A Family of 5

I can’t believe it has been a year since this little one was welcomed into the world! I love that she will be able to look back on this joyous day and read her mother’s words! Thank you, Chelsea, for sharing your story with us!

“Birth is such an incredible, miraculous experience. Each is unique just like the tiny humans who are formed in our wombs. After quite a bit of convincing, your Papa agreed to not find out if you were a boy or girl. For nine months my body sustained you inside – I could feel every kick, every twist and turn – and for nine months we wondered who you would be. Would you look like Adriana? Would you snuggle like Gabriel? Your pregnancy was so different than your big siblings. Nausea, exhaustion – oh the sleepiness – achiness and veins for days pumping all that extra blood around.

Everyone weighed in and the scales were certainly in favor of you being a boy. Mama had a hunch you were a girl, but the constant guesses of you being a boy started to make me question that intuition. Early on Adriana insisted you were a girl and she decided your name would be Cuppy. Whenever Adriana and Gabriel talked to you or gave you hugs & kisses through my belly they called you Cuppy. Each time we heard your heartbeat was magic. Adriana and Gabriel couldn’t wait to help Shea find it during my prenatal appointments. Everyone would climb onto the bed to hold the doppler, listen to their own heartbeats and then give my belly a good rub. My belly grew bigger and bigger. Moving around and playing with your siblings got more and more tiring. The Braxton-Hicks contractions were so frequent. In fact, I was convinced I was in labor about five days before you truly made your entrance – Dawn and I tracked contractions, I gave Shea and Melissa a heads up. The one thing I said throughout your pregnancy was, “I hope this baby is born in August so each of the kids can have their own birth month.” But you had different plans!

When I woke up with contractions on your birth day, I thought, “Is this really it?” I wanted to be sure before calling everyone into motion. We rested through the very mild contractions. We moved and swayed a little to see if the movement changed anything. I mixed up some Natural Calm and then we soaked in an Epsom salt bath. Slowly, but surely the contractions began to intensify over two hours. Yes, we would see your beautiful face today. Shea, Rene, and Melissa headed over. Dawn put pancake making with her boys on hold to come help out with your big siblings – Adriana couldn’t wait to meet you and Gabriel was excited for visitors.

When everyone arrived at the house, we were sitting on the floor in the living room playing and talking.

keeping track of contractions while laboring at home
I made my way into the bedroom not long after as the contractions started to intensify.

laboring at home while snuggling at homewhile birthing at home midwife listening to the heartbeat
We were getting closer. As I rested in the bed, Adriana rubbed my arm and was eager to feel as my belly tightened and you moved into position.

mom labors at home surrounded by her family and midwiveswhile laboring at home her daughter feels her mom's belly tightening during a contraction
We had sweet time together eagerly awaiting your arrival in our last moments as a family of four. Not wanting to risk slowing labor, I waited to get in the tub and chose to stand and sway when movement seemed more appealing than laying down.

to help relieve pain and pressure dad does hip squeezes
Your sister danced in and out of the room in various outfits while your brother was intrigued by everything Shea and Rene had set up. Seeking relief, Shea filled the tub and I welcomed the warm water as the contractions strengthened.

with her cat watching over her mom labors in the tub
We were another step closer.

Sitting in the tub, surrounded by our over-mirrored bathroom I wished I had practiced that braid I swore I would put in my hair when labor started this time around. I laughed at myself and then tried to lay back to rest. You’ll see from the pictures someday, sweet one, that putting a braid in my hair was the last thing on my mind as we got closer to meeting you. Instead, I vividly remember wishing I had not laid back. I wanted to rest over the edge of the tub like I had with Gabriel, but every time I thought to shift my body another contraction came. We would meet you soon.

Birth takes over your body. The focus and breathing kicks in. Squeezing a hand to distract from the pain. Intense pressure. Brief pauses between contractions as you prepare for the next.

So close to having you in my arms. Bearing down.

at home minutes before meeting her baby girl
It hurts – there is no question about that – but the pain is fleeting because the relief and joy that washes over once baby is in your arms is indescribable.

at home in the water midwife shea catched baby girlafter her surprise baby girl is born at home, mom is so happy
A GIRL! You are Camila. Moments later your sister came in to meet you and quickly corrected us, “CUPPY Camila” before she ran to get you your first bow from her room. Gabriel was a little more uncertain and preferred to watch from the safety of Papa’s arms.

after she is welcomed into the world at home, the family meets the newest additionat home her son meets the new baby for the first timemom holds baby waiting for the cord to stop pulsingat a homebirth delayed cord clampingas they wait to cut the cord the whole family is excited for the new babyafter putting on gloves big sister touches the new baby's cord
You nursed for the first time while we were still in the tub and I ate a few cheesy treats, which were my post-birth request.

while mom is still in the tub, the vernix covered baby latches for the first timeafter being born at home, dad admires his new daughter
Once Papa cut your umbilical cord, he wrapped you in the same awful green towel Adriana and Gabriel were wrapped in – a completely unplanned similarity in all three births.

during a homebirth, dad cuts the cord after it is done pulsingfor skin to skin with dad, midwife shea hands baby overfor the first time, dad does skin to skin and holds baby

Snuggled in bed is how we spent our first afternoon together as everyone came in and out of the bedroom. To me, though, time stood still. You were finally here. We were officially a family of five. We all celebrated with delicious pizza. Adriana and Gabriel each took turns snuggling you in between playing with their new train table.

after a new baby is born home birth detailsmom looks on and smiles while dad holds his daughterat home in bed mom and her 2 kids admire the new babyafter being born at home everyone holds and hugs the new baby
You shocked us with your weight of 7lbs 12oz when Shea completed your newborn exam and you wanted nothing to do with having your footprints done.

the family is surprised at how heavy the new baby is as midwife shea weighs herafter a home birth midwife Shea of Birth Collective of Jacksonville does a newborn exam
Tia Hannah was nearly tackled by Adriana and Gabriel when she arrived to meet you.

after their sibling is born at home kids are excited to see their aunt
Dawn cuddled you before she headed home to her boys. The Gladys even stopped by after their day at the zoo to meet you. Your birth day was a wonderful, marvelous day.”

~ Chelsea


If you are interested in capturing your little one’s birth day, I would love to chat!

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Hi I'm Melissa!

I'm an introverted, T-shirt wearing, animal loving, nature admiring, lucky wife, mother of 3, photography and birth obsessed lady.

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