Welp, as I announced in the last post, little Murphy Jane made her grand entrance into the world last week. So now that all the hoopla and worry and awe is starting to work it’s way into our systems so we can all actually breathe again, I’m here to tell you the best birth story from a Grandma’s perspective.

Yes, that Grandma is me. I still don’t even know how that is even possible, but I’m here to say, watching your baby go through the process of having a baby is a pretty powerfully incredible thing. It makes me tear up even now to think about. And there have been some pretty sacred days welcoming little Peanut into the world. (Early warning: there are LOTS of pictures on this post!)

The Story of Murphy’s Arrival According to Me

But let’s start at the beginning of this story, back on May 1st when I was talking to Abby the day before her due date. She was feeling pretty awful following a stomach bug, and wanting to heal and feel better before labor. Somehow it made me think she was probably going to have that baby sooner than later. Because that’s just how it goes, you know?

The wake-up call

I woke up at 5:40 the next morning (May 2nd, the actual due date), wondering if I should check my texts to see if any labor had started. And within a few minutes Max & Abby called, sounding like they were on vacation in Hawaii they were so happy! They were in the hospital all dilated and effaced, ready to push.

And that was when it started:

My heart went into a giant frenzy.

And it didn’t stop until I walked into that hospital room and put that sweetest ever little newborn up on my shoulder, her tiny heft killing me with wonder and awe.

But let’s go back to that 5:45am call when Dave and I were in a wild holding pattern to hear news of the actual birth. Max and Abby had said they were ready to push and then 2.5 hours went by with no word at all. We started getting so stressed out, thinking about how many things could go wrong. And also what a miracle it is that the majority of times things are ok. Birth is such a miracle!! I prayed my heart out for them all, pleading that everything would be ok in the midst of trying to figure out timing and flights and how to GET THERE!

The Big Announcement

When the FaceTime call came in from Abby’s phone Dave and I both JUMPED to grab it, and I’m telling you, that first split-second when we saw Abby’s smiling face on the phone and a baby cry in the background was like salve to my soul.

Peanut had arrived safe and sound.

And I was euphoric. I hope I will never forget that FaceTime call, Abby glowing, radiant Max close-by trying to comfort his new baby girl who was wailing her little heart out. The best sound in the whole wide world.

brand new Murphy Jane

My favorite picture:

Abby and Murphy, right after giving birth

That holy moment. Isn’t Motherhood just the most beautiful thing?

My Journey to GET THERE!

Meanwhile I thought my heart might just fall right out of my chest beating so fast trying to get there. The airline website happened to go down right as I was trying to purchase my flight so Dave and I were all hands on deck trying to figure that out as we went to our work out (worst work out ever) and I stuffed some things in a bag so I could get to a haircut (one that had been overdue for a month…so much gray hair!). I have to laugh looking back at how funny all of that was, my cute friend slapping on hair color as I waited on hold with airlines (we didn’t know if it already booked/charged me when the website went down) and trying to trouble-shoot with Dave, unable to focus on anything.

But by the time we were done, Dave (my hero) had figured it out, and rushed me to the airport. Dave, in the meantime, had some pretty crazy work and church things on his plate, so he decided to let me have that baby to myself for a day before he got there.

Elbowing my way off the Airplane

I have to laugh at this part too: I actually sweet-talked the flight attendant to let me know if a closer-to-the-front seat opened up on our packed flight since I was trying to run out of that flight when it landed to see my new grandbaby. She was so excited for me and found a closer spot for me (I had been in the very last row, back corner). Then when we landed I must have been a sight as I honestly elbowed my way out of that plane, pushing past people, only to find that Claire (my ride) was stuck in traffic a half hour away. HA!

Joining together with Claire in the excitement

It was so fun to drive down to Provo with Claire, her heart joining mine in the racing business, SO excited to meet that baby.

Elle and Carson had just been in town two days before en route to their new adventure in Los Angeles, and Grace had also just left to go to California with friends. But SO happy Claire got to be there with me. (She and Max are my most baby-crazy “IWAN” kids for sure.)

Getting to the hospital

I cannot explain the jubilation inside me as we walked through those swinging hospital doors to first see Max there to greet us, BEAMING from the inside out, and then getting to walk into that room and meet that little Peanut for the very first time.

The world stopped, my hyperventilating stopped, all was still and purely sacred.

Shawni holding her grand daughter for the first time
Claire holding Baby Murphy for the first time

Claire and I loved just sitting there, snuggling that tiny girl, letting all the details Max and Abby were spilling out wash right over us, filled up with so much love!

Abby is a rockstar. I cannot believe that tiny girl pushed out an 8lb 5oz baby. Loved the awe and holiness we all felt in that hospital room talking about how our bodies can do those things and create a tiny human who can hear and breathe and see, and also wail:)

A brand new family


a brand new family

I loved examining her feet and her hands (so big!), scooping her up in my favorite little ball on my shoulder and hearing her contented breathing. Anyone who knows me knows this is my very favorite thing in the whole wide world and I love that Elle captured it when we were FaceTiming together:

Babies are a miracle.

Introducing Murphy to Aunt Lucy

Speaking of FaceTime, I loved that we got to FaceTime with the other kids while we were there and introduce them to Peanut, and especially that Lucy didn’t decline Max’s offer to “meet” her. (This baby stuff is a little hard on her.) Loved her big smile on my phone.

We tried not to overstay our welcome and I think we found a pretty good balance.

We came and went, and it was pretty special to have some one-on-one time with Claire while I was up there.

A Date with Claire

We soaked in the gorgeous blossoms and had a dinner date, found a really cute outfit for Peanut, and walked the temple grounds spilling out with incredible tulips and daffodils.

One more late-night visit to the hospital:

Max doting on baby Murphy

The beauty of brand-new parenting

My favorite thing was Max & Abby’s “BeReals” from later that night:


It’s so amazing that two kids can just turn into perfect parents just like that. I mean, I know there’s still a lot of “chicken on that bone” as Dave and I would say…the whole rollercoaster of parenthood stretching out ahead. But so fun to see these two as such naturals just doting on that new precious bundle.

Staying with my sister Charity

I loved that I got to spend a couple nights with my sister Charity while I was up there in that sweet house they have made a home. The first night the kids were already fast asleep (it was late), but the second night I got to bake cookies with the boys and it was so fun to share all the details of everything-Peanut with Charity who was so eager to hear it all.

She has been an incredible support to Abby through this whole process and it just fills up my heart with gratitude.

After a quick morning visit to the hospital…

Max with a huge smile holding Murphy

…Max and Abby got to pack up and bring Murphy home.

Baby Murphy meets her new home

I still remember bringing that first baby of mine (Max) home from the hospital. We went into the hospital with no baby and then suddenly, we had this little attachment for forever more.

Kind of surreal to put that baby in that humungous carseat for the first time and bring her on home.

Murphy coming home from the hospital in a giant carseat

So fun to see how they have things all set up and ready for a baby.

First time Grandma-babysitting

I got to take care of Murphy for a little while to let those two new awesome parents sleep. I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first grandma babysitting gig with that little lump of adorableness.

I also took a night shift, which was so fun for me.

Just me and that little sweet girl. She went from bawling her eyes out, which happens to be the cutest thing in the whole wide world to me, to soundly sleeping. And back and forth again.

SO sweet to be with these two at 3:00am. They were just bright and ready to go with taking the next shift with Murphy.

My very favorite video of all-time that Abby sent me the next morning…I promise it’s worth the watch:

Outtakes from the video just because it is so cute:

Grandpa (or “Coach”) meets Miss Peanut for the first time

And THEN, Dave arrived!

Oh man, it was so fun to have him join in the party!

Dave holding baby Murphy for the first time
Dad and son with new baby girl: three generations

I love how BeReal caught it all well:

Lots of people have asked what our “grandparent” names are going to be. I think mine is NiNi (as in Shaw”ni”), but we’ll see what sticks. And Dave is thinking about “Coach,” following the lead of a friend who chose that one. I sure think it fits, especially after watching this cute video:

Dave and I were good partners in the kitchen whipping up some dinner:

grandparents making dinner with grand-baby strapped on

So fun to have Murphy strapped on:)

Some sweet friends came over to meet Murphy for the first time with their own six-month old baby:

These cute kids are related: Dave’s cousin’s daughter married Max’s last mission companion, so fun.

We visited and ate.

Abby’s mom joined in the party…two grandmas just loving up their first grand baby:

(She was in and out there with us too.)

And then we had to leave to get back to real life, gosh dang it!

Shawni and David with baby Murphy

People have always told me that grand parenting is way better than parenting.

But I’m here to say I don’t think you can compare the two.

They are like different planets.

But this grand parenting one is sure a pretty amazing “planet” to be on right now!

SO GRATEFUL for this little miracle we get to be part of our family.

There you go, the best birth story from a grandma’s perspective wrapped right up. On to all the adventures that await!

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  1. So precious! Congratulations to all of you. She’s adorable. Love the NiNi & Coach grandparent names too! So fun!

  2. So so exciting, I could almost feel your heart pumping lol mine would have been the same!!
    I’m so so excited for you all, she is absolutely precious and Max & Abby look so relaxed and happy ❤️

  3. It may seem silly…but. My brother died of cancer five years ago.
    He would have been 51 on may2nd.
    Murphy Jane shares her day with one of the greatest humans, whose story was cut far too short. It is now a more special day they get to share!
    Congrats to all! How exciting!

    1. Oh Misty, thank you so much for sharing that beautiful thought. I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother and I’m sending over so much love. May 2nd is a beautiful day indeed.

  4. What a wonderful gift to new parents to get to sleep while they know someone is up with the baby. Our doula did that on night 4 for us and I will never forget it (it was early pandemic days and we didn’t have any family or any support – talk about a wild introduction to parenting!). And cooking dinner, too. Fabulous! Congrats to all!

    1. Thanks Madeleine. I was just trying to walk in my mother’s footsteps who did that (and so much more) for me when I had babies. I teared up a few times while I was up there remembering about those sacred days with my mother after each of my babies arrived.

  5. She is just the prettiest little baby ever! So many blessings sent to the new family, and the new grandparents!

  6. A very pretty baby. Best wishes to the new parents and grand-parents. FELICITATIONS. All the best to Peanut Murphy! xx

  7. Congrats!! I haven’t read your blog in… maybe ten years and popped in just to check on you, and I got so confused reading this post because every time I saw a picture of Max I thought it was Dave! 😂 I guess your kids didn’t age in my head all this time, and he’s a clone of his dad!

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