birth story #4: felix

birth story #4: felix

As we were going to bed on Wednesday night I mentioned to Micah that for some reason I was expecting labor, whenever it started, to begin at 2am. And then I thought for a minute more and realized that there was good reason for that: I woke up with contractions at 2am(ish) the day Simon was born. My water broke at 2am the day Oliver was born. And again, I woke with contractions at 2am the day Elsa was born.

So 2am is, apparently, when my body decides the baby is coming or not.

Still, I didn’t really think that it would be the very next 2am.

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I had been having fairly mild, irregular contractions for a few days. This was frustrating and discouraging because it had happened when Oliver was born and they had gone on for a couple of weeks. I was really nervous about going through two weeks of thinking every contraction was the start of something big, only to be disappointed again and again.

But then again, Oliver had been sick with a high fever for a couple of days as well and so it seemed like not a great time to give birth anyway. (The upside of that was that with him home from school, I was able to get a lot more rest and by Wednesday I felt more rested and ready to give birth than I had in weeks.) By Wednesday afternoon Oliver was well enough that we could go pick up Simon from school (Micah had picked him up Monday and Tuesday), and it seemed that as we were walking around my contractions were getting a bit stronger. And especially the last little bit, when I had to carry sleeping Elsa off the train, up 3 flights of stairs, onto another train, and then across the street to our apartment. I really felt like maybe my efforts might tip the scales and we’d have a baby sooner than later.

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I thought that either I’d wake up at 2am with stronger contractions, or wake up in the morning disappointed that nothing had changed. Just before we went to bed, Oliver had woken with a nightmare, so we let him sit out on the couch for a few minutes to recover. When he went back to bed I told him I thought maybe when he woke up there might be a baby. But maybe not, so don’t get your hopes up.

I did wake up at 1:30 to use the restroom. And contractions were still happening. I was having a hard time falling back asleep and then there was a little pop and a small gush of water. I told Micah that either I was peeing my pants or my water had just broken. We looked at the clock: 2:02. HA!

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As always, I was nervous that things would progress more quickly than they ever have before, so we called my midwives at 2:30. They were at our place before 3:00 and for about two hours I labored in the shower, on the birth ball, lying on the bed—wherever felt good. Micah and one of my midwives rubbed my back through contractions.  Around 4:30 I started shaking uncontrollably and hoped I was in transition. But I didn’t feel the urge to push yet. Bummer.

I got back in the shower hoping the water would be soothing and finish the job. I knelt and let the water hit my back through a couple of contractions and then the pushing urge came. So I got out and went to the bed, where we decided I should probably be when he came. And I started pushing with the contractions.

My hope had been that it would be like when Elsa was born: just a couple of good pushes and there he’d be. But I could tell that even though I was pushing he was not moving down as quickly as I wanted him to. After several contractions I told my midwife I thought I was going to be at this for a while. And I was getting really tired. With the next contraction, she said there was just little bit of cervix in the way and she held it back while I pushed. That got his head in the birth canal, but there was still the hardest work to be done.

I was pretty exhausted and also felt like I’d used up all my screams already. (I was nervous about waking up the kids, but they assured me later that they didn’t hear a thing.) As much as I wished that he would take over and push himself out . . . that wasn’t going to happen. So with the next contraction I gave a might push and got his head out. The midwives said I could push the rest of him out whenever I was ready and I said I would never be ready, so they said, Well, then just when your body tells you to. And then I had another contraction and gave another mighty push and there he was. At 5:28am. Tiny and squirmy and wet and purple and crying. And suddenly I wasn’t tired anymore.

I picked him up and Micah and I wrapped him in a towel and I lay back on my pillows and was just so happy to see the little bugger at last.

After I got cleaned up a bit and delivered the placenta, Micah looked in on the kids. They are usually up between 6 and 6:30, and they were just waking up when he went in, so they came in to meet their little brother. He was, apparently, a little intimidating and they mostly observed from afar . . . at least until after they had a chance to wake up a bit and have some breakfast. Since then they’ve been fast friends and everyone wants to take a turn to hold Felix . . . for at least 2 1/2 seconds.


We hadn’t settled on his name before he was born, though we were pretty sure he would be Felix. Felix has been on our list since Simon, but it seemed like the right time/right baby to use it, after the year we’ve had trying to get him here. It was the middle name that was giving us issues. We wanted a name that honored someone we actually know, who has had an impact on us or our family. And it had to be a name we actually liked and sounded good—if not great—with Felix. At dinner we laid out the options to the kids, along with our thoughts on each of them. The boys ranked their favorites and gave their reasons and we talked some more and finally concluded Timothy was it, after my grad school professor/mentor who has encouraged my writing over the past 8 years and helped me get into the journalism program in the first place. And he’s also adopted our family one day each summer to come to his lake house, which has been a boon to our little family who doesn’t have any family close by.

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And that, my friends, is how Felix Timothy came into our lives.

It’s clear he’s in the right place because 1. He got the 2am memo. 2. He weighed 7lbs. 7oz. just like both his brothers. And 3. He was born 6 days before his due date, which put him exactly on the average day the other kids were born.

Oh, and he’s incredibly good looking for a new baby. So, obviously.

Heaven help any additional children we may have, what with all those expectations.

6 thoughts on “birth story #4: felix

  1. I just love it! I love how intimate your birth stories are, just your family and the midwives. He’s certainly is a lucky little boy to get to be a part of your family! Congratulations again!

  2. Congratulations Lizzie! So glad he made it here safe and sound! And that is crazy that you have gone into labor at 2 am with all your kids!

  3. Oh, I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve been wanting to beg you for the details but also wanting to give you space to be with family. I will be chatting with you soon though!
    And please, you make labor look easy peasy in that picture! Like you didn’t just push a human being out of your body. You set the bar high Lizzie. 😉

  4. I have been waiting for this post! Loved reading it, thanks so much for sharing. :) Well done on the pushing, sorry it was so hard but you did it and it was short-lived in the end!

    Also, tell Elsa her Auntie loves the picture of her holding Felix. She looks so grown up and beautiful and will be the perfect big sister to him!

  5. Isn’t it amazing how the second these little ones are in your arms you’re suddenly not tired? Even though you should be absolutely exhausted given what it took to get them there. I love that. Loved reading this too. The picture of all four of them is priceless. And I’m with Amber, that one of Elsa with him is so beautiful. She looks incredibly grown up and ready to take on all the responsibility of a big sister. Lucky little guy to join such awesome siblings.

  6. Yay! I love this! And, having never gone through the birthing process myself, I am in awe! I think it’s AMAZING what women can do! So, way to go, Team Heiselt!

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