It was 2:30 in the afternoon on an overcast Saturday when I met Felicia for the first time.
That’s exactly right, I’d never met—or even spoken on the phone to—Felicia before photographing her birth. Thanks to her doula, Christina she was able to get us connected and we booked her birth just a few short days before her baby was due.
I opened the door to the Birth Center and she walked past me in the hall with a look of determination on her face. In tow was her husband, Jeremy, and her doula, Christina. We went into a exam room and did some short introductions before we moved over to the delivery room.
The delivery room was so tranquil; there was a queen size bed, a large birthing tub, soothing colors on the walls as well as quotes of encouragement. Christina set the mood with electric candles, essential oils diffusing throughout the room and birth affirmation cards. A Bethel Music playlist serenaded us with worship songs throughout Felicia’s labor and delivery.
As Felicia’s contractions began to get closer together and stronger, Jeremy was right by her side, speaking affirmations and praying over her whenever she requested. Christina provided lots of options for pain relief as well; hip squeezes, massagers, Rebozo and reminders for breathing through contractions.
Felicia rotated through lots of different positions to get comfortable during her labor. She labored on the queen size bed, she got on all fours on the floor, she used different shaped birthing balls and pillows and she also used the shower to provide some relief as well.
After she was 5 centimeters, she moved back onto the bed for a while and her husband Jeremy was right by her side. Christina and I stood back as we watched the incredible connection between them. Felicia had her arm draped over Jeremey’s back as he put his arm on her shoulder and began praying over her, moving from her shoulder to her contracting belly as he prayed. Felicia grabbed his shirt, rubbed his back and focused intently as each contraction came quicker and stronger.
About an hour later, Felicia’s silence was broken by a new cry—the midwives knew it was time. Baby Titus was ready to make his appearance. They started filling the tub as they prepared Felicia to move from the bed to the tub. It takes 10 minutes to fill a birthing tub—10 minutes! The clock was ticking as the urgency in Felicia’s voice got more and more apparent.
Finally, the tub was filled, but the contractions were coming so close together that there was a question if she’d make it there. Jeremy stepped in between Christina and the midwives, put his hand on Felicia’s face and gave her one more boost of encouragement to quickly get to the tub.
Felicia walked quickly over to the tub with her support group and stepped in. She was so close to meeting Titus. Christina got in with her to support her from behind and her husband stood next to her left side. Within a few short minutes, Titus was born. She breathed a sigh of relief as he was put into her arms, and Jeremy’s eyes filled with awe and wonder, watching Felicia labor and deliver their son exactly as she’d always imagined.
Once Titus was born, they waited to clamp the umbilical cord so that it could stop pulsing with blood. Christina, Jeremy and Felicia all reached down to feel the blood pulsing through the cord. I asked to feel it too, and let me tell you, feeling an umbilical cord delivering life and sustenance to a newborn baby is one of the most incredible miracles of this world you’d ever be so lucky to experience.
Felicia and Jeremy were an incredible team during her labor and delivery. Christina provided so many wonderful pain management options and supported her every step of the way. Felicia’s resolve and determination to bring her son into the world was a privilege to witness. Thank you for allowing me into your space, for allowing me to experience the lifeblood of your son through his umbilical cord and for allowing us to witness your strength. This is a birth we won’t soon forget!