Benjamin Grey Durnwald Birth Story

It was 9 days past my due date and I was in the closet sobbing because my mom was leaving the next day and my aunt cousin and sister were leaving shortly after. I was SO done being pregnant & I couldn’t believe that there was a strong probability my mom wasn’t going to be there for my sons birth. My mother in law told me to drink castor oil that evening as a last resort to try to induce labor. I was 4cm dilated 80% effaced & I had done 2 membrane sweeps and EVERYTHING else imaginable to try and get things moving along. Benjamin was very cozy in there- so my mom bought some hot chocolate and a bottle of castor oil & we prayed to all the powers of heaven that it would work! I remember waking up in the middle of the night and crying again because I realized it didn’t work. I was so absolutely gutted. A few hours later I woke up and felt stomach pains like gas and so I got up and thought I had to go to the bathroom. As soon as I stood up my water broke. It was INSANELY strong & such a weird feeling. I started screaming and woke Luke up “MY WATER BROKE ITS HAPPENING” I ran out to tell my sister and mom and I literally didn’t think I’d ever been happier. Contractions started almost immediately and I hopped in the shower listening to some music and dancing like an idiot because I was just giddy with excitement. We were going to meet our baby!!! A couple hours later we loaded into the car because the contractions were very regular and close together about 2 minutes apart. We got to the hospital & the pain was intense. I literally had to stop everything to get through each one. We got checked into our room & my aunt, cousin, sister, mom, and Luke were there with me almost through the whole labor. It wasn’t what I planned at ALL but honestly, I didn’t even know what was going on in that room. I was 100% focused on getting through each contraction. I didn’t know who was in the room or what else was happening. 

I jumped in the shower and the hot water helped so much. I’m pretty sure I was screaming every time the peak of a contraction would hit. It’s so funny because after the contraction was over I felt completely normal. Such a strange experience. Anyways, I planned a water birth so they started filling the tub and I was SO ready. I was about 6 cm dilated and I felt ready to push pretty much as soon as we got to the hospital. I don’t know if that is called back labor or what but it felt like I needed to push a fire truck out of my ass. (TMI? Oh well haha!) Anyways, they needed 20 minutes of monitoring both me & baby before I could get in the tub. This is when things started getting excruciating. I had to lay completely still for 20 minutes and it was SO hard. The nurse kept coming in to check me but they weren’t able to get a clear reading and Benjis heart rate would drop with each contraction. After hours of this happening, it became clear that I was going to have to stay on that bed through the rest of labor which was not what I planned at all. I was mentally prepared for a water birth & I honestly felt at that point that I couldn’t do it anymore. I was in transition (the hardest part of labor) & I seriously begged God to end my misery. I told my mom & Luke that I think I needed epidural and Luke told me that I could do this and I wasn’t going to get drugs. (I told him beforehand that no matter what, he couldn’t let me cave) I know that may sound cruel but it was truly what I wanted in my heart & he knew I would have regretted caving so close to the end. (I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with getting drugs or having whatever kind of birth you want. I just have always known that I wanted my birth to be 100% intervention free if at all possible. All births are amazing & beautiful.)

I literally thought I was dying at this point and I was like oh my god I HAVE to be ready to push at this point. I was DONE. It was hard for me to tell when I was ready to push for real because I had been pushing for hours with every contraction. Remember, fire truck! The nurse checked me and said I was 9.5 cm and that I could start pushing. I could’ve kissed her. Up to that point they wouldn’t let me move but when they said I could push I said “PLEASE let me stand. I HAVE to stand” so they did. My midwife Lynn who I had met with for most of my check ups, came to the hospital just to deliver my baby even though she wasn’t working that night. Right at that moment she walked through the door and I started crying and yelled “LYNN HELP ME!”. Her arrival gave me some energy to keep going. 

Pushing was the most hazy part of labor. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to terrify future moms (HA!) but wow. I don’t even have the words. It was hard as hell. I was pushing and pushing and pushing with all my might and I kept asking “is something happening??” Yes it was. But it was just taking time. I felt him crowning and I knew this was the moment that I had to dig in deep and give everything I had and then dig even deeper. I took a deep breath as I felt the next contraction and I pushed like I had never pushed before. I was shaking from exhaustion but I knew I could give up- it was now or never. (In hindsight I wish I would’ve ate and drank more because I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours) I squatted down and pushed like my life depended on it. All of sudden I knew it was over. Luke caught my baby & I heard his cry along with everyone cheering in the room. They put him in my arms and I can’t even describe the relief, joy, pride, and amazement. I sobbed “MY BABY!” And Luke and I couldn’t believe how damn cute he was!!!! We both cried together and he told me how proud he was of me and that I was his hero and he knew I could do it all along. The experience brought us so much closer together & that moment of Benjamin on my chest & our first time as a family was better than I ever imagined. It honestly felt like a dream, it still does sometimes! I can’t believe I have a baby! Luke was the best labor partner in the universe. He was right there the whole time supporting me through every contraction & every push. So was my mom… I couldn’t have done it without them. 


Everyone told me I would forget all the pain afterwards and that is most CERTAINLY not true. It took me a couple weeks to feel like I would do it again. But wow was it all worth it. I am so happy that I was able to carry a life and bring him into the world, and then have the privilege of being able to sustain him with my just my body for months afterwards! Labor and motherhood change you- you lose so much judgment and have so much more grace for people and yourself. None of this is easy- pregnancy, birth, parenthood. No matter how you do it, it’s HARD. I love reading birth stories & I wanted to remember mine so I thought I would write it out. 6 weeks postpartum, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m getting the hang of things. The torturous first couple weeks are over, and it’s starting to get more fun. Benjamin Grey Durnwald was born on February 10, 2019 at 3:20 pm weighing 8 pounds 2 ounces and came out with his eyes WIDE open ( he hasn’t closed them since 😂 ) I truly didn’t think I could obsess over someone so much. Benjamin is so curious and definitely has a personality! We are in trouble 😂 he loves attention & loves the ladies. 

Parenthood hasn’t disappointed- both with how difficult and also with how rewarding.  



Motherhood. The most full word in the English dictionary. How can you even describe it?

My baby is here… born February 10, 2019 8 pounds 2 ounces and 20.5 inches long. Born wide eyed and full of curiousity.

Each day has brought its own challenges and joys but I’ve been pondering these first “newborn days” and what I wish I would’ve known.

1- Having a baby in ANY way shape or form is beautiful. With all the drugs in the universe, or buck naked in the middle of a forest. Women are strong as hell, and birth is a transformative and intense experience that I can’t believe I had the privilege to go through. I wish I would’ve known how traumatic it would be. I feel like I had PTSD for a week afterwards. It was so incredibly painful that there aren’t words to describe it. But I did it. Women all over the world for centuries have done it and will continue to do it forever. I am now one of them, and I feel so lucky & proud to be.

2- Breastfeeding comes with pain, hardship, stress, and more tears than labor. NOT FOR EVERYONE. But for me- wow. We have endured hell and back. I read books before, joined groups, did research… but nothing could’ve ever prepared me for the journey. We went through tongue and lip ties, oversupply, strong letdowns choking my baby, engorgement, revision, weight loss because he wouldn’t latch, 4 lactation consultant appointments post hospital, 2 sacral therapy appointments, chiropractors, thrush, and incredible searing pain for weeks and weeks. I remember sitting in bed in the middle of the night sobbing with him in my arms trying so desperately to latch him and feeling like an utter failure as. A mother. Here’s what I wish I would’ve known- ITS OKAY! And NORMAL. That if I would’ve switched to formula, I was still a good mom. That EVERY choice a mother makes regarding feeding her child is a sacrifice. Formula means sacrificing money and time to make the bottles as well as the guilt and shame you feel from not breastfeeding. Pumping also is a sacrifice. And so is breastfeeding. There is no easy choice. It’s all hard. And whatever choice I made, was okay.

3- No one cares. What I mean by this is that there is no one handing out awards and cookies for how you parent. No one is impressed by your grandiose attempts at perfection. Everyone is focused on their own lives and families and children. And while you may receive a “oh wow that’s awesome” or “really? I would do it another way”, they are meaningless remarks that should play no part in how you raise your child. At the end of the day, you have to listen to your heart and instincts. Everyone will have an opinion, but no one is your child’s mother except you.

4- It gets better and worse and easier and harder. One hour you feel that you wish you had 49 kids because your child smiled at you or you are having a beautiful nursing moment. Then 10 seconds later he is screaming bloody murder and you have no idea why. You overcome one obstacle, and then another one surfaces. But with every struggle, there is a victory. And with every hour of sleep lost, you gain such a richness in your life. There really is no way to describe the beautiful dichotomy of parenthood. It’s such a sacrifice every minute, but when you look at your partner and scream because your baby laughed for the first time, or he latches without pain, or he turns at the sound of your voice- you know you would slay a million dragons for him.

5- You May feel depressed or anxious along with a thousand array of emotions. You won’t sleep, you won’t want anyone to touch your child, you may research every disease known to mankind, you may feel like a complete failure, you might wish you had your old life back. All of these feelings are normal & there is nothing wrong with you for feeling them. You will get through it. And whatever you need to do to feel okay, do it. Get help. Talk to someone, call someone, go for a walk, cry in your car, journal, go get your hair done, give yourself GRACE.


You are a mom. When your baby looks at you, he doesn’t see anything that you need to improve on. He doesn’t care what diapers you use or where you bought his clothes. He needs his mother just the way she is. You are enough for your child, period. You can do this. You may need a lot of help and you will certainly not do it all right, but you are enough. Be patient with yourself & listen to your instincts. You will look back & never regret the moments of sitting still and soaking it in. Throw away the schedules and the google searches, get rid of the fear and stress. Sit & hold your child- it’s the most important job you have. Everything else can wait.

My heart is heavy tonight. Grieving the place that our country has come to. Today the lawmakers in New York decided to legalize abortion until minutes before birth. I choose to keep quiet about most things reguarding politics. I would consider myself having moderate views. I don’t feel loyal to Democrat’s or Republicans- in fact both parties make me equally sick. It is strange to be a Christian and yet have more loyalty to your political party than to love and truth. But today I cannot keep silent. I have been carrying a human life for 39 weeks tomorrow and the fact that ANYONE could consider taking the life of this child is horrifying, repugnant, & evil.

Andrew Cuomo has been fighting to pass a law overturning roe vs wade for some time now and New York’s buildings lit up in celebration of this “huge step forward” for women’s rights.

The bill seems to restrict late term abortions but has a broad “health” exemption for abortions after 24 weeks. The exemption allows for abortions up to 9 months due to “age, economic, and emotional factors”. In essence, any reason under the sun. And let’s face the music, no matter what flowery words you use- you cannot deny the “convenience” of using this method to “save” a woman’s life. There are SO many opportunities to find potential risks during a pregnancy and many opt to do a cesarean or induction as a way to prevent an issue or foreseen issue. I know personally a child who was born at 24 weeks and is a thriving, beautiful child. It is no ones right to decide who get a chance to live.

I’m sure we have all seen the quote reguarding abortion that says “I find it interesting that everyone who is pro abortion is already alive”

We should be ashamed of ourselves for numbing our consious and reconciling to ourselves that murdering a human life at ANY stage is acceptable. But this? This is a level of evil that disturbs me to the deepest level.

I pray that God has mercy on us. I know his heart is broken over the injustice of millions of his children being murdered in this modern day holocaust.





A 10 month journey

Huh You just found out you are pregnant. Wow. You are feeling so elated and surprised and shocked and nervous all at once. You are wondering how your family and friends will respond. You can’t wait to tell your husband! You are practically bursting at the seams to let it out.

Over the next 9 months, you will go through a whirlwind of emotions. The first 3 months will be very hard on you. You will be so incredibly nauseous and sick. It will take every ounce of strength you have just to get up and go to work! You will take naps in the car in between clients just to rest your body for a moment. It is a type of exhaustion that you’ve never experienced before. Its like your whole body is being drained (or maybe like you are making a human ;)). You don’t like being babied because you believe you are strong and capable, but to be honest, all you want is someone to hug you and tell you that they understand how hard it is. There are many nights where you cry yourself to sleep because you can’t imagine how you will go one more day feeling so awful. Food tastes horrible, you throw up, you faint from lack of iron, & you just don’t feel yourself at all these days. But you still wake up every morning, get dressed, and go to work. You are an amazing woman. Maybe it feels like you aren’t doing enough, but you are. You are doing an incredible job.

I know it doesn’t seem like it, but soon you will feel the fog lift. One day you will wake up and not feel so sick. You will start to feel a little bit more yourself. Soon you will have a little bump and even though it is SO small compared to what it will be, you will feel like you are huge! You will make your husband take hundreds of photos of your belly because you are just so excited that you look pregnant. The most exciting thing right now is wondering if you are having a boy or girl. Oh the dreams… laying in bed with your husband and wondering about your new future. What will he/she be like?!

Now that you have started to feel better, you look forward to planning and making lists. That is just the kind of person you are. You like to feel in control of things because that makes you feel safe. But there will be many times in the future where you will not have control. Like when you find out you have the chicken pox and you have to go to the hospital for 3 days. You don’t know if your baby is okay. They take your blood so much and do tests on your heart and chest. You feel so afraid and out of sorts. What is happening? Why is it happening to me? The anxiety begins to sneak into your mind and causes you to worry and lose sleep. In the next few weeks, you will have a very hard time. You feel anxiety attacks often. You can’t sleep because you have horrible nightmares. You imagine the worst case scenario. Every little symptom results in a frantic google search wondering what disease you have and if your baby will be okay. You are frantic about how to protect him when he’s born. You don’t even want anyone to hold him because you are just so scared of something happening! The control is slipping away from you and you don’t know how to manage it.

Please don’t do this. I wish I could hold you and beg you to stop. To take a breath. You are okay. Your baby is okay. I know it is so scary to feel like you can’t protect your child from everything that this life brings. You just want some assurance, some security. But the only security comes from trust. You aren’t crazy. You’re heart is to love your child. Your heart is the heart of a mother. And maybe it feels like people judge your feelings or don’t understand, but it’s okay. It’s okay that you struggle & it’s okay that you are wrestling with these things. These months of pregnancy are a little taste of being a parent. People forget how hard it is to go from being a free woman, to being a mother in just 9 short months. For some, it is an easier transition. For others, it’s more challenging.

But just know, the hormones and anxiety will start to fade. Through the worries and restless nights, you will begin to develop your trust in yourself. You will begin to believe that God entrusted this baby to you for a reason. That you are enough. That you have what it takes to grow and raise a human being.

I’m almost on the other side of this 10 month journey now. I’m days away from having the boy of my dreams. I’ve given him my heart, my body, my soul, my everything. He has every part of me and he doesn’t even know it. I would die for him in a second. I would do absolutely anything to give him the best shot at life. Growing him has broken me and build me back up again.

Nicole, you are strong. There is nothing you cannot handle. You don’t know everything and you never will. Put down the books and the computer, drown out the opinions and judgments of others. Stop questioning and second guessing yourself. When all is said and done, you will do the best you can & trust in God to take care of the millions of things you CAN. NOT. CONTROL.

You are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Believe in yourself and enjoy it.

And in case no one tells you, Good job. You did amazing. You made it! You made it through your first pregnancy. You will kick so much ass in labor and parenthood. I’m proud of you. A new chapter begins. One where you are a mother to Benjamin Grey Durnwald. You’ve got this.

Park day

We love family days just chilling and hanging out. I always joke about Luke being so pale so he immediately started sunbathing and kept asking “am I tan yet” every couple minutes- haha! Calvin LOVES people and kept crying because there was a child’s party going on and he wanted to hang out with them. Our little social butterfly. We are so excited for summer! Processed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 preset