Monday, February 22, 2016

Welcoming Hattie// her birth story

I've always taken time after each baby to write their birth story. Since our 3rd sweet baby girl made her appearance almost a week ago two full weeks ago, while things are still semi-fresh on my mind, I'm going to write it down. This was a pretty quick ordeal, as I was warned by every OB and passer by'er I saw. "Third labors don't mess around". "I hope you live close to the hospital". "Please get here FAST at the onset of contractions." 

Yea, yea, yea. Well they were right. I could probably sum up my entire l&d experience in the 4 lines of iPhone notes I made my husband write down so the timing didn't get foggy on me. But, it's not quite as fun, and I like details for my memories. So here we have it.

The story of our little California girl.

Saturday, February 6th we attended a marriage conference/seminar at church. I was just over 39 weeks pregnant and wasn't quite sure if we'd make it there or not, but alas, we did. I'm actually glad we did because I love stuff like that. Investing in my marriage is always super worth it to us. 

That afternoon we decided to start building the playset that had been delivered to the house earlier that week. It was a nice, hot, sunny day. There were 65903840938 pieces of wood that needed to be put together--but we figured, no baby, why not? I helped a little bit, did some work around the yard, but mostly sat down and ate snacks with my kids.  I took this belly picture that afternoon--I was feeling large and so very done, but still trucking along.

Our friends came over with their three kids and the dads built the swingset while the moms wrangled the chaos of 5 children. We ordered pizza, stayed up too late past the kid's bedtimes, and joked about the fact that I'd probably go into labor tonight because "haha-my house is so messy, I haven't showered or done my hair, my kids feet are black from playing outside, and we're all exhausted, etc etc".  It just seemed like the perfect storm.

At 9:30 that night Declan and I both sat on the couch exhausted, grabbed a blanket and joked about how good a "nap" would feel. You'd think we would have just gone to bed, right? Wrong. Apparently the couch seemed like the best option. From 9:30-11:30pm we got a blissful 2 hours of sleep, and little did I know how badly that little nap was needed for my night ahead. 

At 12:55am I recorded my first strong contraction. I opened up my little app on my phone and recorded it again, and again--and realized that yea, ok, they actually freaking hurt. But, they didn't seem long enough in duration to be "the real thing". The contractions were coming every 2-5 minutes but lasting maybe 30-45 seconds. I decided to get up and go do laundry. I'm not sure why, but that just made sense at the time. I'd fold a piece or two of laundry, breathe through a hard contraction, do it again. I finally realized that it's likely I'd have this baby soon (you know, a day or two), but that I should probably at least go rest in bed.

At 3am I tried to go back to sleep but I heard Declan toss/turn, so I decided that maybe it was a good time to let him know that I've been having contractions the last few hours. He jumped up and said "I'm getting in the shower now!" and I was like "NO NO NO you aren't. This is not real labor yet. Go back to sleep."  The last thing I wanted to do was ruin a whole night of sleep for him, too. 

My contractions were getting worse, fast, though.  I was annoyed with timing them so I stopped. I was just trying to get through them, and Declan could tell at this point I was definitely in pain, so he was rubbing my back and doing all the good husband things. I had texted my friend Danielle that I may need her soon to come sit with the girls, and just to be on alert.

At 3:30am I sat straight out of bed and heard/felt a POP in my insides. It was followed by some intense pain/contractions and a series of bad words that flew from my mouth (whoops?). I did not have a water-gushing experience, but I was *pretty* certain my water had just broke and ish was getting REAL. Fast and furiously and a whole 'nother level of contraction-pain, and everything just started changing. I remember staring in the mirror at this point, my hair a mess, no makeup on, in pjs with no bra, and thinking "" I stumbled around the room and grabbed a bra, different pj pants and a top and managed to get them on.

I called Danielle at 3:45am and she groggily answered the phone by saying "oh shit". It was hilarious and something I'll always remember, because we were literally just together with them hours before and had joked about this exact scenario. I was completely emotional at this point (not because of the pain, but just --emotional? I don't know...), and I was crying to her on the phone blubbering something like, "I think this is real--I am pretty sure....(cry)....(contraction)...(cry)..." She said, "Give me 15 minutes and I'll be there." 

She came in the door and I, again, started crying. She knew it was real and hurried us out the door. For some reason I was still questioning myself. I had so many weird false alarms with Lucy that I was so burned from that experience, but at the same time, I knew it was the real deal. The hospital is one exit from our house (4-5 min drive) and I remember telling Declan to drive faster. 


We got there at 4am'ish and they always make you go to triage first. They could tell immediately I was in real labor and being a 3rd time mom put them on high alert. My nurse tested and indeed my water did break (by this point I was totally aware of that--gross). I was 4cm and 90% effaced and I told the nurse, "Trust me--I dilate very, VERY fast---I need to get into a real room.

They were mostly full but managed to get a room ready for me by 5am. I got a heavenly epidural at 5:30am. When it kicked in I remember feeling so happy and sleepy and thought "YES! I WILL REST NOW!" (HAHA ON ME), and then just minutes later I said to Declan, "I can literally feel the baby's head pushing down." 

The nurse turned around and said, "Ummmm based on what you just told your husband I'm going to check you again." 

At 5:45am, I was 8cm, 100% effaced.

At this point they basically started prepping the room, called the doctor to come in, and started talking about how we'd probably have a baby by breakfast. 

Declan even started going around at this point and taking some photos with his phone so I'd have some to put in her birth book. He snapped a picture at 6:02am, when things were still very much calm (but ready) in the room. Just 2-3 minutes later they told me I was fully ready and could start pushing.

At 6:10am, with just a few pushes, I pulled this sweet little body onto my chest and Hattie Noel, our 3rd baby girl was here. 

She was my biggest baby, weighing 8lbs 2oz, 20".  I told the doctors at every appointment I expected her to be my biggest and around 8lbs, and turns out I was pretty dead on. 

We spent only 36 hours in the hospital, as I chose to be discharged a day early. Meeting her big sisters was everything I had hoped it to be. There were times I had my three girls sitting on that bed with me and my eyes filled with tears because my heart felt so full, so overwhelmed with gratitude and these blessings upon blessings. Being their momma is the ultimate gift.

Meeting Hattie from Katie Balla on Vimeo.

life is so, so sweet.

welcome to the world, littlest love.


  1. And just like the past two birth stories you've posted over the years, I'm over here teary eyed. You make beautiful babies, Katie. Sending lots of love and prayers your way. Hattie is perfect!

  2. Probably not the best reading material sitting at 32 weeks with my third as I can barely read through the tears pouring out of my eyes but beautiful! Happy (belated) birthday Hattie! Love the name - we have a Haddie:)

  3. It was such a blessing to spend the last few days there with my beautiful grand babies and experience life with all of you again. You are doing a great job Momma and Declan is a keeper!! You are incredibly blessed Katie and I love you dearly!!!

  4. She is beautiful, loved reading her birth story-thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh you weren't kidding about it being fast! This video makes me well up with tears to the point of wanting another baby...but...ya know

  6. She is amazingly gorgeous as were Em and Lucy. But then again, look at how beautiful mom is. Congratulations to you all!

  7. Congrats!! I love reading birth stories! She is gorgeous!!

  8. That video is beyond precious. So sweet. Happy for you!! :)

  9. Oh my, so many happy congratulations to you and little Hattie!!!!

  10. That was the sweetest! Your videos always do me in! ;-)

  11. Awesome story! The video as super precious and brought tears to my eyes. The entire video was my favorite, but especially the end as Lucy rested her sweet face next to Hattie's. Enjoy, your beautiful heart and family just exploded.

  12. I am a sucker for a good birth story! This is a lot like my second labor - right at 5 hours and things escalated so quickly. We're trying for a 3rd so I think I'll be on a mad dash to the hospital too ha. But if my 3rd is my biggest I'm screwed - #1 was 8 1/2 pounds and #2 was 9 pounds! Hattie is so precious, and I'm so happy for y'all!

  13. 1. Congratulations!
    2. Your videos always make me cry!
    3. You look amazing! You just gave birth!?!
    4. Lucy's hair is so long!!

  14. she is beautiful. thanks for sharing your story.