George’s Birth Story (Finally!): a cautionary tale about getting what you ask for, and cherry pits

by | Oct 30, 2017 | Babies, Birth Stories, Liturgical Year, My Book | 21 comments

He’s a good baby. He nurses well and sleeps a lot and has the cutest little smiles. Not to mention the cutest little face.

But he’s just very . . . particular, if you know what I mean. He most particularly doesn’t care for me sitting at the computer and typing. (Perhaps he got his fill of that in utero, hmm?) He prefers being walked around in the carrier, and enjoys shushing, swaying, bouncing, and patting.

Like this . . .

A post shared by Kendra Tierney (@kendra_tierney) on Aug 16, 2017 at 6:07pm PDT

Anyway, he’s already nearly FOUR MONTHS old, so it’s high time I got his birth story typey typed up, no?

After Mary Jane’s very quick and easy (if slightly stressful for the husband) accidental homebirth, our main goal for this birth was to get to the hospital. I’d been praying, and asked you all to pray, specifically that I’d feel the beginning of labor, which I don’t, usually.

Pats on backs, everyone, because it worked. I did feel it. I felt it all. Just for the record, I’d like to report that this is a dumb thing to have prayed for. Lesson learned.

We’ve moved since Midge (aka Mary Jane) was born in the bathtub of our old house, so I’ve got a new obstetrician. At my very first appointment I told him that my labors have sometimes gone really fast. Anita was an hour and a half, and Midge was about 45 minutes. So, I’m all, “Watch out, because this baby will probably come quick!” And he wrote that down on my chart without really reacting. He’s a very chill OB. But he’ll see, I thought to myself, he’ll see.

This whole pregnancy was pretty hard. I had a lot of commitments unrelated to pregnancy that were especially challenging because of pregnancy, like home remodeling and book writing. I had health issues like a broken tailbone and recurring UTIs that were exacerbated by pregnancy, and normal pregnancy stuff like heartburn and edema that were much worse with this pregnancy than I’d experienced before.

I hate taking medicine. I don’t know why, I just always have. But I had to give in and do it. Once I was taking a daily antibiotic for the prevention of UTIs, and a daily heartburn medication for the prevention of heartburn, and wearing compression socks, I actually felt pretty good, all things considered, the last couple months there.

With a lot of help with childcare from my parents, the big kids, and a good good friend, I got the book finished and submitted to the publisher one week before my due date <kermit flail!>. Then I figured I had between zero and seven days to get done all the preparation/nesting stuff I’d usually have been working on for a month or two.

I’ve only gone past my due date once with my eight other births. With all the rest, I’ve either gone on my due date or a day or two early. I’d left everything to the very last minute

Since Jack was born fifteen years ago, I have always sewn baby blankets and made little shirts with their names on them. I do one for a girl baby and one for a boy baby, since we don’t find out ahead of time.

But this time I was due on July 4th, and we had two different names picked for a girl, one if she was born on July 4th, one for if she was born on other than July 4th, so I needed two different blankets. A boy baby was going to be George either way, but once I was making two blankets for a girl baby, I felt like I should also make two for a boy baby. And now that I type that out I hear how crazy it is. I do. But it FELT important at the time. That’s the kind of crazy I am.

I also got Mary Jane’s baby book made. I just do them on Shutterfly. One year. Photos and captions only. But it just might be my single greatest achievement as a mother, nay, as a human being, that eight kids in this house have baby books. I gotta say, it feels nice to be able to point to a stack of books as physical proof that I loved each of them. Officially.

Anyway, I went to bed the night of July third, just SURE that I’d go into labor that night. Of course, I go to bed every night for the week before my due date pretty sure of that. But when I woke up on July 4th and it was morning and I wasn’t having contractions . . . I pretty much turned into a feral pacing animal. I know there are so many of you who have gone days and weeks past due dates and, I don’t know how you don’t go completely out of your mind.

I was willing to allow for the possibility that I might have the baby BEFORE my due date. The extra baby blankets had been sewn against that possibility. But I really was hoping for my fourth baby born on the due date. I really value punctuality.

So, I woke up on the mad and antsy side of the bed. I ate breakfast and decided I would walk the baby out. There was lots of walking, a break to go to Mass, then more walking, and still no contractions. And the whole day I’m getting more frustrated, because I had PLANNED to have the baby in the middle of the night and be home with the kids in time for fireworks. As the hours ticked by, it was becoming clear that that wasn’t going to happen.

After lunch, I went to take a nap and woke up at about three in the afternoon, thinking maybe that was maybe a contraction. In all but one of my previous labors, it only took two or three contractions for there to be NO DOUBT that I was in labor. The last baby, two or three contractions and I was almost DONE. But these were different. They were really mild, but really regular. I was looking at the time with each one and they were thirty minutes apart and getting closer, but s-l-o-w-l-y. It really felt like a first baby, not like a ninth! After a couple of hours of watching Parks and Rec on Netflix and checking the time, I finally decided to get up and see what my family was up to.

I have a determined phobia of announcing that I am in labor and then not actually being in labor. If I faced a boggart, it would be an l&d nurse shaking her head at me and looking past me to tell the husband, “It’s probably just gas.”

So, I reluctantly told my husband that I thought maybe MAYBE I was having contractions. But they didn’t hurt at all, so I didn’t want to go to the hospital yet. I sat down with the kids and my parents and we ate burgers and watermelon and bomb pops and talked about America. And Hamilton. And not thowing away our shots and whatnot.

I just knew that whenever whatever this was was finished and the real thing got going, it was going to go fast . . . so I let the husband talk me into heading for the hospital around 6pm. Betty came with us, and we drove over, me having regular contractions still, but them still not meaning business.

We got to the hospital. I didn’t want to go inside yet, so we walked around the parking lot for a bit. When we decided to go in, the main entrance was closed, so we had to check in at the emergency room. We got in line behind a few other folks and waited. And now I’m getting antsy because I’m figuring the real contractions are going to hit any second and I don’t want to be standing in line when that happens. Right in front of us is a family: a mom, and dad, and a four or five year old girl.

They have left a 4th of July party.

And come to a hospital emergency room.

Because their daughter.

Has swallowed.

A cherry pit.

Not magnets, or drano, or a throwing star. They brought her to the ER for swallowing a very tiny food item.

So . . . as you can tell, I was super chill about that.

That emergency attended to, we got to plead our case and get admitted. I got checked and, despite my boggart-y fears, I was in fact in labor, and at about a six, which is unusual for me. I like to cut it very close, and/or just not make it at all. Arriving at a six seemed like kind of a waste of everyone’s time. I started running through all the things I could have gotten done if we’d stayed home for another couple hours. But, c’est la vie.

The nurse said I could walk for fifteen minutes, but then it was thirty minutes before she came to track us down from the hallway farthest from her desk where I was hiding from her. So that was good.

While they had me hooked up to the monitor between walks, Betty and I watched Agent Carter together. Super cute show. It’s on Amazon. I recommend it for teens. Howard Stark’s wanton ways are alluded to, but not in a positive way. And it’s been just so awesome to have her there for these last three births. I love that she’s old enough to share this with us.

Anyway, my OB arrived at 9:15pm, in a red, white, and blue polo shirt, fresh from a barbecue. He offered to break my water, and said that he thought that if he did I’d have the baby in an hour. I said I didn’t want him to break my water. I had my water broken by the doctor once, and felt like the contractions were much less smooth, somehow, and I prefer to just let things take their natural course, whenever possible. But I silently determined to have that baby in an hour all by myself, thank you very much.

The contractions were hard. The pushing was hard. I was keeping it together, and trying to focus on my prayer intentions, but in between contractions I kept wondering how it the world it could be this hard, when I’d had so many easy births. But I had my deadline, and that was very motivating.
And because God is good and I am obstinate, George Curtis Tierney was born at 10:14pm. On his due date. On the 4th of July. And he was TEN POUNDS! Most of my babies have been in the seven and a half to eight pound range. Bobby was my previous biggest at nine pounds one ounce. I don’t know if that explains the long, tough labor, but it certainly felt like an accomplishment.


The heartburn and edema and UTIs disappeared as soon as I wasn’t pregnant anymore, for which I am supremely grateful.

If you like birth stories, you’ll find all the rest of mine here!

A few months in to knowing him, I can now tell you that George is super sweet and super smiley and super extroverted. He likes nothing more that having all his brothers and sisters all up in his face. It took a few months, but he has recently started sleeping long enough stints on his own for me to work on some projects I’ve been wanting to do. I’m finishing up edits on the book, but traditional publishing, like the Church, is a slow business and the book isn’t scheduled to be published until next liturgical year.
So, in the meantime,  I’ve created a wall calendar to help us keep track of the upcoming feasts!

It features the all the feasts and fasts of the Universal Calendar and then some, illustrated with images featuring the traditional Catholic monthly devotions. It’s an easy visual way to bring liturgical living into your home. You can keep track of the feasts and fasts and seasons of the Catholic year, and be reminded to focus your prayer on a different aspect of our faith each month.

January:The Holy Name of Jesus 
February: The Holy Family 
March: St. Joseph 
April: The Blessed Sacrament 
May: Mary 
June: The Sacred Heart of Jesus 
July: The Precious Blood 
August Immaculate Heart of Mary 
September: The Seven Sorrows of Mary 
October: The Holy Rosary 
November: The Poor Souls in Purgatory 
December: The Immaculate Conception 

As the Church year begins with December, so does this calendar. You get December 2017 through December 2018, thirteen months. Available for purchase here.

You can see a preview of the inside here.

Or by clicking on the little “preview” link on the publisher’s site beneath the cover image, but you need flash, so if you’re on your phone you’ll just have to trust me that it’s cute.
The calendar starts in December and it takes about a week and a half to get to you, so don’t wait, order now, blah, blah, blah. There’s a coupon code currently available:

Save 10% On Orders of Print Products
Plus Free Mail or 50% Off Ground Shipping
Use Code: BOOKSHIP17
Cannot be combined with other offers
Does not apply to ebooks or services
Ends November 6th at 11:59 PM

(It’s a code from the publisher, and I’ll update here if any other discounts become available, in case you miss this one!)

I hope you love it!


  1. Kathleen

    I love this story!!! I almost had my third in the car the labor was so fast and then my fourth felt like forever with a 4 hour labor, but he was 11 lbs and 2oz… so I guess he needed a little more time! I’m due in a week and curious to see if this labor will be lightening fast or not..

  2. Erica Saint

    "And because God is good and I am obstinate" Ha! 🙂
    Such a good story! George is a cutie. I am glad that your health issues cleared up.

    • Kendra

      Me too! It gave me a little window into what it's like to be a mom with recurring health issues, and wow . . . that is TOUGH. It's so hard to not know when you'll just have to be in bed for a day, and to try to explain to your kids why you can't manage the normal routine!

    • Erica Saint

      Very true! For years I suffered from painful inflammation. Now I know how to control it with diet (limited meat, no dairy), but there were many, many days when I had to mother from the couch. Those were hard years. I am grateful that I can control my symptoms because some women never experience relief.

  3. JennyU

    I had no idea he was so big! He's really such a dashing baby. George suits him.

    • Kendra

      I couldn't believe how giant he was! And George totally does suit him. I just love saying it.

  4. Ashlee

    I was so excited to see such a beautiful calendar that I didn't even finish reading and missed the coupon code! 🙂 I hope that percentage goes to you!! Do you create a calendar every year? Did I some how miss this? It is seriously such an answer to my prayers. I have your printables in a big stack that rotate through the year, but this allows me to just have it built in to the calendar!!! I hope you plan to keep making these. SUCH a beautiful way to keep me organized.

    • Kendra

      Thank you so much, and oh no! The percent off is a coupon code from the publisher, so you can call them: Questions About Your Order? Call 844-212-0689 and I bet they'll adjust it. They're supposed to have good customer service.

      This is my first calendar! I really enjoyed making it though. I hope to keep making them every year.

  5. Kendra

    Everytime I'm pregnant I think about how nice it would be to be put on bedrest for about one day. And then I assume my children would all go feral. I'm so glad to hear you're almost at term. That must be such a relief!

  6. arenda

    What a fun birth story to read! My last labour (3rd) was one hour long, and as I'm pregnant again my number one thought has been – how long will this birth be, and will I get to the hospital in time? (We just moved, and are now a 30-minute drive away.) It was too funny reading about how you got what you wanted (unfortunately) as far as lots of warning went. I'll have to think about how to pray about this birth! 😉

  7. Karen K

    Kendra – congrats on George! What a cutie. I so wish I had started reading your blog when I still lived in SoCal (Pasadena / SFV) when it seemed like there were no other Catholics around! The calendar looks awesome. Get the publisher to create a planner version too – I'm always on the hunt for a good Catholic day planner with the feasts and intentions. Blessings.

  8. John Vogel

    You are so funny. Darn unpunctual babies. Most of mine have been late.Like a week late. And yes, I am a freaking crazy person every day for a week. Near hysteria sets in as I become determined to Get It OUT. I am super annoyed right now because I am pregnant and my due date was March 29, and they changed it to March 21 after my first ultrasound, just because the baby is measuring big (they all measure big!), and then told me that if I go a week past my new due date I can't deliver at the birthing center on account of my oldness. So crapola on them. Because I promise you, I *will* go late, I will probably in fact go into April. Blah.

  9. Jennifer

    Yes!!! Have been obsessively checking for this update for months! You're so good at having babies. And that blanket… hilarious! That can be your next side job.

  10. Melissa

    Ooo I like the new calendar. Easpeciall the one that says IHS—beautiful design! A liturgical / Family photo Calender has been my husbands Christmas gift to me every year since we got married. It is so helpful and loved! 🙂 congrats on the birth of George. Thanks for sharing the story!

  11. Christine Coots

    Isn't it crazy how different every pregnancy is? My first 3 were all early, so I was totally expecting this last one to be too. She was late and I ended up having to get induced. But she is perfectly healthy. It's all in God's time and when we are READY to hAve that baby, it's hard to remember that!!!

    And I missed that coupon cofe…darn it!

  12. Erin Lafreniere

    We haven't found out the sex of our children in advance either; we like to be surprised. I figure that learning the sex is my reward after making it through labor. It seems to bother people, though; they try to make conversation during the pregnancy by asking if it's a boy or a girl and we say yes, it's one or the other.

  13. suzie.burlton

    I am typing this with our six-day-old third baby lying on top of me trying not to laugh in case it wakes her up, but this is EXACTLY what happened to me!

    My first labour was an 11 hour super effective induction where no one realised how far along I was and there was a huge drama with running midwives when it was suddenly time for me to push.

    My second labour was a 4.5 hour quickie where no one realised how far along I was and there was a huge drama with running midwives when it was suddenly time for me to push.

    Sensing a theme…?!

    For the third one, we’d planned a home birth and my husband and I had made a HUGE fuss about how when I go, I go fast, and everyone better be ready because I do not want an unattended birth.

    Turns out I fully skipped that on off early labour stuff with the last two, but this time I was treated to a full TWENTY FOUR HOURS of that short, mild, sparse contraction nonsense! It was RUBBISH! I couldn’t sleep and was exactly as you say, acting like a feral animal (except my hips hurt too much to pace). Sitting down made the contractions ten times as painful, so I was cautiously puttering about during the day and lying down at night with these irritating contractions which kinda hurt but never went anywhere. Dumbest prayer ever!

    And then, 27 hours after the first contraction, my waters broke and all hell also broke loose as suddenly I announced I was going to push RIGHT NOW and no one had realised how far along I was etc etc. The second midwife was still in the car en route and the first midwife didn’t even have time to get her gloves on before catching the baby! Still, at least I got my gas and air in the end. Oh yeah, and the baby 🙂


  1. Introducing Barbara Josephine, who Blasted Out but is not an Elephant - Catholic All Year - […] contractions almost immediately, and she was born (unintentionally at home) about 45 minutes later. With George, I had hours…

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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