Ravenna Rose

I had the pleasure of getting to know this sweet couple during their maternity session! We talked about how excited they were to meet their daughter, but also how the sudden closing of the UF Birth Center had forced a change of plans. Either way, I could see the amazing bond they had and I knew it would be a beautiful birth!

Thank you, Michaela, for sharing your story with us!

“I woke up at 7:30 am Wednesday, August 21, 2019. I was 39 weeks and 3 days. I had a doctor’s appointment that day and then plans to meet up with a friend for lunch afterward. As I sat up in bed that morning to start my day, I felt a release of fluid. Initially, I thought, “wow did I really just pee myself?!”. I got up and quickly walked to the bathroom. I then realized this must have been my water breaking. I contacted my doula, Christin, to let her know. Then I contacted the doctor’s office to cancel my appointment. I told them that plans had changed and I could not make it in today. I didn’t want to tell them because I did not want to be forced to be admitted early. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible in the comfort of my own home. I called my husband and told him what was happening but I told him not to rush home just yet. I still felt fine and I figured it would be a very long time before things picked up. He couldn’t wait though and had to come home. At around 8:30 am I began to feel period like cramps that would come and go. I knew this was the start of labor. I tried to pretend nothing was happening. I kept myself busy so as not to think about the long night I knew was ahead of me. I cleaned the whole house, ate and drank as much water as I could to hydrate for the challenges that were soon to come. As contractions picked up in intensity, I took a bath. Afterward, I tried to lay down and watch Netflix but they were becoming so intense to just lay down. I leaned over my exercise ball while Dustin did counter pressure on my back with tennis balls. We did this for 10 contractions. I then took a nice warm shower. It was about 2:30 when speaking through the contractions became extremely difficult and I had to stop in place when one came. I knew it was time to go to the hospital. The 45-minute ride over was not easy. I was VERY uncomfortable! Once arriving at the hospital they found me to be 5 cm, almost 6 dilated! I could not believe it. I was halfway there. They brought me back into a delivery room. I wanted to get into the tub as soon as possible. At this point, the contractions were very intense. I had to sit on a monitor for about 20 minutes so that they could check on her heart rate. Finally, I was able to get into the tub.

Mom labors in the tub at UF Health North hospital Jacksonville, Fl
Now was when things really started to ramp up. I began heavy breathing and making what felt like such animalistic like sounds. I did not care how loud or how strange it sounded. The pain was just so intense it felt nice to let out a scream. I lost sight of everyone around me. I lost track of time and could only focus on each contraction as it came.

Pregnant mom labors in the tub at UF Health North Hospital in Jacksonville FloridaLaboring in the water at UF Health North Hospital with her doula and husband
In between contractions, I tried to sit back and enjoy that brief moment.

Dad provides labor support while Mom labors in the water during hospital birth
Then I began to feel sick, needing to throw up from the pain. Once I did, I felt better. I told my doula that things were getting very hard and I don’t know how I can do this outside of the tub (you’re not allowed to deliver in the tubs at the hospital). She reassured me I could and told me I was going through transition. I thought,
wow already going through transition? This isn’t THAT bad. I’m not screaming for the drugs yet. Not long after that, I felt my body wanting to push at the peak of a contraction. I told my doula this. Knowing I was not allowed to deliver the baby in the tub, I had to get out.

Mom labors on the floor with support from her nurse, doula, and husband
I moved from position to position, leaning over the bed, sitting in a throne-like position on the bed, sitting on the exercise ball, and with each surge came the urge to push.

Dad supports his wife while she brings her baby earthsideMom braces during a contraction while she labors without pain medicationdoula and dad support mom while she brings her baby into the worldMom labors on the bed with wireless monitor at UF Health North Hospital
Between all of these contractions, I would get extremely cold, I was shivering uncontrollably. I had such an amazing team surrounding me. My mom, my mother-in-law, my husband, and my Doula all played a part from squeezing my hand to putting the fan in my face to putting the blanket over me when the shivers came to rubbing my back, giving me water, anything and everything I needed.

Holding hands during a strong contraction while laboringbirth team provides support during a natural labor and birthbirth team provides labor support to mom during natural birth
Once the midwife checked me, we learned that the lip of my cervix was swollen and her head was facing my stomach instead of my back. I was told I needed to stop pushing so that the swelling would go down.
Stop pushing!?, I thought. My body was involuntarily pushing I thought there was no way I could just stop pushing. My doula suggested a position to get her to turn. It was the most uncomfortable position. My butt was way up in the air and my chest was on the bed. I tried to fight off the pushing as much as I possibly could.

mom labors while waiting to dilate to 10 cm as husband and doula provide support
I could not take that position any longer so I moved into a side-lying position. I would squeeze my legs together to try and fight the urge to push. At the peak of my contraction, it was absolutely impossible to hold back the push. I felt like I was screaming bloody murder at this point.

breathing through contractions while 9.5 cm dilated
Now, this was the time I wanted to beg for the drugs. I remember pleading that they just go ahead and give me a C-section because I could not do it anymore. But my team reminded me this was not what I wanted. My doula suggested I get some laughing gas to help me focus more on not pushing and it did help. I was squeezing the breathing mask on my face as tight as I could screaming in it.

Nitrous oxide during labor provides pain relief for momHusband supports wife during a tough labor at UF health north jacksonville
The gas made things feel like a dream, a very painful dream! I really started losing track of time. I had no idea how many hours had gone by since I even got there. Before I knew it, I was being told I could push. I reached down and felt her head crowning. I felt her hair. I couldn’t believe she had hair! I thought she would be bald. They had a mirror so that I could see. Everything seemed blurry to me though. I focused again on pushing. Once her head was out the rest just slide out with ease.

baby is born as dad looks on at UF health north
Then there she was, laid upon my chest. I could not believe what I just did, what I just endured.

baby is placed on mom's chest for the first time after being bornDad admires mom and baby after the birth of their daughter
I looked down at her, so concerned something was wrong with her just because she was crying. I just kept patting and rubbing her back. Everything was happening so fast. Dustin cut her cord as I held her. They took her away from me to suction her.

Newborn exam being done right after birth at UF health north hospitalDad holds daughter's hand after just being born
While they were wrapping her up, I was delivering the placenta and being sewed up. I remember looking over at her and seeing Dustin was holding her and I felt so jealous. I wanted her back in my arms right away! Finally, she was back to me laid upon my chest.

Mom is emotional after the birth of her first child
She quickly sniffed around and gravitated towards my breast.

baby girl doing skin to skin after birth with mom as dad looks on
There she was nursing for the first time. I could not believe how much love I had for this human. I immediately loved her more than anyone or anything in the world.”

Mom latches and breastfeeds daughter for the first time after being born
baby breastfeeds with mom after being born at UF North Hospital in Jacksonville fl

Dad holds daughter for the first time after birth at UF health north
Mom and dad snuggle brand new baby after her natural hospital birth


If you are interested in having your baby’s birth day captured, I would love to chat!

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.