Reba McEntire’s story gives hope to women who have dreamed of becoming mothers for years. Although she considered herself a mom of six and has never liked the word “stepchildren,” it was vital for McEntire to give birth to a child.

    Although Reba McEntire loved being pregnant, she went through a painful ritual of needles and medicine to make sure her only son, Shelby, was born healthy.

    Reba McEntire might be a country music legend, but she loves being a mom. She and her second husband, Narvel Blackstock, tied the knot in 1989 and stayed together for 26 years.

    The singer adopted Blackstock’s three children from his previous relationship and welcomed her only biological son, Shelby, in 1990. Shelby was “devastated” when his parents divorced in 2015, but he keeps a healthy relationship with them.

    Reba McEntire on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada | Source: Getty Images

    McEntire learned that she was pregnant at age 34 in 1989. She had just returned to her home in Nashville, and while Blackstock groomed his beard, she saw the result of her home pregnancy test; it was positive.

    They were both excited about it but wanted to keep the news a secret (only their mothers knew) until making sure everything was fine. She got an appointment with Dr. John Van Hooydonk, and she liked that he had integrity.

    Due to her age, the doctor asked McEntire whether abortion was an option if she had an amniocentesis procedure and discovered something was wrong with the baby. She said no, and he revealed he wouldn’t be her doctor had she said yes.

    Later that night, the news of her pregnancy was everywhere. McEntire was sure Dr. Van Hooydonk didn’t do it because of his integrity. She hated the invasion of privacy, but she and Blackstock considered it was just a tiny cloud on their joy.

    McEntire continued her World Tour ’89 until December 3. The next day, she returned to Nashville and had a prenatal exam with Dr. Van Hooydonk, who discovered her cervix had “thinned considerably.”

    They were distraught because her due date was March 8, and she was already having minor contractions. McEntire’s doctor asked her to “take it easy,” or more drastic measures were to come.

    “I’m so glad I wanted until I was mature enough.”

    She went to Oklahoma to spend Christmas with her family, but once in Nashville, she was hospitalized twice because of her contractions. After her second admission, the “painful ritual” started.

    McEntire explained they sent her home with a syringe and a pump attached to a tube that ran to her stomach. Whenever she felt contractions, she had to pump medicine to stop them.

    If that wasn’t enough, she had to return to the doctor’s office to change the needle in her stomach every three days. However, McEntire was willing to do everything, including hanging by her toes from the ceiling, to have a healthy baby.

    She spent almost two months flat on her back and resting to make sure her baby stayed in her womb until her due date. In February 1990, Dr. Van Hooydonk told her it was okay to return to a regular routine because the baby’s lungs were developed.

    On February 22, she went out shopping but felt very tired. Later that night, she was admitted to the hospital 40 minutes after her water broke. She was shaking, and nurses said she was in shock.

    For security purposes, she checked in as Mrs. Narvel Blackstock. Once in her private birthing room, Dr. Van Hooydonk began the examination and told McEntire to hold off on the epidural for as long as possible.

    On February 23, 1990, Shelby Steven was born. They chose Shelby after Blackstock’s paternal grandfather and Steven after her paternal great-grandfather.

    Reba McEntire with her son Shelby in Beverly Hills, California on November 30, 2005 | Source: Getty Images

    Shortly after McEntire gave birth, rested, and woke up, she asked nurses to bring Shelby back. She confirmed the maternal instincts existed because she could differentiate her son’s crying from the other babies.

    [McEntire’s] son fell in love with racing driving a golf cart.

    When Shelby was a boy, McEntire wanted to be with him all the time. She would take him along on tours and after shows, and he even got on stage a few months after his third birthday. The singer added:

    “I enjoy motherhood. It was something brand new for me, and I’m so glad I waited until I was mature enough to cope with the huge responsibility.”

    McEntire knew that her son’s childhood would be different from hers because of her wealth and success. Still, she wanted Shelby to respect people who work for a living and to understand that working hard is crucial to getting nice things.

    Nowadays, Shelby is a 32-year-old professional race car driver. He began his career in 2010 by competing in the Skip Barber Summer Series and Southern Regional Series.

    In 2012, he placed eighth in the U.S. F2000 National Championship. The following year, he finished third in the Pro Mazda Championship. He has also participated in the Indy Lights, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

    Having a successful racing career is challenging, but Shelby didn’t stop there. In June 2021, he launched his outdoor apparel brand called Hartland.

    He explained that racing was just one of his passions because he has always been interested in hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation. His brand’s mission is to “connect and grow a community” rooted in the love of the outdoors.

    McEntire revealed her son fell in love with racing on a golf cart. Even though he could barely touch the gas pedal, he would jump on the golf carts, chase geese, and drive her around the place, saying, “hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

    The singer was surprised when Shelby decided to drop out of college as a freshman to focus on his racing career full-time. Luckily, she noticed it was his true calling because he felt like a kid in a candy store.

    On December 31, 2020, Shelby proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Marissa Branch. Branch calls herself a “Disney Princess” on social media, so he cleverly took her to Walt Disney World to get down on one knee.

    The now married couple met in January 2014, and even though they have no kids, they are raising two dogs, Watson and Belle. McEntire must be proud!

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