Walking in the Lord's Grace day by day....


Cal Michael's Arrival | Birth Story Part 1

Oh goodness! It's crazy to even sit down and try to write this story. I apologize if it's super long and possibly not that clear, but after 50+ hours of labor things do get a bit fuzzy. I am so grateful to have the images that Natalie took during the experience. Goodness. I have so many thanks for that woman. It will come in it's own post. Alright Cal Michael's Birth Story.....Here we go. It's nuts that it feels so distant already, not even 2 weeks after.

I had been contracting all week. Many a texts to my doula wondering if this was it. I was doing what is sometimes called monkey labor, laboring in the night with time-able contractions during the evenings, then I would lay down and it would stop and I would wake up feeling normal. Well as normal as you can 40+ weeks pregnant.

I woke up on Saturday July 5th my 30th birthday feeling normal pregnant. Tired but excited as one of my dearest friends Natalie Norton was flying in to stay for a couple of days. We never thought that I would still be pregnant when she arrived! We picked Natalie up from the airport and off we went! Little did I know my dearest friends Lara, Emily and Natalie planned a full day of birthday fun for me. With fun little texts and rhymes to follow! How incredibly thoughtful. We started with tea at my favorite place, a manicure and then headed out to lunch at French Meadow where we met my parents.

Once we arrived to the nail salon I realized my contractions were back. Not super close together or painful, just a lot tighter and more intense. See when you have been doing this all week the goal is to ignore it until you know it's different. Which is really stinking hard for a first time mom to hear! Anywhoo of course everyone was right as I found out later yet, I just took note of the contractions and made it through my nails and lunch.

I thought I might of passed my mucous plug at lunch but again wasn't trying to get too excited. After lunch we were headed home to rest a bit. Natalie had barely slept an hour or two before hopping on her flight and of course I was tired too. So we just hung out talked and took a nap. I was still contracting here and there but it was slowing down.

Around 8pm on Saturday we decided to take a walk just her and I. This is when I officially in my brain, I definitely had my first intense and breath stopping contractions, we walked there and back and definitely felt like this might be it. We ran up to the grocery store and got dinner late. I had some sushi that was fantastic, I remember I couldn't talk to the deli person as I was in the middle of contracting. It was hilarious, to me and Natalie at least.

Around 11pm I had my first blood show. This meant business for me, I started shaking because I was excited and nervous and excited again. I did call the hospital and while the person who answered was asking goofy questions that I am sure they have to ask for liability reasons, like do you have an umbilical cord hanging out of your vagina. Um NO. I was hoping I would speak to a triage nurse and talk things out, she just said that I could come in and she would call Labor and Delivery and say I was coming.

Yet, My contractions weren't steady or too incredibly pressure filled or painful, so I was sure I was going to be sent home. So as a team we decided we were going to head to bed and just see what happened. Watched a movie and then all headed to bed as my contractions had really slowed down.

I went downstairs to sleep in our bedroom and Natalie was upstairs in our guest room. When I laid down the contractions started to get a pattern again and much more intense. I texted my doula around 2:50am that I had been having consistent one minute contractions with 6-7 minutes in between. She said to text her back in an hour and let me know if they have continued. I did text her at 4:04am as they had continued and we decided that she would come over the house around 6am. I had woken Natalie up around 4am as I couldn't work through them on my own anymore.

Karen got to the house at 6am and we worked through contractions. My time in btw contractions went from that steady 6-7 minutes back out to about 11 to 12 minutes apart. We stopped tracking them via the app that I have on my phone even. Yet, they were still pretty intense. Also, I went to the bathroom a trillion times on Saturday, some more bloody show/mucous plug each time and definitely when #2 times a trillion. It was hard to go backwards a bit as I really felt like we were moving in the right direction. 


Unfortunately once Karen arrived things slowed down again. We really learned that my body didn't do well with "change" of scenery. It would slow contractions considerably. We did it all in the book, walked stairs, walked outside, squatted. Yet the only thing that seemed to progress me the most was laying down which was the hardest way for me to work through contractions. We labored some more.

Karen was so great with counter pressure and what y'all don't see here is Natalie's amazing encouragement and support. I will touch more on that later, but she was SO much more than a photographer that attended.

We spent from 6am to 2pm laboring around the house, backyard, just wanting for things to get more intense. Mentally this was super hard, as I was doing everything right and it just wasn't going anywhere and I was getting more and more tired. I couldn't eat anymore really after 12pm as I would get super sick after a contraction. So, it was really hard to rest as well because the contractions were intense enough I couldn't sleep through them.

Karen decided that she should maybe head home for a bit and try to keep the house a little quiet and see what would happen. I had a big breakdown here, not because it wasn't the right decision. Just because I wanted to be farther along and I felt like a failure a bit for her leaving. It was like I was doing all this work and then nothing. YET, it was really good she left for a bit because it gave my emotions a chance to just release and I lost it bawling with Matt on the ground. He was reading me bible verses and we were crying out in prayer. I just LOVE this set of images. It just shows the amazing servant nature my husband has and how he was there for me in every moment.

Like I shared on Instagram, these were the first moments I really wasn't sure I could do it. I hadn't slept or eaten or really rested and mentally was so down and frustrated.  See at that moment, I wasn't sure I could do it. I wasn't sure I could make it through. I couldn't stop weeping. I was so weak, tired and needed Jesus. (who knew I had 33hrs left) 

How many moments in life do we feel that way? Feeling like it's impossible, insurmountable. The beauty in this image is the story that it tells. That I can look back on it, 14 days later holding a beautiful baby boy. 

I DID make it through, with God's grace and the most beautiful team that helped me birth our son. 

Ok back to the story here right? Fast forward about 4-5 hours. While Karen was gone, I spent most of the time in the upstairs bed listening to Hypnobabies with Matt, Natalie and Mya by my side. I remember just looking at Matt when I could in between contractions needing for him to be right there. To hold my hand and just be there.

To be completely honest, I wasn't completely sold on Hypnobabies. I have had some friends successfully rock it out. Talk about just pressure and no pain. I just wasn't sure it was for me. I definitely listened to the pregnancy tracks and really loved the positive words and just relaxing pieces of the tracks. I just wasn't too keen that there wasn't a spiritual-faith piece. So I would often change words and add Jesus or "His will" to the repetition.

It wasn't a huge part of my plan to use the tracks, but goodness did they really work for me for a good chunk of labor. I was seriously so surprised. I was able to work through a contraction differently more relaxed. 

The ONLY thing that wasn't too fun, actually terrible, but the main birthing track to listen to during birth was magic, but SOMETHING at about 24ish minutes every time I listened would kick me out of hypnosis and I often woke up mid contraction writhing in pain. It was really hard. But definitely made me give the hypnobabies some props and credit for being a tool during labor.

All this time was a big blur for me as it was more and more and more intense. This text roll between Natalie and Karen was so good to see and read. They worked as SUCH a team to support me. My friend Lauren came by to braid my sweet hair for birth, only for us to get into the shower a couple of hours later to try to work through contractions differently and ruin it (sorry Lauren! I LOVE YOU). I was getting a contraction everytime I "got up" from somewhere. So we focused on that. Only 3 contractions per position and then change. Karen was gearing up to come on back. 

I think I had gotten back into bed for a couple contractions with hypnobabies just as the sun was setting, as my back was getting really tired and I seem to again progress the best in bed. Then around 9pm I awoke at that darn 24 minute mark, in a TERRIBLE INTENSE contraction. Waking up in the middle is so hard cause you can't prepare with breath or anything. 

Shortly after this I had my second HUGE breakdown. Little did I know my contractions were now 4 minutes apart and intense. I had my first scream, "I can't do this" "I want to be done" "Please help me"
That was a sure sign it was time to go to the hospital for Matt and Natalie. We were going to have Karen come back to the house but it was quickly decided for her to meet us at the hospital. We packed up, I sat in the front seat with my hypnotracks and we headed out to the hospital. There aren't any pictures of this time because I think it was mass chaos, since I was so emotional and needed to go now. 

Our biggest concern was that I hadn't done well with transition into new environments. We were all afraid that I would totally stall out of labor when we got to the hospital. But it was time, off we headed there, at hour 26. 

The second part of the birth story will come in the next post! High five if you have made it this far and don't feel bad a minute if you just scrolled through the pics. 


  1. Love it!! Some of my favorite pictures are the ones with my pups too- i called them my doggie doulas! haha Gosh I don't know how you made it past 26+- you are one strong lady!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about other mamas' birth stories. It is such a miracle from conception to labor to birth. Such an amazing thing, what our bodies are able to do for us. Can't wait to read part 2!

  3. Wow, wow, wow. You are amazing. So is your husband, what support! Can't wait for part two.

  4. Gina, I seriously love you to the moon and back! I'm thinking about our time together at MTH and about your journey up until now. God is so good and I'm so grateful for you. I can't wait to read part two.

    Natalie: Your images are truly amazing. Such a beautiful gift from a beautiful person, on the inside and out!

  5. Love reading your birth story. So real, I remember screaming out, "I can't do it," as well. So very happy for your family and amazed by your strength.

  6. Gina - I cannot imagine skipping even one second of this story ---or--- skipping one image. I remember during my labor with Jonathan getting to that "I can't do this" stage. I love the raw emotion you put in your words. The pictures are insane. I remember thinking how bad the pain is (I tore because Jonathan was over 10 pounds - 2 weeks early even!!) - but as soon as they laid him in my tired arms, the pain just melted away. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    xxxoooo - Diane

  7. Gina, you're amazing! Thank you for writing this! While I don't have any children of my own yet, I am fascinated by what our bodies were designed to do and the awesome thing that is conception, pregnancy, labor and birth! I can't wait to read part 2!

  8. WOW! I loved reading every word of this story and looking at every photo. Can't wait for part 2!

    I have to say, I adore how you gave love to your pup. We have no children right now, but we have a little pup that we absolutely adore. Sometimes when I think about adding kids to our family, I get sad at what that'll mean for her life and how much attention she gets from us. You are proof that the dog doesn't need to be forgotten when a little one arrive!

  9. This is so beautiful! I am looking forward to hearing the rest of this amazing story :)

  10. Gina, I am so encouraged. Our son is due in about 8 weeks and reading your story has truly brightened my day. What beauty in these images. Every word and image has kept me reading and I cannot wait for the rest of the story. You are so strong!

    P.s. Mya and her staying by your side made the tears flow. What a gift :)


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