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zion emmanuel // birth story

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

Our beloved son, Zion Emmanuel, joined us on October 31, 2022.

He weighed 8lbs + 6oz at just 39w1d gestation!

His birth story is one wiillllllld ride.

Let's start with some basic anatomy before we jump into his birth story (it's important lol).

This is my pelvis and those three screws in the center of the picture are holding my pelvis together.

You've probably guessed where I'm going with this:

During labor, baby squeezes right between those screws.

Pelvic and hip bones soften and move a little to prepare for delivering a baby, and even with my hardware my bones still do their job to prepare for birth, but after two babies we realized that my bones take a little longer to move/open and it takes my body about a week to prepare for birth.

We learned with both Honey (our 1.5 year old) and Zion my body will have a "work" day (contractions, effacement, etc.) and then "rest" for a day or two, and then intensify with another "work" day with stronger contractions or signs of labor, all throughout the course of about a week.

With Honey, we thought I just had prodromal labor (where the body starts and stops labor), but this time around we were able to find parallels between both labors and realized my body just takes a loooong time to prepare!

Friday October 21:

27w5d // 2cm dilated, 40% effaced.

I was having contractions all day for maybe 8 hours. They were subtle and completely random, some 20 minutes apart and some 3 minutes apart. We went on a walk and they were most organized when we were out walking, but they completely stopped by about 6pm.

My midwife wasn't super optimistic that it was early labor, but I was so excited thinking I was about to have a baby lol.

Saturday October 22:

I didn't know this then, but this was what we considered one of my "rest" days. My body spent soooo much time the day before having lots of contractions, it was absolutely drained both Saturday and ----

Sunday October 23:


No contractions, Braxton's, nothing.

Disappointed was an absolute understatement.

But, I found my peace and decided it just wasn't time yet.

Monday October 24:


My parents were celebrating their 30th anniversary with us in town so we went out on walks and played music around the house, and around 2:00 pm I noticed some pretty intense contractions coming on. I started timing them and right from the start they were pretty close together but not exactly organized.

By 5:00 my contractions were SO intense and quite euphoric, I called my midwife to come and check me to see if I was in early labor.

She said Zion's head was engaged, but she couldn't tell if I had made any progress dilating or effacing because between his head being so low and my water was bulging it was hard to feel my cervix accurately.

She did say if my contractions kept up as they were, she would classify that as early labor!

Tuesday October 25:

--You guessed it lol.

I went to bed and by 9:00 everything had completely stopped.

I woke up Tuesday morning a complete wreck. I had just accepted that birth might not happen and then we had such a euphoric day of labor prep, my hopes were up to the moon.

I texted my sister super depressed and she offered to come up the next day with Starbucks and a hug.

Wednesday October 26:

Sissy came up with Starbucks around 7am and we had all of the girls together -my mom, two sisters, myself and Honey- so we went shopping in the freezing weather lol.

Around 2:00, I noticed a lot of pressure in my cervix and I started feeling deep, low contractions.

Around 6:00 the contractions were 4 minutes apart and they were so low.

My midwife came over to check me. She said I was 4cm and 80% effaced and that Zion had definitely sunk lower into my pelvis (because I had effaced more) and he also shifted his body to be in the best position for labor to start.

I refused to get my hopes up, so I reminded myself that labor wasn't going to start and I would wake up tomorrow without having gone into labor.

Thursday October 27:

Good thing my expectations were low.

Enter: Rest Day Number 4.

Friday October 28:

I was expecting another rest day, which I technically got, except from 2:00-3:00 I was having organized and intense contractions. They started and ended before I had time to logically remind myself they were probably going to stop--but then it was too late and the grief overtook me.

Payton and I went on a walk and I just wept for like an hour. Then we got Crumbl cookies and I cried myself to sleep that night.

**Side note: It's very hard when you're super emotional/pregnant and you keep thinking your baby is about to be born and then he's not...over and over and over again. Not to mention, because Zion was already engaged in my pelvis, I was so freaking sore and uncomfortable literally all of the time. I couldn't walk or sit or roll over, yay.

Saturday October 29:

I refused to sit around and be depressed, so we had a family day where Payton (hubby), Honey and I went out to Honey's favorite indoor play area and then got some lunch. I cried a lot which helped, but I had zero expectations that labor would spontaneously start that night. (Despite how much I wanted it to.)

Sunday October 30:

29 weeks.

I woke up feeling off.

I was unbelievably exhausted and crampy.

Payton drove me to Starbucks to get an Iced Matcha (my faaaaaave drink!!!) and I remember saying I just felt weird.

That "weirdness" continued all day.

6:00pm rolled around and I had started having some contractions, but they were small and I could talk through them.

I texted my midwife and told her it might be nothing, but I was crampy, feeling off and I was having contractions that weren't ceasing.

By 9:00, the contractions became wrap-around, low, achy "crampy-contractions."

I woke up around 11 and I couldn't sleep due to the intensity of the "contractions"--they really felt like intense period cramps, not contractions really.

Monday October 31:


12:00 - midnight




I couldn't sleep, I was having cramps every 20 minutes or 45 minutes or whatever they decided.

I went downstairs to change things up and play some music. My lower back was hurting so bad at this point...

My mom was actually awake because in Honey's sleep, she kept calling out, "Mama! Mama!" and so she, too, came down to clear her head.

Around 5:00 we noticed a little more of a pattern to my "crampy-contractions" and I decided to wake Payton. I believed I was in early labor at this point. They were lasting over a minute and were 3-5 minutes apart.

I texted my midwife at 5:30 and told her I would keep her updated, but I believed I was in early labor.

6:00 am Payton and I started playing Uno and eating snacks lol.

My contractions hurt my lower back so badly, and they also made my cervix cramp. They were pretty rough, honestly.

I was also losing some of my mucus plug at this point, so my midwife was very encouraged! (And so was I!)

At 8:30 my midwife and her assistant showed up after she dropped her kids off at school and she checked me.

I was 100% effaced and 8cm dilated.

She also said my waters were bulging and that was most likely the reason why my contractions would hurt my cervix like they were. (There was so much pressure going on because Zion had been engaged for 7 days and my waters were being squeezed.)

Around11:20 we reached a lull in my labor and we made the call to break my waters to get pushing started because it seemed like my body needed a little nudging.

She broke my waters and told me to sit on the toilet to encourage my body to push. (It's crazy how your body feels comfortable pushing on the toilet, it's a great trick to start urges!)

It started working, but then my back hurt so badly and I would tighten up.

We tried getting off the toilet and trying a few other positions but nothing happened or worked.

I asked my midwife to sit in the bathroom with me and press into my back with each contraction to counter the pain.


By 12:00 I was feeling the urge to push and it was amazing! With the urge to push, the back pain was nonexistent.

Payton was sitting on the bathroom counter extending his arm to me while I knelt on the floor "hugging" the toilet and pushing on my knees. I would squeeze his hand with each contraction and between he would rub my back or offer comfort.

This labor was intense, so powerful!

Zion was lingering in my pelvis, it took a while to get him to crown. (No big deal, just some extra good pushes!)

--and then, he was born.

At 12:39 my beloved Zion Emmanuel came into this world!

Honey came in to greet baby brother and she was so excited!

Zion Emmanuel was 8lbs 6oz and I had zero tearing!

We are so blessed by our precious baby boy!

We aren't sure exactly when to claim labor started, (11:00 the night before? 3:00 when I went downstairs?)

But my mom and I both agreed that when things started organizing at 5:30ish and I texted my midwife, that's when it started.

So from 5:30-12:00 was 6.5 hours of active labor and 40 minutes of pushing.

To compare:

Honey had the same "work day"/"rest day" scenario over the course of 7 days, but I woke up feeling her engage into my pelvis and 20 minutes later I was feeling the urge to push. I pushed for 25 minutes and she came out! I practically skipped active labor with her lol.

Welcome to the world, Zion Emmanuel Vaught!

Your name means: "At the highest point God is with us as an advocate" and we believe you will go forth in this world carrying the presence of Jesus with you everywhere you go and interceding for everyone around you!

Your sister's name is Honey Elise Vaught, which means "A sweet dedication to the Lord as an advocate", so together, we believe the two of you will do miraculous things for the Kingdom. <3

We love both of you!

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