The Birth Story of Max Valentine

I wrote the first rendition of Max’s birth story when he was just a day old, but I wanted to also share a more specific timeline of how things happened. Plus, now I have all of my amazing birth photos to match the story! Here’s how things went …
Wednesday, August 8th, 11:41 pm | texted my sister a picture of the headband I was sewing
Thursday, August 9th, 12:30 am | crawled into bed, feeling a little crampy, but nothing major 
2:20 am | pretty sure my water broke, why I second guessed this, I’ll never know
2:37 am | pressure waves every 3 minutes and lasting 45 seconds so I texted my midwife
2:46 am | texted our doula and birth photographer
3:01 am | texting with my birth team about my progress, still using emoticons so I must have been feeling ok :)
3:04 am | woke up my mom to come be with Jemma
3:12 am | pressure waves every 2 minutes
3:39 am | Dominic is packing the car, I hop in the shower because I’m super uncomfortable
3:57 am | doula and birth photographer arrived, I was overwhelmed with how intense my contractions were and immediately told them I didn’t think I could ride anywhere in the car. My doula told me I was in transition and I informed her there was absolutely no way that was true. Textbook transition :) I was also heard saying: 
“They are coming so fast. I just can’t stay on top of them.” 
“This is not what I had planned!” 
“Dominic get me some water.” 
And then, “Why is Dominic taking so long?” 
Apparently, I’m not the nicest laboring mama.
4:21 am | reached down and slightly in maybe a few inches and definitely felt baby’s head, my baby was coming AND FAST
4:34 am | head started crowning
4:36 am | head is born, but not rotating (slight shoulder dystocia)
I move to McRobert’s position (on my back with knees pulled up to my ears)
4:41 am | Max Valentine is born!  
Although, we didn’t officially name him until later that evening.
5:19 am | I cut the cord and deliver my placenta a few minutes later
After all the birth business is done, Max and I wrap up in towels and blankets and snuggle on the bathroom floor. Our midwife arrives shortly after and deem us both in perfect health! I still can’t believe Max came so fast that our midwife didn’t even make it! Thank the Lord for our fabulous doula! I had a little stitching in my lady parts while Max had his newborn assessment.
Our sweet photographer snapped adorable newborn pictures of Mr. Max, our 10 pound, 4 ounce and 20.5 inch long handsome boy …
But most of all, I love this picture of our whole birth team; everyone who helped Max Valentine come earth side. I’m indebted to these ladies (and my fabulous husband) for life!
My sweet Max,
I love you to bits and am so happy we share such a wonderful birth story! It was definitely hard work, but holding you in my arms that day and every day since has been worth it. Thank you so much for working with me to be born. All my little pep talks must have paid off :) I love you to the moon and back and can’t wait to celebrate each August 9th in your honor. What a special day it is and will always be. The day you came into my life.
Love forever, Mama

Our photographer took over 200 pictures during Max’s birth. I love every one of them and am so happy we incorporated professional photographs into our birth plan. I compiled quite a few of them in a fancy lil’ Shutterfly book. Take a peek if you like!

Shutterfly photo books offer a wide range of artful designs and embellishments to choose from.


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  1. Katie Shannon says

    Oh my word this is just amazing and so sweet and real.

  2. says

    Wow, such a beautiful birth story! Wonderful!! xxx

  3. Jelli @ Jellibean Jo says

    What a great story! Our doula was indispensable too, and arrived about an hour before the midwife. So happy to read everything went well. You've got me seriously considering a photographer friend for next time. (If we're blessed with another, that is.) Thanks for sharing, Gretchen. Off to read about your wool dipes now. I do fluff, but don't have wool (yet.)

  4. says

    Beautiful. Birth is such a miracle, every single time! Thanks for sharing, Jen. So I am crying now. Happy tears :D Max Valentine is a lovely name – bless your family!

  5. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Thank you so much :)

  6. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Let me know if you have any questions about wool!

  7. Lindsay @ youarether says

    I found you through Julie's blog — these photos are incredible! What a sweet birth story.

  8. Ali Walker says

    So Beautiful!! The photo's are amazing! Sent by Julie:)

  9. ThatMamaGretchen says

    So glad you found me :)

  10. melanie says

    love this! i'd love to feature your story on our blog. i found you from lacie's blog and continued to read on:) check us out and if you are interested email us. you don't have to do any work! i can pull it all from here! thanks! melanie

  11. Christine Scott says

    That LCS Photography is some gal ;) So glad to have been part of it all. Be sure to thank Max for making his entrance before I headed out of state. tee hee.

  12. ThatMamaGretchen says

    LCS is the bomb for sure!

  13. says

    Yep, needed to read this one again, too. *tears* You are a blessed, blessed mama! God had great mercy on you to get your little man here in such a hurry!

  14. says

    Awesome! What a big boy he was! Thank goodness for a fabulous doula and for knowing the right position to get into to deal with the dystocia.

    • says

      She was/is the best. So calm and very decisive which was what we needed!


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