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the birth of grayson clyde smyth, as told by dad

by Lila on December 7, 2014

Birth-Story-4{all photographs in this post taken by the talented Brooke Bryand}

So the holidays have taken me by storm. And I have not gone quietly. We painted our living room, hosted parties, and driven here, there, and everywhere. Through all the delightful chaos one truth has screamed louder than all the rest. On December 5th our baby boy turned one. It is hard for me to wrap my head around. To believe fully. But it is true. We have celebrated and told stories and toasted to our bundle. Does the saying go, “Long days, short years?” My goodness how that holds true.

We strive to be a family of story tellers. When Grayson was born I insisted that Jeff and I both write our stories of his birth and then read them to each other before talking about the details. I wanted to see what stood out to each of us as individuals. What we wanted to remember. I shared my story many moons ago, and today, in honor of the little’s birthday, and with Jeff’s permission, I share the other side of the story. Dad’s side. What year, what a joy, what an adventure.


The birth of Grayson Clyde Smyth, as told by Dad

The anticipation had been building for months. Lila and I knew that sometime near the end of 2013 she would be giving birth to our first born child, a boy. And although we spent countless hours preparing, we were surprised when our bundle of joy came a few weeks early.

We just finished running our annual Thanksgiving marathon, which included football with the guys, a holiday meal with both sides of the family and a birthday dinner for Joan. Throughout it all Lila had quietly tolerated abdominal pain, something we both assumed was simply part of being nine months pregnant. On Sunday night, we were considering our options: I suggested watching a movie to see if the pain got better, Lila decided we should pack our hospital bag. She was right.

We called the doctor to see if the pain was something to be concerned about. She told us we should got to the hospital and have it checked out. That response filled me with equal parts of disbelief, excitement, and panic.

Surely our little boy could not be ready to come out yet. He was not due for a month still. Plus, we weren’t ready yet. We hadn’t packed. The carseat wasn’t installed. We just bought a new car that we hadn’t been able to pick up yet. But we threw some clothes in a bag, put the carseat box in a the trunk, and drove to the hospital.

It was very quiet when we got there; not many people driving in at 1 a.m. to get checked out for signs of labor. We even got two nurses to run the tests.

Two our surprise, the abdominal pain Lila had been experiencing was in fact the early stages of labor. The contractions were regular and the heartbeat strong. We waited around for two hours to make sure everything was alright, playing games and listening to the fetal heartbeat. Around 3 a.m. the nurses assured us that we were still a ways off and sent us home with a shot of morphine to ease the pain.

Lila slept for 12 hours, not waking up until mid-afternoon on Monday. I got up earlier and began letting people at work know what was going on. I worked from home most of the day. I also installed the carseat.

On Monday night we made another trip to the hospital. Again it was slow, again we hung out for a couple of hours, and again we went home with a morphine shot. It seemed we would have to wait forever.

On Tuesday we went in for an ultrasound, at which a doctor named Otto told us that our 36-week-old baby had the head of a 42-week-old baby. Doctor Kahn was thrilled because she had been worried that she would miss the birth, but it appeared as though our little guy was coming early. She also told us that the next time we went in, we would be delivering the baby, and to call her if anything “interesting” happened. And with that we waited…

The waiting was the hardest part. We had no idea if we would have to wait a day or a week. We called doctor Kahn on Tuesday night and told her we thought the pain seemed a little worse. Not “interesting.”

On Wednesday we waited some more. I was working from home, Lila was watching TV to pass the time. And as we sat around, me in the yellow chair and Lila on the couch, and amazing thing happened. For a brief moment I forgot how imminent the birth was, caught up in my emails. And at the moment, Lila’s water broke.

All-of-a-sudden it was game time. I ran around like a Tasmanian devil while Lila got ready to go. I grabbed bags. I put the chickens away. I fired off a few explanatory emails. I ate a piece of pizza. And then we were driving.

The drive itself was uneventful except that every few minutes Lila had a contraction. And not the weak, uncomfortable contractions from before. These were real contractions. And Lila was in serious pain.

I parked by the emergency entrance and we waddled into the reception area. The first two times we were there the place was dead; this time it was packed. All five rooms were already full and another couple was in the waiting room. We sat down and waited for something to open up.

A few minutes later we were waved into the back. Lila thought it was the other couple’s turn to go, but given the relaxed, almost bored, look on the woman’s face, it was clear that our situation was more urgent. So we got situated in the room for the third, and last, time.

They hooked Lila up to the machine so they could monitor everything and to make sure she should be admitted. Everything looked good and they were ready to admit us, but there was one problem; there were no rooms available upstairs. The hospital was completely full. So we had to wait for a room to open up, while the contractions got steadily worse.

In the hallway I heard another father-to-be frantically looking for a nurse. “Her contractions are closer now,” he said, as his wife moaned in the background. “They are constant!” When the room opened up the nurse asked if we were doing okay, and if it would be alright if they gave the room to the other couple. They seemed like they were so stressed that they needed it more. So we waited.

Another room finally opened up, after three hours, and they moved us upstairs. Coincidently, it was the same room, 237, that we saw when we took the hospital tour. It had a TV, private bathroom, and cot for me to sleep on. But most importantly, it came with the ability for Lila to get some pain relief.

The doctor came in to insert Lila’s epidural almost immediately. After he was done, he asked her how the contractions were feeling. She said she’d let him know when she had another one. He told her she had already had two. So the pain meds were working.

And then all there was left to do was wait. We watched a show, I took a shower, and we went to sleep. We knew that in the morning we would be having a baby.

I woke up at 6 a.m. Lila was starting to feel pain again, so they checked her out. She had dilated an amazing amount, meaning we were close. I got dressed, packed up my bed, and got ready.

At 8:20 doctor Kahn waltzed in the door. She said, “Alright, time to push out that baby.” It all happened so fast. Doctor Kahn got set up while the nurse taught Lila how to push. The abrasive doctor remained true to her character; she encouraged Lila to push like a drill sergeant. But 30 minutes after she arrived, our little boy emerged, with a scream.

He was beautiful, despite the distinct cone shape of his head. He was measured and prodded before being placed in his mother’s arms. It was amazing to witness Lila’s first moments with her son.

It was no less amazing when it was my turn. Although I had always been a little tentative around babies, the first time I held our little Grayson in my arms it felt so natural. It was like two puzzle pieces fitting together. I’ve never felt anything like it.

The next few days were a blur. So many visitors wanting to get their hand on our beautiful little boy. Learning how to feed him, and change him, and make him feel safe. And it all culminated in the moment when we were allowed to pack him up and take him home with us for good, though really just when the story of the rest of our lives began.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie December 7, 2014 at 6:40 am

What a beautiful story, Jeff! Teared up a little. Congrats to both of you for a full year under your belts. Love you.


Susan Raser December 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Love this, Happy Birthday, Grayson!


Lila December 8, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Thank you! Can’t believe it has been a year!


Melanie December 8, 2014 at 12:23 am

Such cute photos!
Melanie @


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