Cracked Open

On Becoming a Grandmother

There are those moments when life opens you, breaks you into pieces, and you get to experience wonderment.

Avery Mae.

Avery Sweet Mae

That’s the wee baby who came to us, to my son and daugher-in-law a week ago.  Avery Mae took her first breath in the world and started her life journey November 20th at 9:15 pm.

9 pounds 5 ounces of grace and beauty.

It was a tedious labor…24 hours it took her to get here.

Her mother was strong. Her father right by her side.  Avery’s two aunts… sisters supporting, waiting, texting.  She was surrounded by love.

I also was waiting…minute by minute at the end of the phone….the text messages were like gold nuggets for me.

The words would pop on the screen:

4 cm.

now at 6

When things got hard, I saw it on the text. When the doctor came in, there was my text.

I felt slightly bonkers, dizzy, gaga, ridiculously inept to focus on anything.

I made playlists of favorite songs…my beloved “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and shamelessly allowed the tears to fall.  Then I’d break out in laughter and I danced a lot. I was a lunatic would-be grandmother.  If someone had seen me, I could have been considered more than slightly deranged.  But the  joy and anticipation drove me to celebrate and embrace all the emotions I felt.  I played Julia’s song, “Just Dance” by Lady GaGa.   Anything to send messages, energy, strength to my daughter-in-law.

I texted my son that the “birthing angels” were being called in and surrounding them. He replied back, “well we could sure use them now, Mom.”

My sisters, my birthing coach friend, we were sending love, holding vigil. I forwarded this team of mothers the texts, as soon as I got them.                                                                                 We were women waiting, helping birth this baby in our own way.

“She can’t push yet until the baby is really low,” I saw on the next text.

Next it was “Okay, we’re almost at 8 cm now.”

I relived my own two sons’ births.  I recalled the sheer force of the experiences, how we got to the hospital and the nurses said “just walk around,” because I was not at the required 3 cm dilated to be admitted.   After a few hours I had decided that suicide by jumping off the 7th floor of the hospital seemed like a better option than labor.  The pain was brutal. Nothing had prepared me.

In the delivery room I heard a doctor say, “we’re gonna have to do a C section.” I said “NOOOOO WE ARE NOT.” With the might of an elephant I bore down and my oversized 9.4 lb baby, Avery’s Mae’s uncle, made his way into the world.

I remember how primal it all was, the birthing process. How at some point you realize there is no going back. It is beyond messy, it’s wild, it all comes down to when you push. Push with every power you have

and then…it is over and another journey begins.

It is a magnificent moment when one world stops and you fall completely and desperately in love

with your baby, with life,  with being alive.

Avery Mae.

I looked at the text.  “It’s close now”

And then the words appeared:


And something melted and dissolved inside me.             My granddaughter was here.


Pictures on the texts flowed in.  She was round and robust.  Strong.  Relieved and joyful, I knew she was healthy.  Thank you, thank you Universe, she is 100% okay. Her mother is okay, too. Hallelujah. Gratitude to the heavens.

She was so close I could feel her, sense her. Taking her first breaths. She, this product of my son, my youngest who was not so long ago that baby….

Rob-Avery copy

It was breathtaking.
She takes my breath away.

Welcome, Avery Mae to the world. May you have the best life ever. May you live it full and well. May you get make a difference in the world with your light and your love. You scored two of the best parents on the planet and a legion of people who already love you.

I loved you way, by the way, before you were born. And I love you now before I’ve even met you.

Avery Sweet Mae


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  1. Ginger DeSoto says:

    I loved reading this and the pictures are beautiful!

  2. Jeanette Davis says:

    Congratulations Jo! Avery Mae is beautiful. And the picture of your son next to her is precious. Grandchildren call forth a special kind of love in us, a love that is such a gift.
    Peace, love and joy,

  3. Dearest Jo ..We dropped our granddaughter, age “almost 12” off tonight at her mothers home. The joy she has brought to our lives is immeasurable. Truly a gift to a parent. When I first held her I was stunned by the love I felt. Not responsible, not unsure, pure unadulterated, unconditional love. I looked up at her parents and said “she feels like a 1000 sunsets”. May you enjoy all the new colors that have come into your life. What blessed little girls!

  4. The tears were flowing for me as I read your touching story of Avery’s arrival. It brought back all of my birth experiences and those awesome moments of having babies in our home. What a blessing it is for your to have this experience now as a grandmother to precious Avery. Embrace every moment as I know you are. I can see the two of you having your first dance together!

  5. Beth Thompson says:

    Congratulations to all – and welcome Avery – what a wonderful ascension into the world!

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