Theo's Story

So, I had my baby. Four days ago to be exact. And the experience was one I will never forget for as long as I shall live. But the details. The details are something that may or may not fade with time. And that, well that is just something that cannot be risked, so it is here that I will write down the details of the night my baby was born, and the night I was changed forever.

I was three days overdue and had been experiencing contractions for the past three nights. Each night I was so hopeful that "that this was it" and each morning I would wake up to no contractions, no baby, and feeling positive that I would be pregnant for the rest of  time and all eternity. As it turns out, you get pretty dramatic when you go past your due date.

But then, oh but then, on Wednesday afternoon I started to feel contractions come on more consistently and with a bit more intensity. My mom was in town for the birth and Taylor had come home early from work with hopes that this was the real deal. We sat and watched reruns of Gilmore Girls and with each contraction, we would pause our show while either my mom or Taylor would push on my back, the other tickling my arm, and I would breathe through each one. We would then resume our Gilmore Girl watching, wait for the next contraction to come on, and repeat. It was all going rather perfect. The contractions weren't too bad and I was feeling strong and able with each one.

They began getting closer and closer and once they were a steady three minutes apart, we were off to the hospital.

We arrived, they checked me and announced that I was at a solid 4. Months ago, nine to be exact, I had decided that I wanted to do a natural birth so I knew we had a long night ahead of us but with my husband and my mom by my side, I was sure I could do this. 

In an attempt to get things moving, I sat in jacuzzi's, paced the halls, leaned against chairs, squatted against hand rails, and sat on birthing balls. As I encountered and got through each advancing contraction, each one getting more and more intense, I tried to remind myself that I was being brought closer and closer to my baby, that in just a matter of hours I was going to become a mom and that all of this was going to pay off with the biggest reward I would ever receive. As each one ended my mom would remind me that that contraction was over and I would never have to do it again. "Shake it off, breathe it out, and enjoy this moment when you feel no pain," she would say. Every woman should have my mom around when they're about to give birth, is what I always say....well, as of four days ago, anyway.

After about 13 hours of laboring, I was exhausted. It was getting harder and harder (understatement) and I was praying that the next time they checked me, I would be at the highly acclaimed 10 cm. The nurse checked me and proudly announced that I was nearly there. She was going to call the doctor and I should be ready to start pushing in the next 30 minutes. Thirty minutes! I thought. I could do that! This had been tough, really tough, but 30 more minutes I could do. The doctor arrived, checked me once more and I couldn't wait to hear the words come out of her mouth that I was ready to push. But then those words didn't come out of her mouth. No, she didn't say any of that. Instead, she said that I still had a rim around my cervix. She said that I was at a 9+, not quite a 10, and that when I pushed, instead of expanding my cervix, it shrunk down to an 8 and if I were to push at that point, I would tear everything. She wasn't sure why it was happening but only that it was. And so I had to wait. She told me to keep laboring and she would be back to check on me momentarily. Keep laboring?? Easy for her to say!

In that moment, I lost all hope. I had no idea how I was going to keep going. I had never experienced pain like this and I had never known self-doubt to this extent. I wasn't prepared for this. It went on like this for an hour longer, and then another. Contractions every few minutes, stuck at a 9+, no signs of progression and all my body wanted to do was push that baby out! In between one particularly tough contraction, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I cried out to my mom, "Mom, I can't do this! I'm not strong enough!" And then she said firmly and with enough love to move a mountain (or several), "Rachel, Yes. You .Can. You are stronger than you know. You are doing absolutely amazing and you CAN do this. You have your entire family praying for you, rooting for you, waiting for you to bring this spirit into this world. You are receiving help from the other side and in this room are angels helping, assisting, and comforting you, waiting to welcome your child into this world. You were sent here to do this and you CAN do this, I know you can and so does everyone else cheering you on." (Like I said, every woman needs my mom by their side during labor.) So through encouraged tears and renewed hope, I breathlessly responded, "OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, I can do this, I can do this." (I found that when under an immense amount of pressure, I like to repeat things. It makes me feel more able, I think.)

As it got tougher and tougher, my mom continued to coach me, instructing me on how to breathe through each contraction. Taylor never left my side, all the while listening to my mom. Then he would lean into my ear and say, "Breathe with me," mimicking my mom's breathing so that I could concentrate on him, shutting out the rest of the noise around me. Through each contraction he would whisper words of encouragement, telling me how strong I was, that I could absolutely do this, and that I was amazing. "Keep talking, keep talking," I would say to him. He gave me a blessing when I felt as though I was at my end and didn't know how to push forward. He was everything I needed. 

After three hours of being stuck at a 9+ and 16 hours of labor, the doctor came in, checked me for maybe the millionth time and finally announced that I had reached a 10 and was ready to push. "I've never been more grateful to hear anything in my life!" I yelled out.

And so I pushed. "I see his head!" the doctor would say. "He's crowning!" She said a bit later. And then the words, "His head is out!" came out of her mouth. And in a matter of minutes, they pulled him out and he was laying on my chest, screaming and more perfect than any single person I had ever before laid my eyes upon. "My baby, my baby, my baby," I cried over and over again. I looked over at Taylor in that moment and saw the tears in his eyes as it all settled in that we were parents, a mom and a dad just like that, and in an instant our lives were changed forever.

I fought hard for this baby. We fought hard. I couldn't have done it without Theo and he couldn't have done it without me. We needed each other and together we birthed a child and a set of parents all in a single moment. I'd say that it was our first real bonding experience that at least one of us will never forget. (Where's the love, Theo?) And good grief, was he worth it.

This experience has changed me forever in a way that words could never do justice. I've learned about sacrifice in a way I never understood, I've learned about love in a way I could never before comprehend, and if there's one thing I learned about myself, it's that, well, I'm mostly sure I can do literally anything.

So bring it on parenthood, I got this.

Theo James Godard - Born 9/11/14 - 7 lbs. 13 oz. - 21 in. long


  1. I'm crying! Especially as I read the empowering words Mom was telling you. You are amazing and really CAN do anything. I loved you so much sister and am so happy for you to be a Mom. You forgot the part when you sat up after he came out, ripped your bra off and demanded, "Give me my baby! give me my baby!"

  2. Seriously such an amazing story. You are my hero Rae! I loved so much hearing you say ok ok ok ok I could see how determined you were and how much strength you got from Taylor and Mom. I feel so honored that I got to see it all. It was a little piece of heaven.

  3. You CAN do, almost literally, anything! So glad you wrote it all down. Love you bunches!

  4. RACHEL! how did I not know you did this drug free!???! you are AMAZING. I made it almost to a 6 and was screaming (with a few profanities) for drugs. My epidural completely wore off the last hour I was pushing and I remember thinking anyone to choose to do it this was was insane. so you are insane and amazing all at the same time. ;)
    i can't wait to meet that little dude some day! yay for mommyhood!!


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