Final Four – Welcome Preston

Geneva and I first connected through Facebook.  She was looking for a videographer to film her birth and I was a birth photographer with a love (and some experience) of films.  Thanks to a mutual friend, we found each other.

I couldn’t wait to meet and chat with Geneva in person! I look forward to this with all my birth clients – their stories often begin here. I get to learn more about them, their why’s for wanting this time captured, and hear details from past births. This Momma has quite the story of her 3rd baby’s arrival – a planned home birth, baby came super fast, the midwives (and photographer) didn’t make it in time, and she delivered in the bathroom with dad catching!!

WOW!  What an amazing woman and family! I left feeling so inspired by her and the fact that she wanted to help normalize birth! I was so excited to see how baby #4’s story unfolded!

Thank you, Geneva, for sharing this beautiful day with us~

“Maybe I’ll start with my emotions preparing for the big day. I was extremely anxious. Anxious for the pain, anxious to make it to the birth center, anxious that I wouldn’t get the kids to my dad in time, and that I would birth in the car.  I would express my concerns at every appointment and they reassured me that I would know:)

Days leading to Thanksgiving we would joke that I was going to birth a little turkey and thought how crazy would it be to have two holiday babies. Well, Thanksgiving Day came upon us and contractions started to come in a pattern and every 10-15 mins. I called my midwife and she had me come in to check things out. Contractions stopped and we went back home to rest and eat what we could. Later that evening, as I was preparing for bed, my stomach started to turn. I kept trying to go to sleep but it wasn’t happening. I would doze off then have to get up and go to the bathroom. I was anxious. This was the exact sign that always happens right before labor started. The contractions showed up again and around 1:00 am. I woke Kyle up and told him something is going on. I can’t sleep, having to go to the bathroom every few minutes, and the contractions are steadily coming 10-15 min apart. So, I called my midwife, Cindy, and she told me to go ahead and head up to meet her at the birth center. I called my dad and he met us there too. Phew, kids made it to him and that was a relief. Then I called our birth photographer to let her know this could be IT. She said she was on her way. 

It was funny to pass through the Rivercity Marketplace and see all the cars in the parking lots at 2 am. It was Black Friday! 

We got to our room and the contractions were still coming but very spaced. I was exhausted at this point and she suggested we stay and try to sleep. I was so relieved by this idea because I was so nervous to leave and then have him on the way home or not get back to the birth center in time. Emma’s birth was so fast and furious – I thought surely this one would come faster than hers. 

So I laid down and I just couldn’t fall asleep. The excitement. The anxiety. My stomach was in an uproar. I tried my hardest but I just could not fall asleep. Before long the sun began to shine through the windows. At this point, I had been without sleep for over 20+ hrs. My previous births I would wake up after a rested night of sleep and labor would begin. This birth was definitely starting out differently. 

I was checked that morning and I was dilated to 4cm. Now, after this, my mind just gets so blurry and things felt like they were moving at all sorts of different intervals.  I walked, I sat, I showered, I ate, I bounced on the birthing ball, and the contractions were still coming but I wasn’t feeling the pain I remembered. I was still smiling and I didn’t have to focus deeply.

UF health mother in early labor

Kyle was amazing and started to apply counter-pressure through my contractions which was everything to me.Jacksonville, Fl UF health birth center laboring naturallywaiting for baby to arrive labor partner doing hip squeezes

As the evening started to approach, my contractions started to pick up. Hours and hours had gone by. This was nothing like my previous births. This was a marathon. I wasn’t hungry but needed more energy. I was exhausted. The pain was getting more intense. Okay, this was the pain I remembered. I started hopping back and forth in and out of the bathtub. My body was trying hard to cope with the contractions. I kept repeating “It’s power, not pain!”  It wasn’t working anymore. Some contractions I would forget how to breathe.  I kept thinking these contractions hurt so bad surely I am 10cm and getting ready to push soon. I asked to be checked again and I was 8cm. 8! I know I know, why get checked if you run the risk of not being that far dilated? Because it could go the other way and really motivate me. It didn’t. That’s just my story. As the contraction pain started to increase, I started to get discouraged. I said things like “I think I’m going to die”, “I want to get the epidural”, ” I can’t do this anymore”. Inside I felt my body was letting me down. I remember feeling like I wasn’t as strong as I thought. I started to whimper and wanted to cry. I could hear Kyle whispering words of encouragement to me. I could hear my midwives praying over me. I could feel the cold towels being applied to my face. I could feel warm water being added to my bath. I wanted to run the opposite direction.  I wanted the pain to be over.laboring mother supported by midwives Cynthia Williams and Ashley Schafferduring waterbirth midwives support laboring mom while husband does hip squeezes

Around this time, they say, is exactly when baby is about to show up. Well…Cindy comes over and says for me to push with the next contractions.  She helped me down there and I started to push with everything I had in me. In those moments I could feel him move down and out. I remember hearing the excitement in their voices and the chants to keep going!! I heard, “His head is out!” Keep going!! With one more push, he was out and in my arms! YES!!!!!!! We did it. We all did it!!!! That kind of relief is like no other relief I have ever felt in my life. I thought I wasn’t going to make it out alive and then I’m holding my baby minutes later. I thanked my body, I thanked my husband,  I thanked my midwives, I thanked my videographer, I thanked Shelby, (Kyle’s aunt). Each of them played a huge role in getting to the end and finishing my marathon.UF health north birth center baby born during waterbirthparents enjoy new baby boy after a natural waterbirth

It wasn’t the birth I had played out several times a day. It was slow and steady with a huge hill at the end, but the finish line held my promised gift. Our final four. Our second baby boy. This is our birth story 🙂 .”

 I’m so grateful to have been present for Preston’s arrival! Please watch his birth film with the volume up and in HD!

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.