Charlie’s birth story … and how its going now

Well, folks. We had our baby, Charlie, and because it’s the biggest accomplishment of my life I’ve decided to write a super long post about it. These details aren’t going to remember themselves so one must write them down … and then publish them online for hundreds of thousands of people to read. Naturally.

First, lets recap … having a baby is like watching an average season of Mad Men. It starts off with a bang (we’re pregnant!!!!) – lots of excitement and intrigue for what is going to come. Then nothing happens for months and months and months. You start questioning whether you are wasting your time; whether or not its been worth putting in the effort. And then WHAM!!! The season finale comes and hits you so hard that you forget all the non-events that year. It’s somehow all worth it.

pregnancy announcement

The birth is just like that – it takes you by surprise, slams you in the face, and leaves you forgetting anything negative that really happened in the last 9 months. I didn’t particularly like being pregnant but I’d do it all over again right now if I got another Charlie.

Brian Henderson baby

Photo by LK Griffin Photography

Last friday during the day we shot my maternity photos with Katherine and Luke of LK photographs. More on that later, but they were awesome and I can’t wait to show you. We did, however do some light ‘bouncing on the bed’ as seen in this photo which may have contributed to Charlie’s early arrival.

emily henderson

Photo by LK Griffin Photography

Well that night at around 2 am I started to feel some heavier contractions – ones that seemed beyond Braxton Hicks (which are basically practice contractions). After about 20 minutes of these (3 minutes apart) we called our doula and she walked us through making sure it wasn’t false labor. I got in the tub, timed them, etc and we really didn’t want to go to the hospital in the middle of the night if it was false, so we waited. My water hadn’t broken so I got back into bed and just kinda waited it out. It hurt, but was bearable.

Around 5:45 I heard a pop and gush; sounds like a disgusting dance move, I know. Miley loves the pop and gush. My water official broke.

It was ON. We grabbed our bags, got dressed and were all a flutter with excitement. I just kept thinking It’s finally, FINALLY happening. I’M GOING TO HAVE MY BABY!!!!!!!! It was an awesome feeling knowing that sometime in the next 24 hours (if I was lucky) Charlie would be in my arms.

Then the contractions came on fast and furious before I even left the house and I immediately started chanting, Brian, I really, really want an epidural and I’m not just saying that ok?. I said it in between contractions (in the car) as well as during them just so my needs and wants were VERY clear. It’s not that it hurt that bad but I knew that if it hurt this bad this early than  I was totally screwed and that there was simply no need to endure such extreme pain for what could be 10 – 20 hours. Oh, hell no.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:30 am and I was in full labor – contractions were a 1:20 apart, and lasting 45 seconds. Unfortunately it was shift change time (7am) which is the worst time to EVER go to the hospital. They of course thought I was just being a first time mom and didn’t believe that my body had the sense of urgency that it had, but like his mom, Charlie apparently had little patience and I knew that he was coming  and coming fast. I was stuck in triage as they didn’t even believe that my water had broken. I told them about the pop and gush, but they weren’t impressed. My doula came and coached me what to scream to get them to listen (Its in my BUTT!!! There’s pressure in my BUTT!!) then they knew that I was getting close to giving birth and not just having some early contractions. When I arrived at the hospital I was dilated to 4 (scale of 1-10 for those of you who don’t know, 10 being when you give birth), but I didn’t know how long from 4 – 10 would take and i wanted that epidural STAT.

They kept saying in a very condescending way, ‘There are things that need to happen before you can just have an epidural’ and I just didn’t feel like they understood the amount of pain I was in. I mean, I’m not sure how much you guys want me to write about the pain nor do I really know how to do it in a way that could possibly do it justice, but in short, its blinding. It’s unbelievable pain that you can’t even fathom. Far worse than I had predicted and I had predicted it to be unbearable – which is why I went into it with such a loose birth plan. When I had my miscarriage last year It was extremely painful and I remember during that pain I told myself, Emily, when you do have a baby you are going to want the epidural because if this is just a small percentage of the pain you’ll feel then you are screwed. I had a sense of what type of pain it would be, just not the level of pain. Its unbelievable. I don’t mean to scare you, I just think that having high expectations (or low) is helpful so you aren’t totally thrown and can instead really prep for pain management. You have options, be open to them.

ANYWAY, turns out that I was actually already dilated to 9.5 and it was time to push – that’s why the pain was so extreme. I thought I was at the beginning of labor but I really was at the end. I guess that in that one hour since I had arrived at the hospital everything escalated really fast which is why the pain was so blinding so early on – I was moving from 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, in a matter of minutes, and it was time to push. No time for an epidural, but at that point I just wanted the baby out.

Brian and my doula, Carmen, were perfect, so supportive and kept me from pushing too early and too fast.  Then when it was time to push I closed my eyes and I contracted my entire body, turned purple and 7 pushes later Charlie was laid on my chest.


All pain was gone; only pure relief and then total surrealness was felt. He was a conehead, he was grayish purple, but he looked just like I had pictured and he was nothing short of amazing. You just can’t believe that moment is actually happening. You see it in the movies and all of your friends tell you about the moment, but until you experience it you really can’t fathom it’s actually happening.

emily henderson baby

The second the birth is over is incredible, but too weird to fully process. It’s later that day, or probably the next day that the joy and happiness really sets in – at least that’s how it was for me.

But back to the details:

No, I didn’t have an epidural, but not because I didn’t want one. Its like I went to Barney’s ready to spend $1200 on a coat and then as I got up the register it was on sale for $300. Sweet. So everyone is fawning over how amazing it is that I had a natural birth, but I really was just given a natural birth. I had a 3 hour labor. I won the labor lottery. Water broke at 5;45 and Charlie was on my chest at 8:39am. I am absolutely one of the lucky ones so for me to ever say in any sort of bragging way that I had a natural birth is so offensive, I would even punch myself. I had a natural birth because I only had a 3 hour birth. I’m a bad ass, yes, but so is every woman who has ever felt a real contraction or hell, ever gotten pregnant. It’s all a feat.

No, we didn’t circumcise. We debated for weeks and ultimately neither of us felt there was a compelling enough argument for it. We actually don’t think it’s that big of a deal so I’m not here to tell you to do it or not, but we figured unless one of us felt strongly about it we shouldn’t do it.  We feel really good about the decision.

Yes, we filmed the whole thing and Yes it will be edited and posted on the blog. I doubt there will be anything too graphic (aka, my lady party) but I’m so incredibly happy that there is going to be a video of that hour. (Stay tuned)

emily henderson baby

Brian was amazing, and yes he was down at the business end helping leverage my legs and encouraging me to push. He saw everything and isn’t freaked out at all. I know it’s not for all men, but I think it’s often an unnecessary fear by both sexes that once they see your parts like that they’ll never see them/it the same again. What they get to witness is f*&king amazing and it’s also so different from how they normally see you. Brian says he really can separate it, and he’s not just saying that. He’s psyched he got to see our son being born and brags about it constantly. He was blown away by what he saw and I’m pretty sure his high respect for me just sky rocketed up. To see Charlie come out of me and to hear the sounds that came out of my mouth (tribal) – I mean, I’m pretty much a goddess to him right now. And rightfully so.

So, folks, Charlie was born at 8:39 on December 7th and he is perfectly healthy in every way. We are extremely lucky and dare I say even blessed. We stayed in the hospital over night and were home the next morning. My, my, how life can change in 24 hours …


So, the week after birth was totally magical. We had just moved into our new house. I had just finished one million projects and had already prepped out the blog for the month. We have been able to lay around and hang out with our new baby as a family and properly obsess about this little miracle. Brian’s mom has been here helping (which has been just so incredible) and we’ve had a ton of very wanted visitors. So far its been totally manageable I think because Brian has been here every single second, changing almost every diaper, up with me every minute during the night and just being so incredibly sweet. Here’s to hoping it lasts.

baby charlie

My question to you:

How can something so trite, something that is done sooooooooooo often – millions of births a year, 100,000s of births a day, still feel so special and unique? I’ve struggled with how to write about it all pregnancy. I’ve searched for metaphors or analogies that could help people understand how amazing it is, but there just isn’t any. It stretches your parameters of happiness far beyond what you knew existed. And at the same time there begins an underlying uneasiness. Its as if I just realized that if something ever happens to him I will never, ever, ever recover. The thought of living is totally unbearable. And I don’t mean unbearable like Kate Winslet talking about how humble she is, or Gwyneth talking about how her kids only watch french tv – but more like I think my life would be over. It’s an emotional responsibility that I’m not sure you feel until you are a parent. It’s just terrifying. And it’s caused 2 pretty huge uncontrollable weepfests (update … now 4). I fear I might love him too much.

baby charlie

Ten days later I’m feeling a bit less terrified although I have felt some of the baby blues, for sure.  He’s been sleeping fine and crying very little, but my hormones are still totally insane and there are times when I  just spiral into a unconsolable mess for no rational reason. My doula told me this was perfectly normal as my body is still trying to make the perfect milk so it’s adjusting and pulling different hormones from my body, leaving me with a splitting headache and severely weeping. Nothing to be worried about yet and I’m pretty sure its normal (although you can help me attest to that). These hormones are pretty amazing and brutal at the same time. I just feel so happy and high in one hour and then just so sad and full of self-pity the next for no rational reason. Very irritating. I have cabin fever for sure, but I’m still loving spending every second with Charlie. Its like I’m 14 and in love for the first time, times 1 million. Obsession beyond comprehension.

But ultimately, there is really nothing to cry about when these two dudes exist:

Brian and Charlie

brian and henderson

Brian is already an amazing father, possibly the best I’ve ever seen (although my dad is pretty great, too). I knew it, I did. I married him for one million reasons and one of them being that he would be an incredible father. He’s so involved, supportive, selfless and considerate already. He’s absolutely perfect. Dangerous words, I know

I know that the next 18 years are going to be full of challenges and life won’t always feel so happy and good, so I’m really trying to appreciate every single second right now – I literally just stare at him and think/chant to myself my god, I’m so lucky over and over.

emily henderson family

So life is just good. Nay. GREAT (besides those annoying occasional baby blues). Gushing is officially over, although probably just for now. I know that this kind of bliss is the not the case for everyone and it won’t last forever, so while this post is full of mostly happiness and some accidental bragging, if and when trials and challenges occur I’ll be open about those as well. I promise.

emily henderson baby

Photo by Megan Gray Photography

I just feel lucky. Charlie has no idea how much we love him. The bond that I feel with him is beyond how anybody has described it. I miss him when I’m right next to him. I stare at photos of him when I’m in the next room. Every time I kiss his cheek I get a rush of happiness. Every second of every day feels like an 8 year olds first Christmas right now.

It’s going to be a totally magical Christmas. I am officially the luckiest person on the planet (she writes, while weeping :))

Maternity photos by the lovely LK Griffin Photography (more on those later), and last photo by Megan Gray, thanks Megan!

Still curious? Read the pregnancy announcement, watch the gender reveal video, read my 5 favorite things about being pregnant , check out my maternity must haves, see my first baby shower (second to come in January) and read my birth plan.

  1. Kathleen

    Oh my goodness. First of all, he’s a gorgeous boy. And you just told my birth story, right down to argumentative nurses. I’ve never “known” anyone else who had the experience of a superfast first birth. People can get a little…well, almost huffy about how easy you had it, and you’re like, “But no! The intense pain! Total dilation in a matter of 3 hours! Not a cake walk!”

    Congratulations to you and your new little family.

    • Emily

      THANK YOU. and i’m curious how your second birth was if you had one. They told me that the second I feel a contraction to go to the hospital or i’ll be having #2 at home. :)

      • Yup. That sounds about right. A friend of mine had her third standing in her kitchen because her labor went so quickly!

      • SY

        My first son took a bit longer (12 hours and then 30 minutes of pushing), but same story for my second son (also named Charlie). The nurses told me to practice pushing until the doctor got there and his head started coming out after the first push so they told me to stop — 10 minutes of pushing and he was out. The nurses said if we had a third to go to the hospital right away. (We didn’t go for a third though)

        • SY

          Congrats! He’s adorable :)

      • Terri

        Two of my sisters had super fast births with their first children. They both now have four and each one has been as fast or faster. They didn’t have time to get epidurals either. He’s a beautiful boy!

      • Kathy

        FWIW, my first was fast at 6 hours. My second was faster at 2 hours and 3 pushes. I chose to have my third at home with a midwife for a variety of reasons, not the least among them was that I could extrapolate what the length of the third labor would be based off of the previous two and didn’t want to have the baby in the car or unplanned at home. I was wrong. My third was longer than the other two put together at 9 hours. Still short by most standards, though.

      • sara

        This was me too! Although my guy was almost a full 2 weeks late. Solidarity for the 3 hour labor mamas. I remember being so relieved that my husband and I were together at home and it wasn’t rush hour on our way to the hospital. I just found out we’re having our second and decided to go with a hospital closer to home this time just in case. Hubby might even have to take a class or two just in case. Congratulations on your beautiful boy. They are SUCH a treat.

      • Katie

        My first was 3 hours just like yours. My second (born just over 7 months ago) was 2 hours. It’s called precipitous labor and you should most definitely hightail it to the hospital the second you feel anything In a future labor. Congrats!

    • Kathryn

      He’s so beautiful and the three of you together are a beautiful family.

      My birth story is a little different. I was in labor for 42 hours and still only 1 centimeter dilated. At that point, my doctor decided to give me pitocin to speed up labor because my baby was beginning to show signs of distress. Feeling completely exhausted, I started to cry when he told me that it would take six or seven hours after the pitocin was administered. The pitocin drip was started at exactly 9 p.m. Almost immediately, I had a contraction that lasted three full minutes. It was so unbelievably painful that I thought I was dying. At some point during those three minutes, the doctor said loudly, “Prep her for a cesarean.” The nurses were trying to get me onto a gurney to go to surgery when I said,”I think the baby is coming.” They ignored me so I said it again and then again. Finally, the doctor took a look and said, “Get her into delivery.” My baby girl was born at 9:17 p.m. I had gone from 1 centimeter to 10 centimeters in one contraction. The doctor said afterwards that both I and the baby could have died and that I could never have pitocin again.

      But, like Emily, the pain ended as soon as the baby was born. Just before they rushed her to intensive care (not really need but they were being cautious), they held her up close to my face and I said, in complete awe, “Oh, what a beautiful baby.” And she was.

      For several weeks afterward, I thought I would never want to go through that again. Then she started to smile and I was so thrilled and happy that I began to think, “It was only one day out of my life. I could do that again.”

      Congratulations, Emily and Brian.

      • Sarah


    • What’s up with the combative nurses? I know they see a lot of stuff but come on.

      Every birth is hard no matter how long or which way. All moms should be commended (and supportive dads too!).

      I had a c section because my baby could have died and spent the next ten hours vomiting. Nurse-“do you want to hold your baby?” Me thinking “yes!” but saying “no” because I didn’t want to cover my newborn with puke. Nurse-“Oh she won’t mind.” Yes but I will!!!! Congrats to you both and your baby is adorable!

    • Agreed! My third was just like this – so fast and nurses not taking me seriously (I was also super calm, since it was my third), but the pain was EXTREME! I’ll never criticse a quick labour because I know how intense it is!

    • Agreed! My third was just like this – so fast and nurses not taking me seriously (I was also super calm, since it was my third), but the pain was EXTREME! I’ll never criticse a quick labour because I know how intense it is!

    • Dawn

      Perfect! I’m so glad you were honest about the pain! Women who swear it doesn’t hurt freak me out a little. I tell everyone I was near death. I think I was blacked out for a lot of it… the pain is seriously undesirable. I had a two hour labor with my daughter…. lottery winner here!!

      Also, your son was born on my birthday! Dec. 7 babies are the best!!!


  2. Dana

    Thanks for sharing your story! Love hearing how happy you are! Congratulations!!!

  3. Congratulations! I concur with everything you wrote about the love and feelings. It’s almost like our kids can’t know how much we love them – that would be too much of a burden or something. Enjoy that sweet time and every moment after. It gets better and better and better.

  4. I’m so excited for you! Babies are the best.

  5. Jenna

    Ahhh my favorite part of this is “It’s in my BUTT!!!” No truer words have ever been spoken! At my first home birth I screamed those words for like 12 hours straight, and my midwives just smiled knowingly. I was sure something was WRONG. My baby was coming out the wrong way. Turns out he might have been positioned a little wonky but the feeling was pretty much just normal. At my second home birth, which was thankfully much shorter, as soon as the “It’s in my butt on my god he’s coming out my butt!” part arrived I knew it was almost over! I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world, even the butt pain.

    • Emily

      Yup. Its the strangest feeling and desire to push because of it. It got them moving, though …

      • You guys are so sweet with the “It’s in my butt”… Mine went something like “I’m sh**ing a bowling ball!!!” And some nurse delicately explained to me “That’s your baby’s head.” Oh yeah! Thanks for the clear up! ;)

        • Rachel

          LOL love that explanation. Too true too funny!

        • Oh my word, Caitlin. SO funny. And so true…

  6. Congratulations! I love how you put everything into words I’ve felt as a mom four times over – you nailed it. And I totally get the fast labor – my first was three hours and the rest got faster:)

    Enjoy your first Christmas with your two boys:)

    • Emily

      Thank you :) glad to know it might get faster and faster.

  7. Susan

    He’s adorable!
    My twins ( son/daughter) are now young adults; let me fill you in on the “18 years” myth-he will always be your “baby” no matter what age.

    From that first smile to the first day of school,first sleepover, first job/car drive/trip alone…you basically will not sleep the same way as you did sans child, but it’s all good-the rewards are so worth it.

  8. Sarah

    I had my first baby at Kaiser…the experience was similiar and that led to the total change in my medical care (Blue Cross PPO). I am so pleased with the change!
    During the few months before open enrollment, I continued to have problems (including an ER visit).
    Now, my pediatrician meets me at their office, my home or the ER as needed. All infant visits (with my second) were in my home the pediatrician also meet me after labor to meet my baby. MY (not whoever is “working”) meet me at L&D when I went into labor…..
    The list of improvements goes on and on…..basically I went back to the 1950’s with contentious, dedicated, devoted care in combination of modern medicine.
    It’s motel vs hotel for about the same price. I’ll never go back.

    • Emily

      Yep. We are changing insurance right now. It wasn’t the worst experience ever but it just wasn’t good enough.

    • jessvii

      I too had Kaiser and, if we could afford a different option, I would have something else if we are blessed with a second child. It wasn’t the worst care, but I had several complaints, most notably being told that I’d need to wait an hour for an epidural because “she’s with someone else.” Additionally, the one Kaiser doc on duty when I was ready to push was doing back to back c-sections, so the nurse basically delivered my baby, and I never saw that Kaiser doctor again. A random doc from the hospital showed up for the last few minutes, but I still owe nurse Cleo everything for doing 98% of the work by herself.

  9. RMC

    Congrats on your beautiful boy!
    Soak up every minute of his newness, infancy/babyhood because if you have another, you’ll be chasing him around and need to split your time/attention. Only with the first can you devote ALL of your motherly love & attentiveness.
    There’s something about bringing a baby into this world that makes the scariness & sadness of this earth feel so much more. Maybe it’s the balance of emotion from the extreme joy & happiness felt with a new bebe and the need to protect them with your entire body, mind & soul.
    Once you have a child of your own, you finally understand just how much your own parents love you.

  10. Michele

    Congratulations and thank you for this beautiful post!

  11. That is awesome! I think part of purpose in life and our purpose as women is to have children and so that’s why it feels so special and unique, because it’s fulfilling this part of us.

    I struggled with postpartum depression with both my kids, and the second one was pretty bad. I hope you don’t have to go through that, but if you do, don’t hesitate to go to a doctor and get help. For me, the guilt was overwhelming so I thought it was all my fault, but it really wasn’t.

    • Jen

      I think part of purpose in life and our purpose as women is to have children and so that’s why it feels so special and unique, because it’s fulfilling this part of us.

      Please don’t speak for all women. If you feel that way about your life and purpose, that’s wonderful and I’m happy for you that you have two children who I am sure bring you much joy. I have no doubt that there are plenty of other women who feel the same as you do. But there are also plenty of women who choose not to have children, or who cannot have children who are made to feel diminished and like something is “wrong” with them when we continue to perpetuate this myth that the purpose of a woman is to procreate. Women, just like men, have many purposes in life.

      Emily, congratulations, and I appreciate your ability to share your birth story and joy with us while at the same time acknowledging that not everyone’s experience is the going to be the same.

      • I’m sorry. I realized that was horribly worded and somewhat offensive after I posted it. I’d like to delete/edit my comment, but I can’t. I agree with you Jen and you bring up great points. I just meant that becoming a parent (not necessarily childbirth–my grandma adopted all her kids) opens up this new part of us and helps give us purpose in a sense–not that it’s our sole purpose in life, but that it can be part of it.

        • Sarah

          Do y give yourself a hard time. I think it’s a lovely comment, although I appreciate your consideration of others.

        • Jen

          Thanks, Heather. I’ve had some very close friends who battled infertility, and witnessing how excruciating the experience is for them has made me super sensitive about this. For those who can’t or choose not to have children, it’s hard to escape the barrage of messages that they are missing out on (all or part of) the purpose of their lives if they don’t succeed in having children.. Sorry if I had a knee-jerk reaction to your comment, and happy holidays to you and your family.

    • Shelby

      You said “part” of life and our purpose as women. That’s true. It is part of womens lives that gives us purpose. You didn’t say it’s the only thing that gives us purpose. Don’t feel bad about that comment.

  12. Congratulations Emily! What a beautifully written post. So honest and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Yvonne Higgins

    OK this is probably the best and to me the most honest post you have written. Also the most like the little Emily Starke I know. Have a wonderful Christmas and as we say here in Tennessee, ” have a blessed new year”!

  14. Jen


    I think the Mad Men metaphor was G.E.N.I.U.S. I was sitting here going “yeah… Yeah! Mad Men!”

    Also, “Its in my BUTT!!!” Hilarious. When I had my first, I started yelling, “I have to poop!” and was so mad when nobody would let me go to the bathroom… turns out that it’s because I was having a baby, not a bowel movement. And, with my second, even though I was supposed to remember that the whole “butt” thing happens, I still tried to get up and use the bathroom when I started feeling the pressure. Go figure.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful birth story. The pictures are beautiful and so intimate. Your little boy is so handsome and I love his name! I hope your hormones give you a break soon and I wish you lots of rest and snuggles :)

  15. Deb

    I love the pic of Charlie ‘smiling’ in his sleep; he has a twinkle and I’ll bet is an imp in the making! Congrats, again, Emily and Brian, on the birth of your son. Life will never be the same, and that’s the beauty and wonder of it: You two created this new little being and will now get to experience the joys of parenthood. You’re such a great team already and how wonderful to have a miracle such as Charlie during the holidays. Merriest Christmas and happiest new year!!! (Btw, those hormones eventually do sort themselves out, but keep the kleenex box handy in the meantime). Oh, another ps: I’ve read and been told that how a baby comes into this world is a harbinger of how they’ll be in life, for example, my first son took his own sweet time arriving and I thought he’d taken the slow boat to China or something, and to this day, he is very thorough and painstakingly weighs every option before making a decision. He’s constantly late and takes his time with every single thing. Son #2 arrived in six hours, makes quick decisions, doesn’t look back or analyze every little thing, and can make up his mind in a flash. So if what they say is true, Charlie is already a man of action!!! Have fun!!!

    • Emily

      I love that – that the birth is a harbinger of how they’ll be. I think impatience is definitely his thing, too. xx

  16. martina

    This was a lovely post! I had my second 9 months ago and I still say, “I’m SO lucky!” every day!

    Don’t feel like you shouldn’t have the baby blues because you’re being ungrateful or something… they are TOTALLY beyond your control, you can’t will away hormones. I read something after my first that your body processes more hormones in the week after birth then in the rest of your life? I don’t know if that’s right but seriously your body is going nuts! Give it time and be patient and forgiving of yourself.

  17. Richelle

    I’m getting all weepy since you are bringing back memories of those first few weeks. Mine is two now and I swear the love just keeps growing (seems impossible) and they just keep getting more and more cute! Beautiful pictures!! Merry Christmas.

  18. Zoe Royall

    Such a joyous and fantastic post! Congratulations again!

  19. I totally get what you are saying about the whole thing feeling so unique and special and personal, like your own experience is different from anything anyone else could have possibly experienced. Congrats, Emily!

  20. Jill

    Everything you said is what every mother feels/believes – thanks for taking me back to those precious first days/months….and welcome to the ‘club’! It’s a pretty special one to belong to.

  21. erin b

    Wonderful post – thank you for sharing! Congratulations! Don’t worry about the weepiness. It’s all gotta come out now – blood, tears, milk. And as someone who had a very similar first birth, I will say that the second kid comes in half the time. So you may be giving birth in your bathroom :)

  22. Erica

    Everything you said. Yes! It’s just unreal isn’t it?? The love is more intense and encompassing than anything you can ever imagine. My Charlie just turned one on the11th. I still stare at him in awe and find myself looking at pictures of him while he is sleeping. It’s just… magic.

  23. Sheila

    I have five children, and it was the same feeling with all of them! Congratulations, Emily. He is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I can’t wait to hear more.

  24. Emily U

    Congratulations Emily & Brian! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so glad that Charlie is here safe and healthy. Hang in there through those crazy hormones and ups and downs. I hope breastfeeding is going well. It is a lot of work, and so tiring, in those early days especially.

    I keep showing my husband your instagram updates and saying “Emily Henderson had her baby.” “Look at Emily’s cute baby.” and he’s all … is that someone we know?

    YES! YES! it feels that way anyway. so glad you are brave enough to share your life with us here!


  25. This is the sweetest thing ever. I just cried reading it. My husband and I have been teetering back and forth about whether “it’s time” or not, and you totally just made me want to have a baby like right now! Ha!

    • Emily

      Its time!!! I say go for it. We put it off forever and now of course I wish we had started our family sooner. xx

  26. Susan

    Beautifully written– thank you for sharing!

  27. YAY!!! Congrats!! This is so so exciting!!
    He is so adorable and looks like the perfect mix of you and Brian. Good luck with everything and enjoy every second. I am so proud of you :)
    All the best,

  28. Ali

    He is beautiful!! Congratulations! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

  29. Katie

    Emily! This is an amazing story! I’m due in 2 weeks and have always loved you, so was obviously excited to see we were due around the same time. Your birth story is fascinating- I surely wouldn’t complain if I were to have something similar- what scares me so much are the 48 hour labors. . . man OH man. Charlie is adorable- cheers to you all!

    • Emily

      YOu’ll be fine and even if it is 48 hours you’ll forget it instantly. Good luck!!!!!!

  30. Jessi

    So beautiful. All of it. So very happy for you and your family!

  31. Carey

    I am so so happy for you and so appreciate your openness! I am 30 weeks pregnat today with my firts baby (boy) we have tried for 7 yrs and did 2 rounds of IVF, i have never wanted anything so bad but so terrified and scared/excited for labor and love reading all about it. I too am expecting the worst possible pain and I love that you scared me even more, I always expect the very worst so anything is better then that! I can not wait to be in this state of bliss and have loved being pregnant along with you. Your pics are adorable and I am so happy for you!

  32. susan

    You have me all teared up Emily…I know exactly how you are feeling. I gave birth to boy/girl twins 17 months ago (which seems like a blink by the way), and had all the same emotions. You mentioned the fear of anything happening to him, and I experienced that in a major way-to the point of panic attacks. Now I’m naturally an anxious person, but feeling that indescribable love for two tiny humans scared me a bit–SO MUCH LOVE. It made me think about my own mortality, and how I have to be here for them, forever! It still freaks me out to be honest…but from what I’ve heard it’s normal. The hormonal roller coaster will subside soon, don’t worry—soak up every snuggle and snort! Congratulations + welcome to the rest of your beautiful life. xo

  33. nasseem

    Beautiful post, Emily! I will echo the others and thank you profusely for sharing. I am not a mother (yet) but hope to be some day and it is SO refreshing to hear a completely open and honest take on the process. Sure, it’s different for everyone, but I still appreciate the peek into what you’ve been going through. Congratulations to you and Brian, Charlie is perfection!

  34. Karla

    Congratulations to the max and beyond! This was so beautiful. Charlie is so beautiful. Your little family is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing and being so open. Many of the things you described hit home. Brought a big smile to my heart and my face. Thank you Emily for being such an amazing person.
    Sending you all many many many warm wishes. Happy Holidays. ^_^

  35. Sarah

    Aww, I have no hermonial excuse, and I’m crying like a lady who just had a baby reading this post!
    You’re right, you can’t reqlly explain how everything changes once you’re a mom….but you did an amazingly good job of explaining just that!

    Also, I’m so happy for you that your making milk! Congrats! People don’t often talk about that change…but it’s another goddess move!
    And… I appreciate you not circumcising. We opted not to without son (3yrs) and I’m very happy with the choice too.

  36. Eileen

    Thanks for sharing your birth story. I have 3 boys. The first with an epidural, the second with one that only affected one side of my body and the third without one. Trust me, I enjoyed the first birth more than the last but the memories of the pain do fade with time. You just have to be prepared for what happens. Sounds like you did. Gorgeous baby and adorable husband. Happy for you all.

  37. I’ve never read (nor really wanted to!) anyone’s baby story from start to finish before but your love, humor and realness made this perfection. I can just feel the happy for you! And I want the epidural when its time!!

    One of my friends said the day his son was born his mother’s first words to him (after “congratulations!”) were: “now and only now do you know how much I love you”. I think that love – parent-child – can only be known once you’ve experienced it in full.

  38. Emily, you look GORGEOUS. My husband and I are trying to conceive now, and reading this post just makes me so excited and happy. What a beautiful little one! Thank you so much for sharing the experience with us.

    And I do have to say again just how absolutely fabulous you look after 5 hours of labor! Girl!

    • Emily

      AHH, thank you! Hilariously enough i had the a spray tan that week and clip in hair extensions left over from the photo shoot the day before … a total coincidence :)

      • Stacey

        Haha! Love this! I will add spray tan and hair extensions to my pre-birth todo list if we decide to have another little cutie! I look pale and sickly with crazy hair in all my hospital pics! You look absofreakinlutly amazing!!!!!!!

  39. “It stretches your parameters of happiness far beyond what you knew existed. And at the same time there begins an underlying uneasiness. Its as if I just realized that if something ever happens to him I will never, ever, ever recover.” EXACTLY.
    Beautifully written, words cannot express how happy I am for you, you’ve crossed over into that surreal place called motherhood and you will never be the same, enjoy the journey, each day is a precious gift, sometimes maddening, always exhausting, but the best thing in life is being a Mom, nothing compares.

  40. gayleen

    Ha, I am a RN and as soon as I saw the 9.5 cm I knew I could just stop the story right there cuz there is no way you were getting an epidural! Mazel tov!

  41. Charleen

    This is just adorbable! Congratulations

  42. Tamara

    Now I’m crying. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I have three children, ages 22, 19 and 16. My first one was born while I was attended by a doctor who thought you shouldn’t have an epidural during the actual pushing/birth process. You know, the time you need it most. So I feel you about the pain. (Truly) Although mine has been dulled in the 20+ years. The part that isn’t dulled is the overwhelming, inexplicable love a mother can feel for her children. You could have told me at the time that someday my child would be going to college, but it seemed so far away. Now, them being infants seem so far away. My middle child (the first one to go away to college) just finished his first semester and is coming home tomorrow for winter break. I CANNOT WAIT!! Having the whole family together makes everything better! Enjoy every moment with Charlie! It’s a beautiful ride.

  43. Kelly

    Emily, you are a great writer! What a beautiful story. I love your blog because you’re sooo talented but also because you’re so real. I’m not a mom yet but so many of my friends are so into the perfect pregnancy and birth and how wonderful it is AT ALL TIMES – it has been so refreshing to read your take. I’m so happy for you and your family!!!

  44. Jenna

    Congratulations!! Love your baby wrap – where did you get it from?

  45. jeannette

    god bless an multiply your happiness. that pic of him smiling is….bliss.

  46. Emma

    Dear Emily,
    You are horrible birth control.
    Many best wishes and congrats to you and Brian! (I met you in LA a couple of years ago, I was working at Room Service on 3rd. I am following your blog religiously but quietly!)
    Enjoy this special time!
    -Emma Reidy

  47. yay! so happy for you. thank you for sharing your story! I’m 38 weeks with my first – here’s hoping I win the labor lottery, too!!!

  48. Emily

    It’s good that you have written all of this down, because the more time passes, the less you will remember. It seems like you will remember all of the little details and especially the pain, but you won’t. I also suggest you write a birth letter, to Charlie. My kids are not teenagers, and they still love seeing the birth letters my husband and I wrote to them. We keep them in their baby books. Write it now, while your emotions are strong!
    Congrats and enjoy the ride of motherhood. Throw out all the books, and follow your heart. Have a wonderful holiday season Emily!

  49. Your story is so sweet and real! I love every second of it and feel a little more prepared for my big day coming up in a few weeks! Can’t wait for the magic. :) Thanks so much for sharing, and SUPERCONGRATULATIONS to you all!

  50. Elyse

    Ohmigod. This post is perfect. I love the part likening it to Mad Men. Brilliant. So happy for you, Emily!

  51. jen

    what a beautiful story, thanks so much for sharing. i’m due dec 27 (my first) and although I’m excited to meet this little nugget, I have to admit I’m really, really scared for what my body’s about to go through. it’s so hard to prepare for something you really can’t prepare for!!! at least it sounds like none of the pain matters once you’re holding your little one. thanks again for sharing, I loved reading it all.

  52. Pamela Wilbanks

    I so enjoyed reading your post, Emily, about little Charlie’s birth. My son is 35 and about to have his own first baby boy but reading your post brought back beautiful memories. I have a question about the baby carrier you are wearing in the photo. How do you like it and where can I find one like it? TIA.

    PS. Charlie is a beautiful little boy!

  53. Maria

    I’m due with my first and in less than a month (eek!), so I’ve been following your pregnancy story so closely. Thanks for sharing the whole thing, including your beautiful and awesome birth story! By the way, I keep reading that having that ‘omg I need an epidural NOW’ feeling is a sign of transition and the final major pains before the pushing starts, so it makes sense you felt that right off the bat. So happy for you and your little family. Enjoy it!

  54. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing. He is such a handsome little guy! That picture of Charlie smiling is really making me want a third one…

    Both my labors were induced. My first one was 19 hours (I was only 37 weeks, but was preeclamptic, so induction was necessary.) Horribly painful, and it took FOREVER for me to reach a point where they would give me an epidural, but I finally got one.

    My second was an induction at 40 weeks (after 7 weeks of bedrest when he tried to arrive at 33 weeks!).They started the induction at midnight, I had an epidural at 5 am, just because the anesthesiologist happened to be there for another patient, and I knew I’d want one eventually. (Pain wasn’t bad at that point though.) He was born around 8 am, so 8 hours.

    All that to say, my second labor was less than half as long as my first. I recommend you camp out close to the hospital for your next, unless you are planning a home birth!

  55. Petra

    I can’t even imagine a three hour labor. I thought 12 hours was fast! My best GF just had her second two days ago and she had her baby boy in 8 minutes after her water broke. No time for the epidural either. She is a rockstar, as you and every mother I meet that went through the natural way is to me. Even if not by choice, you still meet it “head on” and it’s hopefully done and over with without all the longer process after the shot.

  56. Lisa

    Congratulations…what a great story. That love is intense and it doesn’t go away (my little guy Oliver is almost 2 and I am 18 weeks along with baby boy #2). Being a mama looks good on you. And you are a rock star!! I got an epidural, but had to wait until I was 8 cm to get it (the anesthesiologist was in a c-section and couldn’t come right away), so that brutal pain that you are talking about is all to familiar and seriously awful. Ugh! But as you said, more than worth it. As to the baby blues, I had it similar, although not so much super highs then super lows. It was more of an all over physical discomfort (swollen down there, boobs aching/raw nipples etc.) that made it hard to answer the “are you just the happiest person in the world!?” question with a simple “YES!”. My response was more like “yes…but…””. I just had a little cloud over me despite the crazy amount of happiness that I was feeling. It should all clear up once you get into a little rhythm/routine (and you stop having to wear those giant itchy chafing pads between your legs…lol!) Congratulations again!! :) So happy for your sweet little family.

  57. I love birth stories! Thank you for sharing!
    The crying and weeping for no reason is totally normal. That’s always my first advice for new moms. You will cry and it is TOTALLY okay!
    Have a blessed Christmas with your beautiful baby boy!

  58. Lisa

    oh…and technically your “labor” started at 2 am (or whenever u had those first contractions)…and the “active labor” portion was only 3 hours long (which is crazy fast, as you’ve known all this time). So your total labor was 6.5 hours, which is still SUPER DUPER quick, especially for a first baby!! My whole process started at midnight and I had him at 6 pm in the evening…so it took a lot longer (and I pushed for over an hour). It’s amazing how different it happens for everyone, and yet, the same utter miraculous joy still exists. So amazing :)

  59. Natalie

    I could relate so much to your story. All the sudden you have this overwhelming feeling of “I can’t believe I brought something into this world that I absolutely can not live without and if anything happens to him, my life is over.” And then your mind wonders to the most horrible, horrific things that could happen. Hormones, like you said. The happiness is just beginning and if you can even believe it, your bond will grow even more. Thank you for sharing. Tears this morning:)

  60. Andi

    I second the comment about the birth being a glimpse into the personality of a child – my first is steady and confident, my second does things his way, in his own time – and their births were each exactly that!

    Thank you, thank you for sharing such an intimate experience with us. I love hearing people’s birth stories because they are as unique as they are the same – this unfathomable love that pours out the moment you hold that tender baby in your arms, and you know you will never, ever be the same. That all-consuming love is so torturous and so sweet at the same time, it’s almost like a drug. And should you decide to have another one (or three), it’s always amazing and reassuring to know that you will have the same amount of love for those children. It seems impossible, I know, but you just will.

    I can’t wait to hear more about your new life with this little elf. Have a blessed Christmas:)

  61. I just love how you write, how you put it out there for all of us to say “yes! THOSE are the words that describe how I feel!” I cried reading this entire post. i’m 18 weeks, and counting, and just. cant. wait.

  62. Savannah

    Congratulations! He really is a handsome little guy.

    I had my little Lucille the same way, no time for the epidural I really wanted and I am with you, it really hurt!

  63. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story, Em! I’m due in about 3 1/2 weeks (although he’s measuring as if I’m due in 1 1/2 weeks, so who knows when the heck this baby is coming!) and I totally appreciate the “real talk”, if you will, about the pain.
    I know it will all be worth it. :)

  64. Elise

    Emily, you are so amazing and wonderful. Congratulations to you and Brian on your wonderful bundle of joy! Thank you for sharing this amazing (and so so so lucky I hope all my future births go EXACTLY like yours!) birth story and about how your family is handling the new day to day. So inspiring and full of love. Congratulations again!!

  65. MEL

    Emily, you are right that there are no words to describe what is happening to you right now, and what your body has been prepring you for for the last 9 months. I think the real beauty is in knowing that this experience is YOURS and no one can ever take that away from you. You will always have glimpses of this memory and in those moments you will know that you have truly lived and truly loved and truly been able to say that you’ve felt real joy. And all the hard parts that you feel now and all the shitty times to come are part of the fact that you have still experienced the highest high in existence and that in itself is worth it. I am 4 months postpartum and every day has moments of what I imagine are the best and the worst possibilities of a day. But even now, with all the times I feel overwhelmed or tired or frustrated, I just remember my experience, my moment of transcendence, my existence and the fact that I am a lucky one who gets to experience the epitome of life worth living. And you are too. No matter what, just hold onto that. And when people ask you how it’s all been, take a moment to smile and relive it all in your mind for a split second before your respond, because you know that no words that come out of your mouth will ever capture that feeling. These are the days that make life irreplaceable. Enjoy them. xo

  66. Jaime

    Hellz yeah you were lucky with 3 hours! I can’t wait to meet him!!! xoxo

  67. Rachel

    Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. My daughter was born on Nov. 29th and the baby blue hit around day 6. And I was wreck for a week. Every one told me it was normal but I felt like a crazy person. But likeevery said I would calm down. Around day 14 i started to feel more like myself and this week I haven’t cried once :). So I promise it will pass.

  68. Joyce

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience and CONGRATS!

  69. Breanna

    Congrats! Thank you for being so honest and brave in sharing your story. My son will be one in less than a month and I had such a similar experience of emotions when he was born. It is a blessing, a privilege. He is beautiful and you are glowing! I think I stayed in that blissful state until he was around 7 months when the ambulatory stages start. Now he’s in to everything, teething and often has emotional meltdowns every 10 minutes. I still adore him beyond belief and miss him when he is napping. But he does exhaust me in certain moments and it can be wearing keeping up with him. So just be deliriously blissful right now and enjoy that he doesn’t move! (Or have opinions) ;)

  70. Kristen M.

    I just wanted to “like” this post. Everything about it. I’m a mom of two (4yo girl and 1yo boy). So, so, so happy for you. Welcome to being a mom. We’re all in this together.

  71. Maia

    Congrats!! He’s absolutely precious! And thank you for writing your sweet birth story. I’m currently pregnant with my first and I’m also not digging being pregnant. So to read your account of the light at the end of this tunnel was really uplifting for me.

  72. You summed it all up perfectly Emily! I have three boys: almost six, three and a half and 18 months and I still get rocked by emotions when I think of their births or them at all for that matter. Congratulations to you both, he is absolutely beautiful! THANK YOU for sharing his birth story with the world, I for one truly appreciate it. And believe me, it only gets better!

  73. Han

    I don’t know you personality (although I have been a daily reader for awhile) but I get teary eyes reading this. I am truly happy for your growing family, Emily. :)

  74. Molly

    That first picture of the three of you is magical. I just spontaneously burst into tears seeing it, and I don’t even know you. What love and happiness there is shining from that image.

  75. Page

    Congratulations!!! Thanks for taking the time to give us all the deets. And solidarity-wise, my labor was like that, too — short, incredibly painful and no time for drugs and no honor badge deserved for not getting them. In triage they examined me and the nurse said she couldn’t find the other side of my cervix (ehm, what?) but since I was a first-timer they guessed I was 5 cm. dilated, and then 90 minutes later they still couldn’t find the other side (it… was there yesterday? I swear?) and called a doctor in. 10 cm., the doctor said, looking at the nurses like they were crazy. Time to start pushing an hour ago.

    I remember those crazy crying jags, which are so disorienting when you’re feeling so blessed. Hope they let go of you soon! Welcome to your little man. So glad you got into the new place before he came!

  76. tata

    my birth was nothing like yours but reading yours made me want to try for another! in fact, if it’s anything close to your experience, i would be happy… a thought i may regret later since my experience was so horrible and it wasn’t till months after birth that i began to even connect with my son… so i’m jealous and envious and hopeful that maybe my next one will be a better experience. and congrat!!! i really really enjoyed reading this and i was almost in tears. thank yo ufor sharing.

  77. BridgetG

    Emily, thank you for sharing your beautiful photos — I love the smiling one of Charlie.

  78. Elisha Johnson

    Awh, I just loved reading this post. I can’t believe you went almost all the way to the end before they were considering the epidural! Those nurses have to get it tagetha! I’m so proud of you and Charlie is ADORBS! You are my favorite designer…and now you are…a superwoman!


    Eli Johnson

  79. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I can only dream that my labor will be as short as yours.

    I noticed Charlie’s has both last names, and I was curious how you guys filled out the birth certificate. Did you put Starke as middle name, or can you have both under last name? Wondering because I am thinking about doing this as well.

  80. Thank you for sharing your story and all the lovely photos. Those maternity ones look amazing! You have a beautiful little family :)

    I’m looking forward to seeing how you style his nursery!!

  81. Loi

    Yeah… Teared up. My first is 3 weeks old today. Hormones, amiright?

    My birth story was different, yet I was also a lucky one. This post right here is a manual for how not to be jerk when telling a birth story that doesn’t include major medical issues. And yeah, it feels horrible saying “this is all pretty easy” when it is 100% because your partner rocks.

    Kudos. No need to punch yourself in the face. Keep on enjoying the beautiful bundle.

  82. Michelle

    Such a great post Emily! If I were to have written by birth story after my first son it would have sounded exactly the same (although my labor wasn’t 3 hours and I got an epidural). Your bond with Charlie and your feelings for him is exactly how I felt and still feel almost 4 years later. We’re so blessed as mothers to get to experience having children. I thank god everyday for my amazing 2 boys and awesome hubby!

    Maybe it’s because we’re so lucky because we got married on the same day. ;)

  83. erin

    What a lovely story. I got teary reading it and reliving the birth of my own girls.

    Magical indeed.

  84. caroline

    I know exactly what you mean about feeling so fragile and so uneasy being a parent – that in a moment your everything could be ruined forever. The vulnerability meter goes up about a million times once you have a baby, and like one of my favorite authors says,

    “It’s like watching your heart walk around outside your body.”

    You will never ever be the same. I think that’s what happens when you love something so deeply, your soul becomes raw and real. It’s such a beautiful thing.

  85. Loi

    P.S. I also had to play up how much pain I was in when being admitted. I was told. “You’re smiling too much. You aren’t dilated” before they even checked me. After checking? “You’re 5cm. This is labor.” Um, yes. Let’s do this then. Oddly, that was kind of a low point for me. Doesn’t feel good to have someone insinuate that your pain is not real enough.

  86. Lauren

    A beautiful post! I love “I didn’t particularly like being pregnant but I’d do it all over again right now if I got another Charlie.” Truth. What a perfect little family. I thought to myself while reading, why am I crying right now – I don’t even know them?! But the truth is, we’ve followed your journey thus far and get to know you so well through your open, sincere, witty posts. It is kind of like watching a movie or reading a book, except that you’re a real person, not a character. So, I guess that makes it not as weird to cry tears of joy for you! Btw, my daughter is 9 months old and people keep telling me I will love her more and more each year. I just can’t even imagine because my heart literally feels like it might explode at the mere thought of her. It’s insane.

  87. Kristina

    Yay! Congratulations. I totally agree every woman that has experienced a contraction is super woman. Enjoy this time with your little one. Before you know it, it will be next Christmas and he’ll be running around pulling ornaments off your tree.

    On a different note, what co-sleeper is that? I’m having my second in June and starting to research because we are going that route this time around.

  88. Katie

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I also just gave birth to a baby boy on Nov. 28. My labour was so similar to yours. Regular contractions started at 12am and I was ready to push at 5am, he was born at 6:30am. So lucky for a first time birth. I feel so blessed to have everything go smoothly and let us have the birth at home :) The uncontrollable weeping and hormones has been crazy! Totally understand. Oh and the pressure in the butt! Good grief I felt like I pushed out a transport truck and he was only 7lbs3oz! Oh and thank god for Doulas.

  89. CAT

    Not to diminish the beauty of your new son and the wonderfully well-written story of his arrival into the world, how are the kitties handling everything???

  90. lindsay

    This was one of the best blog post ever. It’s like everything I ever thought and didn’t know how to say about being a mom.
    Congratulations on Charlie!

  91. Angela Rose

    Loved reading your birth story! I am having a baby in a week, so it hit very close to home :) And YES those weeping sad baby blue fests are real, I went through those too :) Your family is darling! Much love to you all.

  92. kate

    i read your blog all the time but don’t comment very often, but i just wanted to say CONGRATS! this birth story is perfect. and charlie is ADORABLE! love your honesty, and your jokes :)

  93. Melanie Price

    Such lovely photos and beautiful birth story. I am so amazed that your labor went that fast! Amazing! Baby blues will eventuallly fade…and so normal!! Dang hormones.
    Congratulations to you both! Such an amazing time in your lives…and it will just keep getting better. I remember wanting to freeze time everytime my daughter, Dorian hit a new stage in life. My favorite (besides now!) is 9 months. You really start to see their personality at that age. My friends would tell me that it just keeps getting better and more fun the older they get. More chanllenges? Yes. But oh so fun!!
    Cheers to your lovely new family!!

  94. Jill

    Congrats and thanks for sharing! With my second I went from 3 to 10 in 45 minutes….by far the worst 45 minutes of my life but at least it was fast! I was in labor for 30 hours with my first which is so long but I had the epi with him so it was completely painless! Hope those baby blues fade away soon and if they don’t, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor…hormones can do funny things to you!

  95. Roxana Linzuain

    Felicitaciones desde Argentina! y todos los deseos de felicidad del mundo.

  96. Robyn

    I’m not gonna lie…your birth story made me a little weepy. Thank you for sharing the story of little Charlie’s arrival with us. And don’t you feel even a tiny bit guilty about your quick delivery. Fast or slow, drugs or no, C-section or not, all births are miracles and the end result is all that counts. :)

  97. danielle

    Oh my God!!! I am crying so much, and I have never had the craving to have a baby…stories like yours just kill me (sign=cancer). I am crying like a mad woman and am so touched by your experience and your imense love the awesome husband you have! Thanks for sharing, wonderful Emily!

    • danielle

      Also, you may have heard of Brene Brown, the Social Worker who wrote a book on the power of vulnerability. She is featured in Krista Tippett’s “on being” podcast and speaks about how many features of vulnerability (including men not being culturally allowed to express it) AND she talks about becoming a parent as being the most vulnerable experience of your life… much like what you wrote today. I think you would love this podcast. Cheers!

  98. Meg

    First off congratulations and thank you for sharing! As someone who is in complete fear of giving birth, you actually made me think, “it doesn’t seem that bad”, and well worth it. So thank you a million times.

  99. I am a labor and delivery nurse, and wish I could have been yours, as it sounds like your nurses had their heads buried in the sand. When a labor is more painful than one would expect, it’s a sign that things are rapidly progressing. Also, 4 cm is *not* too early to get an epidural. (Next time have your baby in Portland!)

    Congratulations, and welcome to sweet little Charlie! My sons are 15 and 18 years old, and it I’m here to tell you that you will love them more and more and more, and it’s the best thing ever!


  100. brooke

    reading your post shocked me at how similar it sounded to what my mother says giving birth to me was like.
    fast, furious, (the shift change)… and then BOOM, I was right there.
    I was born 8:35 December 7th.
    Thank you for being SO honest about the birth process – I question if I will ever be ready or prepared.

  101. tracy

    i’m a longtime reader and first-time commenter (hi!), and your story had me tearing up :) you have such a way with words – completely honest, hilarious, and beautiful. i remember when my daughter was born (she’s 20 months now), and this brought back all those memories. she was the opposite of charlie, and took her time (17 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing, gah)! it is such a wild ride and only gets better and better. be patient with yourself and each other (this was/is hard for me to do myself), and the crying will subside in time :)
    i wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday!
    ps: this makes me want #2…even though yesterday’s tantrums are still ringing in my head (ha…)

  102. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I chose to have no epidural with my second (the first one didn’t really work that well and slowed things down) but I did ask for one at the very end but it was too late. You’re right, that pain is so intense and debilitating, there is nothing you can compare it to! I think the recovery and the sore boobs and lack of sleep were the worst parts after, and they certainly didn’t help my baby blues. Trying to do normal things and get breaks from “mommy hood” did help my outlook a lot.

    I’m so happy for you all and I look forward to watching Charlie grow!

  103. mary

    You captured so much of the feelings so perfectly! I remember warning my family that if anything happened to my baby, I’d be right behind her. A tv show said it’s like your heart is walking around outside your body suddenly. So true.

    I also remember wanting to go grab mine out of the crib when she was sleeping because I missed holding her, even though you hold them about constantly when they’re tiny!

  104. Victoria

    Reading your story and seeing the photos had me in tears. What a wonderful way to preserve your beautiful family story. Charlie is a lucky baby/child to have you both as parents.
    When my own little towhead son grew up I felt his hurts and hard lessons which were more than any parent wants their child to have (That would be 0 hard lessons as acceptable.) I held on to the agony far longer as he overcame, learned, and matured into his own. I finally understood Kahlil Gibran’s poem ‘On Children’ years after keeping it on my nightstand and in my wallet.
    Continue to enjoy the moments, minutes and days.

  105. Connie Schmid

    Congratulations on your little angel “Charlie”…I just love, love, love that name. It reminds me of the African Queen. So say it just like Katherine Hepburn…Chaaaaaalie…

    I love the way you write; for it reads just like you talk. Great blogger.

    Best, hugs and kisses from Connie

  106. Michelle

    I’m writing this while in tears (thank you) as your story brings me right back to 1 1/2 years ago. My story was so similar – me screaming ,”He’s in my butt! He’s coming out of my butt!” while trying not to deliver him onto the floorboard of the jeep. :) It still blows me away that I have a little human. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to truly wrap your head around what “just happened”. I think that’s what makes the whole experience so unique and yet so universal all at once. Looking forward to reading more about you and your sweet little one! Congratulations!

  107. julie

    Beautifully said Emily. Nothing compares to giving birth and holding that wee baba in your arms and being overwhelmed with love. MY daughter was born early and too small for age by c section. So when I had my son they had asked me what I wanted to do I decided that I would have a go at vaginal birth but really would go in open minded as I knew,like you said, you can’t really predict what’s going to happen. My oh my!!! Like you, mine was super fast and I was screaming for that epidural…they kept ‘pretending’ to phone and kept telling me that the anesthetist was coming. I found out later he was never going to come and see me as I was already ready to push:) Everything that I had learned and read didn’t not prepare me for that level of pain. And because it so fast there is no way you can rest between contractions like the books tell you. But once Elliott was on my chest bliss starts – until the hormones plays havoc and you are weeping on the floor cos your husband bought the wrong kind of cookies:)) Cherish your wee family and all the best. xx

  108. This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing such a joyful moment. I don’t have children yet but, besides making me want to have a child really bad right now, this post makes me feel much closer and thankful to my own parents. Enjoy the moment and I wish you and your beautiful family all the happiness in the world!

  109. Amanda

    Loved reading this!! I too had a first birth like yours.(and a December one, too….maybe it’s the phase of the moon (kidding) Water broke at 6:30pm and baby was born at 9:00pm (no time for epidural, either….nurses yelling at me to shut up because I was scaring the other patients, ha!)…my next three were all induced because the doctors didn’t want to take any chances. Hooray for you to make it through. And baby boys, man are they special. Your’e right, the bond is AMAZING. My youngest is now 5 years old and I miss him every second of the day while he is at school. I wait by the window for the bus to come!! I can’t wait to read your waiting-for-the-bus stories when Charlie is five, too!! Many congrats!!!

  110. Anne

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. You are a wonderful writer and story teller on top of everything else you do so magically! I just wanted to share with you my baby blues experience and maybe help with some of your grey moments. I have two beautiful boys, incidentally one very quick, scary birth and one slow and steady. They are teenagers and very different but the sunshine of our lives.
    Anyway, baby blues hit me in the first week after birth, hormones, sleep deprivation and just that overwhelming uneasiness you speak of. I found watching uplifting movies, playing my favorite music and eating little bits of chocolate through the day helped. Also, when you can, pump some milk or use formula and have your husband give Charlie a bottle and you sleep for 4-5hours without nursing. You will wake up engorged but hopefully a bit more calm through the next few hours. I waited to long to do this because my pediatrician made me feel “less than a good mom” because I asked about supplementing with formula. I hope you don’t experience this.
    Being a mom is such an intense mixture of pure joy, extreme worry, unconditional love, and letting go of yourself (does that make sense?) we are bound to feel extreme emotions. so, so worth it. My husband and I know it’s the best thing we will ever do in our lives, and now I am weeping :). Thanks again for taking me back to those first days with my boys, you are so generous to share your beautiful story. Love and congratulation!!!

  111. Katherine

    SUCH a great post. I have two daughters with two very, very different birth experiences. I LOVED reading your account of yours – it’s very true-to-life, especially the realization that you would get an epidural if you could because, while the early pain is not unbearable, you knew it was ONLY THE BEGINNING. I also love the description of the blinding pain because it’s SO TRUE. And last but not least, thank you for discussing your moments of feeling blue. It’s such a natural part of early motherhood, and it’s comforting to know that a talented, driven, realistic optimist such as yourself is experiencing those moments, too.
    Thank you for sharing!

  112. Emily Mc

    Oh my this was so beautiful. We have three boys and it is so true all that you say. I puked my guts out for 40 weeks x 3 and would do it all again. They are just such lovely little pieces of beautiful awesome perfection and joy. I think it is such an amazing thing how your heart stretches to a point you think it might explode.

  113. Thank you for including us on your motherhood journey. I am so happy for you and your husband. This is the most beautifully (yet still humorous) post you have ever written. I guess because it is truly from your heart. Hugs to you all.

    On a side note…, when the newness of it all comes to a calm and you start to delve back into styling/decorating, I am curious to see how your style and sensibilities evolve as a parent. You are one of my favorite decor-minded people, but I often find myself struggling with balancing my life with three kids/limited budget and your amazing style. I am so excited to hear more on your journey and how your approach to interiors melds with being a parent. You are truly blessed and talented in many ways…. now you can add ‘making people’ to that list. ;)

  114. Congratulations Emily! He is so beautiful. I am sure you are going to be such an amazing Mom!

  115. Lauren Kay

    I am a weepy mess right now! I have just about 2 months remaining of my pregnancy & naturally reading anything baby-related, especially when so beautifully told leaves me on the verge of “the ugly cry”. I am so excited for your new little family & I’m certain you will be the best mother EVER! Thanks again for such a raw and honest baby story, i look forward to future posts documenting your journey into parenthood! xo Lkay

  116. Anne At Home

    Oh my gosh, I’m crying. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Becoming a parent is the most amazing & terrifying experience all at once. And to think it’s happened hundreds of billions of times in the history of the world. Extraordinary just doesn’t cover it. Doctors (I am one) and nurses in emergency think they know but they don’t really! Fast labours always take everyone by surprise, but the good news is they will totally believe you next time. Ride the hormone waves, they will stabilse eventually – the highs wouldn’t be as high without the lows, if that helps at all. Thanks for keeping it real and congratulations again from down under. And of course Merry Christmas, what an incredible present.

  117. Tara

    Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy. My first was a boy and I felt just like you, delerious in love from the moment I saw him. And then I had a girl. Oh boy watch out cause the love fest starts all over again in a crazy new way :)

  118. Amy Lovin Estes

    My first was just like yours — very quick and very painful (to put it mildly). My second and third babies came successively slower — much slower — which, ahem, is rude, Momma Nature. That is not at all what the books tell you to expect. Regardless, when that baby finally arrives, you forget all the pain and exhaustion. Thank goodness. It’s only later, when you start sharing war stories, that you remember it again. ;) Enjoy every moment. It’s fleeting …

  119. I don’t care what studies say–newborns can smile–he is so smiling! I remember that mine would smile before their mammal brains kicked in. It will all get better (more sleep for everyone) Remember little kids little problems. Enjoy your precious little one!

  120. Rachelle bell

    WOW… Im sitting here 5 months pregnant with my first and totally crying at how beautiful your whole experience was. Im delivery at Cedars, but hoping when I say GET ME MY EPIDURAL, it happens instantaneously. haha
    I really appreciate and love what you wrote about your birth plan since I do feel like a lot of people assume Im “weak” for openly wanting as little pain as possible… but you are proof that most of it is out of our control and we really have to mentally be ready for anything. Thank you for your open and honest post- can’t wait to keep reading and get excited as my own big day approaches.
    Would love to see what hospital packing list you suggest. And any other tips to prep for the big day. I am waiting as long as possible to tell husband about “daddy juice”… :)
    *ps- for the same reasons as you, if we were having a boy I wasn’t going to circumcise either. Times are a changin’!

  121. Michelle

    Yep, a bit weepy here too. Congratulations on your beautiful little boy. His smiles are amazing. Thank you for writing so beautifully.

  122. Christine

    Congratulations Emily & Brian! What a beautiful boy!! And thank you for sharing! I loooove birth stories!

    I have to laugh about “It’s in my BUTT!” – so true! I had a birth teacher thankfully tell us it’s like to have you take a massive dump. TMI, but a truth I was glad to hear!

    Good luck on breastfeeding – it’s hard work and doesn’t click for everyone!

    Much love from Ohio!

  123. jo

    you are right! christmas with a newborn baby is the best. my charlie was born 5 days before christmas, and that christmas is one of my favorite memories in the history of ever. i’m so happy for you! congrats to your little family.

  124. Oh, Emily, I’m so happy for you. Thanks for sharing your birth story! And I totally feel the same wave of panic about being a mother and all of the responsibilities and loving one person so much… even 15 months later! I’ve pretty much assured myself I’ll never get a full night’s sleep ever again : ) At least for the next 20 years, there will always be a part of me wanting to be awake and check on my baby! Don’t you worry about those hormones, they will keep you crazy for awhile but it’s totally normal! Good luck with everything! xxo

  125. G

    congrats. love your blog. i work in a pediatric hospital… the photos are amazing, but take that pillow out of his co-sleeper. it can lead to SIDS. the less bedding the better/safer!

  126. Erika

    Emily! I so loved this story. It encapsulates so much of what I went through but didn’t know how to articulate after the birth of my son. I was in labor for 28 hours and somewhere in there, my amazing doctor told me his head was too big for “normal” delivery. Uh, what dude? Needless to say, I had an epi, a c-section and the whole tribal sha-bang, so to speak. I have also told everyone who would listen, in the greatest of detail, about labor pain. I don’t know why, but I just feel compelled to give my friends the straight-up deets as to what they could really expect. None of this sugar-coated garbage. That shit be REAL, yo.

    As for your worries – don’t fret. The baby blues will subside and you’ll eventually get to a point where you and the hubs laugh about the time you cried in your car for an hour because you forgot where you needed to go. Yup. And that moment you will inevitably have when you want to smother Brian with a pillow because he’s snoring/breathing/existing too loudly? Yeah, that will quickly pass, too. I’m sorry to say though, that sheer feeling of terror that something will go wrong, that something will happen to your child…it doesn’t leave you. I don’t know what it is, but it’s ever-present and begins the moment they take their first breath. I was so worried in the beginning of motherhood that I thought something was wrong with me until I started asking other mothers. Nope, each and every one of my friends has had their moments. Maybe it’s the responsibility, or the never-before-felt kind of love, but I carry it with me always. That’s not to say I THINK about it all the time, but more like I am viscerally aware of the possibility. The good news is, that worry is somehow offset by the pure joy of your child’s existence. It kinds of feels like you can’t have one without the other and frankly? I’ll take the bad with that kind of good allll day long. Here’s to leaning in.

    …now go smell that baby for me!

  127. congrats, mama! I too was one of those accidental lucky ones that felt the pushing at the butt before I got a chance to get an epidural. I mean, the goal was always a natural birth but that was just a goal never really thought it would actually happen. In fact, I was begging the nurse to just give me something to take the edge off…ha!

    And I too felt those baby blues. Couldn’t tell you when they started to fade away but just know that they will. Sending you so much love even though I don’t know you because it helps to know that you’re part of a tribe and you truly are.

  128. Cathie

    Congratulations! Your birth story mirrors my own birth story with my first daughter. And yes, it’s true, the second comes even faster–less than 2 hours for me from “oh, that feels like a real contraction” to “here’s your baby boy!”

    I always feel like women deserve a motherf***ng parade after giving birth–rockstars–every last one of us!

    When you talked about being overwhelmed by your love for your child-it’s so true. I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about if something ever happens I’d be destroyed. I saw someone describe having children as now walking around with your heart outside of your body. It’s tremendously wonderful and scary!

    All the best to you and your family.

  129. Mary

    Congratulations Emily! He is adorable. Your birth story was the first that I read that was just like mine! No one believed me, my son is almost two now and I still remember the feeling of frustration because none of the nurses believed me that the contractions hurt soo bad. I had my son in about four hours, so I know the pain you speak of. That quick progression from 4-10, ouch! Congratulations again, the blues will subside and you’ll feel like yourself again.

  130. Laura

    a resounding YES to everything you have written! the weepies will subside, but the love will only continue to grow, as if it’s even humanly possible. mine is only a year and a half– sometimes i don’t know how my heart can’t handle any more. congratulations and a million best wishes!

  131. Robyne

    Congrats Emily! Love your story. Made me remember those feelings and emotions I had when our children were born. Hang on to every second – they grow up so fast! My mom told me that once and I think I said “sure mom,” closed my eyes a time or two and now our babies are amazing adults. Thanks for the reminder of how sweet those moments are!

  132. Keri

    Congrat to the 3 of you! You make a beautiful family! My sons are now 30 and 31 but every stage is a delight as long as you love each other and always keep the lines of communication open. I loved Charlie’s birth story and wish you and your family all the best. Looking forward to what you do next!

  133. Jen

    Full disclosure… I cried when I read this. It is just the sweetest post. SO happy for you guys! And I am amazed at your birth story. You go, girl! No epidural…You GO! I am excited to get pregnant, hoping for it to happen this year. Fingers crossed :)
    Sending lots of love. xo

  134. This was so, so beautiful. Very happy for you both!


  135. Susie

    Tears started at various points in this post, but you got me when you said how you knew Brian would be a good father. And he’s proven you right. And that right there is VERY special. Your pictures reminded me that I need to run and jump and squeeze my husband today because he’s an awesome dad. I have a 6yr old son (boys are SO fun) and 2 daughters (3.5 and 2) and I still catch myself staring at them, trying to understand how awesome it is that they are mine. Oh but they totally drive me crazy, don’t get me wrong. But my love for them (and my husband) grows each and every day.

    Your love is contagious today – thank you for sharing! Your have a beautiful family.

  136. Jen

    I don’t have kids yet, but I know a little bit of that terror-at-how-much-you-love-someone-and-what-if-you-lost-them feeling. Brene Brown (who is amazing) has a term for it – foreboding joy. It’s that feeling of dread that sweeps in when you care about something so much. It snatches your joyful feeling away. She recommends practicing gratitude in those moments, and it has worked really really well for me. Something like…
    I love this person so much it hurts!
    But, what would I do if they got in a car accident.
    I am so grateful to have them in my life. Seriously the luckiest.
    It may sound hokey, but from your blog, it seems like you naturally do it a good deal on your own already. I just thought I would leave the comment in case it helps – you deserve to be the happiest and most joyful ever. I know I’m super happy for the two of you!

  137. Kathy :)

    Congrats on yr baby boy he’s beautiful !! It was so nice to hear you didn’t like being pregnant either did I !! But I adore the two people I have (a boy and 3 years later a girl, I highly recommend this space I got to dote on each) I had c-sections, (I don’t dilate) so I can’t help you out on second babies coming fast or slow :)

    Merry Christmas to you and yor sweet family,
    Kathy :)

  138. Molly

    This is the absolute sweetest thing I have ever read and I completely agree with you that your own child’s birth seems so special and unique. I could barely get through this without weeping myself (I am 25 weeks with #2 so I can weep at anything these days). This is such a wonderful time and it only gets better. Our daughter is 2 now and hearing her tell us she loves us and asking to cuddle is most certainly the greatest feeling in the world.

    All the best to you and your new family and have a wonderful holiday!

  139. ELLEN

    I don’t usually follow blogs, much less leave comments but I have to say, your account of your birth is really one of the most honest and NON-braggy accounts I’ve ever read. In this day and age when everyone tries to “up” someone else EVEN on something like how they gave birth; did they use an epidural; how long did the birth take… it’s refreshing to hear you be so adamant that you ACCIDENTALLY had a “natural birth” and that there’s no wrong in wanting an epidural. Amen. And yes.. I WANTED and GOT an epidural… both times! Thanks for sharing.

  140. Tiffany

    Oh Emily! You’re such a gem. Seriously, I never have commented on a blog post but can’t help but tell you ‘thank you’ – thanks for keeping it real and bringing back some really trippy hard to describe emotions; breath of fresh air indeed! A little snippet for you when you’re feeling guilty about the speedy natural birth. My first took 36 hours after my water broke, two rounds of medication, finally an epidural and it was by far less terrifying than my second birth. Second birth was under two hours start to finish ‘natural’ but I was terrified; prepared to drive but not in the Indy 500. A fast a furious birth is such a gift in so many ways but incredibly scary during. Good for you! Charlie is just a little doll and thanks for sharing.

  141. Carolyn

    Thank you for sharing! The baby blues suck, but yep they are normal. I wish you quick passage through them. Charlie is beautiful. I will never forget that my first glimpse of my son was from the back as the doctor pulled him out and the first thing I saw was a cute, dime-size mole on his right hip, exactly inside the dimple above his butt. I remember that moment ever time I see his mole.

  142. Well, I think you did it. Expressed pregnancy and birth-giving in a way that captures the magic. This was really touching, Emily.

  143. ansook

    Thanks so much sharing your beautiful story. You had me in tears for a number of reasons. One, I miscarried a year before having my baby boy. Two, my baby boy was 3 weeks early and I basically relived my experience while reading yours. It’s been a year, but I don’t think you ever forgot those critical moments of bliss, pain, joy and other emotions I can’t put into words. I struggle with trying to understand how something that happens everyday is SO meaningful when it happens to you. I guess that is part of the miracle. Many, many congrats to you and your family. Great job mom!

  144. Congratulations! I teared up during that post! I totally hear you on how if anything ever happened to your little one, your life would be over. I feel this quote sums it up:
    “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ― Elizabeth Stone.

    As for the baby blues, totally normal unless it lasts longer than a couple months. Your life has just totally changed (I mean, it will NEVER be the same again…) and it will take some adjusting, not to mention you’re sleep-deprived and that little baby is sucking out all your body’s nutrients haha. Fresh air and going out really helps.

  145. Congratulations on your safe delivery and sweet baby boy! When I had my daughter, those early weeks were some of the most euphoric I’ve ever felt — with a touch of the blues/crazy hormones mixed in too. (I will never forget the moment they handed her to me. She’s two now, and I still think I love her too much.) The hormones faded a bit over time but didn’t really go away until we weaned almost a year later. Also, I had almost the same overall birth experience as you! 3 hours of labor from start to finish… went through transition in the car on the way to the hospital… no time for pain meds… had her in my arms after about 5 pushes. I had done all this hypnobirthing preparation but it still hurt like hell — my husband still talks about my banshee screams. Yet it was completely worth the unfathomable love she’s brought into our lives. Enjoy this special time!

  146. erica

    Awesome post, Emily. I always enjoy your writing so much – charming, real, and hysterical. I am just a few months pregnant for the first time, and you have made me so excited for what’s to come. Congrats and Merry Christmas to you, Brian, and gorgeous Charlie!

  147. Joanne

    Your maternity photos should have been on the cover of VOGUE! Can’t wait to see the rest! You and baby Charlie are so sweet and beautiful. Thank you for your beautiful, honest, heartfelt post. You inspire me as a writer and as a woman.

  148. WENDY

    So happy for you! Huge congratulations! You have described it so well… the pain, the joy.

    I remember standing in my kitchen day one of bringing my first home (Liam, he’s 7 now), and just crying uncontrollably… never could have imagined feeling love at that magnitude. And, love for my husband – wow, we did this :)

    Congratulations again, and enjoy every moment! Wendy

  149. Valerie

    Congrats!! He is seriously cute. Really – newborns are sometimes wonky lookin’, but he is totally GQ. I’m glad you opened up about how painful it is…unbelievable until you experience it. You averaged me out; my labors were 38, 37, and 10 hrs (first 2 ended in c-sections). I hope your future labors are always tolerable! :)

  150. pallavi

    congratulations! what an amazing story! i can’t believe how beautiful your family is – seriously, you look too good to have just given birth!!

  151. Jodie

    Congratulations! He’s beautiful and I love his name. I had a very similar first birth – my daughter arrived in 2.5 hours. I have the same opinion as you – I’m insanely proud that I had a drug-free birth (I impressed myself!) but I don’t consider it my accomplishment as much as a very lucky card I was dealt. Fast birth, small baby. My second child was a slower pace – about 4-5 hours, but VERY intense last few minutes. The poor nurse was there trying to “hold him in!” waiting for a doctor to arrive. She walked in and barely had time to “catch him.” Madness!

    Enjoy this time and don’t worry too much about your mood swings. It took your hormones 9 months to max out, and then they come crashing down. Just roll with it as best you can and try to keep a sense of humor.

    And lastly, please keep sharing pictures. There’s nothing better than a newborn.

  152. Nicki

    I think every mother can totally relate to what you wrote. I have a 17 year old, and 13 year old and a 5 year old. My daughter is going to be graduating from high school, and I cannot imagine that she is leaving for college in August and I don’t think I can live without her. My 5 year old is my last baby I will ever have, so every time I think about how fast he is growing up, I cry. I cried when he lost his first tooth, and etc. I baby him so much but I can’t help it. I love my 13 year old too, of course just as much. A love for your child is the best love you can experience, and although I love my husband and he is a wonderful father, my love for my children would win out over him any day of the week if it came down to it.

  153. Maria

    I teared up reading this post Emily. I had my first born son nearly 21 years ago but the memories of his birth (and my 2 other children) are still vivid. It is the most beautiful time – fear and wonder mixed together. I remember the blues which thankfully never took hold and I remember the obsessive love. An older woman warned me that having a child means you forever wear your heart on the outside. These words have rung true throughout my 2O years of parenting. So many adventures await you and Brian – cherish every precious stage.

  154. Niki

    Congrats, Emily!

    Both of my babies came quickly, so I know what it’s like when the nurses say you can’t possibly be ready to go. Your story made me giggle! Baby #1 came in five hours and baby #2 in just over three. When they’re ready, they’re ready!

    Stay in touch with your midwife about how you’re feeling. Sleep deprivation, hormones, and the demands of being a new parents can be overwhelming. If you start to feel like you can’t handle it, even for a moment, don’t feel guilty – talk about it with someone. It’s very, very normal, but left unchecked can quickly become PPD. And there’s no need to make yourself suffer through the first year. I wish I’d had the guts to get help after my first. It would’ve been so much better. :)

  155. Oh my he’s adorable!! What an amazing family :) I’m the youngest in my entire family (counting cousins) so I have absolutely ZERO experience with kids. Heck, I haven’t even changed a diaper. This makes me extremely nervous to have a baby! As dumb as it sounds, I would have no idea what to do and by the way you described the pain…I’m not sure I could endure that! I love how you described the utmost happiness and I sure hope I feel that as well. I know I’m still young but I’m not sure I could go through something so emotional. Am I being selfish?

  156. Narelle

    Before I had my baby girl 15 months ago I couldn’t have given a flying f*ck about birth stories and now I can’t get enough of them. I often watch One Born Every Minute episodes while I wash up and cry my little eyes out – for fun.So I LOVED this post. Welcome to the mama club. We’re not exclusive but we have a lot of fun.

  157. Jade Van Meter

    Sweet couple and sweet baby boy! Reading about you gushing in your post I was just thinking, “just wait until he’s able to smile, then laugh, then talk, then joke with you…” it gets even better! Just awesome… Congrats!

  158. Leah

    OMG! This post was so wonderful… you articulated feelings that I have had, and curiosity about birth. Congratulations on this magical time in you are your husband’s life!

  159. Linda

    Second comment on a blog ever. First was to congratulate you on the beautiful third member of your family. Reading your story was a spiritual experience. Seriously.
    I will share this with my daughter when she is pregnant.

  160. Bek W

    Oh Emily I just love you! Summed it all up perfectly :) Little Charlie is so EDIBLE – loving these motherhood posts!!

  161. I’ve loved seeing your Charlie pics over the last two weeks on instagram- he’s perfect! I’m 32 weeks and usually can’t read birth stories because they freak me out, but this is so honest and beautiful, it actually makes me feel better (despite the warning of extreme pain). I also sobbed hysterically while reading it because I’m so excited. Congrats!

  162. He is so precious and it’s amazing that you are sharing all these special and amazing moments with us! You have such a special little family!

  163. Maggie

    Awesome. The hardest part is not kissing your sweet baby’s cheeks every minute of the day, at least for me. (Now he’s five and I still do it.) All you’re going through … euphoria, blues, intense love, hormones, knowing you never want anything ever to happen to him=every mom on the planet. Only advice is take all the help that’s offered and ask for more if you need it. Enjoy these beautiful moments.

  164. lani

    Ok, I am almost crying here. (at work) Thank you for sharing! You are incredibly lucky, Emily, but he is lucky, too, to have such loving parents. I am 18 weeks and a bit freaked about what we have taken on, but I hope I feel half the happiness you do. Best of everything to you!

  165. Sandy

    First off, you deserve to brag, accidentally or not. Secondly, Congratulations! He is absolutely beautiful!

  166. Nicole

    You are an incredible and inspiring woman. Not only because of how honest you are with your experiences but also because of how genuine you are.

    Your words are so, so appreciated when so much superficiality can be found in blogland. Thank you for the honesty, the witty (and hilarious) words, and for seeming like a really cool person I would like to hang out with someday.

  167. Heidi

    I had a 3 hour labor with my first birth as well. My second was the same…my midwife versed my husband on “emergency birthing” and he was so confident that he could handle it– but thankfully we got ther in time. Thank you for sharing– it is truly beautiful how freaking amazing women are!

  168. betsy

    and now i am all weepy. there is no better feeling than bonding with your newborn baby.

    congratulations, pretty mama. what a beautiful family you have.

  169. Emily

    My baby girl just turned 5 weeks yesterday. I was a weepy mess over the most absurd things every day of the first two weeks. I swear, on day 15 something just clicked and my emotions returned to normal (pretty much anyway!). So cry it out and hold hope that you’ll stabilize soon! :)

    ..oh, and I’ve told all of my trends that the one part about labor I was most surprised about was how much it felt like I was literally birthng through my butt!!

    Congrats to you and Charlie is a beautiful baby… -emily

  170. First of all, a very heartfelt congratulations to you and to Brian. Being a parent is probably the best thing in the whole wide world. Times a million. I had my first little baby boy Harry this past January and I was ridiculously smitten from the second I laid eyes on his scrawny little dinosaur skin body. From the second he reached up to me I was gone.

    I was a weepy mess for the first month and you’re right, its so far beyond what they tell you. That bond and that love, it’s seriously indescribable and you won’t get it until you have your own baby. But I’m here to say, even 11.5 months into it, I still look at Harry at least every hour and think “GOD I’m so lucky. And SO in love. And so happy.” It doesn’t get old. Hugging his teeny little body and kissing his sweet little lips is still the best thing in the world (well that and hugging my husbands teeny little body and kissing his sweet little lips).

    Seriously, I could gush for days about how wonderful it is to be a mom, but you know. Congratulations lady, I’m so happy for you. XO

  171. Deb

    Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing such a personal photo immediately after the birth. Tears streaming down my face!! Of happiness for you and your husband and also for Charlie that he has you. I’m not going to be a mom so I cannot possibly understand the depth of the feelings. But it is a wonderful story to see and thank you for sharing it with us. Charlie looks so sweet and content and happy, already smiling.

  172. tasha

    Thanks so much for sharing Emily, the good and the scary parts :) I cried while reading and I’ve never even met you. Cheers to a great life for the Henderson family, you and Brian will do great!

    Best wishes!

  173. Judith

    Oh, by the way….your “parts” are actually called Vulva. Most of us are adults here, but even kids should know the real name of body parts.

  174. Julia

    I love your blog and normally don’t comment, but this entry was just too good not to. I laugh, I cried. I’m getting married soon and excited/terrified to start a family mostly because of the pain of birth and the idea that then I will have to take care of another person. But this entry gave me hope it will all be ok. Thanks Emily!

  175. here’s the thing. i loved you before this post, but gawd damn i love you more after reading this. congrats on your perfect little dude. being a mom is a wonderful and weird thing. i have an almost two year old and i still stare at pictures of her at the end of the day when she is sleeping two rooms away – it never gets old, i made that, the obsession is strong. i hope your blues get better soon , they will. keep on keeping on! merrrrrry xmas.

  176. Mary B

    Finally having these human beings in your life in the real world is amazing. I still can’t believe I GREW humans IN my body and then fed THEM milk FROM my body. It’s so alien and so natural at the same time. Remarkable. What was also remarkable was how sad I was after my first. Serious baby blues. I burst into tears at the pediatricians on day 2 home. I knew something wasn’t right (but also not wrong.) I also remember thinking “I can’t do this. I cannot be responsible for this life”. But millions of women did it before me and I knew I wouldn’t fail if I tried my hardest. I gained confidence, breast feeding became easy, enjoyable even and slowly my blues lifted. No one really talks about the blues – I was unprepared and the emotions scared me. But once it was labeled for me, I kept it on my radar screen and it melted away before I had a chance to worry more. But it took me a few weeks. Enjoy this time. It’s cliche but it really does fly by – my kiddos are 9 and nearly 7 now and still feels like yesterday that they were born.

  177. Laurielulu

    OMGoodness….what a happy Christmas surprise. I am shocked and thinking Charles is gorgeous! ( I love the diacotomy of a teeny baby with a formal name…!)

  178. julia

    Welp, I’m sobbing. Congratulations… so very happy for you guys. I’m due in early March and this made me excited and a little nervous… but mostly really excited. And weepy. xo

  179. Sara

    What a wonderfully told birth story! The first few weeks after my Charlie was born (almost five years ago!) were very similar. I had many amazing highs followed by hours of uncontrollable weaping. Just remember (here comes some totally unsolicited advice!) to take a break (unbearable as that may seem), get outside, and soak up some sunshine. I swear the sun helped get my insane hormones back in line!

    I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing your best to enjoy every moment. These years are so precious and so fleeting. Congratulations! He’s magical!

  180. Laura

    amazing post, I teared up reading it. Thankyou for sharing

  181. You are something special. My hearts broke and mended itself about five trillion times during the course of reading this. Such a beautiful life. Enjoy the hell out of it.

  182. Shelly

    A million congratulations to you and Brian. I got all teary reading this. And regarding how to write about the magic of it all:

    You just don’t know, until you know!

    PS-Charlie is gorgeous.

  183. Melissa

    What a story Emily!! I laughed, I cried, from beginning to end. This mama’s club is something pretty wonderful, right?! My baby boy will be 15 months this weekend and for 15 months I have never been so excited to see someone’s face each time he wakes up from a nap, and now his long 12.5 hour sleep! It is just like Christmas morning every day! Best part is when they are little they don’t think their parents are total geeks and they are just as excited to see us too! A few things to remember…you cannot give him too many kisses or hugs, hold him just a little while longer when he’s sleeping in your arms, and trust your gut instinct for everything! I was always looking for the instruction manual in the beginning. You and Brian know Charlie better than anyone, and you aren’t going to break him. Enjoy your little man! (And, it’s true what they say…boys love their moms!!)

  184. Allison

    You nailed it. Most ridiculous insane love ever. I remember comparing it to when The Grinch’s heart grew so big it burst it’s container. I also remember calling my mom SOBBING and all I could say is “I Love (sob) him so (sob) so much.” Cue Raizing Arizona. It’s all true. It’s magical. And I think lack of consistent sleep definitely contributes to the mood swings too. I’m sure I didn’t brush my teeth or comb my hair for a month so I can’t believe you sat down (ouch, right) and blogged. You ARE SuperWoman!
    BIG Congrats to you and your family.

  185. Rae Ann

    You are so open and real. That’s why I love your blog. Thanks for sharing your birth story. I also have to say the black and white photo of you and Charlie is stunning. The pic of Brian with his head resting on Charlie’s forehead made me tear up. Says all there is to say about him as a father, pure love.

  186. kaela d.

    you are wonderful. your family is beautiful. your pregnancy photos are gorgeous. your story and continual honesty is inspiring……… I can’t say enough good things. so very happy for you. good people deserve incredible things. thank you for sharing. xoxoxo :)

  187. alex

    where did you get the robe you’re wearing in the second and third pics?

  188. Amanda DeFerrari

    Emily, Brian and happy Grandparents,
    You said it all and incredibly well. Thank you for taking us along with you on this wonderful journey. You gave us the perfect descriptions of the extremes – ridiculous pain to deliriously happy and not TMI.
    As a friend of your dear mother-in-law and a grandma – I remember every single moment of giving birth 35 years ago. I also know the joy that Charlie’s grandma is feeling – ask her to write it down for you!
    Congratulations – you deserve it!

  189. Many congratulations! The photos perfectly capture those magical first weeks with a newborn. Our birth experiences were so similar. I also had a crazy, three-hour labor/delivery. Enjoy this journey! Everyday is better than the last!

  190. Erin

    It is absolutely the most take-your-breath-away kind of love. I totally oscillated between pure joy and crying in the first weeks after my daughter was born. I would sob to my husband and say, “i have just never been so happy in my life and i’m scared it will get taken away”. I relate to everything you have described…I think it gets less terrifying (my daughter is 3.5 now), but the old saying about having kids feeling like your heart is literally walking around outside of your body….its just totally true. You are never the same again. Hugs to you!

  191. nicole

    Thank you for sharing this and your feelings were perfectly described and exactly how I feel about my son. Congratulations!!

  192. brooke

    I have a Charley as well, a two year old little lady. She came quick also! My water broke around 4:30, contractions started at 5, we high-tailed it to the hospital, when we got there I was dilated to a 4. I asked for an epidural (EXACT same reason as you), they finally gave it to me and when they did the pain was still getting worse. They checked me for a second time right after I received the epidural and I was dilated to a 10. Lucky me, I got to have an epidural for pushing! She was born at 7:15 after 10 mins of pushing. My baby #1. I couldn’t sleep that night because all I wanted to do was stare at her. I remember thinking that I didn’t know how people could give birth and not believe in God after. It was such a supernatural experience and feeling. Cheers to quick births and amazing, beautiful Charley(ie) babies! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. Couldn’t agree more. There are no words!

  193. Sarah W

    Emily, thank you so much for sharing this with us! I love reading birth stories, and I loved reading yours! My labors with both my girls were fast and faster, and I remember thinking that if my friends, (who had births around the same time as me, but theirs lasted much longer), had to endure the pain I did for as long as they did then I must be a total wimp or they total superheros or something because I couldn’t imagine enduring pain that bad for that long. Then it occurred to me that maybe my pain was so bad because my labor was so short and it made sense in may head, but almost seemed like a cop out for me. So, I’m glad you verified what I thought all along about my own births. :)

    Also, you so perfectly described the feelings of intense love and yet at the same time, an uneasiness. Well, for me it’s been more like a paralyzing fear. I love my girls so much, and I’m so afraid that I’ll do something wrong and ruin their lives forever. It’s totally irrational and yet I can’t escape it. It’s getting better now, but my girls are five and one, so it’s about time. Charlie is beautiful, and handsome, and you look radiant and so comfortable as a mom already, and Brian as a dad the same. I can’t wait to see the video!

  194. Shauna

    We didn’t circumcise either. Same reasons. Just not passionate/ religious enough (but no judgement on anyone else).

    Our boys are 5 and 1 now. Even in LA, it’s still kindof unusual. Glad to know there are others.

    Congrats. Babies are the jam! And oh how boys luzzz their mamas!

  195. sweetie, congrats to all three of you. i was there for the birth of one of my nephews, so yes, all women gained a newfound respect in my eyes after that. i could never do it, that’s for sure!

    enjoy being a mommy. he truly is perfect.

  196. Wow, i read that and cried.
    I don’t normally comment on personal blogs like this especially as we don’t know each other as friends but I just wanted to thank you for posting such a moving insight into becoming a Mum. Well done and massive congratulations to you both. He is absolutely gorgeous. Heather xxx

  197. So happy for you and your family!!

  198. Pingback: happy weekend! | sweet studio

  199. Yay, I’m so happy for you that everything worked out really well. It’s so amazing isn’t it?! Oh don’t you worry about the gushing, you won’t be bake to help yourself for a good long while yet.After three years I still find myself looking into the back seat on long drives while the kids are asleep and gushing to my husband “look what we did!”

  200. Julia

    First of all- Charlie is adorable! And second- thank you for being so honest. When I’m asking my friends how was it they’re all like’ well, you know, it’s not easy but ok’. Well I don’t know and I really appreciate that you want to share your story with us.

  201. Jen

    I can SO relate to the coldness of hospital staff. I too came in on shift change and had the most amazing, sensitive nurse for about 30 minutes, then the “not so awesome” nurse came on. Luckily my labor was long, and by the time Kelley was born, it was the “nice nurses” shift again. Yay!! Be patient with your body and remind yourself of the HUGE project you just finished (Charlie) let yourself cry as you get things all back to normal body wise. The first year is crazy, annoying, stressful, fun and wonderful! Merry Xmas Missy! It’s gonna be a great 2014:)

  202. alice

    congrats, again. he really is gorgeous and wow, what a birth story. it really is amazing how everyone has such a different and unique birth story. and wow, you had a lightening fast labor for your first, opposite of my long and drawn out one :) but all worth it. enjoy the holidays.

  203. Wow, what an awesome birth story. I can’t believe how fast it was, well done! I love your way with words, I feel like you adequately expressed so many of the feelings I have/do feel every day about my children. Oh, and you think your heart could burst now, just wait for open mouth kisses. The best.

  204. So happy for you. It is such a whirlwind of an experience. I had two babies in the last two years in the middle of running a design business and it is a huge but wonderful shift. With the first I had back labor for about 5 days slow dilation etc and a 9lb baby with epidural pitosin stitches. This last 9lb baby I had all natural in an amazing space with amazing help and it was such a different experience. A doula makes a huge difference as do the care providers. Happy you are well and happy. Love

  205. mary sweeney

    Wow. Just Wow. You are such an Amazing Designer/Writer and Now Mommy:) Charlie is the Lucky one,to be Blessed with such a Beautiful Mother who knows how to do it all! Can’t wait to read more. My son is 18months this month and I can’t even begin to tell you the JOY he has brought to my life. LOVE is all I feel in my heart every minute of everyday sometimes it hurts but, in the most incredible way possible. Congratulations to both you and Brian. Welcome to the most Amazing Journey in Life:) xoxo Mary

  206. Megan W.

    Merry Christmas Emily,
    I almost didn’t comment, seeing that you already had 235, whats another stranger sharing well wishes, I thought. But then I thought, why not….that’s whats beautiful about the ol USA, we have the freedom to share love to strangers. So COOL!

    Thanks for sharing your intimate miracle. I was thinking it was so strange that a short time ago, we didn’t even know who Emily Henderson was, and then Thanks to HGTV, we all fell in love with you. Not just your design esthic, but You! and now here we are seeing you and your husband share this intimate miracle of life with us.
    This is just the beginning of a million amazing moments. My tip, keep a little notebook in the kitchen to write down all the funny things Charlie will say over the years. It will be the best memory to read to him later!
    Happy, Happy, Happy. and Thank You,

  207. Congratulations Emily! What a beautifully written story – you had me in tears :) What a fast labor!!! Enjoy the holidays with your new beautiful boy!

    xo, Emily

  208. Jenny M

    Congratulations to you all!! Our own Charlie was born last December 12th and it has been such a happy time in our lives. You will start to notice the name “Charlie” more in movies and on TV. They are always a good guy or someone best friend or partner. Merry Christmas to you and your!

  209. Thank you so much for sharing. I had my first last year at this time. It was (and still is) magical.
    Also, thank you for being honest about the pain. It was harder than I could have ever imagined. It bugs me when other moms minimize the pain… Makes me wonder if they really felt what I felt???

  210. Danielle

    Congratulations! And thanks for sharing your beautiful story. I don’t have kids (never felt the urge), but it warmed my heart to hear that you and your husband are so happy. May you always feel this way. :)

  211. Emily! Congratulations to you and your sweet husband, Charlie landed himself some great parents! This post is so wonderful, thank you for sharing your story. You had me laughing and crying in the span of a few minutes. I read your blog a lot, but I didn’t know you had a miscarriage last year. I just went through that myself, and even though I know “how common” it is, the knowledge that you went through it and then went on to have this beautiful experience and beautiful child gives me a lot of comfort. Thank you for always being so open and honest and HILARIOUS! You are the best. xoxo

  212. Lani

    What an amazing first birth! Average first birth is usually 12-14 hours, from what my midwife told me, so despite the “pain” you rocked it in less than 4 hours. Congratulations, your baby is perfect. On another note, totally random to your birth story, just curious, what is that pillow Charlie is sleeping on? I was thinking of getting one for my baby too but haven’t been sure what to get. It looks very comfy and safe.

  213. Kristin

    Congratulations! He is beautiful and perfect. This was so beautifully and honestly written. I really think you captured what it feels like to be a new mom. I loved reading it. I have three kids (7, 4 and 18 months) and I know exactly what you mean by being in love with the baby and missing him when you are right there next to him. I still feel that way about my 7 year old sometimes (although not as intensely as when he was a newborn, thankfully).

    My first baby’s birth was exactly like yours (even the time of day and number of hours), but ended in an emergency c-section because he was in distress. Turns out he had the cord wrapped around his neck and his arm was wrapped up in the cord, over his head. No wonder I couldn’t push him out! Anyway, it worked out the best way possible because we were both safe and healthy. I did have the baby blues the most with that birth. I remember crying every day around 3:30 or 4 p.m. for about a month. Then I slowly started to feel more normal. I didn’t have the baby blues with either of the other two kids, so I guess you never know how you will feel.

    Oh, and I know people say that if your first labor was fast the others will be even faster, but that is not always the case. My first was as quick as yours, but my second baby was 14 hours of slow, steady labor, ending in a vaginal birth. My third was quicker–about 7 hours from the first contraction to the birth. One thing that seems to be true is that each baby gets bigger though–my first was 8.12, second was 8.15 and the third was 10 pounds!

    Enjoy your beautiful baby!

  214. Adriane


    Profound thank you for sharing this from a mama to be in less than a week! Hoping for my Christmas baby. Your story helped me feel strong and ready to do this thing hopefully with the honesty, grace, and vulnerability that you have shown.
    Peace and love to you and your family over these special holidays!

    And a thank you to all who commented – what a beautiful community that has blossomed.
    xo. Adriane

  215. Sarah

    Congratulations again on the birth of your little sweet pea :) Life after baby is definately a challenge for the first year. There are a lot of developmental, emotional & physical changes that go on. As a mother of 3, I can tell you that most people don’t talk about the challenges that we go through the first two weeks, which always seem to have the most impact: breast engorgement, sleepless nights, baby blues, bleeding…and just trying to get through the day…like taking a shower. Then the new routines. But trust me, once you get the hang of it, you will get into a rhythm, and life be easier.

    I am so happy that you have your mother in law helping you because that is what family and community is. A support system.
    I wish you and your family many years of happiness and health and lots of patience :)

  216. Kate

    I’m due in February and a friend forwarded this to me as a great in-depth birth story – thanks so much for sharing.

    COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY OFF TOPIC: I love the robe you are wearing in your maternity photos. Where is it from????

  217. Lauren

    Thanks so much for sharing. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share. Enjoy your first Christmas together. :-) (And yes, love the robe!)

  218. Anne

    Congratulations, Emily! Your story is full of amazing blessings! I have five sons, and the feeling was just as intense with each birth. That “first love” rush happened for me every time. The amazing part truely happens when it grows into “forever love”. Enjoy every moment! Try to think to yourself everyday ” this is the best time of my life so far. Slow down and soak it in.”
    BTY… My youngest, who is 17 months, is named Charlie, too. :)

  219. This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself, making me laugh and cry! We have had two girls and are expecting our third (a boy!) in April. Isn’t it amazing the way the experience of motherhood can bond two strangers?! Bless you guys!

  220. Bee

    In the weeks following my baby boy’s birth (now 15 months) I sort of freaked out about the outside world. I hung down comforters over all the windows and was just generally convinced there were horrible people in the world intending to harm my child. Looking back on it now it seems loony but at the time the hormones had me conVINCED. That love you describe scares me-badly. It’s terrifying and the most incredible love I have/will ever experience. Now we are about to do it all over again. Might as well keep ‘em coming:) Congratulations!

  221. Congratulations, and welcome to Motherhood. It’s one crazy ride that sends you nuts and at the same time you never want to get off.

  222. Rebecca

    Loved reading your birth story! Brought back sweet memories of my 3. Love reading your blog as you totally crack me up, but are so honest and sweet at the same time.

    A couple of things I wanted to mention: Yes – arriving at shift change can be considered bad timing. But please remember that when this happens, the nurses leaving their shift are passing along important information that enables the next shift to be aware of all things pertaining to the care of their patients. This is, after all, their important job – to care for you in this most delicate, terrifying time. They may have 3 or even 5 patients or more they have been caring for over the previous 12 hours (especially if short staffed as can happen) and it is their job to ensure the next shift is properly informed. While many of their patients may be happy, excited – there are also those mothers addicted to drugs coming in to give birth to a baby they could care less about. My daughter worked over 3 years as a nurse caring for the new moms and babies after birth, and I can tell you they do get emotional about their patients and these situations are heartbreaking. Watching a newborn experience withdrawal is a very hard thing. But I digress……These nurses have spent 12 hours caring for their patients (sometimes never having had time to eat or hardly pee) and informing the next shift of nurses is a very important part of their job. But nurses are people- and there are good ones, bad ones and some who just need to go home and go to bed. But I believe the good ones far outweigh the bad ones. If you are admitted during shift change and feel your needs aren’t being met – keep pushing that button or have the person with you walk out to the nurse’s station to get someone.

    My second point is starting Charlie on a bottle once a day. Maybe you are already doing this. My youngest daughter waited until her baby was 5 weeks to give the first bottle (as told by the lactation specialist) but found that was too long. At 5 weeks she didn’t want any bottle in her mouth – just that lovely sweet breast. It was not an easy task to get her used to the bottle after that. My other daughter introduced the bottle at 2 weeks and it was very easy! Both daughters expressed milk – didn’t use formula. It was so wonderful for Dad to give the baby a bottle and have that special bond holding/feeding and also good for Mommy to get some sleep. You will need sleep!!!! For both girls and my niece, right at about 4 – 6 weeks the baby wouldn’t sleep more than 30 – 40 minutes at a time. It’s exhausting having no more than 30 – 40 minutes of sleep AND taking care of a new baby. Try the bottle now if you haven’t yet.

    Enjoy this first Christmas with your family :) You have been blessed beyond measure! Can’t wait to see what you did with your nursery!!

  223. Charlene

    Emily and Brian and Charlie!!!! I am over the moon for you! Emily you better claim that natural birth…you guys rocked it out!I had my boy at home with a midwife and no drugs…the things my mother and my midwife told me that helped the most were these 1) The pain will increase but it gets to a certain point and you think it will be unbearable, but it doesn’t get any worse and at the point you think you can’t do it…you can. 2) Motherhood is hard work and that pain serves as a bond and prepares you for what is ahead. Love love love all your smiling faces! Enjoy your baby-moon! It is the best, craziest, most intense ride ever. And it goes FAST!

  224. avital

    I like you so much!

  225. Angela

    Emily — Thanks for sharing! Here’s what a doula told me recently that totally clicked (and I tend to be a mainstream medicine person, but this is SO true.) The biggest mistake mainstream medicine makes is to undermine and second guess a woman going through delivery who has 18 years of mothering before her. She said there is a huge difference between telling a woman “hey youre in pain lets give you a drug and leave you alone” vs “yes this is painful. you feel like you can’t do it, but I’ll be here with you and help you.” I had an epidural and LOVED it, but I got sent home from the hospital twice! They told me that I probably wouldn’t even have the baby that day. By the time they finally admitted me, she was born within 1 1/2 hours. They sent me home when my contractions were 45 seconds every 2 minutes. What on earth? I am sure some women are wimpy but I really hated the condescension and it was very undermining to my confidence as a mom.

  226. Laura

    Yay! So awesome =) Those baby blues su*k! We had our third child 10 months ago and no matter how prepared you are for them, it happens anyway! Even though I kept telling myself, I’ve got this, I’m ok, everything is great. But it does go away and you forget all about it and then you want another =) Congrats!

  227. Nik

    Congratulations to you- what a beautiful story! When I had my son, someone told me that having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside your body for the rest of your life. Kind of weird but oh so true. Enjoy every moment :-)

  228. Laurel

    It is impossible to accurately communicate how utterly amazing it is to give birth, to meet your child for the first time, and how you transform instantly into a different person. The experience is too intense, too monumental for words. Your heart just grew with that little guy and the swell of love and fear for his future with be things you will slowly get acclimated to. But really, it’s intense from the start.

    As I type this, my 10 month old son is napping in the car. I’m sitting with him and everyone else is inside a family members house for a Christmas party. And I am way happier to be here, listening to his light, sweet snores and I don’t care if he sleeps for hours. Because I am hopelessly devoted to him and his incredible exsistence gives me the greatest joy I’ve ever known. Again, the words fall short but you the the picture!

    Enjoy your very Merry Christmas Emily!

  229. Brooke

    And now, every time someone else tells you their birth story, you’ll immediately remember your own and it will all wash over you again. It’s the best gift that you keep getting over and over again. :)

  230. Shelby

    Oh my gosh! Your story is awesome! I too had a super quick birth. I intended on going natural but when I was transitioning and didn’t know I was fully dialated, I too said give me the epidural lol! But of course, once I got to the hospital it was already time to push! I know exactly what you mean about crying over something happening to your baby. After my daughter was born I would weep thinking about all of the people in this world who want to hurt her. From child molesters to boyfriends who will make her feel like she’s not good enough. I would just bawl at the thought that anyone could hurt one of these precious miracles. I love her with everything I am. I would do anything to protect her.

    I’m so happy for you and Brian! Merry Christmas!

  231. Andi

    Charlie is BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations! You are just going to love him more and more everyday. Hard to imagine but true.

  232. Lizbeth

    Really lovely. I share many of your sentiments…the joy the fear… It really is so worth it. Congratulations. You now know what unconditional love feels like.

  233. This was such a great birth story. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with such nasty hospital workers. I apologize on behalf of us all- it shouldn’t be like that!

    Your photos are beautiful and I appreciate your honesty. Labor is one of those things that I’ve feared forever. It’s nice to know that you were planning on blending the epidural with a doula. I’ve always pictured them as separate but I really like that- dogearing that one for sure.

  234. B

    Congrats to u and bri. I could make out w Charlie all day, god – he is a doll! Glad he’s here and in your arms. I had baby blues too, hang in there, it gets better! I have two boys, Sid and Hal. And what’s rock star cool is that -You’ll still experience that ‘overwhelming catch your breath pleasure – I’m gonna cry’ moment because ‘I’m so happy’ in the future. It will be around different situations – like your dad teaching Charlie how to fish or Bri teaching how to ride a bike or watching as Charlie try’s to remember his lines in a play…you’ll be smile / crying and nobody will know why!! Only you, because this is what it’s all about! Kisses to u and more kisses to Bri ;) and loads of kisses to Charlie! Xoxoxo Oh, and ur gonna b an awesome momma!

  235. melissa

    you are so sweet. i love how you described your feelings. after i had my first baby i read somewhere (one of a zillion birth stories i read) that the new mom felt like the president should be calling her to congratulate her. i thought that was a perfect description of how important and special it feels, even though like you said it happens millions of times a day! it is incredible how much special magic is going on in the world that no one thinks about until it’s their turn. best wishes and merry christmas!

  236. I love this post! So sweet and funny and poignant and honest and true. I love how much you love Brian, by the way. So nice to see.

    And about loving a child so much, I get your tension totally. I love my little ones so much it really does make my heart ache. And I hurt to know they just don’t fathom how deeply and completely I love them. For me, I think it’s been a window into the heart of God, and his love for us.

    All three of my babies were totally different deliveries, and my most recent (a son in September) was super hard and fast like yours. INTENSE. I wouldn’t want to do it that fast again. So give yourself plenty of credit, and don’t let anyone give you grief about how quickly it went, because that pain really is insane.

    And also – the “IT’S IN MY BUTT!!!” part made me laugh out loud, so my husband asked what I was laughing about so I read it to him and we both had a good laugh. So weird, and so true. It’s funny how much having a baby is nothing like how you expect it to be, eh?

    And finally – I noticed (on Instagram anyways) that any time you post anything baby you get tons of unsolicited advice. And while I get it – there must be something biological about a mother’s need to give advice, especially to new moms – it makes me grumpy too. I had so much advice with my first baby (97% of which was either unnecessary or just plain bad) and I doubted myself a bunch or got hung up on things that didn’t matter. So here’s MY advice – I’m hoping you’re just letting it all roll off your back. Ask questions to wise people you trust, and let all of the unwelcome advice fly by. I still remember when I was out on a walk with my new baby boy and a woman I’d never met before stopped my on the street corner. She oohed and awwed over my tiny son. Then she told me “you just do what’s right for him and right for your family. Don’t worry about what everyone else says. Trust your heart, and you’ll be fine.” You too, Emily!

    Wishing you lots of snuggles and sweet moments and even some sleep over the holidays!!

  237. Mar

    Congratulations! I know you’ve prepped the blog in advance but I keep checking for baby/home updates. The instagram photo with you in the striped top is incredible.

    I delivered at Kaiser Sunset, too, and didn’t have the greatest experience. I also dilated to 10 very quickly with no time for meds. I hear the birthing experience in France is incredible, complete with uber gourmet food and massages.

    BTW, I recently met an interior designer to the stars at a party and I was waxing poetic about you and how I think your aesthetic is more appealing to me than anything I’d fine in a design magazine. Oops, hope I didn’t offend her. :)

  238. oh this is so amazing and bought back a flood of memories from my own babies births…I was on a ‘high’ and I can totaly relate!!
    wow you go girl -what a super fast labour…you were labouring in your sleep – lucky you!! Kenn little man wanted to come out and play! Thats fabulous and Im so happy for you!!

  239. Siri

    Indeed every single birth story is unique-in-all-the-world.
    There’s little I love out there in the world than a shared birth story from a friend or a complete stranger. They all leave me in tears. You have expressed it all so well here and you’ll be so glad to have this record of your experiences.

    Funny thing is, I was reading along, and then you mentioned the date and the time that he was born. Our own second-born son was born on December 7th, a three hour labor (WAY,WAY MORE INTENSE than his bro’s 13-14 hour labor) that really started getting going – WHAMO – just as we were preparing to leave and go to our midwife’s house. Only, that was 11 years ago. Thank you for bringing me back to that wonder filled day.

  240. Wow. I’m in tears. I went to your site to find decorating inspiration for our new flat and didn’t expect to read such a beautifully written birth story! I am actually in my last few weeks of pregnancy with my second full-term pregnancy (I had three miscarriages before this one) and this is the first birth story I’ve read since becoming pregnant! Thank you for writing so candidly about your experience. It is a good reminder what a miracle all of this is! Welcome to the motherhood club! xx

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  242. Karin

    That was my story too! Although my water broke at 1:00 in the afternoon, I didn’t have any contractions until 6pm – then BOOM! three hours later my baby was here! I also had an argumentative nurse who didn’t believe me when I said (calmly!) “This baby is coming. NOW.” She made me wait for the epidural until it was too late, also. And baby #2 was super fast too! But I had to smile when you said “for the next 18 years…” My girls are now 30 and 25, and guess what? I still worry ALL THE TIME! Congrats! Charlie is beautiful.

  243. Kristin

    Lovely pictures, great story…pretty much my 2nd birth…now I know why the nurse midwife suddenly started to listen when I told her I felt like I was going to poop out a bowling ball. Decided that if there was a #3, we would go to the hospital & sit in the waiting room after contraction #1.

  244. Kelley

    First of all, HUGE congratulations to you guys! Charlie looks to be just about one of the sweetest boys I’ve ever seen.
    But I did want to TRY to answer your question, since I SO understand your fears (I think most mothers do) and have lived them out, firsthand. I remember after I had my first child, my soon-to-be 3 year-old daughter, those exact feelings of staring at them while they sleep and actually missing them. In fact, even now on the most challenging days, I still miss my daughter after she’s in bed for night. :) I remember putting her in her crib every night and being crippled by the fear of something happening to her and how I absolutely could NOT continue to live if something ever did (again, this is a feeling that doesn’t really ever go away).
    Then I had my son. He had a congenital heart defect and, even though his prognosis was good, he died unexpectedly when he was 5 months old. I promise you, I’m not saying this to upset you or make you any more afraid than you already are (if you even get a chance to read this in the first place), I’m telling you this because I’ve realized over and over again how much having children (and losing them) teaches you so much about life. Things you’re just completely unaware of until you experience having a child yourself. Having my son taught me about my capacity to love, losing him taught me about the strength I had in me that I never knew I posessed.
    I’m expecting another son in about 6 weeks and, in ways, I’m more afraid than ever. But one thing I know I can expect and embrace is that I know I will love this new little baby with my whole heart, just as I love his brother and sister with my whole heart. With that overwhelming, overflowing, crying-every-time-you-even-think-about-it kind of emotion. Having him will make my life even richer, more purposeful than it already is and that is just about the greatest thing I can imagine. Having a child makes everything else seem so small and insignificant, I just can’t imagine that there’s anything more valuable in life.
    I wish you so much luck with your Charlie. Hold him close and embrace the fact that you only get to live every day once.. even when your days seem to blend together and feel routine, there’s just one of that day and then you get a new one and you’re both a little bit older.

    Love, light and happiness in the new year.

  245. What an absolutely beautiful story. Congratulations!

  246. Alicia


    Would you please please share where your robe in the maternity pics is from? It’s beautiful! I’m due with our first baby girl in a few weeks and would feel much prettier lounging around the house for most of Jan/Feb in a pretty robe. :)

  247. Kendra A.

    I’ll join the throng of well-wishers and say how excited I am for you and your sweet, new family. And I’m trying not to hate you for your three-hour birth; for my boys, they were 13 and 11 hours. No epidural because I’m insane. But I want to thank you for being so humble and accepting and realistic about the comparison of birth stories. That you realize the difference in being given a natural birth and being willing to share that with us is really remarkable and, I hope, so encouraging to women who are trying to make decisions about their own process.

    He’s so beautiful. Truly. Congratulations.

  248. Kris

    What an awesome experience! Most first time Moms push for 1-3 hours. Seems like you were made for it!

  249. Ann

    What an adorable boy! Your delivery mirrored both of mine in length. And yes, your second will come quicker. My first contraction to delivery with son #1 was 4 1/2 hours. With my second son it was 3 hours and my water did not break (actually the doctor broke it) until after I was at the hospital. First child was a week early, second was a day early. I never did write down the sequence of events but here it is 23 and 21 years later and I still remember it like it was yesterday!

  250. tammyCA

    Congratulations! Yes, what you say about the intense love & protective feeling is all very true…I never thought I could love that deeply, or worry just as intensely! But, it really is the greatest thing that ever happened to me & like you, you feel incredibly blessed. :) And, cheers…Have a Happy New Year!

  251. Congratulations again! He’s so adorable.

    Your birth story sounds about like my first two (my third, my daughter, was completely different and uncooperative, which I think was a glimpse into my future). Super fast and super painful. Before I had my oldest, I remember reading all this stuff that said “it will be the worst pain you feel in your life, it will feel like you’re being torn in half.” And I thought “well, I’m sure it hurts, but being torn in half? That can’t be right.” When I was in labor I was just lying there thinking “yup, this is the worst pain ever and it really does feel about like I’m being torn in half.” But you forget about it right after, and you get a baby out of the deal.

  252. Min

    First off, congratulations! Charlie is absolutely beautiful!

    Second, thank you so much for this post! I’m a (relatively) new mom and I’ve been struggling to put into words how I feel about my son and you nailed it on the head. The immense and incredible love you have for him and yet the chronic worry for his well being is hard to describe but you did it so well! I’ll tell you, my son just turned one and the feelings you described in your last paragraph are still there. Its wonderful and breathtaking.

  253. Julie

    I loved reading this blog post because you totally nailed how I feel about my daughter (now 2.5 years old). Having a child is the most frightening and amazing gift. It is like your heart now beats outside your body. Congratulations to you and your husband. It only gets better!

  254. Congrats! Wow, what an incredible experience! Thanks for being so honest and candid as there are many things about birthing that I’m curious (and afraid) of, being that I’m not even pregnant but thinking about the future…
    Charlie is definitely a beautiful baby boy!
    And PLEASE share where you found that gorgeous Kimono that you wore in your maternity shoot!

  255. jHill

    aw congrats! I have a Charley of my own, now 3. He’s amazing and every few months I think THIS is my favorite age. But the truth it’s all my favorite. I’m so glad you wrote about how painful it was. My labor and delivery was SO PAINFUL and when I hear people calling it beautiful and magical I’m all WHAT?! Next time I might go for an epidural too. Enjoy your little Char!

  256. Stephanie

    Apologies if you already wrote about this in the comments but how was you recovery? I had the a 3 hour labor with epidural but same scary fast and furious contractions after my water broke. I feel like my recovery was so slow, on meds for a month and only finally feeling better at six weeks (this week). I couldn’t walk very well for that whole month, I still don’t walk quite right :/

  257. Kirsten

    Just found this birth story through your post on Design Mom, and my jaw is on the floor over the similarities between Charlie’s birth and that of my now 15 year-old son. I’ve always felt rather alone in my birth experience, but almost everything was the same as you describe, from the first early-morning contractions to the water breaking, to the mad dash to the hospital, to the condescending hospital staff, even down to the freaking time of day! My son was born at 8:36 after a 3-hour labor. I was fairly traumatized by the speed of the birth, compounded by the hospital staff’s unfortunate attitudes about how I couldn’t possibly know what was going on since I was only the mother. But I recovered quickly because my boy, like yours, was perfect and beautiful. Now he’s a smart, sassy sophomore in HS who plays sax in jazz band, rhythm guitar in a rock band and will still talk to me about his own and the world’s problems. I’m so glad he was born. Can’t wait to learn what Charlie will be like at 15. Congratulations. Thanks for writing his birth story!

  258. Casey Deborah

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  260. Jessica

    Great birth story! Congratulations! I have had 2 fast natural births and they were amazing, but intense because both times they seemed to shock my system they happened so fast. Took weeks to recover from my 2nd, but in the end we are very blessed and so proud to have 2 happy, healthy little ones. Enjoy:)

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  262. Monika

    LOVED reading this post. “It’s in my butt! The pressure’s in my BUTT!” Hilarious. I remember walking in late labor with my husband and thinking, “Oh my god, am I pooping? I think I just pooped in my Depends!!” I had two natural births and, like you, consider myself blessed to have been able to have them. If someone has already decided to have an epidural I do not judge in any way because that sh*t hurts! Love your stories, style or mommy. :)

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