was 2.5-3cm dilated and about 70% effaced, which was better than my 1.5-2cm and 50% from the week before at the OB office. So maybe Monday's maddening events actually did my cervix a few favors after all. My blood pressure seemed a little high to me but obviously I was a bit amped up to be here DOING THE FREAKING LABOR THING and Porter's heart rate was a nice/calm 120 or so. Love having the monitors on to hear his beautiful heart but it's also a little nerve wracking when he moves and it suddenly drops off, so eventually Julie turned the sound down for me.

She paged both my OB (who was not yet on call) and the actual on call doctor to get things rolling. The 'other' doc called back first and said to get the antibiotics started and we'd take it from there. I was still wishing for the famous pop of my water breaking, or that the contractions would speed up a bit. And they did seem to be about 5-6 minutes apart on the monitor now and the pain was still about 4-5/10. But I also wanted to rest since it was now about 3 am and I hadn't slept a wink. Very torn on how to mentally prepare for what was ahead, but my beloved husband was not torn at all. He passed out on the recliner without a second thought and I snapped a selfie and tried to soak in my surroundings a bit. I couldn't sleep but I didn't feel like walking around and forcing things anymore, either.

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This mental battle went on all morning long. The only notables are that at 4:15 on yet another bathroom trip (of which there were so so many), I finally had a little bit of bleeding. I was checked around 4:45 am and was 'a good 3 now' and my posterior cervix was actually moving forward a bit. I was watching Full House and still in mental limbo between wanting to get the show on the road and wanting to rest up/tank up on energy levels. I noted that my pain was now 5-6/10 but the contractions were spacing back out (noooooooo!) by 7:30 am.

My new nurse started her shift around then, named Jennie----she remembered Nate and I from Truman's labor and delivery! OMG, yes. I remembered her, too and immediately felt super embarrassed by the fact that she recalled my first birth so easily. 'Didn't you have a two day induction, and once your water broke it was VERY....intense? And getting the epidural was pretty....rough?' In so many words she basically meant, 'Weren't you the one cursing like a sailor and verbally assaulting the anesthesiologist?' Yep. That was me...I promise to be more under control this time :/ Jennie was a total sweet heart though, and basically said, 'We are having this baby today and it's going to be awesome.' She said we were just waiting on my doctor to come through and she thought she'd either break my water or start Pitocin, since the contractions were still there but fizzling out a bit. She assured me that it's totally normal for this to happen and it didn't mean anything was wrong, even without me voicing my concerns. Score one for Jennie being a badass nurse that 'got' me and made me feel totally pumped up for impending labor/pain.

At 8:30, Nate and I started walking in the halls a bit, since we found out my OB had to do a surgery first and didn't want to start my labor before that. She figured if she broke my water or did Pitocin now, then went into surgery, she might not be available to deliver me since she expected it to go fast...so more waiting was had. I had a little more blood and some of my plug come out on another GI cleansing bathroom trip. This was really happening and I felt more ready than ever. BRING IT, LABOR!

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I was also starving and figured I should probably be on clear liquids since I was in labor, but I snuck some of Truman and Cecelia's favorite/rare iced animal cookies from my bag. It was all I had packed, sorry kids! They were pretty yummy, I suppose.

Around 10:00 Jennie came in and began Pitocin, and I felt a sense of dread wash over me. This was it, man. Pitocin was NOT my friend with Truman and I didn't need it for CC...but I knew it had to happen to get these contractions in order. I asked for a red popsicle because I'm obsessed with popsicles and wanted more 'nutrition' before the real deal began. My first Pitocin-laden contraction was already more painful at a 6/10 and they immediately fell into place of 5-6 minutes apart like clockwork. I had already finished my full dose of antibiotics for the GBS (yay!!) and started an extra bag since this was going so 'slowly'. I texted my friends and my mom, and had Nate call his dad to update everyone that no---baby boy was not out yet and things were really just beginning. Porter was moving a ton and his heart rate was 120-130, which made his nervous mama very happy.

At 10:45 am my OB came in and apologized for delaying my induction, and then said, 'Let's break your water and have a baby!'. She checked me and I was 4cm dilated, so another centimeter after Pitocin started, was 80% effaced, and a -2 station. 'That is one healthy bag of waters,' she said and, 'I think I can get it,' as she was digging around with that plastic hook thing. I've never had my waters broken before since both other times it happened on it's own (lucky Julia of the past!) and it wasn't awful, but apparently this bag was of super human strength. She ended up getting it to break with a slow leak instead of a giant pop, and said 'that ought to do it.'

Side note: a day later, one of the nurses asked why Porter had 3 tiny scratches on his head. We were stumped, wondering if it was from my OB pulling him out while I pushed. But no---it was totally from that plastic hook when breaking my waters! I find this fascinating that his head was RIGHT THERE although my OB felt awful for nicking the little dude. She said it's only happened about 3 other times to her in 18 years and obviously, she didn't want to hurt him. I guess that's what happens with a bag of steel/baby that did not want to come out. That was probably the least traumatizing part of his birthday for him, so I'm sure he'll forgive my OB like I have;)

After my water started to trickle out, I instantly asked, 'When should I get my epidural?' and I thought she would give me her blessings right away. But instead, she suggested I wait a little bit to let the baby drop down more before the epidural. Something about how he'd still descend with the epi but wouldn't have the added tension I needed with 'real' contractions/pain and he could end up a little off centered/harder to push out. UGGGHHHH, okay. I agreed to wait it out a bit but felt very anxious about all hell breaking loose and having to wait until the point of no mental return with the pain.

The first contraction I had without my bag of waters? Yep, 7-8/10 for pain. I told Nate, 'Nope, I don't want to do this. This is going to suck SO BAD.' Jennie came back in after I called her to say, 'Sorry, I'm a huge wuss, but I know this is going to be pure hell and want that epidural as soon as I can get it.' She said that she had just made the deal of the century with my OB in the hall, and they had already called the anesthesiologist asking him to come right at 11:30, to give my body some time to move baby down without making me wait too long by calling in a panic once things got worse. It was 11:00 at this time, and I stared at the hands of the clock telling myself that 30 minutes is nothing. I could do 30 minutes of this. Nate also encouraged me by saying, 'You can totally do this, baby. They are coming every 5 minutes so it might only be six contractions until pure relief.'

He held my left hand and got his game face on, being my amazing partner in birthing crime like always. Sure enough, every 3-5 minutes brought on the horribly intense pain that I'll never forget/never fully remember. I closed my eyes with each one, squeezed the hell out of Nate's hand, and randomly started counting out-loud through each one: '1.....2....3....' and I'd breathe deeply between each count. Most of the contractions lasted between 10-13 super slow counts and it really helped me to stay focused to count them out. I definitely did not read this technique anywhere and totally pulled it out of somewhere deep and dark inside of me, simply trying to gain control over the situation a bit. Sometimes my voice would waver as I counted out loud and I'd sort of half-cry out the numbers, but I never yelled or went totally ape-sh*t from the pain. Which makes me very proud, obviously, given my 'history' with pain before the epidural. I do remember tapping my right hand on the bed rail vigorously and feeling like I could punch something instead.

Right at 11:30, my own personal angel of an anesthesiologist arrived. Jennie had been busy getting everything totally prepped for him before that and he was also awesomely efficient. Sitting up on the side of the bed was the worst but I maintained composure. Nate sat in front of me and I kept on squeezing his hand through the contractions, counting out loud, trying not to freak out. The pain was absolutely a 10/10 at this point but hearing both Nate and Jennie tell me, 'You are doing SO great, Julia. Relief is almost here. You are awesome,' was exactly what I needed to continue. I remember trying to visualize myself riding a wave and also pretended to be on the beach in St. Lucia, as if we were on our honeymoon. That stuff totally didn't work but it was a good try.

He placed the epidural by 11:40 (super fast, love that guy!!) and I noted that the pain intensity did drop down a bit to the 8/10 mark. But holy crap, all of a sudden there was so.much.pressure in my crotch. I noticed that my body starting doing this really creepy, guttural moans that I thought I remembered from A Baby Story to mean something about transition. The anesthesiologist asked my nurse if this was my first baby and when she said 'third', he suggested that she check me because I sounded almost complete. Sure enough, she checked me and I was 'an easy 8' just an hour after I was a 4cm, which was before my OB had broken my waters. She frantically paged my doc saying, 'you are going to be pushing really soon, but please don't start pushing before the doctor gets here.' I promised her I would try my best but found my body pushing on it's own a bit. God, the pressure was insane and the fact that I was moaning and pushing without having any conscious effort going towards those activities was really, really weird.

My OB popped around the curtain at noon---so just 15 minutes after my epidural was complete, and one hour and fifteen minutes since she broke my water. I have never been so happy to see anyone before and I told her as much. She checked me and I was complete, so everyone started to scurry around the room breaking down the bed and getting 'the baby people' in place. I sort of love the panic I heard in the nurse's voice on the phone, 'Get in here now, we are delivering NOW.' Best.Words. Ever.

I stared at my OB and then over at Nate and said, 'Holy crap, this is happening!' and got mentally prepared to push this child out of my body. I remember Cecelia's pushing being 'easy' with about 3 contractions total, maybe 8 minutes of pushing that didn't hurt all that much. This time? WAY DIFFERENT. It did not feel good to push, it did not relieve the incredible pressure I felt with each contractions, and I honestly thought my pelvis might split down the middle. Or that my butt would fall out of my body. It might have, but Nate and I have always been very 'don't ask, don't tell' about potentially pooping on delivery tables. I prefer to be in denial.

My OB told Nate to help with my left leg and to hold my head for me, I grabbed behind my thighs and we all counted 3 or 4 sets of ten with each contraction. They seemed to be right on top of one another and just so.much.pressure, I cannot even explain it. Nate asked if the pain was any better with the epidural and I didn't even know how to answer that because: this pressure. OMG. It seemed to be taking forever and in my head I wondered if I had the strength and endurance to push Porter out at all. I even let myself think about getting a c-section while he was in the birth canal because it seemed so much harder than I remembered.

But my OB assured me I was doing perfectly, I had to relax the tension in my face (broken blood vessels, what?) and push even harder. 'You are athletic, you can do this. You can even push more than four counts of ten if you want.' OMG. She said something about, 'Think about meeting sweet Porter,' and just hearing his actual name made me smile through the pain. Oh yeah, I was having our CHILD and not just going through hell for nothing. Nate kept commenting that he was so proud of me, and that I was a rockstar----or at least that's how I remember him pumping me up when I needed it the most. Between contractions I know I had Nate feel the top of my belly because it was so ODD for the baby to be down in my pelvis and not in my upper torso anymore. I wanted to remember that odd sensation of a pregnant belly becoming no-longer-inhabited.

I have never felt the ring of fire before but this time, I totally got to experience that torture. Woah. I was now VERY vocal with each push and couldn't help feeling like it was going on an hour of pushing. Nope, not even close, it took a whopping 12 minutes and about five contractions according to Nate's notes. Eventually I peeked down there and sort of saw his head, right when my doc said, 'Okay, we need to get him out now, his heart rate is getting a little lower than I'd like.' That was all I needed to hear, and with the next contraction I gave four huge pushes despite the deep burning. Nate said my doc had to physically turn Porter's head as he came down.

At 12:12 pm, Porter was born with a gush of fluid and the cheers of everyone in the room. My beloved OB sucked out his mouth and nose a bit, he pooped and she said 'now that's kind of yucky, Porter boy,' and she wiped him off. It took a few seconds for him to cry and it sounded a little gurgly at first, but oh---he was seriously the most precious sight to see. Pure relief. Pure bliss. Is there anything better in the world than being finished with labor? Nate and I hugged a bit and I started to cry with incredible joy. My doctor put him up on my chest once he started to cry. It was one of the highlights of my life that will never have accompanying words for description. No words at all.

Our baby boy was here. He was healthy, he was angry to be out, and he wouldn't stop crying. Thank you, God.




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But seriously. The kid was not happy to be evicted from his comfy spot in my womb. Nate, Porter, and I just hung out in that moment for while, marveling over our boy who was laying on my chest all new and perfect and wet. Look at his little lips! Look at his sweet head of baby hair! Look at his precious hands! Eventually my OB asked if I wanted to see how much Porter weighed and I said, 'sure'---thinking he might be around 7 pounds or so. 'No way, he's bigger than that,' my doctor guessed.

Nate went over to the warmer with Porter and sure enough, 8 pounds and 9 ounces. HOLY BIG BOY.  No wonder pushing was so much harder this time. Truman was 7 pounds and 10 ounces at two whole weeks early, and sweet Cecelia was 7 pounds and 5 ounces at two days early. My three-days-overdue-baby was almost a full pound bigger than his brother. And you know how my kids are pretty tall, and were 21.5 inches (T) and 20.5 inches (C) at birth. Fat Man Porter was only 20.25 inches. Love.It.


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His Apgars were 8 and 9, just like Truman, and he was still highly pissed off on the warmer table as they checked him over. Nate took lots of pictures, I asked my OB to see my placenta since I'd never seen them before. It was super huge and really cool, with a majority of Porter's bag of waters still attached to it! She said that I had a small 'skid mark' inside of me that needed two stitches. Not a true tear, I guess, but I could feel everything as she stitched me up. We chatted about my OB's four kids' births and how she only got an epidural for the first one, but the others all came too fast. I've always wondered if she is in the 'no drugs' camp, and sure enough---she is. Crazy, crazy woman;) {Blows a kiss to all of my all-natural mamas out there. Freaking rock stars. I have no regrets about my love for an epidural, man. Even though my first one with Truman was glorious and wiped out all existence of pain, but Cecelia's and Porter's did NOT even come close to that type of heaven.}

The baby nurse asked if I wanted to do more skin-to-skin since his temperature was a little lower now, and I asked if I could breastfeed him. They were all about it and so was Porter---latching onto my left side without hesitation, maybe 15 minutes after being born. He ended up nursing from both side for a total of an hour (!!) and wasn't very excited about taking a break after that. But I wanted Nate to hold him and figured Porter didn't really NEED to nurse non-stop. He was very alert at this point and after Nate held him for a bit, I got to hold our boy again. We took some pictures, texted and called our friends and family, and updated social media (duh). Then we nursed a bit more and continued to ride the high of birth all day long. We couldn't believe how long he'd been awake, so alert and taking in his surroundings. I feel like both other kids were super sleepy after the hour mark of birth but not mister P. He was totally intrigued by this real world stuff.


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Nate and I both remarked that Porter looks exactly like Truman in many ways. We took a video of him in that first hour of life and couldn't stop chuckling at how angry Porter was to be out.

At around 2pm, our nurse came to give Porter his first bath because we told her that the siblings and grandparents were all coming around 3pm. Porter got all mad again during that bath and promptly began the sleepy stage immediately after. Our sweet baby was all squeaky clean, ready to meet the rest of his family.



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That's my birthday story for Porter Nelson. My favorite birth despite the craziness of being overdue for the first time. Always worth the wait.


  1. Ahhhh! All teary-eyed over here!! What an amazing experience. Gah, sounds painful - I remember! And I don't. And I'm so excited to do it again soon!! Such a wild ride!!

    He is just perfect. So very happy he's here!!!

  2. Crying like a baby! He is just perfect and beautiful. Congratulations for the millionth time. Sending you all love and hugs!

  3. Love hearing the full birth story! I can totally relate to the pushing out a bigger baby as that was me with baby #2. We went from 7lb 11oz to 9lb 9oz and I remember thinking during the pushing stage that I didn't remember it being this hard and this much effort last time! Well duh...it wasn't! The pics are so sweet and you're making me want a third...please share when it's also a little tiring and you're figuring out how to juggle 3 so I can come back down to reality. ;-)

  4. Amazing... crying so much right now, not really sure why, but this was just beautiful! You described everything so well, brought me right back to my delivery with Jake. Can't believe I get to do this again and you're right on about how every birth is different and you can't even begin to prepare for how it's going to go! Congrats again, so happy for you that he's here finally! Adorable family photo!

  5. Love love love! I'm obsessed with birth stories and yours was great. Your pictures are amazing too. LOVE the ones of that wet little head lying on your shoulder/chest when he first came out. There is really no sweeter moment in the whole world, is there? I'll remember that moment of my two births forever.

  6. Ahhh love it!!!! Congratulations!!! I'm just 12 weeks pregnant with number 3 and this makes me zoo excited to meet this little one!

  7. Love the birth story! Congratulations again...Porter (your entire family for that matter) is just precious! Loved the part about the nurse having you wait to push. During my delivery (for my first) my nurse had me pushing and told me to stop so she could call my Doctor to get him in my room. Well, I told her I wasn't pushing! With that she and my husband caught him as she didn't have anything set up! Enjoy your family of 5!

  8. LOVE it!!!! As hard as the waiting is (I KNOW!) it's so worth it. I can't wait to be able to really say the same thing :) So glad that he's finally here and healthy! Congratulations again!

  9. Loved reading this, such an amazing experience! Fat babies are awesome :)

  10. That was amazing! Thank you for sharing such detail. Loved it! And now your precious boy is here!

  11. I loved this so much! I want to go into labour... like right now!

  12. I love reading birth stories, and yours was amazing! You definitely have the gift of writing. I had tears in my eyes and I can't imagine how happy that day was. Congrats!!

  13. I love reading birth stories too! Congrats again. He is precious! My labor was too fast for an epidural and I feel your pain, literally. I did poop on the table, I knew it, my husband knew it. It's not like I could stop it! Way to go...

  14. Still can't believe Porter was/is such a chunk! Love it! Way to go mama! I agree with Erin. I remember the pain and yet I'm looking forward to it. Weird! Birth is such a unique experience!

  15. I'd love to hear how you picked his name! Congrats!

  16. Oh, I love it! Birth stories always bring out the waterworks and this was no exception. How sweet!

    You mentioned your OB turned his head...was he face up?

    Also, I LOL'd about you putting a towel down in the car. My husband did the same thing on our drive because new car. He actually took home some of the bed pads from the hospital for "next time". Always thinking!

  17. Loved reading this! Kai was super angry about being on the outside at first too, and he HATED his first bath. I can now totally relate to the immense feeling of relief when labor is over :)
    Congrats again, Porter seems like a perfect little boy.

  18. I love birth stories too. I just love how different each of our stories are, ya know? Pretty interesting. Thumbs down to the ring of fire. Worst thing ever - but of course leads to the BEST thing ever :)

    So glad he's finally here with you!

  19. This was fun to read and I was surprised at how vividly it brought my own recent birth to mind - guess things are still pretty fresh in the memory department :) So glad things went well and you have your little guy on the outside!


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