Back in the day, The Learning Channel caught the world's attention for providing a glimpse into the good side of life (and some really cute little babies to gush over). TLC is now known for documenting the Duggars and Say Yes To The Dress, but back in 1998, it hosted several hours worth of programming about the big moments in life. An audience favorite was and still is A Baby Story.
The documentary-style show became a phenomenon, celebrating hundreds of everyday families who were excited to welcome a new member to the family. And while the show focused on the positive, it actually gave regular television viewers the first peek into a real-life labor and delivery room.
A Baby Story portrayed countless tales of parents preparing for a new bundle of joy and gave moms-to-be a lot more information about the options that can come with childbirth. It left out a lot of the more gross details, but it ended by catching up with the family and their life with a new baby, bringing all the feels to women and girls who were sure to watch the show every week.
For those who still love the show and want to find some reruns, here are 22 little known details about TLC's A Baby Story.
22 First Babies Shown Are Now In College
A Baby Story is an amazing look into the very big milestone of welcoming a baby into the world. But if you think about it, those first babies have gone through a lot of milestones since those original stories aired. In fact, many of them have already graduated from high school.
The first episodes came out in 1998, which was 21 years ago now. While we can still watch their first moments in the world, those first babies are well beyond their first steps. Those tiny newborns from the first season or two are probably now in college. That just blows our mind when we think about it.
21 One Of The First To Keep It Real
These days, primetime television is filled with reality television programming. Between Big Brother, The Bachelor, Survivor, and so on, it can feel like reality TV has been around forever, but that isn't actually the case. In fact, A Baby Story was one of the first.
The program started out with a documentary style because that is really the only way that nonfiction accounts were presented. Considering the very specific audience, it was a little surprising why this worked, but it turns out that we all love reality TV, and A Baby Story helped pave the way for a lot of other programming over the years.
20 Thousands Of Babies Were Shown
The name A Baby Story did a good job of encapsulating the series since each episode told the very personal story of one family's experience with labor and delivery. But over time, it was a lot more than one baby's story that was chronicled on the show — it was hundreds.
Over 13 seasons, there were probably more than 2,000 babies who made their debut on TLC. Some episodes even included twins, so it's even harder to make sure we have an accurate count. The thing is that each baby's birth is unique, and A Baby Story did an amazing job of making things all seem the same but special at the same time.
19 Live Birth
A few years after A Baby Story went off the air, TLC decided to go even more dramatic with A Baby Story LIVE. The event was planned to capture the birth of a child over the Internet live on the TLCme social media page. Most of the action occurred during the overnight hours when the mom Rossio labored at home.
The baby boy was born in her bedroom, and many people tuned in to send encouraging messages and watch the unedited delivery at 5:39 am. The videos garnered 50,000 views in the first 12 hours and were later edited to air on TLC.
18 Going Live Again
A Baby Story went live again in 2016, broadcasting a second delivery live on the TLCme social media page. The live stream chronicled the entire 10 hours of labor and delivery, although it was divided into nine videos throughout the event.
This live stream was even more popular than the first one, with views and comments from around the world. The videos had nearly 280,000 views during the event and even more afterward. Baby Gabriella's birth was later broadcast on TLC. It got a lot of positive feedback, and the mom received a lot of encouragement during her labor. Since then, a lot of vloggers have live-streamed their birth.
17 C-Section Stories
Birth can happen in a variety of different ways, although there are some people these days who try to judge when a baby isn't born naturally (despite the fact that Cesarean deliveries are thousands of years old). A Baby Story didn't discriminate based on how the birth occurred, even document deliveries that happened in operating rooms.
In a 2010 episode, parents Chip and Allison McKay said they were more comfortable with their birth being documented because they knew it would be a scheduled C-section without surprises. "We thought this would be a wonderful gift for our children when they are older," they said of the experience, C-section and all.
16 Brought Attention To Home Births
Home births are trendy these days, but a couple of decades ago they were not. In fact, a few generations ago, it was a luxury to have a hospital birth until healthcare expanded and it became possible for nearly every woman to have their baby at a hospital, which people considered safer than delivering at home.
Things have changed a lot, with home births becoming a luxury because of concerns about hospital births. And part of that might have begun because of A Baby Story. The show often followed mothers who gave birth in hospitals, but it also featured home births, which portrayed to the world that there was another safe option for moms.
15 Hypnobirthing Education
The great thing about A Baby Story was that it featured a lot of different methods and styles of giving birth. One mom used the platform to educate people about hypnobirthing, which is popular now but was fairly unknown in 2001.
“I thought it would be a neat way to document his birth and a way to let women know they have more choices,” mom Dawn Manning said of her experience on the show in the Beverly Review. “There’s a lot to be said about women having a choice,” she added. “The first time I gave birth, I didn’t know my options.
14 TLC's Future With Airing Deliveries
TLC doesn't air A Baby Story anymore, although you might be able to catch the occasional rerun. But that doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of births documented on the show. In fact, there have probably been a half-dozen or so a year between all of the recent shows.
TLC still has a lot of shows that feature families and babies, including Outdaughtered, Sweet Home Septuplets, and Rattled. All the Duggar grandkids' births have been featured in popular webisodes. A lot of times they follow the formula set by A Baby Story, and these stories all have happy endings too!
13 Where To Find It Online
We know that reading through this article has made you want to binge watch A Baby Story again. Since it's been a few years since even the live episodes aired, it's been a while since we've gotten our baby fix; but there is some hope for fans.
The best way to catch some episodes is to go on TLC's website. It still has a page devoted to A Baby Story, and there are full episodes available of the final three seasons. That's only a fraction of the total series, but there are 57 episodes available, and that can fill a binge-watching weekend. You do have to log in with your cable provider. If you are willing to pay, you can also find episodes on Amazon Video to get your baby fix.
12 The Show Left Out Some Details...
While A Baby Story did a lot to represent more true-to-life birth experiences than fictional television shows, there was still criticism over the fact that more than a few details were left out. There are only so many things that can fit into a 30-minute show, and while there might have been a moment of pain, it didn't encapsulate all of it.
In one Mommy essay, a writer lamented the fact that the postpartum aches and pains were never mentioned, and moms always looked happy and healthy. It's definitely the sunny side of birth and not necessarily the whole story.
11 Concerns Over Perceptions
Information is power for pregnant women. But the truth is that most moms don't feel very well prepared for labor and delivery, even if they read books and read articles about the experience. There were criticisms that A Baby Story wasn't doing them any favors either.
Most of the exposure of women to birth in media before A Baby Story came in the form of fictionalized versions in movies and sitcoms. While it might seem like the documentary-style episodes would help a woman feel more prepared, that wasn't necessarily the case, and the show got some flack for that. Producers stepped it up and tried to have more realistic portrayals, and we think that helped.
10 TLC Vs. Lifetime During The Day
Back in the day, daytime television was all about soap operas. Moms would watch them when they were folding laundry, and their kids would watch them when they were at home sick. But in the late '90s and early 2000s, there were tons of options on TV, and there was a big race between cable news stations.
According to an LA Times article from 2002, teen girls were starting to flock to TLC. There was competition between Lifetime and TLC, but the daytime block that included A Wedding Story and A Baby Story was reeling people in, which was interesting since most of those kids were a decade from either of those life moments.
9 A Doctor You Might Recognize
The main stars in A Baby Story were definitely the parents and—once they made their arrival—the baby. But there were other characters who were a part of each documentary episode. If you catch a rerun, you might recognize one of the doctors who made their television debut.
Jennifer Ashton was a board-certified obstetrician in New York and New Jersey before she became a well-known medical correspondent. She delivered one of the A Baby Story newborns long before she appeared on The Doctors. These days, she is a regular on Dr. Oz and Good Morning America, and one of the most famous doctors on TV.
8 An NFL Player's Family Was Featured
One reason that we really loved A Baby Story is that the episodes featured everyday people that we could see as our neighbors and friends. But every once in a while there was someone a little famous who ended up on screen.
In 2005, an NFL player and his wife were featured on the program. Jay Feely was a kicker for the New York Giants at the time. "It's just another avenue, another opportunity for us to have an impact on people, hopefully, share with people, and express our faith through the beauty of having a child," Jay said in a New York Times article, adding after a pause, "I'm a glutton for punishment."
7 A Spinoff Was Aired
There was a time when we couldn't get enough of A Baby Story. We watched reruns all the time, and TLC understood its popularity. So they do what television companies do whenever they have a goldmine? They created a spinoff.
The show Bringing Home Baby skipped the labor and delivery part and documented the first few days at home with a newborn, the crazy amount of diapers, late-night feedings, and all. It aired for four years, usually right after A Baby Story episodes. We enjoyed seeing the adorable babies and welcoming families and thought of the two shows as a great pairing.
6 Two-Time Emmy Winner
We all loved A Baby Story, but with the bad reputation of reality tv these days, some might wonder if anything in that genre was actually quality programming. Well, the big wigs have given us an answer on this one — A Baby Story was so good that it won an Emmy Award twice.
The show was nominated for its first Emmy in 2001 in the category of Outstanding Special Class Series. The crew brought home the first award in 2003 and then was nominated for the next four years in a row, winning again in 2006. That's high praise to win the top television award in existence.
5 A Cancer Survivor Was Featured
The stories documented on TLC's programs were usually pretty happy, but there were times when the families welcoming babies were also going through some other issues that were worth highlighting. One mom's story included a diagnosis of breast cancer, and after the birth, she faced a battle and various treatments.
The Stern family's story was especially poignant, and a lot of people wondered how things turned out long after the cameras left. Mom Michelle posted a few years later on TLC message boards that she was able to beat her cancer, and her twins Sierra and Alexander were happy, healthy and thriving.
4 Documenting Worries
While A Baby Story is mostly about the joy of welcoming a baby into a family, it also documented hundreds of births. And with birth comes some worries and anxiety. The best part was that moms-to-be were allowed to voice their concerns and face them, showing all of us how strong mothers really are.
Between the pain, the possibility of complications, and the anxiety over the baby's health, there is no doubt that labor and delivery can be a worry for moms for all nine months of pregnancy. But normalizing those worries allowed us all to understand that worry is a part of life, and there is a beautiful light at the end of it.
3 How Many Baby Seasons Were There Actually?
There was a time when A Baby Story seemed to be on the air all of the time. Even while new episodes came out, TLC continued to run reruns that made their way onto our DVR. There is a little confusion online now about the number of seasons that were produced, with Wikipedia saying there were nine seasons.
But TLC's website currently has three seasons available for viewing — seasons 11 through 13. We think the confusion came because there were sometimes two seasons in one year. But 13 seasons in 10 years is a lot — it's definitely one of the most successful, longest running shows in the cable channel's history.
2 Highlighting Diverse Parents
Television has come a long way in the past decade in terms of representing all types of people, but that wasn't necessarily the case 20 years ago. A Baby Story was one of the first to feature same-gendered couples as parents on reality television.
In 2001, the show told the story of Ali and Kim, a couple who were expecting their second daughter using the same sperm donor so their children would be biological siblings. It covered the entire process, which illuminated a lot to people who weren't aware of the options for same-gendered couples becoming parents. That was groundbreaking back in the day.
1 Fertility Issues Were Featured
The breakthroughs in fertility treatments began in the late 1970s, but even in the early 2000s, the medical technologies were expanding and a lot of people weren't aware of the possibilities. A Baby Story chronicled families who struggled to conceive, and they explained a lot about the process that could help them become parents.
One couple featured in 2007 had lost three pregnancies because of chromosomal abnormalities, so the couple turned to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. The birth of their rainbow baby was a blessed event that they shared the world. That episode was a highlight of the season for the show.