|She's HERE!!! This was about an hour after she was born.|
I’ll start by saying that Felicity took her time getting started, which had me worried that I was in for another very very long birth (read HERE for the recap Wilder's 76-hour marathon labor. Not for the faint of heart.). I had days of contractions, but nothing really consistent or painful enough for me to say “OK this is labor.” It felt so imminent, but real labor just never came. My due date sailed on past and I just kept walking with Wilder, going to the park and zoo with him and we went about our days. Every night for at least two weeks I wondered if I would wake up in labor. Mentally it was so draining to stay positive. I’ll be honest—the thought of going through labor again kind of scared me. What if I couldn’t handle the pain? What if it lasted for days like before? I just wanted to get to the other side and hold a newborn to my chest and be done with labor.
I had a midwife appointment on Tuesday at 40 weeks 6 days. I saw the OB with the practice, and she stripped my membranes. It was really painful because my cervix was still posterior. I was dilated between 1-2 cm. I had some contractions, but nothing to write home about—just enough to keep me on my toes. Wednesday I was 41 weeks, and I had to have an ultrasound to make sure everything was OK with baby. If it was, I would be clear to go another week. If not, I was supposed to march myself over to maternal observation and get labor started. I was nervous about the appointment and Zach was watching Wilder, so my SIL Jashley came with me. The doctor was very nice, but she noticed two contractions during the monitoring and suggested I get checked at maternal observation just to see how I was progressing. She thought I would really be having Felicity soon. That was exciting, so we went to MO. The midwife checked me and was like nope, you’re not in labor. I was dilated to a 2, but my cervix was posterior. She made an appointment for me to get induced the following Wednesday. But she did say “you’ll probably have your baby before then.”
I went home and prayed. I really didn’t want to get induced. I just held out hope that I’d go into labor on Friday, when I was 41 weeks 2 days, because that’s when I went into labor with Wilder. Surely I wouldn’t go past that??
I had contractions all that day and night and Thursday, but I still felt like it was not the real deal. I’d had several false alarms so I was determined not to call it too soon. As the evening came on, they definitely became more painful, but when you know how bad labor contractions are… I just kept thinking it wasn’t the real thing yet. But we did ask Zach’s parents to stay the night, just in case.
My doula Maria Pokluda was called to another birth that night, which kind of worried me, but I kept hoping that maybe she’d be done by the time I was in real labor. I went to bed.
After midnight early morning Friday, October 16, I had to get out of bed and sit in a chair to deal with contractions. I’d been timing them, but they were erratic so I didn’t think a lot of it. But they were getting close together… like 5-7 min apart. And more painful. As I started doing my yoga breathing and movements, I tried to keep quiet because I didn’t want to wake Zach for nothing. I was hoping to wait till like 6 am to go to the hospital. But 3 am rolled around and I started thinking maybe we should go sooner, even though my doula was still tied up. So Zach and I started making preparations. I took a bath and we got ready. The contractions were coming closer together and I had to wait them out before doing anything, so it took a bit to get going. But we got out the door and made it to the hospital by 5 am. Maria’s backup doula Leslie Gleick met us at the hospital, bless her heart. So early!
We got signed in, they asked if I wanted a room with the big water birth tub and I said no because I didn't expect that I would get to have a water birth. I did ask to switch to a room with a plain old tub and they ended up giving us the same room we had with Wilder! Good? Bad? I didn't know. I was ready to find out how much progress I’d made. I told Zach if I was only dilated to 3 cm I was going to cry. The nurse checked me and said my cervix 90% effaced and I was 3 centimeters. Around 6:15 the midwife, Kathleen came in. She asked me if I wanted to go home for a while, since I was only 3 centimeters. I knew I couldn't deal with another car ride, and I was really tired from not sleeping, so I asked if I could just rest for a bit and see how things went. She agreed, checked me (I was 4 cm) and stripped my membranes. They dimmed the lights and I went into the restroom.
In the restroom I had a serious talk with God. I cried. I felt I couldn't deal with contractions for days, if I was dilating this slowly AGAIN. I'd done it with Wilder but I wasn't sure I could go through that again. I was afraid I would need an epidural at this rate and I was so hoping to not get one this time. I prayed and just thought I would rest a while and see what happened.
So I laid down and we left my labor playlist going. Zach and Leslie took snoozes in chairs and it was just deja vu with Wilder's labor. Except the room wasn't frozen over due to an ice storm. But around 7:10 my water broke. I had not had it break on its own before, so it took me by surprise. I was finally resting, so I just wanted to stay put and let the contractions keep coming. But soon they totally changed to a pushing type contraction. Leslie suggested having me checked again to see how I was progressing. I felt nauseous and the contractions just kept coming but it was a totally different feeling than anything I'd experienced before. Transition!
Kathleen checked me and I was 7 centimeters, 100% effaced and +1 station! I was shocked! By that point with Wilder, it had been days of labor and I had an epidural so I wasn't feeling them. Leslie asked if I wanted to get in the tub since I was past 5 cm and I almost jumped in. I spent lots of time in the tub with Wilder (like 5 baths) and it really helped. So I got in at 7:55, and immediately started feeling relief. It was my happy place. But I also felt like pushing... Which was way too early if I was only 7 cm. At 8:05 Wendi the student midwife checked me and I was 8-9 cm. I was on hands and knees and tried to resist for a little bit but it became clear the time had come for Felicity to arrive. Such strong contractions were taking over and it was not in my control. A flurry of people came in the bathroom (Kathleen, Wendi, Leslie, nurses and Zach, who'd never left my side) but I kept my eyes closed and at 8:11 I pushed on all fours for just a few contractions. She was nearly out and they asked me to turn over so I could hold her skin to skin when she came out. The difference in a natural vs epidural labor became clear--I just flipped over, held tight to Zach's hand and kept pushing. It all just happened. 1-2 more contractions and baby Felicity was in my arms at 8:17 am. I couldn't believe it. It was surreal how quickly everything went. I would not say it was painless by any means, but it was far less painful than what I was mentally prepared for. Really it was just SHORTER than what I had prepared for in my head. I cried with relief and joy that our baby girl was finally here!
I had minor tearing and bruising. Much less than with Wilder. I felt much less beaten down too. I was tired and hungry, but not overwhelmed. I can honestly say the experience was amazing. I think having my prior labor be so long and exhausting gave me a real appreciation for this one. I really feel that God prepared me through my overdue days and early labor to lean on Him... Give Him my fears and anxiety, and then He showed me His grace and goodness through this birth. It's just incredible, to be on the other side and realize that I was able to have a safe, healthy, unmedicated birth--in the water!! In a short amount of time. All things I'd hoped for, and even ones I didn't think would happen (like the water) but didn't know if they would happen. I'm thankful for the amazing team at UNT Nurse Midwives, Leslie, Zach and our loved ones that prayed and walked through this pregnancy and delivery with us. It really does take a village.
Here are some photos from the next day, when Wilder and Zach's family got to meet Felicity. Thanks Jashley for the photos!