Felix: Birth Story

***Note: Obviously this is a birth story. Need I say more? Read at your own risk.


Before I dive into this saga, I want to give a little background on our plan going into Felix’s birth.

We had started out at a typical Ob office and were happy with that decision until we had our hospital tour around 32 weeks. As we were touring the Labor and Delivery floor I fought down a panic attack induced by my sister’s traumatic delivery of her medically complex son, Noah, three months earlier. As I sobbed in the parking garage once we were back in our car, I knew my emotions were irrational but I couldn’t get over the feeling that if we had our baby in a hospital, he would be sick. Very long, emotional story short, we looked into other options and since our pregnancy was low risk and had been perfect up until then we decided to try for a home birth with a reputable midwife. This together with what we were learning in our Bradley Method classes helped us feel more peaceful and settled about the upcoming birth.


I was fully expecting to be pregnant up until 41 weeks, maybe 42, maybe forever. So when I woke up to my water breaking the day after hitting 38 weeks, I couldn’t have been more surprised.

We tried to sleep some more because I wasn’t having any contractions. It was impossible as the realization slowly sunk in that this. was. it. After tossing and turning for a while, Dave just got up, started tidying the house and folding laundry.

I remember our home was filled with warm sunlight as the midwife arrived around 9:45am. She heard good heart tones, and baby seemed fine. However when she was done examining me, she dropped the bombshell on us that baby had turned from perfect position a week earlier to frank breech position. She couldn’t deliver breech babies, so she let us know we’d have to transfer to the hospital. On her way out she said “You’ll have a baby by this afternoon.” Little did she know...

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She left us thoroughly confused and disheartened. My biggest goal after a healthy baby was not to have a C-section and here we were realizing that’s exactly what we were in for. I got a hold of my mom on the phone and told her I needed her to come up and meet us at the hospital. Dave was on the phone with our Bradley Instructor, Jocelyn, and she agreed to meet us at the hospital as well. We really needed their support.

We threw together a hospital bag, snapped a picture and around 11am we headed into the hospital. Jocelyn met us in the lobby and we took the elevators up to triage and let the desk know our situation. It felt so surreal to be there, I didn’t know what to say and kept stumbling over my words.

Once we got into a triage room, the nurse, Allison, was certain after feeling my belly for 10 seconds that he wasn’t in fact breech. The ultrasound confirmed that baby was in perfect birth position after all! I was checked for the first time and was dilated to 1cm. There had also been no sign of any contractions. In other words, broken water but nothing else was getting going. Between the hospital environment and the emotional roller coaster of the morning I was already exhausted and it wasn’t even noon yet.

After the midwife being so wrong in the morning we knew we weren’t going to use her. We still don’t know if she just didn’t want to deliver us and lied or if she did believe baby was breech. Either scenario didn’t inspire any confidence in her.

Of course the hospital wanted to keep us because my water was broken, but we weighed our options and knew that if we stayed, we’d have a higher chance of interventions sooner. We left knowing we’d be back but that I really needed some time to regroup emotionally.

As we left the hospital my mom met us in the lobby, and we came up with a game plan to get labor going (walking, pumping, castor oil, etc.). Amazingly we were able to hire Jocelyn as our doula right there last minute. It was so great that she was able to clear her schedule to be there to support us through a situation we hadn’t expected at all.

That afternoon we made sure to eat, rest, pack a real hospital bag and then do as much as possible to get labor started. It took until about 12 hours after my water had broken, around 5pm, for anything to get going with some light, but regular contractions.

Dave and I arrived back at the hospital after dinner with the understanding that we’d call my mom and Jocelyn in as we needed them. The insane thing was that now triage was packed. Multiple women were in the waiting room because there were not enough rooms for all the women in labor.

As we sat in the waiting room I started having heavier contractions. I couldn’t stand sitting in the waiting room, so we walked the hall. And we walked, and we walked. For almost 4 hours we walked the hall in active labor, back and forth, stopping for contractions and hoping a room would open up.

Finally around midnight they sent us to a room in the OB Special Care Unit. It was so nice to have our own stuff and get our music and diffuser going. The peaceful atmosphere really helped for a while. I checked my phone one last time once we got into the room and remember seeing that a friend had had a baby that day (hi, Ashlee!). I thought “our babies will have super close birthdays!” And that was the last normal thought I had for 24 hours. The rest of the world totally faded away as each contraction was more than enough to fill my consciousness.

I discovered that laying in bed was not a good solution for me. Dave found an adjustable table in the room for me to lean on. I also got some ice water and washcloths. Dave helped me remember to relax through each contraction. We really rocked our Bradley techniques for a while, however around 2:30am we decided to call Jocelyn in. Right after Dave called her, I was checked for the first time since coming back to the hospital and had progressed to 5cm which felt like a big deal and made the hard work worth it.

Jocelyn arrived right before we moved to a room in the actual Labor and Delivery. I wanted to get into the shower as soon as we got to the room. I was ready to try something else. This was also the point at which my modesty went out the window. I remember vaguely thinking “oh, this is what they meant.” I just wanted to get in the shower and find some relief in any way possible.

While taking a break from the shower around 5am, I asked for my mom. She arrived while I was back in the shower. Our nurse was so good at making the remote fetal monitor work, to allow me to move around and get in the shower. I hung onto Dave’s neck with my left arm and onto the shower bar with my right. I had a thought that Dave was probably really cold, but I really needed him. I found out later that the poor guy was shivering and he still has back pain from supporting me.

Around the time my mom arrived, I was done and didn’t want to go on anymore. Earlier I’d heard that you could do injectable drugs to help with the pain for a couple hours. I knew my birth team wouldn’t “let” me have an epidural, so I figured I might as well ask for the lesser of the pain management. (We had agreed beforehand that I had to be the person to ask the nurse for any drugs that I wanted. That way I could beg them as much as I wanted, but we all knew I wasn’t serious until I told the nurse what I wanted.) They redirected me by suggesting I get checked. After being checked, they were evasive about how much progress I’d made, so I could tell the news wasn’t good.


The same nurse who had helped us in triage the day before, Allison, came in after shift change and let us know she’d be our nurse for Friday during the day. She was awesome and had alot of good ideas. I really made my birth team work for it at this point and they helped me try a bunch of different positions. I found the best were hanging on my mom’s neck and leaning with my elbows on the raised bed.

Finally Allison had an idea and came back lugging a rocking chair with her. I sat and rocked with my mom and Jocelyn on either side for a couple hours. I remember it was dark when I sat down and I must have zoned out, maybe even dozing between contractions, because the next thing I remember it was light outside. Dave got to take a nap as well since we’d been up for longer than 24 hours at this point.

Late morning I was done with the rocking chair and really wanted relief, in any form. I called the nurse myself to get her to bring me some sort of drug. Again they put me off by suggesting I get checked. Lo and behold I had progressed to 8cm. I knew no one was going to “give in” to my requests for medication now that we’d made progress and were relatively close. At this point I was so exhausted my birth team made me lie down to labor through the final two centimeters.


It only took an hour and a half until I was rechecked and was complete at 10cm. We started pushing with the bed deconstructed to allow a squatting position. It was such a relief to be able to push instead of just endure contractions. We tried 4 different pushing positions and I gave it my all. 4 and a half hours later, there was no progress. My birth team had been so encouraging and enthusiastic during the pushing that I was sure the baby was about to pop out, so to hear that all that work had brought no progress was miserable. I’d also never felt any urge to push so it was rather discouraging.

Additionally, my contractions were spacing out and my labor was slowing down. I didn’t realize this, but my birth team did because they could see it on the monitors. At this point the doctor on call came in and talked with us about options. Because my water had been broken for 36 hours, they were concerned about infection. 48 hours was the longest they would let me go at all. Because my labor had slowed so much they thought it would be best to start some pitocin and offered an epidural to go with it. All I wanted was a nap, so I was on board with an epidural. We agreed it was the best option to get a natural delivery and not a c section.

After laboring unmedicated in the hospital for 24 hours, I got an epidural. This allowed Dave and my mom to run downstairs and get some food. We all got some well-deserved rest.

You’d think a hospital would be more generous with pillows. Goodness I had been sleeping with a mountain of very precisely laid out pillows at home at the end of pregnancy. You’d think the hospital could provide more than 4 flat pillows? It seemed so strange to me. But they dimmed the lights and helped me get as comfy as I could in a hospital bed with a gigantic belly. Finally I got the nap I’d been begging for all day.

I was ready to sleep for hours and hours, but while I was napping the pitocin had gone to work getting my contractions going. So around 11:30pm, it was time to start pushing again. This time it was so different. The baby had dropped down while I was napping and was totally ready to come out. I have to admit it felt a little unfair that a nap and a dose of pitocin accomplished more than 4.5 hours of grueling pushing.

It was so great to be able tell that my pushing was working. I felt so strong pushing and had to be told to slow down a little to keep from tearing. Finally I heard the words I’d expected to hear 12 hours earlier “I can see his head!” Someone showed me a picture of his head on their phone and I got to feel his sweet soft head.


At 12:13am Saturday morning, after 43 hours and 13 minutes of labor Felix Christopher arrived. He was so purple and slimy. I remember his mouth was so big and his limbs were stretched wide. I got him into my arms as quickly as I could. I was overwhelmed with wonder and awe at the fact that this was my baby. As I nuzzled him under my chin he quieted right down and at that moment I knew I was his mom.

For the first hour after he was born there was quite a bit of commotion as they waited for the placenta to come down and then stitch up a second degree tear. During all this I was rather oblivious because I was busy holding Felix skin to skin. He was ready to nurse as soon as he had calmed down from the initial shock of being born. He had such a strong latch that I credit him for teaching me how to nurse rather than the other way around. One of the first things Dave said about him was “He’s like a little plecostomus fish!”


My mom and Jocelyn stayed around long enough to see him weigh in at 6 lbs 15.5 ounces. I had prayed throughout the whole pregnancy for a 7 pound baby, and it was so close that I’m counting it as an answered prayer. It was so sweet to see Dave calm Felix down while he was being weighed because I had to stay in the bed.

We moved to the recovery floor around 4 am and I got to eat a crummy sandwich that tasted soooo good. We slept for 3 hours and then the sunlight and our excitement woke us up. I was so relieved to be done with birth and felt so free without my huge belly. Our hospital stay was uneventful, but we were ready to leave to get away from the constant interruptions from the staff. We got to go home Sunday evening, about 36 hours after Felix was born.

Even though the whole experience was so different from what we expected, in the end it was perfect. We always knew a homebirth wasn’t guaranteed, we were “trying” for one. I had thought the hospital would stress me out, but when it came down to it, I was so concentrated on what was going on in my body that I wasn’t even aware of the hospital environment. The support from my mom, Jocelyn and Dave was much more important than the location. It also made a huge difference that I was able to be mobile and move into the shower and around the room.

Looking back at the whole ordeal, from a premature rupture of membranes, to thinking we needed a c-section, to changing our whole birth plan last minute, to labor lasting 43 hours, it was so crazy and felt like a whirlwind. But it was so special and sacred. God’s angels protected us through it all and we’re so grateful for the final outcome. Despite nothing going according to plan, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change anything, except I’m hoping next time it might be a little shorter.

Of course Felix was worth it all.

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Growing Baby Bear

It's been a while. (Sorry!)

We've been busy over here with our latest excitement: growing baby bear. I'm sure most of your know this already. However, it's been hard to put into words what the last eight months have been like. Hence, the radio silence around here.

After dreaming, praying and hoping for a baby, it’s been more than I ever imagined it could be, and he’s not even born yet!

First, I was sick most of the spring. It wasn’t fun, but I also am grateful it was March and April, when I didn’t miss out on much. Instead I got to cozy up and knit lots of cute baby things between naps.

Once I hit the 2nd trimester, it felt like a switch was flipped. My energy came back and my stomach could handle things again. It felt miraculous. We made use of the summer to its fullest, traveling and generally enjoying being pregnant.

This fall, we’ve nested like crazy and are finally feeling good about where we’re at with everything. We’re as ready as we’re ever going to be for this next step!

I have tried to keep a little video journal of this pregnancy. It will be a good summary of the last 8 months.

The Loneliest Line


Let me tell you a story about a little girl. When she was one, her mother gave her a homemade doll and she named it Amy. When she was four she had the first dream she could remember and in it she was a mom. When she was five, she claimed the closet under the stairs as a nursery and took care of a dozen dolls in some sort of super octo-mom game. In middle school, she aspired to grow up and have 10 (!) kids. As she got older, this dream obviously tempered and became a bit more realistic, but it remained constant. Someday she would be a mom, of that she was sure.

I'm sure you've figured out that that girl is me.

And this is my story to motherhood. It’s one that has felt isolating, lonely and at times hopeless. I’ve gone back and forth about whether to open up about this, but I know that if someone out there is going through the same thing we have, I would want them to know they aren’t alone. (and if I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind hearing that I'm not alone either)

This story doesn’t start with a sudden surprise or casual romantic "let's have a baby" moment. We've always been open to life, but when two people become one and then consider adding new little person, there is alot to consider. It wasn't until this year, with the business stable enough to support us and having moved closer to our families, that we felt that things were as close to “ready” as they’d ever be. We were a little scared and a little excited to see what might be in store for us. 

What was in store for us? Well, mostly countless negative pregnancy tests, long nights filled with tears and lots of doubt.

The first half of the year was fine, I mean, we were disappointed, but we also comforted ourselves with stats like “only 20% conceive in the first month, 75% in the first 6 months...” etc.

As summer turned to fall, every day someone else announced they were expecting. How lonely it is to watch others seem to effortlessly get what you pray for every night. What sort of despicable person cries in private instead of rejoicing about someone else’s happy news?

I do.

I feel guilty for overreacting when we've only tried for “x” months while other people try for years and have "real diagnosed infertility." After all, it’s not infertility until you’ve been trying for a year. We’re just two people who can’t seem to make a baby. Something that for many people happens accidentally.

As sisters, girlfriends, acquaintances, strangers announce their happy news, I tick off month after month of failure.

Failure. Failure. Failure.

It’s hard to stay hopeful every month as we wait for yet another single pink line.

That lonely line. 

People advise us “enjoy this time,” “ it’ll never be the same,” and "you're still so young." While I understand they want to help and that there really isn’t anything better that they could say, those are only small consolations.

We realize that instead of filling the coming months with a little life, we have unexpected time to plan trips and try really hard not to think about how we’d hoped to spend it instead. So here we are. We look forward to exciting adventures, enjoy our home, and love our life together, and yet still remember that last Christmas we thought we'd be in a different place by now. 

Then again, Mary probably thought she'd be in a different place when she gave birth to her child. Josef most likely didn't expect his family to get started the way it did. We make plans and imagine how things will be, only to learn that's not God's plan. 

God didn't come to fulfill our Pinterest dreams. He came to save our lives. Especially at this time of the year, we remember that. He never said He'd fulfill our expectations. He said He'd save us. And that, friends, He has done. All of my selfishness, failure, ingratitude, impatience, envy, and sin is gone. 

It is finished, done, amen. 

But even after that there is still a deep desire for a family. My heart longs for motherhood and to see Dave become a father. I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with that dream. It is good.

I am sure that God has created me with this dream and He hasn't given me this desire to torment me for He is a good God. I know this has and will teach and help me grow, but there will come a day when we will have children. We've learned that it won't happen the way we expected, but somehow, somewhere this story will contain little Russells and a set of very happy parents. 

And when we finally get to hold that little baby bear that we’ve prayed, hoped and cried for, it will be all the sweeter for the waiting.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 
— Romans 5:3-5

p.s. I feel the need to say that I only share my story and pain, and none of this is meant to judge, devalue, or critique anyone else's path or experience. I would be happy to listen to your struggle, preferably over a mug of something hot. We all have hurts, this is mine.

dear future little one

(Disclaimer: I am NOT pregnant. I repeat, NOT PREGNANT.)

Dear future little one,

You’ve been on my mind lately.

Maybe it’s because of your cute cousins or maybe because it seems like so many of our friends are pregnant. Maybe because I’m the age my mother was when she had me. Maybe it’s because your dad and I finally feel like we’re catching our breath after building the business and our new home, and you might be the next step. Whatever the reason, I want you to know I’ve been thinking about you.

In case you ever wonder what your mom and dad were up to before you, these days our favorite thing is to be together (preferably outdoors). We love spending weekends in the woods, on the lake, or traveling to see new things. We savor slow evenings at home with the kitties. I spend lots of time taking pictures, cooking, and trying to make things pretty. Your dad can’t get enough of tinkering on cars, driving his convertible, and eating ice cream in bed. We visit your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as often as possible.  Everything isn’t perfect, but life is good. I’m sure someday it’ll even be hard for us to remember what life was like before you. The important thing is that we laugh a lot, enjoy life and love each other very much.

Whenever God decides it’s time for you to join us, we’re going to do our very best and trust grace to cover the rest. We have so many hopes and dreams for you already. Things like hoping you grow up knowing the joy of grass between your little toes. Or that you learn to put people before things. That you’ll find good friends in books as well as in real people. That you stand up for what’s right and defend the weak. But most of all our wish for you is that when you get here, you’ll grow up knowing how loved you are. By us as well as by your heavenly Father. Because in the end, that’s really all that matters.

Until then we’ll be here, loving each other, learning lessons, chasing adventures, and wondering about you.

Already love you,


p.s. If I ever seem like super boring ol’ mom, just know there was a time when I almost broke my toe jet-skiing with your Aunt Hannah and Uncle Jamie. Ask your dad about it. Even he was impressed.


Photography: Baby Portraits

Isn’t that yawn just the best? I think the little nose wrinkles are the best. I wish I looked that cute when I yawned.

This little guy is a friend’s nephew and she wanted to surprise her sister with some baby pictures of him. Since I’d never done any infant photos, I was a bit nervous. So worried I’d mess it up, or we wouldn’t get him to calm down, or everything would just go terrible. I tend to put way too much pressure on myself, but I was surprised by how well it went.

Baby D was a champ. He slept most of the time and when he woke up it was just for a snack. I read up on some Pinterest tips and we just dove in from there. Kept things calm, put no pressure on ourselves or the little guy, and took our time. I am so pleased with our results. They’re not perfect, but for my first attempt everything turned out better than I imagined. Yay for leaving my comfort zone and finding success.

I hope you enjoy a sampling of Baby D. He sure is a “little nugget.”