Growing A Family: Julia Ditto

February 11, 2016

By Gabrielle. (How cute are these Cocospots messages in a bottle?)

Julia’s notes to me were a hoot from the get-go. She’s the mom of six lively children, ranging in age from 12 to one, who “foolishly added a puppy to the mix this Christmas, which has been more difficult than having a newborn…because you just can’t put a diaper on a puppy!” She is also in the process of building her family’s forever home: a farmhouse sitting on 17 acres out in the country. When pressed, Julia admitted that her version of country is five minutes from the freeway! See what I mean?

You can imagine her account of her sixth delivery is equally humorous, so please settle in and enjoy her with me. Welcome, Julia!

All my other kids have either been born right on time or a couple days early, so when my sixth baby’s due date of December 27th came and went, I was both relieved — as we’d successfully avoided being in the hospital on Christmas! — and completely horrified. You mean this could go on for days…weeks, even?

It just felt like my body was not getting the memo that it was SUPER pregnant and needed to kick into gear. Every day that went by, I was a total messed up, sobbing ball of emotions: worried, frustrated, tired, uncomfortable, insert any negative emotion you can possibly imagine. But even with all that, I really didn’t want to be induced.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m no natural mama. Give me an epidural or give me death! But I just really wanted him to come in his own time. So even though he was overdue, he wasn’t in the two-week-overdue danger zone or anything, so I figured he just wasn’t ready yet.

On New Year’s Eve, my doctor called and gave me a take-it-or-leave-it offer. She had procured one open bed for me at the very busy hospital, and I could be induced the next day if I was so inclined. I thought about it — this could be my ticket out! — but ultimately turned her down. She sounded surprised, which made me instantly second-guess my decision. When I told my husband, Logan, he sounded really surprised at my answer as well, but said he would support whatever I wanted to do.

A little while later at dinner, I could tell he was mulling something over, so I asked him what was up.

“I’m just still thinking about the inducing thing,” he said. “It would be so nice if the baby came this weekend when I have time off. Next week, work is going to be really busy and stressful.”

At first I felt like I wanted to cry, and then I felt like I wanted to punch him in the face. I mean, seriously. Giving birth to a child — bringing a new soul into the world — isn’t that something so cosmic that it should be one of the few things not dictated by our silly little plans and vacations and scheduled root canals?

As we were discussing back and forth, Jane, our seven-year-old who was sitting between us at the table, cut in:

“Just let the baby come, Dad. Mom’s the one who has to be pregnant, so she should get to do it how she wants.”

I just stared at her, like, “THANK YOU.”

And then I shot my husband a look that basically said, “The second grader gets it. What’s YOUR problem?”

No, I’m making him sound like a jerk, when in reality, he was incredibly supportive of however I wanted the whole thing to go down. In fact, later that night, as I was having my now-regular sob-fest over the bathroom sink, Logan hugged me and said that maybe the next day I should just go on a long walk and see if I could get labor started.

We live in the Northwest, where January and long walks don’t mix. “Where will I walk? It’s all icy outside,” I said.

“We can take the kids to the church building and they can all play in the gym while you just walk around the halls for as long as you want to.”

For some reason, this idea and this “we’re on the same team” feeling from Logan made me feel so much better. So New Year’s Day, that’s what we did. I walked around that building for almost two hours, almost non-stop. When I wasn’t walking, I was jumping off the stairs. Not kidding. (Only two stairs up. Don’t worry.) My sister-in-law Annie walked with me for a long time, and I called another sister-in-law, Tavia, for an overdue baby pep talk. It was all so comforting.

Well, lo and behold, around 7:00 that night, I started feeling inklings of contractions. I kept myself busy tidying the house and doing random chores because I was terrified that if I sat down and relaxed, the contractions would stop. They didn’t stop, but they were fairly inconsistent and not all that painful. It wasn’t until 10:45 that I started keeping track of the frequency of my contractions, and not until 11:15 that I really started paying attention to their duration. By that point, they were about three to five minutes apart, 45 to 60 seconds long, and almost bringing me to tears. As soon as my mom got to our house to stay with the kids, we headed out the door, probably around midnight.

This whole pregnancy, I had been telling myself that I wouldn’t wait too long, that I wouldn’t try to be a pioneer woman and agonize as long as I could at home until I went to the hospital. And I didn’t think that’s what I was doing; the contractions just weren’t that intense for a long time. But when they got intense, it was like GAME OVER, runaway-freight-train territory.

We checked into the hospital and I got in my gown and climbed onto the bed. As the nurse started asking me the routine questions, I had a contraction and grabbed onto Logan’s arm to have him help me breathe through it. The nurse was like, “You know, I’m just going to check how far along you are and do the questions later, because if you just had to breathe like that through a contraction and this is your sixth baby, I’m thinking you might be getting pretty close.”

I wasn’t terrified, but I knew that I’d better get that epidural pretty quick or it would be too late. The anesthesiologist came in soon after, but things were progressing so fast that I was in complete pain and misery and the epidural couldn’t really touch it.

This childbirth experience was instructive, in that it gave me a glimpse into how I would react in a really painful, stressful situation.

And the verdict is: I would be a disaster.

I was sobbing, writhing, saying over and over, “I want to die, I want to die, I can’t do it.” I think the epidural took the edge off a few contractions, but that’s about it. And when I say took the edge off, I mean it in the same way a Tylenol takes the edge off getting your arm amputated. It was rough. Natural childbirth ladies, my hat’s off to you!

So anyway, I was in utter childbirth meltdown, pushing and screaming and doing all the things you see in movies and just think they’re really overacting the scene, except now it was 100% real. My eyes had been closed through most of the intense part of labor — helping me focus, taking me away to a happy place, I don’t know — and then a nurse said, “Don’t stop! Don’t stop! Look, Julia!”

And I opened my eyes, and a couple seconds later, little baby Hyrum was born. I think I yelled a little bit, maybe even screamed when I saw him, and then they put him right up on my chest, and I was just euphoric. Sobbing, sobbing, sobbing, holding my newborn baby, feeling his soft, warm body right next to mine, smelling him, touching his head, looking at his little face that would forever be a part of my life. After a minute, I reached over for Logan’s hand, and he was crying, too.

Heaven, I tell you. Absolute Heaven.


Julia, thank you so much for the laugh! “This childbirth experience was instructive, in that it gave me a glimpse into how I would react in a really painful, stressful situation. And the verdict is: I would be a disaster.” Julia, I believe in you! I don’t think you’d be a disaster, as long as you get a reward like Hyrum at the end of it all!

Does anyone else ever wonder how they’d do on a survival show? I have a friend who could totally thrive for a month in the most rustic, basic situation…as long as there aren’t any bugs or crawly night creatures involved! What do you think? Could you make it, or would you be a disaster?

P.S. – Find all the stories in this series here. Do you have a story about birth, pregnancy, adoption or infertility? Send your story to me, will you please?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jasna February 11, 2016 at 5:25 am

Julia, you are so funny, you made my day with this awesome piece! Congrats on your new baby and congrats on being a mom of six!

And, thanks Gabi for featuring her!


2 Summer February 11, 2016 at 8:34 am

“The second-grader gets it!” BAHAHAHHA! Love this! What a sweet story!


3 Emily @ Pretty Handsome February 11, 2016 at 8:48 am

Great story and so funny! Loved this line…

I think the epidural took the edge off a few contractions, but that’s about it. And when I say took the edge off, I mean it in the same way a Tylenol takes the edge off getting your arm amputated.


4 Blythe February 11, 2016 at 9:40 am

This is my favorite “Growing A Family” yet! Hooray for owning up to being a hot mess! I love the self-deprecation and joy that reside together in this post :)


5 Polly February 13, 2016 at 11:22 am

I agree! Hilarious! Just made my morning and made me feel way better about doing it all again, as imperfectly and wonderfully add it may be!


6 Wendy February 11, 2016 at 9:52 am

Love this!! I went the natural way with my first daughter and sounded like a wounded animal! It was awful! I even growled at my doula. The next two labors were longer but I eventually went with the epidural and it was beautiful. I even cracked jokes between pushes. Here’s to hot messes!!


7 Paige February 11, 2016 at 11:23 am

Oh man, I can totally relate to the wounded animal noises haha. I didn’t even know I was capable of making such noises. I’m dying of laughter as I’m typing this.



8 Krista February 11, 2016 at 9:53 am

I love these posts, but honestly I am disappointed that your site seems to basically be all advertisements these days. It is great that your business (the site) seems to be growing, but at what cost? Don’t sell out! I used to enjoy the occasional review but now everything on here is a review.
:( Disappointed the page seems to be losing it’s old vibe.


9 rachael February 11, 2016 at 11:05 am

Are you reading the same thing as us? I read a birth story. And it was hilarious! No review of any product to be seen here.


10 Krista February 11, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Yep. Placement on the top picture. It can’t be just a birth story. I miss the days when it was a far less commercialized site. I do understand that it is also a business, I just hold onto the hope that Gabrielle doesn’t completely compromise the old style. I know several of us have been reading for years. I don’t mind some reviews. I actually enjoy some. But the amount of products advertised here has multiplied over the last year. I adore the site and know Gabrielle respects her reader’s opinions so I thought I would share that sometimes all the commercial placements are a turn off.


11 Design Mom February 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

Oh Krista, I’m afraid you misunderstand. I credited the photo. That is all. It was not a product review. I don’t know the company. I’ve never been in contact with the company. I liked their photo and thought it would be nice with this post, and I credited the source.

If you’ve been reading for awhile, then you know I state openly and clearly when I’m sharing sponsored content. If it doesn’t say sponsored, then it’s not sponsored and is not a review of any sort.


12 Katey // Girls in the Park February 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

My husband said the same thing (joking, but not really joking) about wanting our daughter to arrive during a “convenient” time … and I had the same reaction:)

Thank you for sharing your birth story- and your sense of humor. Love it!


13 Wendy February 11, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Ha! My husband actually asked our doctor to take a picture of him with our first & I hadn’t even delivered the placenta yet! She looked at him like are you for real? What is wrong with them?!?


14 Marian February 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Thank you dear for making me laugh! Back to life.


15 Mrs. A February 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Thank you for this story! I have heard so many moms talk about their transcendent birth experiences, that I thought my wild-animal-noise crazy birth story was abnormal. :)


16 Val February 11, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Julia, thank you for sharing this delightfully written real birth story! Do you really not have a blog? Your writing style is so much fun, I’d love reading more by you :)


17 heidi February 11, 2016 at 4:12 pm

i accidentally had a baby without an epidural. People would say stuff like “welcome to the natural child birth club” and I would reply with “that is a stupid club, why would you ever willingly want to be in that club?.”
After a week or so I was thinking I wanted to try natural child birth again, this time more prepared and see how I would do. But that would mean I would have to be pregnant again and then end up with more kids. And we really gotta stop having kids because at this point I can hardly handle the ones we have. I mean, I am pretty sure my 2 youngest are going to start swearing.


18 Whitney February 12, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Oh, this made me laugh!!! Loved this!


19 RBC February 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm

Oh my – reading this made me laugh out loud and also made me think we would be fast friends! My 3rd is nearly 6 months and his birth story is VERY similar to yours. Except I didn’t even get a pretend epidural (*sob*). I screamed like a maniac and probably woke up the entire hospital (he was born just before midnight). After one contraction, I yelled at my husband to tell me if I had pooped. I was pretty devastated when he said no (which was apparently not the response he expected to such a question) because, as I screamed/sobbed ‘the baby was coming!!!!!!’ I didn’t push once. I can laugh now, but not getting that epidural which I was really counting on was pretty traumatic!


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