Happy 1st Birthday, Nina Gabe!

My baby is a year old! I can barely even believe it! Was it really a whole year ago that we met Nina Gabriel for the first time? A lot of you have already read this, but in light of the labor/delivery conversation today, here’s what I wrote the day after Nina was born… (I love you, little girl!)


Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. I couldn’t have written a more perfect birth script for Miss Nina Gabriel. Jesus, You are awesome. “Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus. I just kept saying that…

I am so in love with Nina. It hurts my heart to love her so much…

I don’t even know where to begin. There’s just so much joy and happiness to share. I’ll see what I can remember…

I timed contractions off and on from 8 am. I told Gabe that morning that this was the day Nina would be born, but I wasn’t 100% convinced. 97% maybe.

My contractions never got super close together or consistent. But they were definitely the real and crampy kind, and the fact that I was wiping blood helped. At 2:45 pm, I called Mom and asked her to get ready and that I’d call her back at 3:15 to tell her if she needed to come or not. My next three contractions were17 minutes apart, so I told her I’d call her again at 4:00. That time I told her to go ahead and come. I still wasn’t positive though that I was ready to go to the hospital.

The five of us held hands and prayed and took off on our long trip to the hospital. I knew I was in labor but felt a little uneasy. Was I far enough along?

I checked in at the registration desk, and a nurse (Jen) came for me in a wheelchair. I felt very silly. I wasn’t even having contractions. I felt like an impostor or something.

It all felt a little surreal. And odd. But also normal and right. Strange.

I left Mom and Livi and Ava in the waiting room and went in the exam room with Gabe. Stripped down to my socks, put on a nice gown. “I hope I’m at least four centimeters,” I told Gabe. “I need to be at least four.”

The nurse came in to check me. “You’re four to five,” she said. “We’ll call it five. You won’t be going anywhere.”


Sidebar: I’m having flashbacks right now-my uterus is contracting, and I feel like I’m in labor again. It’s almost worse. Very, very weird.

Did I mention that I love Nina so much my heart is aching?

Back to my story…so Gabe tells Mom and the girls that I’m staying. I get hooked up to monitors for awhile, then get unhooked, drape them around my neck, wrap up in a sheet (my gown shows my entire backside) and walk to my suite.

I sit up in bed for awhile and try to keep Nina’s heart rate monitor in place. It keeps beeping, because she’s moving all around, and it won’t stay on her heart.

The nurse asks if I want to walk around for awhile. I ask if I can go out and see my daughters. I get another gown and put it on backwards.

Janelle has arrived. I hug and kiss Livi and Ava, talk, laugh, head back in. This was probably close to 6:00 or so. Rock wants to come. Janelle wants to know if I’ll have the baby before 11:00. Uh, yes. Most definitely, I say.

Get back to room, hooked up to monitors. Kelley Dyer, the midwife, comes to check me. Seven centimeters. She breaks my water, but there’s no gush. Nina’s head is low, low and blocking the canal.

Kelley tells me I will be pleasantly surprised at the alertness of my baby without an epidural. She says I don’t even need an IV-that will cut down on costs. If I need pain medication, I can get a shot of Nubane in the arm.

Just like with Ava’s birth-day, Gabe and I are having a wonderful time in the delivery room together. Laughing, talking, sharing. My contractions became more intense, closer together. But totally bearable. I would just close my eyes, sit up straight, push my hands down into the mattress at my sides, pull my feet up toward my body, and kind of rock with my feet turned in toward each other. (Gabe just supplied me with this information. 🙂 I didn’t make a sound. Just breathed calmly. And then it would be over.

Gabe tried to call Courtney for a few minutes and finally got through at 7:05 pm. Brad answered and said Courtney was at the movies. Gabe told him I was 7 cm. dilated.

So, I’m not exactly sure what time all hell broke loose, but that is exactly what happened. I had a contracton. Stop. Breathe. Just like normal. Well, all of a sudden, WHAM! I start to whimper, then cry. My body feels like it’s exploding from every side. I don’t know what to do…


Back to Happy Labor Goes Insane… I just really don’t think I can find the words to describe the next 10 minutes of my life. The most action-packed 10 minutes I will ever know. (Hopefully.)

“She’s coming out!” I said. The nurse asked me to lie back so she could check me, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t not move. I needed desperately to find a way to move toward the pain-or move away from it-but I couldn’t. It was everywhere. The nurse ended up checking me while I was sitting up. “Complete,” she said. Yeah, no kidding. Complete hell.

Everybody came rushing in at once. Dr. Meyer, Kelley, nurses, med students, secretaries-I don’t really know who all was there. I couldn’t really look. I was in sooo much pain. Whimpering like a puppy. Saying, “God, help me. God, help me.” Then “Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus.”

Dr. Meyer took off the end of the table, scooched me back, and I put my feet in the stirrups. I remember the overwhelming sensation of having to poop. “I feel like I have to poop,” I said, brilliantly. I wanted to curl up in a ball and die, not spread open my legs and invite the pain. I had one of Gabe’s hands at my side and one above my head (the left). He let go at one point to scratch his nose. “I need your hand!”

Dr. Meyer told me, “It’s going to feel like your bottom is splitting apart, but it’s not.” Thanks for the reassurance. (Gabe just told me the dr. said this. I had forgotten already.)

He said I needed to push through the pain and get it over with. Some women get scared and stop pushing. Don’t do that.

Thanks. Got it. This sounds like fun.

After the first push (OUCH!), he said he could see her head. “She has lots of brown hair.” It hurt sooo bad. I didn’t expect to feel the pain everywhere-even in the very front of me, above where I pee. At one point, I asked Dr. Meyer, “Could you please take your hand off me?”

“That’s not my hand,” he said. “That’s pressure from the baby’s head.”

Oh. Gabe looks down. Dr. isn’t lying. Gabe thinks this is a little funny. I actually do, too, in a twisted sort of way.

The biggest, worst, awfullest part was getting her head out obviously. HUGE relief when it popped out, but her shoulder was tough, too. Once that popped out, she just slid out-and yea! I looked down, helped bring her up on me. Pain forgotten. Just like they say will happen. Unbelievable. I didn’t tear a bit. No episiotomy. No stitches. No epidural. No IV. Wow.

She cried right away. They suctioned her out. My fluid was clear. No meconium. “She’s a girl!” Whew. Lots of vernix coating. Long fingernails. Looked like Ava when she came out. No conehead. Some light brown hair.

Daddy cut the cord while I snapped a picture.

Goopy placenta came out. Slurp. Slurp. Gross. Thanked Dr. Meyer. He said I could definitely go home in 24 hours. Even before, as long as the baby was doing okay. Lots of compliments for my controlled delivery. “God answered your prayers.”

“He always does.”

“You could probably go home in four or five hours,” he said. “You could probably even go work in the fields.”

After I first had her, I knew there was no way I could ever go through that kind of pain again. Ever. Not for any amount of money. Good thing we’re done having kids. If anyone asked, “So, do you recommend natural childbirth?” I’d say, “Heck, no! Don’t do it! Don’t do it!”

Now, two days later, I’m thinking, “That wasn’t so bad. I could do it again if I had to.” Just shoot me.

Anyway, I am absolutely enamored by this tiny little creature. She is the most enchanting thing I have ever known.

Thank you, Jesus.

21 thoughts on “Happy 1st Birthday, Nina Gabe!

  1. bekisue

    What a beautiful story. I am so glad you shared. I have a little statue of my sister for going natural. I guess I need one of you too now. ( in all honesty, I don’t have a statue. I just tell her that. It makes her feel good.:-))

  2. angntug

    ……..babies were some of the greatest times of my life……and waiting for each other to have babies has been so much fun…….I’m thankful for these memories! 🙂 I can’t believe Nina is a year old…….it doesn’t seem possible…

  3. ladyjabez

    Ah natural childbirth…. not for the faint of heart that’s for sure…. but your little one is certainly worth any pain – happy birthday Nina!

    Oh… and I got the book… thanks so much:-)

  4. jbnygaard

    Thank you Marla for posting this blog! I have been in such confusion about if we should have another baby or not. I’m scared. At first it was my husbadn, but now it’s me! I have cold feet! Three is such a big number. And there are times when I don’t think that I can do it. Raising three children, having a relationship with each of them AND my husband. AND most importantly raising them to be God’s children and live their lives each for Him. It sounds so hard! God has been showing me everyday in some way whether through my devotion or even your blog today…that it will be okay. After reading your blog it just made me so excited to start trying! 🙂 Thanks!

  5. CourtneyMarieP

    Sigh….I remember the pain like it was 2 hours ago….I seriously wanted to make out with my anesthesiologist he was that much my herO!!! uh the pure utter joy and relief he brought!  I’ll be greatful to him till the day I die.  oh-no,  I’m going to that dark place called labor and I don’t want to be that person…
    My little Neenie Panini is 1! 
    Give her a big smooch for me.

  6. tonialynn59

    Thanks for sharing your story.  I did natural the first 2 times and the last time since it was twins and the 2nd (Justin) was a breech, the dr. told me I HAD to have an epidural.  I did it against my wishes and it didn’t take till he was stitching me up afterwards and then I had to lay there for so many hours before the numbness in my legs wore off.  I’m not a fan of epidurals (can you tell?).  Honestly my labors were so short that I would never expect anyone to listen to my story and decide from that.  But I felt the best without one.  But I agree with what gsowell said “you don’t get an award for going natural–the prize is the baby and you get that either way!”

  7. rocknnell

    The chiming old “mother in law”  I went the C – section route…the first “Gabe” of  Nina Gabe….lol….was bottom first…arms around his head….and going to die.  The second Gabe was alot more enjoyable for me…not so much for YOU !  Always thot….it just amazed me…how you and Ang did having kids !

    Happy Birthday ,  NINA !

  8. kkakwright

    To add to the epidural topic.  I’ve had 2 kids.  Had an epidural both times, wrongly placed both times.  It numbed one side of my body but not the other.  It was actually nice that way.  It took the edge off the horrific pain but I was still able to feel all contractions, feel the head coming out, all that.  I’m having another one in 3 months, don’t know what I’m going to do, epidural or not.  Does anyone know anything about the other options?  I thought my sister in law told me once she got some sort of shot in her cervix.  Maybe not.  I don’t know.

  9. gsowell

    ^You can do it without the epidural. It will hurt, but you can do it. I’ve done both, and I preferred no epidural. But remember, none of us get an award for going natural. The prize is the baby, and you get that no matter what you choose!

  10. KmHunsberger

    Doesn’t the year just seem to have flown by so quickly!! I really want this baby to be born (mainly so I don’t have to be pregnant anymore), but at the same time I know the minute he comes out he will begin changing every day…SO much happens in the first year of life!

    I am amazed at your ability to have such a natural birth. I am not sure of my plan yet (I did the epidural last time due to complications, but it made me HORRIFICALLY ill and almost caused my lungs to shut down) so…not sure if I want to do that again 🙂 Anyway, your story is sobering, terribly frightening, and yet, gorgeous and perfect and beautiful all wrapped into one. Happy birthday Miss Nina! And Happy One Year since labor, Mama!

  11. ch1pch0p

    BE, I’m totally grossed out at parts, too, but I went through it with Trisha, so I have a real-life picture to remember as well.

    Beautiful all at the same time.

  12. ladymiss3739

    Loved hearing such a beautiful story – after becoming a mom, celebrating birthdays each year takes on such a different meaning! 🙂 And the picture of your girls makes me smile!

  13. faithchick

    wow. beautiful. and all too familiar.
    i’m now terrified to do it all over again.
    and yet, i wish I could do it right now.
    The Giver of Life is amazing.

    ^^gsowell-we were giving birth on the same day! My little one will be two on sunday, too!^^

  14. gsowell

    Thanks for sharing this! My little Josie turns 2 on Sunday. Her birth and delivery were all natural. We’ve said, “Ready to do that again?” The pain’s a little surreal, but the payoff is incredible!

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