She’s Here!

She's Here!

Hi folks!

Yes, my granddaughter is finally here! And she came in trailblazing, not unlike many newborns who come into this world with their own set of plans—not ours.

Although admitted last Thursday, my daughter began labor in earnest early Friday morning, five days past her due date. By midmorning, her water had broken.

Ladies in Waiting

Ladies in Waiting

“The contractions are three minutes apart,” her husband texted us, the three ladies-in-waiting—mom, step-mom, and aunt.

We grabbed water, fruit, snacks, and gum and headed to the hospital, prepared to hunker down in the waiting room. But when we stopped by the Family Birthing Center to register our arrival, we were surprised to learn that we were allowed in the birthing room.

Peeking out from the cracked doorway, my son-in-law motioned us to come in. The morning sun streamed through large welcoming windows, warming the dimly-lit room. We tiptoed in, just past the privacy curtain.

It felt like we had wandered onto sacred ground.

My daughter lay still, curled up on her left side, knees to chest—well, as close as they could be. She gave us a quick smile and waved hello, the IV tube swinging in its wake. We smiled and waved back and then tried to disappear, tucking ourselves at the foot of her bed, out of her direct line of sight.

Behind us was the awaiting bassinet—clear, pristine, adorned only with a soft, beach ball and bunny rabbit blanket. But nested beside it was a host of mysterious medical equipment reserved for “complications.”  I chose to keep only the memory of the blanket, praying it would be all this baby needed.

For ninety minutes, we watched my daughter labor. I’m not sure any of us breathed as we stared into the beeping monitor that tracked her blood pressure, the baby’s heart rate, and the rolling mountains of contractions. 

Apparently, the monitor was a split second behind reality.

“Is it over?” she asked her husband, again and again.

“I’m not sure,” he quickly learned to say after one false read. “Is it?” He’d ask her gently, then pause and say, “You’re doing a great, really great!”

Then peaks became higher. And more frequent. And then doubles and triples filled the screen with only shallow valleys of relief.

“It hurts!” she whispered, sucking in a sharp breath as the jagged ascent reached its crescendo. “It hurts so MUCH!”

And we three ladies-in-waiting held hands, squeezed them, and then shot each other that knowing look, that it’s-gonna-be-worth-it look as we each nodded in agreement, remembering our own labor pains. 

But when it was time to check the labor’s progress, we left the room.  And when we learned that all that pain had produced NO LABOR PROGRESS (still only 1 cm dilated) we unanimously decided it was time to relocate to the waiting room and let my son-in-law update us as he could.

“Just had 3 major contractions about 2 min apart,” he texted. And when we asked what we could do: “Other words of encouragement for me to say to be would be great. Running out of things to say.” And then he noted, “She also said she is going to kill someone is she isn’t more dilated at the next exam.”

Although I’ve birthed four children, I felt like a rookie as we waited that next six hours for her labor to progress. So much has changed in the last thirty years. With cervix softeners, birthing bathtubs, peanut shaped exercise balls to help the baby’s head drop, “light” epidurals, and terms like “laboring down” to make sure the mother is exactly primed for pushing, I relinquished any expertise I thought I might have had as the level of detail began to bounce off my numbed and weary brain.

I listened. And tried to learn. But mostly just prayed this baby would get here safely—and soon.

Around 6 p.m., we decided to leave the hospital, get dinner, and come back at 9:30 p.m. for what we thought was going to be a quick delivery.


Finally, after a twenty-hour labor, at 12:36 a.m. the next day, my granddaughter was born! I couldn’t wait to hold her.

But I had to.

Skin-to-skin contact

Skin-to-Skin Contact

In fairness, we’d been warned. “Visitors are welcomed one hour after the birth,” we’d been told more than once. Apparently, mother and child “skin to skin” contact and feeding is a priority, even before birth measurements are taken.

But when one hour became two, I pleaded for a peek, even if I couldn’t hold her yet.

And it was worth it. 

The beaming father led us into the mission-accomplished birthing room, still dimly lit but now brightened by my daughter’s wide smile and eyes lit from within by that love-that’s-like-no-other. The bassinet’s blanket covered her child loosely as the little one scooted, snorted, and made those unforgettable newborn sounds as she nuzzled and finally snoozed on her mother’s chest.

Twelve hours and a good night’s sleep later, I finally held her. And twelve hours after that, I was on my way back home, 3000 miles away.

Nana B and Blakely Faye

Nana B and Blakely Faye

I had hoped to spend a few days with her, not just a few hours. But after twelve days, four days longer than I had planned, my body was telling me it needed to get back home.  Paralysis tends to be my own unpredictable “baby.” I never know when it’s going to demand attention that I can only give it at home.

So when I finally held my granddaughter, Blakely Faye, who shares my middle name as well as my mother’s, I cradled her close, cooed to her, inhaled that indescribable newborn scent, and drank her in with all that my eyes could hold.

She was beautiful.

Blakely Faye

Blakely Faye

Her deep blue eyes startled me with their alertness. They darted back and forth, studying my face. It felt she was memorizing every line and wrinkle of my face just as intently as I was memorizing hers.

And what I didn’t memorize, has been texted, SnapChatted, and FaceTimed nonstop for the last five days!

So my Thought for this Thursday, a switch up on my father’s classic, “What’s planned is possible,” is:

Sometimes we have to let go of what’s planned in order to hold tight to what’s possible.

Thanks for letting me share my birthing experience. What have you or your family learned from yours? I’d love to know.

My best—always,


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  1. Congratulations! Granddaughters are so special and yours is so beautiful. She really does have a sweet face and the bows, don’t you just love them?
    My oldest granddaughter turned 20 last week and we have been best friends since she was born.
    Have so much fun with her!

    • Rebecca Faye Smith Galli says

      Thank you, Doreen! Yes, I’m looking forward to life as Nana B! I’ve heard such wonderful things about this new role.