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The Birth Story of Felicity:
 (password: love)

A beautiful home birth!

Birth Story
Felicity’s birth was powerful, calm, and short. With the exception of the 10-15 minutes or so I was pushing, the pain level was pretty low during labor. The surges were powerful, but rarely overwhelming or painful. She came into this world sweetly, calmly, and powerfully; three traits we have found in her personality as well.

I had contractions of various intensities and lengths for 6 days prior to her birth. It was frustrating and exhausting to think I was in labor, only to have things stall after hours of lost sleep because I thought I was in “real” labor. Finally, on Friday we went to our church’s trunk or treat. I was having contractions, however I paid them little mind as this had been happening all week long. At this point I was frustrated that my body kept playing tricks on me and I was tired of people asking me if I was still pregnant, or commenting on how she was still inside.

The contractions lasted all night again. They weren’t getting more intense or closer together, but they were keeping me up. It was a really frustrating place to be. Saturday night I had had it. I was exhausted from not sleeping and I was grumpy with Josh. I had a small emotional breakdown and had a heart to heart with Joshua. While watching some of our shows to keep my mind distracted, we tried some spinning babies techniques to get the baby’s head engaging into my cervix better, as that can be a reason labor stalls or early labor is prolonged. At this point my contractions were very slowly starting to get more intense. We put our older child to bed and focused on laboring.

We called labor and delivery at the hospital and explained the situation - I was in early labor and couldn’t sleep, but labor wasn’t progressing. The nurse suggested taking an advil to ease the pain and benedryl to make me tired. We tried it and both of us laid down, but only Josh got a nap. I would be almost asleep when another contraction hit that would wake me up. At this point the contractions were 7-10 minutes apart but still not very intense, so I still thought it could be pre-labor that would stall for a day or so again. I suggested that if I couldn’t sleep we might as well watch something. We watched 2 episodes of Blacklist, which was the best thing because it took my mind off of going to sleep which actually helped me drift off easier and I actually slept! Josh was tracking the contractions and I would just drift off in between them. I must have slept most of the time the shows were on because I can’t remember what the plots were.

By the time the shows were over I was less grumpy because I had a little more rest. It as about 11pm. I got up from the couch and had a few contractions that were more intense. At about 11:30pm my contractions were intense enough that I started singing through some of them. This was a clue to Josh that labor was far more progressed than he realized and he called the babysitter and the birth videographer. He woke up my mom to get dressed to go. All this time, I was laboring calming, singing through surges and not realizing I was in active labor because there wasn’t any pain. The contractions were intense and demanded my attention, but not painful per say. Just… intense and powerful. We quickly drove to the hospital as I continued to sing through the powerful contractions.

When we got to labor and delivery they gave us a room right away without checking us into the triage. The nurse asked me what my pain management plan was. I replied “singing.” She look at me quizzically, then looked at Josh for an explanation. He explained that I really did sing through contractions. She chuckled and said that sounded great! I explained that I may want an epidural, but I hadn’t decided.

It wasn’t until about 1am, an hour since we came to the hospital, that the midwife asked if I wanted to checked my dilation. When she came in I was leaning on Josh and swaying during a contraction. The midwife happily and sweetly said we were doing “the baby dance.” I loved that! Between contractions I was talking and laughing, and during contractions I leaning into Josh and just swayed and sang away the intensity. Jen, the videoographer got there shortly after we did and she was so surprised that I was so coherent during and in between contractions. I went to the bathroom before I was checked my mucus plug came out. I figured I was at a 4 or 5 dilation and was probably 8+ hours away from delivering because the contractions were still very manageable.

     I was so nervous as she checked me because I had a fear that I was only a 3 or 4 dilation and that this would be a long, drawn out birth like my previous child’s was. When she was done she said I was a 7 or an 8, closer to an 8 because I was so soft. I literally high fived Joshua! I was SO relieved I was this far along. This was the point I realized I was in active labor and that this baby was coming sooner than I realized! Contractions began to mush together without stopping. They would go down in intensity but not every really stop before the next one began. I was singing A LOT and moaning as the intensity started to decrease on each wave. I still didn’t think I was progressing very fast because the contractions were all different levels of intensity and I thought they were supposed to be more consistent to be considered “serious” contractions.

I thought I felt the urge to push, but I thought it was just wishful thinking. I really needed to go to the bathroom. As I was walking out of the bathroom there was no soap so I said I needed sanitizer. As I was struggling to walk back to the bed a contraction hit and I felt a serious need to push and it felt like she was coming down. I saw people preparing the room for delivery, but I didn’t think I was that close (see a theme here yet?). I thought it would take an hour or more to push like it did with Asher. The midwife wanted to check my dilation and she asked me to sit on my back on the bed. As I tried to stagger to the bed I suddenly felt like she might be born on that very floor. I staggered very slowly, one step at a time, towards the bed. I leaned up against it and tried to convince my body to sit on my back so I could be checked. I couldn’t do it. My body did not want to twist and lay on it’s back. I kept saying I couldn’t get on my back, I just couldn't. The midwife looked down to see if she could check me another way and Josh said her face said it all. Later we found out she could see the bag of waters and the baby’s head. No need to check - I was ready to push!

At this point the nurse and the midwife were urging me intensely to get on the bed. I crawled on all fours onto the bed and starting pushing. I forgot how much it hurt to push and my first few pushes were not very strong because I didn’t want to feel the pain. This was the point where I decided that maybe I did want an epidural, but I knew it was too late! Transition is hard! Then crowning hit. Oh the ring of fire. I hate this part of labor (thankfully it’s the shortest part!) At this point I was saying I should have gotten epidural but everyone in the room - including the midwife and nurse whom I had just met- kept telling me “No, You’ve got this! You are strong! You are doing it! Keep going!” I felt I had a room full of cheerleaders who believed in me.

Pushing through the crowning hurt so much but they midwife kept saying to push more. I literally felt like I was pushing out poop with my bum in the air for everyone in the room to see, which was terrifying and embarrassing! The midwife assured me several times that I was pushing out a baby, not poop. It sure felt like I was pooping with an audience!

I felt my water burst and run down my legs, which was motivating. This whole time I was thinking the pain was too intense for me to do for an hour (which is how long I thought I would be pushing). Josh and the midwife kept telling me I was almost done, but I didn’t believe them. I only pushed 10 or so times, for a total of 15 minutes at most. The final few pushes were really hard. At this point the singing was replaced with some yelling and a lot of very loud grunting. The final push hurt so much. I had to literally bite the pillow and push through the pain. Then, her head came out! The midwife told me her head was out I could feel her shoulders and the midwife helped her roate. I repeated, “Just get her out! Just get her out!” One final push and her shoulders came out along with the rest of her body.

As I felt her whole body slip out into the midwife’s hands the relief set it. I turned and laid down in the bed, where the midwife put her up on my chest. That first hour of her life was amazing. I held her, talked to her, stroked her cheek and just soaked this precious time in. We did skin to skin and delayed cord clamping before Josh cut her cord. I held her, stroked her, and just loved on her! She was beautiful! I couldn’t believe I had her inside of me just minutes before! Even the second time, I was in complete awe at what a miracle life really is.

As I was stroking her cheek with one hand and had her little chubby fingers wrapped around a finger on my other hand, Joshua pointed out that I had not washed or sanitized my hands since using the restroom. I freaked out and laughed so hard! He quickly got sanitizer for me. I had my unwashed fingers all over her face! I was mortified! We had a really good laugh about it! It was probably my favorite funny memory of delivering!

I was able to get up after that hour to walk on my own to the bathroom and clean up a bit. Eventually they asked if we wanted to weigh her and get her footprints. Then we were able to move to our postpartum room and get some sleep. They rolled in a wheelchair and Josh laughed and said, “She doesn’t need that.” He gestured to me, who was standing by the warmer with Felicity (who at that point didn’t have a name). But for liability reasons they had to push me over. It was at least 4, maybe 5am when we finally got to our recovery room. Then they put a sign on the door that we didn’t want to be disturbed until 8am and thankfully they were true to their word - no one came in!

We called Asher that morning to tell him the exciting news. After church my mom brought him over and we filmed him meeting her for the first time. He was so very proud to be a big brother. You can just see it in his face when he holds her for the first time. I was so emotional with how much he already loved her. It was like he had been waiting for her to come for so long and his heart was just so full of love for her already! He stayed for over an hour and had lunch with us. He wanted to hold her the whole time! My mom took him home and Kaiser had a “celebration dinner” that was extra fancy for us. It was actually pretty good and exceed my expectations of a hospital cafeteria. Overall her birthday was just calm day full of snuggling her, staring at her beautiful features, trying to get used to having another child, talking without interruptions from Asher (which is amazing!) and sleep. Lots of sleep. It was calm and beautiful and I really cherished that bonding time.

I am so grateful for the immense support I had during labor and that her birth went so smooth. Above all, I am grateful that she is healthy and safe. Because of our previous losses I had anxiety and fear about losing her before or during her birth. I felt like I was holding my breath during her whole pregnancy and now that she is here safe I can finally breath again. She is beautiful and we are so grateful God gifted her to us.