I’d been pregnant for about… 7ish years. In my head. Technically, I was 40 weeks, 5 days, but in my head? A full seven years.

My body was revolting against me. I had a testicle/cyst growing larger each day (oh, you really should read all about that), and at my 40 week + 4 day appointment, my midwife had to utter the word “induction” to prepare me for the possibility that it might be the only way to stop me from being pregnant for ETERNITY.

(Please do stop yourself if you’re about to comment about how nobody is pregnant forever, babies pick their birth dates, blah blah. Rational arguments were lost on me at that time. That’s what I’m saying.)

The next morning, July 30th at 7:30am, I woke up to a small gush of something down there. My first thought as I shook off the fog in my brain was, “Oh, hell yes. Please let this be it.” Followed very quickly by the following train of thought:

“Oh. Shit. Get off the bed, get off the bed, VERY CAREFULLY GET OFF THE BED. Back your ass out of this thing. Scoot backwards. Don’t roll over. Oh, holy crap. Please don’t be my water breaking, please don’t be my water breaking.”

See, we recently purchased the bed of my dreams. A very expensive bed of my dreams. One made of foam that I imagine is pretty absorbent. One that we did not have any sort of plastic barrier on because my water NEVER breaks on it’s own.

And that’s a good thing, my midwife told me the day before, because I had SO MUCH amniotic fluid this time and the baby was floating so high up in it that IF my water did break, we might have a serious situation on our hands. A situation that would definitely require an immediate drive to the hospital, and possibly an ambulance ride if I felt “anything slipping out down there, like an umbilical cord… or an arm.”

After getting to the bathroom without dropping a water balloon out of my vagina on the way there (or an arm), I determined it was probably my mucus plug I felt, not my water. PHEW. And EW. There was spotting, and then a contraction.

The contraction was nothing to get excited about. I’d been having them for about 6 weeks. But the other signs were making me a little giddy. Scott was working from home that day, so I told him he might need to let his boss know he needed the day off (and the next month- three cheers for a month of vacation days saved up!). After about an hour, I called my midwife’s office. Contractions were pretty irregular and not painful at all. Sometimes I’d go 15 minutes without one. I didn’t expect things to happen anytime soon, but the office wanted me to head to the hospital anyway.

We live 45 minutes from it, and I knew that I was capable of going from 0-60 very fast, based on my 1.5-2 hour labor with Leyna. So we calmly packed up the car and left about an hour and a half after that. Then we stopped to get something to eat. It was all very casual. I’m sure the good people at Panera had no idea I would walk out with a bagel and cream cheese, then push a baby out by the end of the day.

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Last bump selfie, just before heading to the hospital. Who’s happy to get this baby out? THIS GIRL.

The contractions were such a joke that by the time we got to the hospital, I was expecting them to just send me home. Nope. I was at a 4/5. (I was barely a 2 the day before.) Problem was the baby was still very high, not at all engaged. I was admitted anyway because everyone was confident I was in active labor, but I was preparing for a long day and night. Scott and I took off for a walk, which seemed to make the contractions stop. When we got back, I was monitored for a bit, then I opted to take a little nap. I was suddenly very tired.

The whole time I rested, I didn’t feel a single contraction. Not for the entire 40 minutes. But my anxiety started to ramp up as I started to feel really hot, and like I couldn’t breathe. I was dizzy. It made me freak out. OMG, did I have a blood clot? WAS I GOING TO DIE? Maybe my testicle-cyst was trying to kill me!

Seriously, the anxiety was a bitch. I begged Scott to get the nurse. I explained to her that I was afraid something was very wrong with me. She asked if I’d felt any contractions. In my head, I was all:

“Contractions? Let’s forget about the labor thing for a minute and focus on how I’m ABOUT TO DIE because CLEARLY something is not right.”

But she insisted on checking me. Hilarity! I hadn’t had contractions in more than an hour.

I was at a 6, almost 7. Baby was definitely engaged, much lower, I was 60% effaced. So a good portion of this labor progressed with the help of a panic attack instead of contractions. Lucky me?

Mostly confident that I was actually NOT dying (at that point), I decided to get in the labor tub. I was suddenly really worried that things were going to go super fast. I texted my birth photographer- Monica of A Sacred Project– and asked her to head on up to the hospital. Then I just… hung out. Just all chill in the warm water, casually kicking back. I felt contractions every 5ish minutes, but they didn’t hurt. I was laughing and talking through them. I was that woman in labor that people probably hate.

Don’t worry. I paid for it later.

Anyway, Monica got there about an hour after I got in the tub, so this is the point in the story where I’ll start to provide her lovely visuals for you all. And by “lovely” I do mean that some are terrifying. (But NONE are of anything below the bump or NSFW.)

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(This post is going to be crazy long, so please click through from my homepage to read the rest and see the slideshow at the end of the post!)

There’s really only so much time you can spend in a warm tub of water, and a little over an hour was reaching my max. I decided to head to the shower, but not before we finished writing down our predictions for how much baby would weigh. Since my 2nd baby was 9.9, and I was even bigger with this one, everyone was expecting a whopper. (Though my midwife did sweetly write that her “wish list” birth weight was 8.12.)

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Obviously, Scott hates me? He was thrilled at the idea of a 10 lb baby. Butthead.

When my midwife told me that this hospital is super cool because it has showers to labor in, I was very skeptical. I have never craved laboring in a shower before. It actually sounded like hell in previous labors. But I had never seen a shower like this. A bench to sit on, 5 shower heads, 3 strategically aimed at my lower back, one on my belly, one overhead. It was as close to laboring in a spa as (I imagine) it gets.

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I think I was enjoying it a bit too much. And maybe I was procrastinating on the whole have-a-baby thing. By this point, I was not looking forward to what I knew was to come. After hanging out in the shower for I really don’t know how long, my midwife and nurse convinced me to hop out to get monitored and checked. My contractions were getting a little more difficult at this point.

I was nearly an 8, which didn’t seem like I’d progressed much, but the baby had moved down even more, and my bag of water was bulging. My midwife then asked me if I wanted the rest of this to be a marathon or a sprint. Because we could keep going the way we were going and take our time, or she could break my water and we could get this show on the road. Having had my water broken with my other 2 babies when I was at an 8, I knew what that would mean. It would bring on transition. It would HURT. It would be INTENSE.

And then it would be over.

I was ready for it to be over. I was ready to sprint the last 6 miles of this marathon. (Marathon and birth comparisons will never get old for me.)

We all expected buckets of amniotic fluid to pour out of me when she broke my water, but the baby had plugged the dam and there was very little that came out. I headed back to the shower, and immediately recognized that these contractions were going to be different.

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I spent maybe another 20 minutes in there with mobile monitoring. We kept losing the baby on it because the water was beating down on the device, so my midwife told me if they could get one good tape with me out of the shower, I could get back in after and they’d stop monitoring me. Sounded like a good plan.

I hopped up on the bed.

No. That’s a lie. I hobbled to the bed, stopping 2 times for contractions, then I carefully eased myself onto it and immediately felt another contraction.

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“I hate when this shit gets real,” I sighed between contractions.

Everybody laughed. This seems to be a stage of labor for me- making jokes. I become quite the comedian right before transition hits. I warned my midwife about the next stage of labor for me.

“I drop a lot of F Bombs when I’m in transition. That’s how you know it’s getting serious. I will not stop saying fuck.”

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Again, everyone laughed, but I was totally serious. It wasn’t long before I exhaled, “FUUUUUUCK” at the end of a contraction. There was no way I was getting back in the shower because that would require walking, and there was no way I was standing to walk. So my midwife coached me on different positions to labor in on the bed.

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I knew it was about to get intense. I tried to dredge up those vivid memories of what it would be like, what to prepare myself for. I’d been through transition twice. I could surely do this just one more time. Just once more. That’s it. That’s all I was obligated… committed to making it through. Already, I was questioning my sanity, but somehow I felt peace just thinking of the pain I’d endured previously and knowing I came through it just fine without dying.

I thought I could remember. I thought I was prepared. The pain I recalled seemed absolutely horrible. I braced myself for it.

Turns out, my brain GROSSLY downplayed the realities of previous labors from my memory. GROSS. LY.

“Absolutely horrible” as a descriptor is like putting a tutu and strawberry scented glitter powder on what it ACTUALLY FELT LIKE.

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I was now repeating things like, “Why, why, why, WHY do I do this? WHY DO I DOOOOOOO THISSSSS? I am never doing this again, NEVER AGAIN. SERIOUSLY NEVER. Fuuuuuccck.”

Here’s the thing about the pain of childbirth- no matter how hard you try, you will NEVER remember how bad it felt until you’re right back there again. And then? AND THEN you’re like, OH. RIGHT. That’s it. THAT’S what my brain suppressed FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

And then? Too late. Too late to decide you don’t want to have that baby at all. Even too late for an epidural. You are fucked.

So then I’m saying things like, “Get it out. Get. It. Out. OH MY GOD GET IT OUT.”  And, of course, a lot of fucks. And hating my husband for even having a penis at all.

I’m sure at this point my midwife was sensing that I was getting much closer to the finish line. Still coaching me on different positions to labor in, she suggested I pull myself up on a bar attached to the end of the bed and labor in a squat position.

I tried to hold myself up during the contraction and ALL THE PAIN BELONGED TO ME. “Nope. NOPE. NO, I HATE THIS,” I screamed. Not only did I HATE that position because of the pain, but also because I did not sign up for a cross-fit workout while laboring. Squatting with a 40lb bowling ball attached to my core? NOPE.

But I guess my midwife knew what she was doing because shortly after that my contractions started feeling “push-y.” This both excited me and scared me more than Samara from The Ring. I was SO over laboring. SO. OVER. DONE.

I was SO not ready for the hell that is pushing.

After a couple contractions that ended with me grunting, I informed everyone that seriously, I was serious. I was ready to push. For real. It was happening.

Then I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done. I prayed out loud. Okay, maybe not so much “prayed.” More like I yelled at God and didn’t care who heard me.

“Dear God, please let this be fast. Dear God, please let this be fast. DEAR GOD, PLEASE LET THIS BE SO FAST.”

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I had just enough time to finish that little conversation with God and for my midwife and nurse to breakdown my bed and get my legs up. When the next contraction hit, I was instantly glad I insisted they get ready for me to push. Because yeah.

That? Was happening. NOW.

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See? Totally terrifying picture. And also a little funny. Very real, and very, very scary. Are you running to get your tubes tied right now? I can wait. Oh, it’s okay if you laugh at this.

I showed this picture to Scott earlier today, telling him I was a little shocked and freaked out by it the first time I saw it. He glanced at it and gave a knowing nod.

“Oh yeah. That’s your pushing face. I’ve seen it 3 times,”  he said all nonchalant. That guy. Such a keeper.

So anyway, back to the pushing. If that picture came with sound effects, it would sound exactly like how I imagine an animal sounds after getting hit by a car. I made dying animal noises and pushed. And pushed, and pushed, and pushed for what seemed like an hour, but I’m told was more like a few minutes.

I knew that contraction meant business, and I’m kind of a pro at pushing by now, so I just gave it everything I had. Shortly after I started pushing, I started to feel what I thought was the “ring of fire” (the baby crowning), but then I started thinking that wasn’t possible because I just started pushing.

Then I heard a lot of people running places and people being called into the room, and by the time I realized the baby’s head was coming out my midwife said, “Reach down and grab your baby!”

Uh… what?

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I didn’t have the energy to argue with or question her, though it made no sense to me at the moment how I could be grabbing my baby when there was no way this hell was ever going to end.

But then? It did.

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And to my great surprise, after the longest push ever on the planet, which I’m not even sure how I survived since I don’t think I took a breath for 5 minutes, there was a baby in my arms.

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Do not be fooled by this picture. That look on my face is not one of wonderment and joy for the miracle of life. That look is me saying out loud, over and over, “Oh my God, it’s over. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh, thank you, God.” I guess he heard my prayers and went ahead and made that whole pushing thing SUPER fast. So fast my midwife barely had time to get prepped to catch the baby.

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 I have no idea how long the baby was on me before I heard someone ask, “Do we know if it’s a boy or girl?” At that point, I was 1. celebrating the fact that it was over and 2. a little distracted by all the new sensations I was feeling down there, like the umbilical cord rubbing up against some very sensitive areas.

Honestly, by then I didn’t care if I had just birthed a cat. An alien. Whatever. It was OUT! REJOICE! But I guess other people wanted to know, so they picked the baby up off my chest.

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“IT’S A BOY!”

Lowell Scott Krause was born at 8:14 pm on July 30th, 2013 at Baylor McKinney hospital. He was 20.75 inches and 8 lbs 11 ounces. He shot out of me with one push and the force of an olympic sized pool of amniotic fluid behind him.

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We called my mom, who was at our house with Kendall and Leyna. Then we called and ordered pizza. I was HANGRY.

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About an hour and a half later, Lowell and I were wheeled into our recovery room, where we got to be a family of 5 (eep!) for the first time.

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Kendall and Leyna fell in love with Lowell instantly. Watching them meet him was one of the biggest joys of my life. Their excitement was tangible.

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And just like that, my heart grew 3 sizes, and all my babies fit perfectly inside.

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If you’ve made it this far, bravo! Birth stories are my favorite posts to write, so it’s a little sad to think this is the last one I’ll have to share with you all. But not so sad that I’d like to endure transition and pushing again.

This happens to be the one and only birth story I have that I can end with a slideshow. Not only did Monica capture this time for us with pictures, but she also got some great video, and she merged them all beautifully into a 6 minute montage.

the birth of Lowell from A Sacred Project on Vimeo.

OH! And I know there are some of you who stuck this whole thing out just to find out how my testicle-cyst is doing. Well, good news is it didn’t rupture during birth OR grow to the size of a citrus fruit. It’s actually shrunk so much in the last few weeks that it’s possible I won’t have to do anything to remove it.

But I’ll have much more to say about all of that when I bring you yet another “Rest Of The Story” all about the postpartum period. Stay tuned.

And if you haven’t read my other 2 birth stories, you can check out Kendall’s here and Leyna’s here.

You can find me oversharing daily about things like testicle-cysts and breastmilk as hair product on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

98 thoughts on “Lowell’s Birth Story”

  1. SO. MANY. TEARS. From that beautiful video! Leyna is the cutest big sister ever, and sweet Kendall looks so grown up. Congratulations on your beautiful family of 5!!

  2. Heh, we seem to labor very similarly. This brought back a lot of memories. I forgot what labor was really like before my last one, and then SO FAST after. Immediately after, I was telling everyone who would listen how I am SO getting the epidural next time. Within the week, I was talking about how maybe I’ll do a home birth next time. Seriously. Amnesia.

  3. “And just like that, my heart grew 3 sizes, and all my babies fit perfectly inside” – I LOVE that!! Probably my most favorite thing you’ve written, and I really like a lot you’ve written! Congrats again Jill!!

  4. Almost 30 weeks with my first over here, so you freaked me out about transition, but it’s too late now. But holy-mah-goodness-gracecious–the video!!!! The point at which you are in bed holding hands with Scott and the tenderness there–the love between the two of you is evident. I’m excited about seeing my husband be amazing in that role. By the way, thanks for making me cry today…I’d only had one pregnancy cry so I was behind schedule.

    Beautiful family. Beautiful story. Congrats on your family of five, Jill!

  5. So beautiful! The video is amazing! Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story. Kinda makes me think “huh, maybe we could do that a fourth time” despite having a 9 week old upstairs.

  6. Great story! And a very good reminder that I do NOT WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN!!! Thanks for the motivation. LOL. My main happy emotion after my two labors was “Thank you God it’s over!” Then it’s, “Oh, yeah, I have a baby now…” 😉

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this. Every single word (and photo!) is absolutely beautiful. As a newly pregnant with my second mom, that video was just too much (in a good way)! Congratulations again to you all!

  8. Your story brought a tear to my eye. The images captured are simply amazing. I especially love the ones of your husband and children meeting Lowell. Enjoy life as a family of five.

  9. I’ve been following your blog now for over 5 years (I found it when I was pregnant with my daughter – who will be 5 in less than 2 months!) and I must say I’m amazed to see 3 kids with you now 🙂 You all look so happy. I’ve kept up with your blog (and facebook) ever since and I’m very happy for you… Your writing hooked me from the beginning, and has kept me coming back! Congratulations on your baby, your family, and your success as a blogger! Keep it coming 🙂

  10. These photos epitomize why I love birth photography so much. The wonder & amazement & love on your husband’s face, & the connection she captured between you two is just so beautiful! Congratulations, Jill!

  11. Jill this was BEAUTIFUL! My baby just turned 10 months and I still remember labor & my natural birth too vividly to want baby #3 quite yet. I can SO relate to your eminent fear of transition stage, where suddenly you realizes “SHIT! THIS FRICKIN HURTS! I REMEMBER NOW! WHY? WHYYYYYY????!?!” Congrats again!

  12. Love it (not the grapefruit cyst part and the horrible pain but you know what I mean). Welcome to the world, Lowell. Looks like you have some keepers in those older siblings!

  13. Wow, that is the best birth story. I love birth stories and those pictures just capture what labor is all about. I’m about to go through the same thing in about a month or so…Congrats on the beautiful, non 9# baby 🙂

  14. I laughed. I cried. I laughed web I could barely see through the tears. And I haven’t even watched the video! Thank you so much for sharing! And having such a way with words. You took me right back to my two births! Enjoy those loves and good luck with the crazy whirlwind of the newborn days 🙂

  15. Oh my, Jill! That video is just amazing! The way the music, lyrics, photos and video all blend together is just too muc. The artist really did a wonderful job. And you and Scott did a great job bringing Lowell into your family. Love the family of five shots! Congrats!

  16. There is just something about the way Scott is looking at you in picture #9 that screams I LOVE THIS WOMAN! I love that picture! Congrats on Lowell! He is gorgeous!

    1. Jill, this makes me SO excited to do this again (one LAST time). I really can’t wait for that moment when my boys meet their little sister for the first time. Totally hiring a photographer because SOB!

  17. This was beautiful! I just noticed that Lowell’s name starts with an “L” like Leyna and ends with “LL” like Kendall! How neat is that? 🙂 Must be meant to be!

  18. love that second to last picture! and I know that feel bro, euphoria of relief that it is OVER! Lol Thanks for sharing.

  19. Beautiful! I love the photos and the video! Great photography, great voice in your writing, and I am so glad you were honest about the pain. So many women aren’t. Beautifully done.

  20. Totally made me cry!! And everytime I see the photo of your husband smiling at you while you are taking in all the wonder of your new baby it just makes my heart feel all explodey

  21. The pictures are so amazing! It *almost* makes me want another (but not quite after that reminder of how much labor hurts!). What a beautiful story. My favorites picture must be of the 1st picture of Leyna with the baby. Congratulations to you and your new family of 5! 🙂

  22. And note to self, don’t watch shortly after putting makeup on when you’re 29 weeks pregnant with your own third. Congratulations!

  23. Wow – that video was absolutely beautiful. My hubby and I are currently trying for our third and I’ve been a little nervous about going through it all again. This post was JUST what I needed. Thank you for being so willing to share such a special moment in your life and being so real about it. Now I need to wipe away my happy tears and get back to work. Thanks again!

  24. Damn you. Tears. Also, laughter… “by then I didn’t care if I had just birthed a cat.” I hear that. I SO HEAR THAT. Loved reading this, Jill. Love you. I do. And glad it all came out juuuuust fine 😉 xoxoxox.

  25. My five day old third child is asleep on my chest as I type. She came out all the way on the second push, as I am also not a fan of the pushing part. The midwives were telling me she is coming out, catch her etc. But in that moment I did not care. She was coming out which meant it would be over soon. Then a breath. Then ooh baby.

  26. Childbirth: I remember this…. but the great thing is you can’t re-experience the pain. You can describe it only. My vision is that Jaws had me in his mouth and was grinding my sciatic nerves. NOT fun!

    And, I am certain that I won’t share this story with my daughter who hasn’t had a baby! Don’t want to scare her out of the possibility of me becoming a grandmother!

  27. LOVED IT! made me laugh, cringe about the part when you remember how bad it hurts, and the rest well, just tears of how beautiful it is in the end and seeing your children together, cant wait until my daughter meets her sister. thank you for sharing.

  28. The photos are stunning, Jill! Now I wish fervently that I had thought to have a photographer there to take photos as my son was born. The pictures of Scott’s face as he held your hand are precious. I loved reading this story; it brought tears to my eyes.

  29. Oh the tears after the video! You’re making me reconsider having a third, and my youngest is only 6 months. Congrats on your perfect little family of 5!

  30. I just had to point out that I was reading this on my computer, then had to type the link into my phone, because I had to poop REALLY bad, and could not stop reading this… Is that weird?

  31. Absolutely wonderful! So happy for you and if and when I can convince my husband for one more…so getting the photographer. Such lovely photos!

  32. I had the same idea when I found out you were going to the hospital in labor. I first though, “oh how exciting!” and then I thought, “Oh crap! I feel so bad for her, she’s going to have to be in labor. And push. Oh the pushing!!!” Not looking forward to that again.

    I just love how in every picture your husband is just looking at you with such love. Such a lovely story.

  33. Such a fabulous birth story! Your photos are so amazing it almost makes me think of having a 3rd…ummm..nope 🙂 But great photos, and what a beautiful perfect family you have. Oh! And I so agree with comparing pregnancy to a marathon. I did it so many times I drove everyone crazy, but it is such a great comparison! Love it! And huge congrats!!

  34. That was such a great story- told with your usual flair and just wonderful. I laughed, I cried, I cheered you on! LOVED that shot of your husband gazing adoringly at you… I imagine that he’s overcome with the awesome that is you in that moment. Also love the shot of Leyna standing on the couch and looking down at Lowell. She looks so amazed! Great images of an epic event. Thanks for sharing!

  35. I absolutely adore this. So honest and open and real but not scary like don’t ever do this. Each of your children is beautiful and I could stare forever at that one picture of your husband looking with wonder at you.

  36. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing! I’m a mom to four kids (teenagers now) but I always loved when the siblings would first come to the hospital to meet the new baby. That was always pure joy!

  37. Wow! I just found your blog and this is the first post I read. I laughed and I cried. I had completely forgotten how horrible labor was thanks for the reminder.

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