The Birth of Miss Dorothy Jane | McGowan Images Blog


The Birth of Miss Dorothy Jane

Hey there blogstalkers!

(psst… there’s a pretty picture at the end of this post, and the entire post before this was JUST pretty pictures. So if that’s what you’re here for, you know where to go! πŸ˜‰ )

So, before Baby Dot was born, I was asked by a couple dozen people if I’d be live-blogging through her birth. I hadn’t considered it before the first email, and honestly, I loved the idea in theory. I’m huge into journaling, and I thought live-blogging mine and Mack’s feelings throughout labor and delivery would be an awesome way to have those memories captured.

Reality, though, is a little different than theory. Most importantly, Mack didn’t want to be messing with live-blogging, and he’d be the one who’d do it since I’d obviously be a little tied up during most of the affair.

So, what to do? I wanted to be able to save our birth story, and clearly, there were at least a handful of crazy readers who were interesting in me sharing it.

We decided to take notes on our thoughts and feelings, and to put together a Β little Play-by-Play after the fact. And then, life happened, and I had a lightning-fast delivery, and we weren’t somuch able to breathe, much less write anything down.

It’s all still pretty ingrained in memory, though, so I’ll at least be able to tell the story, as well as share some of our favorite pictures from the experience.

Disclaimer: I am not the Discovery Health Channel, so don’t expect to learn anything scientific. However, I am also not that Duggar woman who sings about childbirth as if it’s a romp through a field of daisies… so you’ve been warned.

If you’re not interested in hearing about the Birth of Baby Dot, it won’t offend me at all for you to not read this post. We’ll post a full blog of Baby’s First Photoshoot sometime in the next week or so, and I triple pinkie promise not to muck that post up with too many words.

For the rest of you still hanging on… enjoy!

We checked into the hospital at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21.



We’d decided on an induction for a couple of reasons.

1) I was miserable.

2) Dot was healthy.

3) my entire family is flying out for Malibu in a few days to see my baby sister graduate from college. Now, I know that scads and scads of people give birth all the time without their parents for support, and I know Mack and I would have done just fine on our own. But my parents are our best friends in the world, and they’re so great to both Mack AND me… parents to both of us, really. We just couldn’t see having a baby without them here if we didn’t have to. Plus, it’d be easier on Jack to have his grandparents to stay with.

Oh… and we figured my mom could translate Yiddish curses if I turned out to be a vocal laborer. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, we got scheduled, we checked in… rockin’ and rollin’.

Awesome thing #1: We got the good room. The Stephenville hospital has a gorgeous women’s wing and really incredible staff, so any room would have been fine, but because of great timing, we got the biggest room, closest to the nurse’s station. WIN.

We got checked, and found out I was at 4 centimeters, so in good condition to get things started quickly. We started pitocin, and broke my water at 7 a.m., and settled in for the morning.

Except… um… notsomuch.

My birth with Jack was induced, and relatively quick. Start to finish in 7 hours. But it was slow starting, and I got an epidural early, and I was comfortable through the whole thing. I visited with people, and was very conversational. Easy breezy.

This time, when the induced contractions hit, they hit like WHOA. My pain tolerance is apparently noted in my medical records as somewhat legendary, because my nurse was prepared for me to not really complain. And I didn’t complain. I’m a teeth gritter. But yeah, there was no building up to hard labor. All of a sudden, we were in it.



The nurse saw me, realized that we were cookin’ with gas, and decided to check me at 8 a.m. I had dilated another 2 centimeters and the baby had dropped fully into position.

For those of you who haven’t done this… that’s what’s known as wicked fast progress. She said it’d be smart to get the epidural if I wanted one, since it looked like it was going to go fast.

Since I couldn’t talk… I sort of nodded “Yes please” and they sent for the anesthesiologist.

Just my luck, the anesthesiologist was with another patient, so notsomuch with the hurrying.

Mack, I have to say, was incredible. He had food poisoning, and was sick as a dog. He actually threw up throughout the day, and was dizzy and nauseous. I felt terrible for him. Well… after the fact, I felt terrible for him. I’ll admit to being pretty self-centered during the actual labor itself.


So for the next hour and a half or so, we worked through it. I hummed through my contractions, and gritted my teeth, and Mack and my mom took turns rubbing my back. It was intense, but I felt productive.

At 9:30, the anesthesiologist made it into the room. I remember cheering a little, thinking, “Awesome… this is about to get easier to handle.” And it would have.

The epidural went fine… it took about a half hour. At 10 a.m., I sat back up in the bed, got the all clear from the doctor, and thought to myself, “Yay! In a few contractions, I’ll be able to get some rest.”

And then, holy mother of everything good, BAM. OW. Screeching incredible wow. (There aren’t coherent statements to describe it… mothers who’ve had natural labor will know.)

I looked at the nurse and said, “Um… we don’t have time.”

She checked me and said, “Oh wow! Yeah, you’re right. I’ll call the doctor.”

In 15 minutes, our doctor arrived, and the pretty little hotel-suite-looking laboring room we’d been in transformed in a hurry. Lights came down out of the ceiling, tables appeared out of nowhere, a warming shelf was unwrapped, and the bottom half of my bed went away.

See? Lights... out of the ceiling.

See? Lights... out of the ceiling.

In the short time since I’d gotten the epidural, it’d had time to numb…. my feet. Oh, and the tops of my thighs. Great. Because that’s TOTALLY where you feel pain when you birth a baby. *hand/forehead*

I requested a mirror for the pushing. Some people have acted like that’s totally crazy, but I love it. It was very empowering for me to see the progress of what I was doing… to see her head getting closer and closer to being born. When the pain really made it feel like I’d pass out any second, I could hang on to that visual… my baby almost in the world.

I’d like to say there was some sort of loving spiritual connection between Mack and I during labor, because he really did such a fantastic job of being a supportive coach. But really, I don’t remember much interaction with him. I could have been alone in that room, for all I know. I was in a zone, and I had a purpose, and we were going to get this job done.

Hello, amazing support team. I'm glad I have this picture so I can remember you guys were there! ;)

Hello, amazing support team. I'm glad I have this picture so I can remember you guys were there! πŸ˜‰

And, we did.

At 10:43 a.m., after 20 minutes of pushing and just a little over 3 total hours of labor, Dorothy Jane McGowan made her way into the world.


I know how blessed I am. Sure, it’d have been great if the epidural worked… but to have so quick a labor, uncomplicated and surrounded by a stellar support system…. I know what a gift that is. I’m truly a lucky girl.



The man is totally in love with his daughter... it's the coolest thing I've ever seen!

The man is totally in love with his daughter... it's the coolest thing I've ever seen!

Jack's pretty crazy about her, too.

Jack's pretty crazy about her, too.

Our overnight stay in the hospital was actually a really lovely experience. As I’ve said, we had wonderful nursing staff who mostly left us alone. After all the visitors were gone and Jack had gone home with my parents, Mack and I sat together, with Mack rocking his new daughter, and we watched “Get Smart” and talked about how happy we were.Β  OH! And Mack presented me with a REALLY gorgeous diamond necklace. A “Thank you for birthin’ my baby” present. Men… take note… this rocks incredibly hard. Recap: New baby, snuggling, pizza, Steve Carell, and diamonds from the love of my life. Not a bad way to spend an evening. πŸ˜‰


Since then, things have been just as dreamy. My recovery has been SUPER easy compared to when I delivered Jack. I felt fully ready to go home on Thursday morning… the only reason we stayed in the hospital so long is that my doctor likes to keep his babies from 24 hours after birth. We both got a clean bill of health, and were super excited to come home.

Our luck has continued. Dorothy is a fantastic eater, and that’s helped her be a really good sleeper, too. She’s generally eating at 11 p.m., 3 p.m., and 7 a.m., which means only one “middle of the night” wake up call for her parents.

I had someone tell me, “Oh, she’ll get over that”. Um, thanks? Jack never did. Jack only ever woke up once a night, and then by 3 months was sleeping straight through the night easily. Never looked back.

I don’t understand this culture of moms trying to freak other moms out. Especially newbies who haven’t had babies yet. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard about 30+ hour labors, emergency c-sections, babies who won’t eat or sleep. Obviously, those things happen. That’s life.

But why are those the stories we want to tell each other? Why does pregnancy and childbirth need to have this aura of fear around it?

Let’s talk about positivity! Let’s tell a new mom, “Oh, that’s great! I hope she keep sleeping so well for you!” I had a fast labor. Sure, the pain sucked. But I’m not going to lead with that when I talk to a pregnant friend or client. I’ll say, “I hope your labor is as fast as mine was… it was a dream to have everything go so quickly!”

Sorry. End of rant. πŸ˜‰

What does that bring us to? The now. The now is Monday morning. Mack is at work, which makes me sad, but today is just a half-day, so that brings back the happy.

This afternoon, he’ll come home and then we’ll take Dottie to her first doctor’s appointment. The biggest decision on my plate today – What will my darling baby girl wear for her first trip to town?

It's going to be hard to top her First Sunday at Church outfit. Seriously... the cuteness was brain-melting.

It's going to be hard to top her First Sunday at Church outfit. Seriously... the cuteness was brain-melting.

As I said in the last blog post, I am so beyond blessed by the love and encouragement I’ve received from blogstalkers. Who would have thought that being so transparent in my online marketing would lead to such a great feeling of community? Mack and I really feel so supported by our friends, and clients, and friends-of-clients who’ve followed us on this journey. From the bottom of our hearts… Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

I suppose I should tell you a little of what’s coming up.

It’s my goal this week to take some more newborn portraits of our sweet girl, and get another blog post up with all sorts of pictures for you to ogle over. The next week is both Mother’s Day and my birthday, so I’m sure there’s a post there.

Exciting: my birthday present this year is major wardrobe renovation. I lost a ton of weight before we got pregnant with Dot, and already, the baby weight is falling off pretty rapidly, so I don’t have much of anything to wear. My sweetheart is taking me Mega Shopping, and I’m so stoked!

But it won’t be too long before we’re back in action! In fact, I’ve got a set of romantic mini-shoots scheduled for May 16, and a super sneaker scheduled to hit the blog on Monday the 17th. Wow. That’s less than 3 weeks away. You can wait that long for fresh McGowan Images goodness, can’t you? πŸ™‚

Until then… my number one priority is soaking up this sweet time with my beautiful daughter. I’m so excited that photography has given me the opportunity to be mostly home with her through her babyhood, so I don’t have to miss a moment of this.

Oh heck… here’s one more picture. She’s so gorgeous, isn’t she???


Thanks for reading this really long blogpost. See you soon!

  1. Crystal says:

    Wow! I love this blog! What a super fast labor! Your support system was amazing! She is beautiful! The picture of Mack, Jack, and Baby Dot is so sweet! So glad everyone is doing good πŸ™‚ can’t wait to see more pictures!

  2. annie says:

    I’m crying. I love her. I love you. I β™₯ the McGowans.

  3. Misty says:!!! πŸ™‚ <3

  4. Hilary says:

    AW!! I loved it πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see you later this week. I’ll call when I know for sure what time I’ll be around to see if it jives with your schedule!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Chelsea I love this post, what sweet memories to cherish!! Thanks for sharing them!!

  6. Tiffany says:

    OH SO SWEET! What a beautiful story you have, thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  7. Meagan says:

    We can’t wait to meet her Chelsea! She’s a doll πŸ™‚

  8. Hannah says:

    Oh, i’ve just been in tears reading all of this. You are wonderful, absolutely wonderful! I love you and your precious family so much. Can’t wait to meet baby Dot. Love, love!

  9. Whitney says:

    1) You are AMAZING. Holy crap I am inspired by your grin-n-bearitness.
    2) That child is GORGEMOUS.
    3) The pic of Jack looking up at Mack? Lump in the throat, big time. It’s like Jack is looking at Mack thinking, “Wow. Dad helped make this baby. He ROCKS. I wanna be just like him.”
    4) Couldn’t agree more with the whole nonsense about scaring new mothers. I mean, I’m still a few years away from all that, and peeps have me terrified already.
    5) Poor Mack with the food poisoning. Miz times.

  10. Amanda Williams says:

    I loved reading this post! Makes me think more positive about my own delivery in 3 months! You are so right about women needing to encourage each other, I hate it when people talk negative about me wanting to have natural child birth. I have done it before and will do it again.I took note of the humming through contractions..I will try that this time, with Zach I was screaming bloody murder. You did an amazing job, and I soo get the “zone” you were talking about!! There could have been 100 people in the room doing all sorts of crazy stuff and I dont think I would have noticed! I know I have said it, but again.. Dorothy is so beautiful. πŸ™‚

  11. Amber B says:

    Wow, great blog!! I’m so looking forward to the birth of my little boy…not that I haven’t been excited, but your blog really made it very cool to get even more excited! I’m printing my contract out to send your way with a deposit by the way!! I haven’t forgotten..been working lol! Love the pics! So awesome!

  12. Elle says:

    What a journey Chelsea!!! I am so happy for you, Mack, Jack and Dot. I have been following all along and was so excited for you last Wednesday and hoped for an easy labor. Well, at least you got a quick labor!! Poor Mack, I cant believe he was sick that day. What a trooper! Thanks for sharing your story. It is great for first time potential Mom’s like me!

  13. Kari says:

    I’m so glad you blogged this. She’s so stinkin’ beautiful. And you’re right, almost all I’ve ever heard are horror stories about labor. My cousin used to always fuss about how TV shows never really show what happens because it always looks “too easy.” She had two really difficult labors though. It’s nice to know that you’re not doomed to experience the same thing though

  14. |B| says:

    You definitely brought on the tears! So amazing and thank you for sharing such precious moments (in good humor, too, I might add). May your family have a million and one blessings!

  15. Abby says:

    Chelsea… she is the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen. You are so wonderful, and I love that you shared this with us. Thank you…

  16. Stephanie says:

    She is absolutely beautiful…just like her mother. What an amazing family you have been blessed with. Enjoy every single moment. :):)

  17. Amber B says:

    I’m with you on the whole lets talk positive about child birth! I’m going natural as well and the people that look at me and call me crazy just hurts my feelings a little, but I’ve gotten over that and I’m a strong person and I can handle anything!

  18. Nicole says:

    I think you’re awesome for putting yourself out there like you do. This blog was great! I can’t wait to see more pics! Congrats again!

  19. Aunt Ambo says:

    As I said before, I’m so happy I got to be there for little Dorothy’s debut into the world. You rock sister! And that little girl melts my heart everytime I see her just like Jack-Attack does. I’m checking everyday for new pictures of her : )
    Love you guys like crazy and I totally agree with your ‘no negativity’ stance as for being one of those who doesn’t have kids yet, I wanna hear all the positive I can : )
    Give Dot a kiss for me.

  20. Christian F. says:

    I love your blog! You are so amazing with words and the pictures are breath takeing! Oh Chelsea I love your rant!!!! Thank you for the good stories πŸ™‚ Dorothy is so amazing, she is incredibly pretty! My favorite picture is the one of Mack, Jack and Baby Dot, with Jack looking up. It made me tear up, and represents how special your family is! Enjoy every moment!

  21. Liesa Arnold says:

    I’m so thankful you two are willing to share so honestly and openly your lives! It’s so refreshing to me. I feel bad sometimes commenting on your statuses and what not when you don’t really know me. I know Mack, but sometimes I feel like such a creeper! But truly I want to thank you for sharing your lives, and showing that life is so beautiful and unique, and such a blessing. I always leave this blog site feeling so happy! Baby Dot is gorgeous, just like the rest of her family. Thank you for letting me feel connected without really knowing me! Best of luck and love with Baby Dot and getting back in the photog. groove!

  22. Lesa says:

    Congrats! Your baby girl is so beautiful!

  23. Stephanie Moore Hager says:

    The story was heart warming the pictures were beautiful and the one I really lost it all and just cried was the one of Jack, Mack & Dorothy. Jack is looking at his daddy with such admiration and Mack is looking at Dorothy with so much love. We are all blessed to know each and every one of you!

  24. Veena says:

    Wow.. that’s really too good. that last pic was really soooo sooo sweet. Dot is really a sweet cute angel

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