I hadn’t brushed my teeth for 2 days. I thought about it as I laid in bed staring at my new baby daughter.
True life these past couple days have been full of love, tears and a whole mess of indescribable emotions.
Felicity Taylor Poe was born on July 3rd at 4:31pm. Delivered by our midwife Briana at Baby & Company. She came out wide eyed in a quiet room.
This is Felicity’s birth story which means I’m going to be giving lots of details I don’t want to forget. Queasy eyes look elsewhere I’m recording the knitty gritty here.
Birth is messy and painful and bloody and sweaty and it’s also all sorts of emotional and intimate. I want to remember it all exactly how it was so if you’re not interested in hearing about the dilation of a cervix feel free to skip ahead to the sweet photos of our girl.
On July 2nd I was beginning to feel the anxiety of not knowing when Felicity would come. Brandon and I went out to dinner with my mom to get our minds off the waiting. When we got home Brandon and I took a summer evening walk through our shaded neighborhood in hopes to get labor started, neither of us knowing the night we were in for.
I woke up at midnight when my contractions first started. After half an hour or so I woke Brandon up telling him I was certain this was the real thing.
I laid my head on his chest squeezing his hand and breathing deeply through each contraction. He said I was doing great and honestly I thought the contractions weren’t so bad. I was managing them well. By 4am the contractions had been 3 minutes apart for about an hour which is when Baby and Company said to call and come in.
The midwife on call confirmed I was in early labor at 3cm and still had a long way to go. She sent us home with a prescription to help me sleep since we’d have a long day ahead of us. We never managed to find a 24hr pharmacy so I took a Benadryl when we got home which I almost immediately threw up.
I was ready for a bath since I’d heard that could be soothing to ride out my contractions. They were getting worse and I was already exhausted and dozing off in the tub. Brandon sat beside me to be sure I didn’t slip under the water. At each contraction I swished water over my belly and breathed deeply to cope. After splashing B a few times he grabbed a cup to pour the warm water over my belly which was one of the many things he did instinctively to care for me.
After I got out of the tub I put my arms around B’s neck to do the slow dance sway. With each contraction I went limp and he held me up with his husbandly strength. I’m pretty sure I was crying at some point into his shoulder trying my best to cope with the pain. I was ready to go in again to see my progress. B called the midwife and I spoke with her over the phone. I told her the contractions were still around 3 minutes apart and I didn’t feel like I was coping well at home anymore. My breathing picked up before I finished talking and she coached me through it. She told me to let it pass before I kept going. Then she told B to go ahead and bring me in.
It was 9 o’clock, at the tail end of rush hour we were making our way up Providence rd. I grabbed the handle above the window to squeeze and closed my eyes the entire drive.
I waddled in with B and my mom supporting me. I hung over the chair at the reception desk. Qae walked past with a big smile and said “Oh Natalie.”
I couldn’t pick my head up but I leaned it to the side catching glimpse of a message board sitting on a shelf.
It read “You got this mama.”
I took a deep breath and took that in. Our baby was coming and I had everything I needed to get her here.
Briana walked up just as a contraction started. She greeted me and we waited there until it passed to walk back to the exam room.
She said I was measuring around 7cm nearly 8. I took a huge sigh of relief and teared up. This was it, we were about to settle into a room.
I sat on the bed while B set up my worship playlist.
The next few hours were a bit of a blur. I sat on the birthing ball. I threw up. I laid in the bed. I sat in the bath tub. All the while waiting for my water to break. By noon Briana said it was about to burst. My mom sent a txt out to my sisters and B’s mom to pray for the water to break. My mom then told me to sit on the toilet to see if that would help. Brandon sat in front of me, supporting my arms. The seat was heated and pretty comfortable considering it was a toilet seat. Two contractions later my water popped like a balloon and with a huge smile B said “Babe! Your water broke.” I was so relieved it brought tears to my eyes and I hugged him.
Brandon asked my mom if things would start moving more quickly now. I didn’t hear what she said which was probably for the best. She whispered to him that now the contractions would get worse and boy did they. I was back in the tub and this is when the screaming, grunting and moaning started. I writhed in the tub while Brandon sat behind me.. encouraging me, kissing my forehead. Telling me how proud he was of me. Briana and the attending nurse Janelle kept cool washcloths on my forehead and chest. They monitored Felicity’s heartbeat with the Doppler.
My mom hung back a bit no doubt in pain from seeing her youngest in so much pain. Then she came over and whispered to me, “Con calma.” Which means keep calm. I transitioned my screams back to a deep breathing. Nodding my head and moaning to myself “Ooook” with each exhale.
She said to me in Spanish to remember that I was this girl’s mother and I could tell her it was time to come out.
Briana checked me again and said if I felt ready to bear down and push I could do that. I got on my hands knees in the tub and pushed. I rested my head on the edge of the tub while B brushed aside my sweaty curls.
I turned on my side and pushed for a while, getting more exhausted by the minute. I hadn’t slept. I hadn’t eaten. I felt like dozing off between each contraction. I locked eyes with Briana and asked if she could see her head yet. She whispered “You’re doing so great mama. You’re so strong.”
Many many times I looked pleadingly at Briana and Janelle telling them I couldn’t do it any more. They told me I had been doing it. I was doing it and I was doing so great. They knew everything I needed to hear and somehow I felt such comfort everytime I locked eyes with these women who were there to support me beginning to end. Brandon said it was amazing to see them in their element. To see their skill and their patience.
I asked Briana if I should get out of the tub and she encouraged me to move however I felt comfortable. She said my body knew what it needed to do.
I moved to the bed. At some point Briana told me to try hands and knees. She waited beside me through two contractions and I think I fell asleep. She never forced me into anything and that was most appreciated. My legs shook a bunch turning into full body tremors. Briana placed her hand on my knee to reassure me the shaking was normal. It was simply the hormones surging through my body.
I listened to my labor meditations which helped more than I thought they would. Then I moved to the birthing stool. I thought for sure gravity would help speed things along but I wasn’t the most comfortable and Briana said she saw more progress when I was on the bed. For a while they held my legs for each contraction while I pushed. Janelle monitored Felicity’s heartbeat more frequently. I pleaded again, begged Briana to pull her out somehow. I told them I couldn’t anymore. They told me I could and I was. They told me I was so strong.
Eventually Felicity started crowning and my word will I never feel a more painful experience in my entire life. This girl’s head was massive. Brandon kept telling me it wouldn’t be long now he later admitted that he probably said that too soon because he had no idea how big her head was.
I wanted her out! Briana had me try tilting my chin down and holding my own legs back to powerhouse Felicity out. She saw a ton of movement after that contraction and told me that’s how I was going to do it from here on out. Janelle told me to hold on to my screams and focus that energy down. Briana told me to envision pushing down then up toward the ceiling to get her head out from under my pelvis.
Each contraction that she didn’t come was brutally discouraging since she just sat there until the next one came. I grunted a lot. My mom said I was superwoman. And finally after 3 hours of pushing I pulled my legs back toward my chest and pushed Felicity out. My mom said she came out both shoulders at a time rather than slipping one through at a time the little stinker. Briana pulled the rest of her body from me and plopped her right on my chest.
First thing I said? “Oh my goodness you’re huge!”
And she was. 9lbs 2oz. 21.5 inches of pure love and I still have no idea how I did it.
Janelle placed warm blankets over us and Brandon kissed my forehead. I looked in his eyes overcome with joy and relief and love and all the feels you could imagine. I never knew what an intimate experience it could be for us and we’ve truly grown so much more love and respect for eachother.
My mom cut the cord.
Janelle and Briana congratulated us.
Briana fixed me up and they left us in the room for the next 3-4 hours to bond with our baby. Felicity didn’t leave my chest as I held her skin to skin all that time easing her transition from my womb. I nursed her. Brandon showered her with kisses just as promised. The three of us sat there together on the bed falling absolutely in love.
Our friends Max and Kristin Zalaquett came over an hour after the birth to bring us dinner and meet this sweet girl they had prayed for and over with us. There is not much that’s more special than such a deep friendship like that.
Janelle and Briana came back to check my vitals, my belly and finally to check on Felicity. That’s when we found out her weight which no one could believe. She was a big healthy girl.
I received 2 rounds of an IV after that to catch up on my fluids since I didn’t drink enough during labor.
Brandon’s parents had just gotten to town and stopped by to visit with ice cream.
Then around midnight we were ready to go and discharged by nurse Kayla. We made it home to our own bed. Placing Felicity in her heirloom cradle her grandpa painted white for her. We all slept pretty soundly.
Now here we are today. Our daughter is 5 days old. We’re getting into a rhythm, accepting help from family and friends. I’ve literally cried explaining to Brandon “I just love her so much.” All I can do is cry. My sister in law Ashley says that’s totally normal to cry about anything and everything like that.
We’re enjoying what a sweet and lovable baby Felicity truly is and soaking in every moment of these first few days.