Andi's birth story

I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant when I finally delivered.
I was a little uncomfortable, but mostly just had overwhelming feelings of excitement and anxiety.
I was SO ready to have this baby!
^my very last bump picture...just three days before I delivered!^
(40 weeks, 3 days)

My doctor scheduled induction for 40 weeks and 6 days: Wednesday, June 22nd.
I actually lost my mucus plug on Monday night, and was really hoping that would mean that I would go into labor naturally before induction time...no such luck.

On Tuesday evening,  my doctor wanted me to be admitted to L&D to start a medication called cytotec.
We were hoping it would induce labor naturally.

I can't even explain my feelings all Tuesday.
It was so surreal to KNOW that I would be going to the hospital THAT night and having a baby the next day.
I kept saying, "It's like telling someone, 'You're going to have the flu tonight at 7pm. Be ready!'"
The anxiety was killing me.
I was so overwhelmed with so many emotions.
Taylor and I sat on our bed for the 30 minutes leading up to having to leave for the hospital.
We talked a little about how crazy it was that the next time we came home, we would have a little baby to put in the bassinet that sat at the side of our bed.
But mostly, we just lied there quietly.
Holding hands and wondering what the next 24 hours would be like.

Taylor gave me the sweetest blessing before we left.
And then it was finally time to go!
We grabbed our packed bags from the bedroom corner that they had been sitting in for the last two weeks.
And then we giddily set off.
Taylor danced in the kitchen singing, "we're going to have a baaaaby!" before we left.
I'll always remember that little dance of his haha

A few minutes into the drive, Taylor realized he didn't pack pajamas.
(...he had two weeks to notice, but of course, he notices ON THE WAY to the hospital haha)
He asked me if I wanted to turn around. "It may make us late getting there..." (he knows how anxious I get about being places on time ha)
But, I said: "Let's just turn around and go get them...what are they going to say if we show up a few minutes late? 'Sorry, you can't have a baby anymore'? Plus, it will give us just a few extra minutes of being just the two of us for the rest of our lives."

We finally got to the hospital (pajamas packed this time!), and we were admitted!
I delivered at Orem Community Hospital, and it was amazing.
The rooms are HUGE and you stay in the same room the whole time!
And there was an actual bed for Taylor to sleep on!

^the very beginning of our adventure!^

When I got to the hospital, the nurses immediately started the cytotec.
The nurse told me I would probably experience extreme cramping for the rest of the night.
wellll great.
I have only experienced menstrual cramps once in my entire life...when I took "softening" medicine before having my IUD inserted.
sooo, I'm sorry if all of you girls hate me right now, but I never ever get cramps!
Sooo I was a little uneasy about the thought of having them ALL night.
But then Taylor reminded me what I had in store the next day...and I was like, "oh yeah, better not start complaining now." haha

I should mention that during the "check in" phase, the nurse had a series of questions to ask me and taylor.
One that she asked to Taylor was: "Do you want to cut the umbilical cord?"
Taylor said, "Is there a box for hell no?"
HAHAHA...hence, aunt marci cut baby's cord. HA
(taylor gets a liiiitle queasy about stuff like that ;))

the insertion of the cytotec was pretty painful, but fast.
And within about 2 hours, the cramps started.
and HOLY.
cramping alllll night long.
Taylor was so sweet and packed a bag full of things to distract me from pain.
He surprised me first with Modern Family season 6 (the only season we haven't seen together!)
We watched a few episodes that night, before I finally decided that sleep would be better.
The nurse offered me sleeping pills and I said YES YES YES.
Buuuuut, I think my anxiety about the next day was stronger than the pills.
Even with the pills, I didn't sleep all night.
I just laid in that hospital bed, cramping, and thinking every possible thought about every possible thing.
I scrolled the same pictures on instagram a thousand times and virtually kissed and high-fived anyone who posted a new picture between the hours of 2am-5am.

The nurse came in at about 6am to check and see what my status was.
Oh, but guess what? After that wholeee night of cramps, I was still 1cm dilated.
So that was cool.
What the heck was my uterus even doing with all of those cramps?
The nurse came back and told me they were a little concerned that my body didn't react at all to the cytotec, and they were worried how my body would react to pitocin.
She said that if nothing was happening, we would have to go to c-section.
I should mention that Taylor dressed in a button-down shirt because he wanted to "be dressed up the first time he met his baby girl."
sweetest thing ever, right?

My doctor had already warned me a couple days before this about my statistics regarding c-section:
I was small, the baby was big (and getting bigger since I was overdue), and my body wasn't naturally going into labor.
But even with the odds against me, I was really, really wanting to avoid c-section.

So when they told me that my body hadn't even reacted to the cytotec, I felt so defeated.
What was my body doing!?
The nurse started the pitocin at 7am and told me I would probably want to wait a few hours before getting the epidural, so as not to slow down labor.

Within about 15 minutes of receiving the pitocin, my contractions were so painful!
I kept telling Taylor, "How am I supposed to wait a few HOURS for the epidural!? This is horrible!"

The nurse came in at about 7:45, looked at the screen and said, "Oh my gosh!! Your contractions are so big, and coming in so fast! Do you want that epidural now?"
I felt a little justified complaining a little about the contractions when she changed her mind so quickly about the epidural after seeing my contractions on the screen! haha
I was having about 6-7 contractions within a 10 minute period.
In less than 45 minutes, I went from a 1 to a 4!

As I was getting the epidural, my water broke.
Weirdest feeling EVER.
(p.s. I had been a teensy bit nervous about getting the epidural, and it didn't hurt AT ALL. especially compared to those contractions!)
And when the epidural kicked in...amaaaazing.

I could relax, and sleep, and within another hour, I was dilated to an 8 and I didn't feel a thing!

A quick side-note: I can't ever express how wonderful my sweet Taylor was through this whole process.
he was so attentive and kind and encouraging.

My mom, sisters (marci and jamie), and taylor's mom came to the hospital when we told them I was dilated to an 8.
Things were moving along so fast!
Everyone was sure that this baby would be here soon!
...until suddenly, everything stopped.

The nurses would come and check me about every 30 minutes, and every time they would say, "You're still at an 8..."
And to make matters worse, baby's heart rate was dropping sporadically.
I was put on oxygen to help her.

Then, the nurse noticed meconium.
Another worry.
And on top of that, I started to get a fever from the stalled labor.
I couldn't feel it at all (luckily), but my temperature just kept rising--which was really concerning for little baby.
They started pumping sooo many fluids into me for the fever (you can notice how swollen I get as each picture progresses haha...I was seriously SO SO swollen and huge for the next 48 hours after delivery)

The doctor finally came in and laid it out for me:
baby is in distress.
you're stuck at an 8.
you have ONE hour to get to a 10, or we are going to emergency c-section.

ONE hour!? How do I make myself get to a 10 that fast??
I had been stuck at an 8 for the last 3.5 hours!
My brother and Taylor gave me a priesthood blessing.
At this point, I was only allowed to lie in one exact position and I had to control my breathing very carefully to keep the baby's heart rate stable.

One of the nurses recommended this peanut-shaped-ball to put between my legs to open up my cervix.
(she thought of this immediately after all of the prayers and the blessing--I really think she was inspired!)
So for one hour, I laid completely still, with the ball between my legs, while counting my breathing.

Taylor was so sweet during this--he held my hand and helped me control my breathing, and whispered sweet things to me the whole time.

My mom kept telling me, "Think 'open thoughts' for your cervix!"
And I literally did.
For that whole hour, I just kept telling my body--GET TO A 10! GET TO A 10!

Then the hour was up.
The doctor came in.
I think everyone was holding their breath.
He checked me.
"You are allllmost a 10."
And the room literally erupted!

He told me there was just a little bit of cervix left, but the nurse could help me push past it.
He told the nurse, "Have her start pushing."
As soon as I heard that...I broke down a little bit.
It was all so real now.
And pushing?? I didn't even know how to do that!
I started crying  and Taylor immediately got down to my level and whispered the sweetest things to encourage me.

Then my Mom came over--she instructed me how to push, stroked my hair, and told me that I could do this!

Taylor stayed up near my head (he had no interest in watching haha) and encouraged me the whole time, while my mom held one leg, and the nurse held the other.
I pushed.
And pushed.
For one hour.

The epidural was starting to wear off, and I could start to feel the contractions and a lot of pressure.
I asked the nurse if I should push the button for more epidural, and she said if it wasn't too painful, to try to hold out.
I decided not to push the button for more of the epidural--and it ended up being a tiny miracle.
The doctor came back in and checked me.
"Well, you've pushed past that last bit of the cervix, but that baby isn't going anywhere. She's stuck behind your pelvic bone, and I really don't think you can get her out. It comes down to the fact that your baby is in distress, and we can go to c-section now and sing happy birthday to kiddo, or we can wait--but that may mean we are going to emergency c-section under not-so-ideal conditions."

Again, I felt so defeated.
I thought I was pushing her out this whole time!
What had I been doing for the last hour?

I sat there for a moment and thought about what to do.
I looked at Marci and my mom--they were both giving me encouraging "you can do this" looks.
Marci actually had a really, really similar delivery with her first.
She actually had the same doctor, too. 
Jack got stuck. She pushed and pushed and FINALLY got him out.
I held on to that knowledge as motivation.

I looked at Taylor and he asked me what I wanted to do.
I told him, "I think I can keep pushing."

I asked the doctor if I could keep pushing.
He agreed, and decided to stay in and watch the baby's vitals, in case we had to rush to c-section.

The next hour is difficult to describe.
It was the most divine and inspired hour of my life.
I said a prayer before starting the next hour of pushing--and I don't think the prayer ever stopped until she came out.
I could literally feel the prayers of so many people--both in and out of the room.
And suddenly, I had a strength that I didn't know existed.
This new strength came from deep within me, as I chanted in my head over and over, "I can do hard things, I can do hard things, I can do hard things."
I felt a connection to my baby girl in a way I had never felt before.
I pleaded with her in my head to work with me.
 I knew it had to be both of us, that we had to work together to get her out.
At this point, my epidural was really wearing off...and I could feel each contraction coming in.
It ended up being a blessing, because I could work with the contractions, which made pushing easier.
(but I did feel A LOT of it...ouch)
And because the epidural had started to wear off, when the doctor would say "she's not moving," I knew he was wrong. I could FEEL something happening! I KNEW that I was doing something, no matter what he said!
Every time I opened my eyes, I saw the doctor's concerned look--a look that didn't have a whole lot of faith in me getting her out.
And his "lack of faith" motivated me even more.
As wholistic and cheesy as it sounds, I have never felt more in tune with every part of my body and with every part of my spirit.
Plus, I had a parade of people yelling at me to push (my mom, sisters, Taylor, the nurses).
I was so tired though that I was literally falling asleep between pushes and contractions.

At one point, I looked up at Taylor, and saw that he was crying.
I'll never forget the raw emotion in his face when I looked up at him.
I couldn't look at him again after that.
I knew he was crying from watching me go through what I was going through.
Afterwards, he told me that he had a really, really difficult time watching me endure that last hour of pushing.

Finally, I opened my eyes again and saw the doctor putting on those little booties--did that mean I had done it!?
I looked over at Marci, and she was smiling, "You did it, Kell! I can see her hair!"
I just started sobbing.
I just couldn't believe that me and my little girl had done it.
She was almost here!

The next couple of pushes were in-between sobs as I heard everyone saying, "her head!" "she's beautiful, kelli!" "her shoulders are out!" "she's out! she's out!" "you did it, kelli!"
the doctor told me later: "I've seen women push longer, but I have literally never seen anyone push harder than you did."
I was literally sooo big and swollen (in a special area) from my pushing that when the nurses changed shifts, the new nurse would tell me that they heard all about my amazing delivery and that my swelling was legendary. HA awesome.
never thought I could claim having the most swollen labia known at Orem Community Hospital ;)

the nurse that was with me during the day I delivered, came and visited us the day we left the hospital.
She told us what they didn't tell us while I was pushing: all of the conditions (meconium, baby's dropping heart rate, and especially my high fever) were the "perfect storm" to deliver a baby that wasn't breathing.
She said she was sure that resuscitation was going to be needed, and we were so blessed to deliver a healthy baby after everything.

these next few pictures are so special to me...the first moment of our lives as PARENTS! we had done it!

I saw our sweet baby briefly as they pulled her out.
Then they whisked her away, and Taylor and I just held each other as we both sobbed.

I hadn't noticed how many people were in the room until I started to scan the room for my baby girl.
(I found out later that because of my fever and other conditions, they were required by procedure to have every team in the room--even resuscitation...scary!)

The nurses and doctors did all the things they do with newborn babies, while I constantly tried to see around everyone to see her.
(AND while I tried to ignore feeling EVERY SINGLE stitch...I had a third-degree, bordering on fourth degree episiotomy...super fun)

And then finally they brought her to me.
this is the moment right before I was handed my sweet baby girl for the first time:

holding her for the first time was seriously the best feeling ever.
there are literally no words to adequately express that emotion and feeling.
It was an instant connection--the knowledge that she was mine, and I was hers.
I just kept telling her, "I'm so proud of you. I'm so proud of you, baby girl. We did it. We did it."
In a way, I felt like I knew her little spirit already--not only from the 9 months she spent in my womb, but especially from the last hour, when I really felt like our two spirits were connected in a unique way to work together to get her past my pelvic bone and into this world.

that first moment as a FAMILY was just so, so special.

Seeing Taylor hold our baby girl for the first time, pretty much melted me.
The look of pride behind his tears as he looked at her little face is a memory I never want to forget.
And of course, the first thing he did was make funny faces at her.  typical taylor.

After a few minutes, they asked us what we wanted to name her.
We hadn't officially decided, but Andersen had always been at the top of our list (especially at the top of Taylor's).
But when we looked over our list, I already knew her name.
In that last hour of pushing, I was speaking in my mind to my little girl by name...and the name that automatically came to my mind was Andi.
So it was a pretty easy pick for us.

Our sweet Andersen Mae.
Born June 22, 2016, 4:08pm, 8lbs 4oz.

About six hours after she was born, the nurses took Andersen to the nursery for the night.
Taylor walked with them down to the nursery (he was so cute and went everywhere they took her...I mostly stayed in bed since I couldn't walk for the first couple of hours haha).
When he came back, he pulled a chair up to my bed, and we talked about how it was possible to miss her so much when we only knew her for a few hours of our lives.
but mostly, I held Taylor's hand and thanked him so much for everything he did for me that day.

I kept telling Taylor all night long: "I can't believe I did it. I did it! I got her out of me!"
The human body amazes me in a whole new way.
My size zero hips somehow got an 8 pound baby OUT of me!
AND with an over 100 degree fever!...about 15 minutes after delivering, I finally started feeling that fever and was pretty miserable for a little while.
 What a serious blessing that I couldn't even feel it until after I delivered!

I always knew she would be lucky to have him as a daddy, but seeing him with her during those last six hours made me truly realize how very lucky we both were to have him in our lives.

^I love the "I love you" captured here...look closely ;) ^

That second hour of pushing was one of the strongest testimony builders of my life.
I still get chills when I remember the feelings I had during that hour: it was one of the most divine  hours of my life, as I felt closer to heaven than I ever have before.
The act of becoming a mother and delivering a baby is seriously a heavenly miracle.
There were angels in that room that were vested in both me and my sweet girl.
When I first held my little girl, I felt God's love for both of us (me as a new mother and for this new, sweet spirit) in a whole new way.

The next few days in the hospital were just so happy and so lovely.
we really love our little party of three.

stay tuned for a birth story video coming tomorrow!

all birth photos done by the very talented hunter kofford fowler.


  1. I neve tire of reading birth stories, and yours is beautiful. Congratulations mama, and welcome to mommyhood! My little girl is 2 and is still the light of my life <3

  2. Ahh so sweet Kelli! I've been dying to hear this story from your perspective for weeks! Love little Andi so much!!

  3. Ugh. You make me cry. These pictures are everything though!! So beautiful. So much emotion. Congrats to you both!!

  4. Stumbled across your blog on instagram and this has me crying. I dont know you but this is beautiful. Im 29 weeks pregnant and getting so terrified of labor and deliviery so i dont know if the tears were from being inspried or realizing this will be me in a few short weeks. Either way, Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  5. Your expression the first time you held her, priceless! It made me cry too. CONGRATULATIONS to you all on your precious baby girl. I'm so glad you did it without a c section, and so nice your mom and sisters could be there.

  6. Your expression the first time you held her, priceless! It made me cry too. CONGRATULATIONS to you all on your precious baby girl. I'm so glad you did it without a c section, and so nice your mom and sisters could be there.

  7. This whole thing has me like "YOU GO MAMA!" :) Makes me so nervous and excited for my own delivery in just 2ish months. I just love the whole thing! You and Taylor are too sweet together, and Andi just adds to it all! :) I was wondering -- Is Andersen a family name or do you just like it? Either way it's cool -- I like it, too :)

  8. Congratulations!! This was such a beautiful birth story. I actually gave birth to a baby girl three days after you did - under a lot of the same conditions: fever, failed epidural - so it made me cry to remember all of these exact emotions! So proud of you and your girl, she's so sweet!

  9. Crying tears of happiness for you! Such a sweet story❤️❤️

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  11. As I hold my baby girl born on 6/20 of this year, tears streamed down my face. What a blessing. Congratulations!

  12. Well this gave me a huge lump in my throat. How amazing is the human body!?! SO excited for you and your family. These photos are BEAUTIFUL!

  13. The pictures. The words. The love. Cue all the tears. So happy your hard work paid off with such a beautiful baby girl. Thank you for sharing her story with us.

  14. gosh - what a beautiful story!! it's scary crazy how similar our labors were! i had to get induced as well and the first 24 hours i went from 0-1.5cm! so frustrating when you can't control what your body does, right?? i also had to stay on one side during the labor because her heart rate would drop otherwise. they got me that peanut ball thing too haha...it felt so weird to have such a huge thing in between the legs! i pushed for 4 hours so definitely feel ya on that swollen thang haha...not fun. seriously, just reading this brought me right back. such a sweet and precious time. you're lucky to have such beautiful pictures to look back on!! and andi is beautiful xx

  15. This is the most beautiful story Kelli - you are an incredibly string woman and you did so well!! Taylor was a rock of strength by your side and your re already the most amazing parents! Little Andie is a lucky girl x

  16. I couldn't sleep last night and was catching up on my blog posts that I missed and I read the last 4 posts you read and here it was 2AM and I'm sobbing as I'm reading Andi's birth story. The love that you and Taylor have for each other shows through these photos and now that love has grown even more with the addition of your beautiful daughter. Congratulations to you all!

    Amy @ http://befilledwithj0y.blogspot.com/