May 11, 2016

Our Birth Story: Nate Jacob Hodne

1We welcomed our beautiful boy on Sunday, April 24th at 12:07 am. He weighed 7.4 ounces and measured at 21 inches long. But let me rewind…

On that previous Friday, already at 41 weeks and 1 day, I had a sonogram appointment to make sure there was enough fluid in my body to keep him in there a few days longer. Although I was already scheduled to get induced on the following Tuesday, we prayed he would naturally arrive before then. After Keith and I left the sonogram appointment, he went off to work and I started walking around the Union Square Market picking up dried flowers, a bag of produce and some other odds and ends. I walked around the city for a couple of hours, got some lunch, even shopped a little (typical – ha!)  and then hopped on the train to make my way home. At around 6PM, I started to feel some intense pressure on my pelvis, which I’ve felt before, but it felt a lot stronger than I’ve felt in the past. Honestly, even up until that day, I barely felt anything major throughout my entire pregnancy, didn’t get any Braxton Hicks  and slept reasonably well with the exception of being woken up by some killer Charlie Horse cramps in my calf a few times, something I would occasionally get, even before getting pregnant. So when I started feeling the cramping, I was on high alert.

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I should also add a major factor to this story. A few weeks before I was due, Keith and I decided to get a doula. For those of you who don’t know what a doula is, you’re not alone. I first learned about Liz, and in general, what a doula was, through a conversation with my best friend. She told me about one of her friends at work, who used Liz and sang her praises. In general, her role is to help educate the couple with everything leading up to the labor, everything in between and then, to be there for the entire labor itself. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t afraid of the labor itself, but more afraid of what happens before: how will I know it’s time? when do we go to the hospital? will my water break? do I get an epidural? etc. So for those reasons alone (and so many others), after getting Liz, we felt so much more at ease going into the experience. Initially, Keith was for me getting a doula more than I was, but in  the end, I’m so happy we did.

Okay, so back to the story. So yes, it was Friday evening, around 6PM and I started feeling light cramping. I knew that at this point in my pregnancy, cramping was normal, so I didn’t jump to any conclusions. The cramping sort of continued for the next hour or two, but it was pretty tolerable and I still wasn’t convinced that I was in labor. I text messaged Liz (our doula) and updated her with what was happening and that I’d keep her in the loop if the cramping intensified. It was around 9PM that I knew I was definitely in labor. What started out as what felt like period cramps, progressed into the type of cramps I read about. The “you will most certainly know when you’re in labor” type of cramps. I knew that our plan was that we’d wait it out at home for as long as we can and once the contractions got to be 3 minutes apart, we’d make our way to the hospital. The contractions, while spaced out, started getting so intense and the only place I felt even remotely comfortable was in the bathroom. Keith tried to be there for me, talk to me, rub my back, but at that point, I just wanted to be left alone while I tried to loudly breathe through each contraction. Luckily, our neighbors knew I was in labor and due any day because I HAD to have woken them up. I was that loud and when it’s happening, you don’t care about anything except just getting through it. Finally, around 1AM, I gave Liz the green light to make her way over. Once she arrived, she helped track the timing of my contractions  (how many minutes apart and how long they were lasting) and informed me that if I wanted, we could still hang out in the house before rushing to the hospital. To be quite honest, at that point, the pain was so extreme, I made up my mind that I wanted an epidural and I the sooner I got it, the better.

Keith loaded all of our things into the car and we made our way from Brooklyn to Manhattan, with me moaning in the back. We also knew that once I was admitted, I wouldn’t be able to eat (a HUGE concern of mine) so on the car ride over, between each contraction,  I forced down a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Once we got to the hospital, the nurse informed me that I was 6 centimeters dilated! You have to be 10 centimeters to deliver a baby so I was considered to be pretty far along! Based on that and the intensity of my contractions, everyone thought that it was going to be a relatively quick labor. Even knowing that, the pain was so extreme, I turned to Keith and Liz and told them that I really needed an epidural to make it through the rest of the labor. To be honest, for some reason, I thought they’d be disappointed at me for not being able to do it naturally, but in hindsight, what a ridiculously stupid thought. I wasn’t trying to prove anything and Keith was 100% supportive in whatever I needed to do to get through it. Once the epidural kicked in, I felt a million times better and felt like I could actually enjoy what was happening! I made a couple of calls to my parents, text messaged my closest friends and was actually able to sleep.

Around 9AM, a new nurse came in to check on me and to see how far along I was and informed me that I was 3.5 centimeters dilated.

“WHAT? What do you mean I’m 3.5 centimeters dilated?! We were told that I was 6!!!”

Apparently, the previous nurse messed up and this entire time, I was only 3.5. You cannot even imagine how frustrating that was to hear. I felt like I took 15 steps backwards.

Over the course of the day, I gradually made my way from 3.5 centimeters to 8 centimeters and through it all, I still felt okay. We were in constant communication with our friends and family who were anxiously waiting for the green light to come to the hospital. We decided that we’d have everyone come once I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing since we didn’t want them to just be hanging out in the waiting room. We were all 100% positive that it would happen soon and that Nate would be born that Saturday, April 23rd.

Around 9PM on Saturday night, already going through this process for more than 24 hours, the doctor came in to check on me and informed us that I wasn’t opening up any further and in order to help the process along, she’d have to break my water and get me on pitocin. At this point, I started feeling the contractions again and the pain started becoming unbearable. I remember crying and telling Keith and Liz that I was so exhausted and I couldn’t do it anymore.

Two hours later, the doctor came back in to check on me and unfortunately, I wasn’t where I needed to be. She informed us that my cervix just wasn’t opening up and that we would try another round of pitocin, but if things didn’t get moving in the next two hours, I would have to get a c-section. After 28 hours, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It’s somewhat of a blur, but I’m pretty sure that I started crying at that news.

Around 11:30 PM, I was laying on my side, in agonizing pain, and started feeling the most intense pressure to go to the bathroom. I remember being so afraid/embarrassed that I was actually going to go! The doctor came in to the room and I informed her that “I really needed to go!”

 “This is a very good sign! that means you’re closer to delivering the baby!”

She checked on me and all of a sudden, we all heard music to our ears!

“Helena! We’re having a baby!”

All of a sudden, I felt like I was watching a scene out of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s a moment that both Keith and I vividly remember. In the blink of an eye, the bright room lights came on, tables were pulled out, all of the delivery tools came out, the scrubs quickly went on and before I knew it, Keith was grabbing a leg and  I was told to start pushing!

It was intense and I remember thinking I was going to pop numerous blood vessels on my face from pushing so hard. Twenty minutes in, I was ready to throw in the towel as I thought to myself “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I’m just SO damn tired” Fortunately, I had an amazing doctor who was the perfect mix of enthusiastic but stern. Exactly the combination I needed. Finally, thirty minutes later, the doctor screamed out

“We have the head!! Now we just have to push the shoulders out!”

A few crazy pushes later, he slithered out of my body and I remember it feeling SO crazy.

Thirty hours later, on Sunday at 12:07 AM, he was finally in my arms! Hands down, it was equally the most intense, beautiful and surreal experience I’ve ever gone through, especially getting to experience it with Keith. It’s so hard to put into words, but it’s an experience I will never forget and one that could NEVER be topped. Later on, Keith said to me: “I’ve never had as much respect for you as I do right now. I don’t know how you just did that.”



Side note: some of you remember me mentioning one of my pregnancy side effects: little brown spots on my nose and cheeks (also known as Chloasma aka the Mask of Pregnancy). Totally visible in the above photo. As I got further into my pregnancy, the spots got darker and darker. Hopefully, they fade soon!

4It’s crazy because people tell you “don’t worry! your motherly instincts just kick in!”and it’s so true. Sure, it’s scary and emotional and your baby feels so fragile with their floppy little head, but still, it’s YOURS and that alone makes it feel so natural. And it’s so true what they say: “It’s different when it’s your own.”

We were told that we’d have to stay in that room for two hours in order to begin the recovery process. Two hours turned into five due to zero feeling in my left leg from the epidural. The nurses wouldn’t let me get up until I had full control over it. At that point, I just wanted to get into our room and I felt so bad that Keith was still sitting in a chair, almost 35 hours later. FINALLY, at 6AM, I had feeling in my leg and we were given the okay to go into our room. We stayed in the hospital for two nights and on Monday night, we were released to go home.

Processed with VSCO with a7 presetUsing a Bagaboo Chameleon 3 Stroller

7It’s been a little over two weeks since he came into our world and while we’re both adjusting to everything, it’s all so worth it. Yes, I’m definitely a bit exhausted, breastfeeding is pretty challenging with how demanding it is and not being able to just pick up and go has taken some time getting used to. Even getting this post up has taken longer than I planned. As soon as I’d get into a writing groove, he’d start crying, but I know that soon enough, we’ll get into a smoother routine. The love you’re able to feel for another little human being is almost overwhelming and I’m so excited for this crazy new chapter.

Thank you all *so* much for following along on this journey!





  • Grace

    Oh my goodness. This post brought me to tears! Thank you for sharing this journey with your readers. Xoxo

  • Jessica Rose

    I almost had tears in my eyes reading this as well.! Congrats on having a baby!! Look forward to reading further updates. 😉 x

  • Rena

    Oh, yes this post is so touching! Many thanks for sharing and all the best to you <3
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • Sarah tondello

    This post made me tear up as well too. I know I don’t you and this probably seems a little odd but I’m so very happy for you and Keith. Your baby is truly precious. We’re currently trying to conceive. I had a miscarriage last year and I’m closing in on 35 so I think that’s part of the reason why this touched me so much. Anyway, all that to say I’m glad things went smoothly overall. I was checking your blog/Instagram regularly a few weeks ago to see when you would post that he was here! I’m very glad you’re doing well now and pray that you’ll continue to get into a routine and enjoy that sweet little boy as much as possible. Congrats!

  • Shadowy_lady

    awww congrats Helena 🙂 The best part is yet to come. Please make sure you get lotsa help in those early weeks. In my opinion early parenthood is MUCH harder than delivering the baby 🙂

    I had my baby naturally because my labour was so fast there was no time for pain meds (4 hours from beginning to end, the first 2 hours I didn’t know I was in labour), so I empathize with you on the pain. Though I hear pitocin induced pain is worse than natural pain

  • Gayana Bagdasaryan

    this made me cry 🙂 thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!!! Hugs! 🙂

  • Margo

    Loved reading that – my eyes welled up at the part where you knew he was coming. And everything you said is so true – it’s so different when it is yours and no matter how they get here it’s just incredible when they do arrive. Enjoy your baby boy!

  • Katie Musseau

    Such a beautiful birth story, Helena! I can’t wait for more post partum updates and photos of your little family!

  • Memories of the Pacific

    Beautiful baby! Can’t wait to read more updates 🙂

  • natali

    Little angel! Congratulations to you guys once again! Much love!

  • mONIKA

    That is so cute!
    Thank you for this summary post! This place looks pretty amazing!

  • Andrea

    First if all, congratulations on having your little one, he is so precious. Your story brought back so many memories and almost brought me to tears – I have a 9 month old baby girl and definiately could relate and remember to some of rhe things you wrote. 30 hours? Just WOW. I had a 14 hours long labour and was so exhausted by the end of it… (for me the epidurals did not kick in properly, felt the pain on my left side the whole time) but I remember thinking afterwards she was so worth it that I would be ok with a 2 days long labour without any epidural anytime now. Nature is crazy amazing 😀
    Try to rest as much as you can in these first 6 weeks and don’t stress on writing, We will be here. I don’t know how it is for you, but for me it took time to get used to the baby’s needs rouling my life at those first few months’ and not being able to do what I was wanting at any given moment. But after accepting that and using up her sleeptime more thoughtfully everything became easier.


  • Dana Mannarino

    Omg, definitely just teared up at this (especially what Keith said to you after delivering ….so beautiful)! Congratulations on your beautiful boy – and thanks for sharing your journey! Looking forward to hearing more about motherhood!

    Pink Champagne Problems

  • Jo

    Wow, That was intense.
    Read till the end, so vivid. Congrats you are a trooper. Hope soon it will get to a more controlled schedule. Nate is so precious.

  • heather

    Thank you for sharing your story so openly! I love hearing birthing stories…but you know the real kinds. Like the wtf is happening moments and the pain. I remember after my sister in law gave birth to my nephew she held nothing back (esp since she had a rough delievery as well…almost had a c-section as well) and I loved it. Mostly because as I get older my husband and i are starting to think about starting our own family so I love reading and hearing the truth. My mom told me my birthing story but I feel like she made it seem TOO EASY. haha Anyway CONGRATS TO YOU AND THE HUBBY! He is super cute bundle of joy!


  • diana

    So adorable!
    || D I A N A ||

  • Gabrielle

    Literally crying! What a beautiful story Helena! Congrats to you and Keith on your adorable little bundle! He is perfect! May God bless you guys! 🙂

  • HEidi

    He’s beautiful Helena! I loved reading, this, it brought tears to my eyes reminding me of my own childbirths! Congratulations!

  • Melissa

    Congratulations! Such an emotional story, thank you for sharing.

  • Sarah

    What a beautiful story! I love reading birth stories. You go girl and congratulations!

  • cecile

    Beautiful story! You are such a great writer! Thank you for sharing.

  • SaRah

    When I witnessed my best friend give birth to her second child (who was 9 pounds), I said to her the same thing Keith said to you! We know where babies come from, but to witness it first hand is indescribable and you truly appreciate what the human body is capable of! Congrats!

  • Sara morais

    Who would’ve thought that you would feel so overwhelmed and so maternally, right!? Most people that don’t feel that natural instinct and excitement end up proving it wrong when they feel they’re baby in their arms. I’m so happy for both of you! And I can’t wait to see what’s next 🙂

    xx Sara

  • Amba Armah

    Thank you much for sharing your birth story! I have been following you on Instagram for a couple of months and I thought “I wish I could see how her maternity style would be if she were pregnant!” I am pregnant (29 weeks)and love your style. I was overjoyed to finally notice you were. It’s been so great following your maternity style journey and now reading your birth story! I look forward to more new mom stories. Congrats!!!

  • Munmun

    Congrats! I had a very similar pregnancy. But I was at 42 weeks and had to be induced. After three days of labour, two epidurals, and continuously being told I was at certain cm and then being measured again by different nurse who would tell I was 2 or 3 cm, I finally had a c-section.
    Child birth is magical. Enjoy every moment of motherhood. My son is 2.5 years, and it’s true what they say, kids grow up way too fast. So enjoy and take in every moment.

  • Jillian calabucci

    Congrats. I cried while reading your post. It reminded me of having my daughter and all of the intense feelings that came over me.

  • Molly Sanders

    Wow, my hats off to you! I myself have no desire to be a mother and go through anything like this. The thought of it makes me feel pain. I am 39 years old and a teacher, so I call that the best birth control! :0 Anyway I have so much respect for mothers and I truly have no idea how that can physically happen to your bodies. I must say I am glad I won’t ever have to experience that kind of pain. It’s just not in my cards. Good luck to you!

  • Zoe

    I love that you shared this story with everyone – thank you SO much. We’re hoping to start a family soon so this is exactly the kind of stuff we have to know! Your baby boy is beautiful. I’m so happy for you and Keith.

  • Sara

    Am not a blog reader, but enjoy your IG account. My son just turned 2 , and I feel like I just re-lived those wonderful/exhausting/overwhelming first few weeks reading your post. Congratulations! These little bundles make everything worth it!

  • Alicia Lund

    Awww loved reading this lady! SO happy for you both. xx

  • Brisa

    I absolutely loved reading your story. I had my baby boy in December and your story brought back that moment when my baby was here and in my arms. It is truly the best feeling and such a blessing. I would always hear from people how having a child is a blessing and I thought ok…but wow how it really is! Your husband sounds like a good man. I remember mine said the same thing and that made me feel even more amazing to able to give birth.
    I also felt the same way about an epidural but heck that pain is something else!

    Congrats to you and your family ?

  • Liz

    Beautiful! We go to the same pediatric office! Love them, they’re great. Enjoy motherhood! Our girl is 2 and I still can’t believe it every day. It’s the best, exhausting but the best.

  • Aïchatou Bella

    What a bundle of joy! Thank you for sharing with us!


    Aïchatou Bella

  • Helena

    Congratulation on your precious little boy! Your story took me back to my second delivery. Also felt intense pressure to go to the bathroom only to have my daughter moments later. Made me smile what you said about room “change”. From dimmed lights , cozy pre-birth room to full-on delivery room with bright lights, instruments and everything. For two of my three deliveries I was induced , no epidural and pitocin contractions are sooooooo intense and painful. With my first baby I went to those classes where they teach you “how to breathe”. It went out of the window the moment the pain started. I was screaming so loud the whole city heard me. The delivery nurse was great. She said ” Honey, whatever feels natural to you. If screaming helps you, please scream” :)Oh, and I did!

  • Cheri

    Beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing your experience & congratulations!!

  • Jihae

    I feel like I personally birthed something reading all that!!!! I respect Keith, but he would have asked for an epidural at 6pm on Friday. 😉 Glad everything turned out great! So happy for your family!!

  • Zorana

    This post is something truly beautiful! My due is 20. Augustus and I’m not completely avare of my pregnancy because everything is going very well, even without any symptoms. I have only a growing babybump ?.
    So, I wanted to thank you for sharing your amazing experience on a truly realistic way, because I really need it.
    Thank you so much, you brave woman! I cannot describe how I appreciate every step that you were going through.
    I’m sending you and your family a big hug from Belgrade, Serbia.

  • maderic

    happy lucky

  • Ana Rivas

    Congratulations! thank you for sharing your story. Motherhood is so beautiful and rewarding! I am a mom of 3 and sometimes I think to myself, how did I do this 3x but it is so worth it! Good luck and your baby is beautiful, god bless him!

  • Rosanna

    Amazing story, reminds me when I had my little one. Health and love for you and your family.

  • Lera

    The post has also brought me to tears. So happy for you! I’m scared of pregnancy though.

  • Posh

    Ohh this is too precious?.i was in the pregnancy journey with you,my first as well n my water broke on 24 April midnight n was admitted same day.i remember checking on Instagram n saw u wer post date n also a post of some dried flowers n hoped everything goes well for me I’m an avid follower of yours from South Africa.i was induced Sunday 25 but never progressed so had a c/section later that a new mommy to a baby boy too.

  • Michele

    You will remember every beautiful detail for the rest of your life. Your first child will always hold such a special place in your heart…not more than any future children should you decide…but definitely a special place…I’m very happy for you

  • Roma

    Crying my eyes out after reading that. One does not know what true love is until they have a baby. So happy for you! Wishing your beautiful family health and happiness, always.

    • Molly Sanders

      I disagree with your statement. One can certainly know what true love is, just with different humans or even animal friends! :0

  • Beth Norton

    Helena, this post has moved me beyond words. Congratulations! It’s incredible to read such a raw and beautiful account of the birth, step by step. Your little boy is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to read more about your journey into motherhood.

    Beth x

  • Nikia

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Ivete

    Oh my goodness, you are such a champ, Helena! 30 hours in labor- I can’t even imagine! I have been reading your blog for about 5 years now and it’s so cool to see how different things are now compared to back then! Congratulations to both of you. Nate is absolutely gorgeous! I look forward to hearing all about your experiences as a new mom.

  • gmail account login

    OMG! Congratulation! What a lovely baby. Thank you for sharing your experiens 🙂

  • Osiarah

    Omg, your story brought me to tears as well! Congratulations, your baby is the cutest x

    Camy xx

  • Vicky Sullivan

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story.


  • Aly

    What a beautiful story! Congratulations! I have a little Nate who was born on April 25th :-). It’s truly amazing how they change your whole world and eventually you wonder what you ever did without them!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for posting! It made me tear up. I’m expecting my first in 12 weeks and I’m so excited. What an incredible story you have – I know it must have been very difficult, but your husband is right…you are so strong! Congratulations!

  • Sanja

    Congrats!! Beautiful story..:)

  • jamie

    thanks for sharing your birth story.. you are amazing, Helena!! what a beautiful gift your precious boy is! xo

  • Judi Hume

    What a beautiful account of your labor and birth, and what a beautiful son you have! Congratulations!

  • Abbey

    Congratulations!! Little Nate looks perfect! Wishing you and your family love, health and happiness xo

  • Vanessa

    Beautiful story!! Love your blog, love your style and I actually went to kindergarten with your husband, so it’s very sweet to see a childhood friends beautiful story. Congrats to you both!

  • Virginia

    I am literally in tears. I hope i experience such love someday. Enjoy motherhood Helena. X

    With ❤ from Tanzania

  • Margaret

    What a beautiful post and a beautiful family! I had my first grandchild, a little girl, on April 16th, so the post about your birth experience is so special.

  • Fashion and frappes

    Congratulations! So happy for you guys!

  • Nikky priddy

    Pretty amazing birth story ? he’s perfect! And you’re amazing ?? As a mom of 2 (an almost 4 yr old, tomorrow’s her birthday, and a 10 month old boy?) I completely relate to your story. I’ve followed you since before I met my husband, had the kids and started PA school lol and….. it’s been awesome ? I love everything about your blog. ?

  • a million pinks

    sosososo adorable! congratulations~and tank you for sharing such a personal story!

  • Luvly lady

    Really a touching one !

  • MEgan

    Ever since becoming a mom I can not read or watch without becoming teary eyed. Maybe it’s also because the same thing happened to me. My nurse told me I had to have the baby at home because I was 10 cm dilated. Then she could’t tell if the baby was positioned right so I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Upon arrival the hospital nurse told me I was only dilated 1 cm….
    Thank god for that epidural right!!!

  • Lara

    Congratulations! I’m in my second trimester and couldn’t make it to the end without tearing up.

  • zoey

    Hi, did you vaccinate your baby?

  • Keirstan

    I just wanted to check in and say thank you for sharing your journey to motherhood! I just brought my newborn home and while staying up all night breastfeeding I’ve gotten some good perspective and motivation reading about your experience. 🙂

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