But getting to this point wasn't easy for Gretchen. In fact, she experienced one of the most difficult days of her pregnancy just days before daughter Skylar Gray's birth.
Gretchen opened up about an emotional moment during her road to motherhood in a post on Instagram on the eve of her daughter's birth. "I had a really really tough day yesterday because of having to make a super hard decision after my [doctor's appointment]," she wrote. "But after a lot of contemplation, crying, struggling, (and based on the medical pros and cons) the doctor, [fiancé Slade Smiley] and I have decided a c-section is going to be the safest thing for me and baby tomorrow."
Gretchen said she came to this decision after a traumatic trip to the doctor. "Doctor said I am only dilated 1 cm and I guess I have a 'cervix of steel' so it’s not really cooperating at this point and just my pelvic exam yesterday was so beyond painful that I almost passed out, then started to hyperventilate because of that, which then [led] to a panic attack!" she shared. "Needless to say I was a hot mess!"
Because Gretchen wasn't dilated past 3 centimeters as she neared the date she was going to be induced, she said the chances of having a successful vaginal birth were low. "So I either labor for potentially days and go through this [balloon-like] procedure to try and open my cervix (which may or may not work) and possibly put myself and the baby in a lot of duress during that process (because I can’t have an epidural for that part yet) and then end up potentially in a c-section anyways, or I just do the scheduled c-section, which will be a lot less stress on myself and the baby," she wrote.
She also opened up about why she got so upset at now having to deliver her daughter via C-section. "When you have this vision of how you want your labor and delivery to go and it doesn’t turn out [the] way you imagined, there is this sadness and internal struggle with 'why isn’t my body cooperating' or am I making the right decision etc. So after crying it out, and being sad about not having a 'vaginal birth' yesterday, I asked God to give me a sign that this is the best decision, and he did! He literally had so many of my friends reach out to me yesterday and put me at ease about a potential c-section (and they didn’t even know what had happened at the [appointment])," she said. "So I am scheduled for the c-section tomorrow and am going to embrace it with as much confidence as I can, and know that having her in my arms safely is all that matters!"
Gretchen asked her fans for prayers to calm her nerves and for everything to go well with the C-section since she said she has never had a major surgery. "Thank you all for your love and support and for knowing that each person’s story and experience is different, and for not passing [judgment] for what my physicians and I have determined is the best medical option for me and my body, and to have baby Skylar arrive safely!" she shared in the comments to her July 9 post.
Gretchen got a ton of love from several Bravolebs in the comments to the post, including LeeAnne Locken, Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi, Brandi Redmond, Phaedra Parks, Katie Maloney-Schwartz, Peggy Sulahian, Ashley Wirkus McAtee, Lydia McLaughlin, and Lizzie Rovsek.
Earlier this week, Gretchen admitted that she is "both anxious and excited about meeting" her daughter. "Cannot believe the day is almost here when I get to meet our sweet baby girl I have prayed for my whole life!" she gushed in a post on Instagram on July 8. "Not [gonna] lie I’m super nervous about delivery, but I know once she is in my arms it will all be worth it! Thank you all for your prayers this week!"