Welcoming: Juniper Inês!


It’s been quite silent around  here, and with good reason. I’ve been snorting the newborn smell like a crack addict. Miss Juniper Inês finally made her way here last Tuesday at a whopping 9 pounds 9 ounces. My biggest monster yet. We were all surprised at her girth and the speed with which she arrived.


Tuesday morning I started feeling quite achey. Felix woke up two hours before his usual and came upstairs to cuddle me. It was like he knew I was in pain and needed someone to hold. Not minutes after he climbed into bed with us, my water broke. It was 4:30 am. There was an audible pop. I sprang to action, saving the sheets. Chris was more than pleased. I was pretty proud I was able to get out of bed that fast at 40 weeks pregnant. No small miracle there.

I had a feeling I didn’t have much time. Yet I still took a shower. I needed a shower.


Chris got the kids dressed and fed. I grabbed the last-minute items like our bluetooth speaker and iPad. We dropped the kids off at the neighbors and drove off to the hospital at about 5:30. Driving to the hospital seemed like an eternity. The contractions were about a minute apart at this point. They were hurting at this point. I was in pain, but I knew every contraction was my body doing what it was born to and one step closer to meeting my little girl. To be honest, I was getting excited.


I decided before I got pregnant that I would deliver Juniper naturally in a hospital. I’ll admit I didn’t do much of any reading or practicing on the subject. I mostly talked to friends about their experiences and listened to what worked for them and I came up with a plan that worked for me. More than anything, the mental preparation got me excited to labor rather than dread it. Each contraction was a painful celebration.  Strange, I know.

We arrived at the hospital and were admitted just before 6am. I was in pain and I wanted to get the show on the road. The nurses had no idea how far into labor I was. One insisted to make sure that my water had in fact broken. I’m thinking, “DUH. I’m in pain and this isn’t my first rodeo, can we get a move on?!?” She checked. To her surprise I was dilated just past an 8. She literally ran out of the room and didn’t stop running after that. They rushed to action. Nurses asked me if I was okay with the attending doc delivering the baby. I was fine with it, but deep down inside I wanted my midwife to be there. Just before I started pushing, there she came. She was ready. I was ready. So was June.

June clawed her way into the world about 4 minutes after my midwife showed up, 36 minutes after I was admitted into the hospital. In June’s haste she snagged on my femoral artery and I started bleeding out. Chris could see what was going on, but everyone kept their cool and eventually a suture kit was located and the bleeding was under control.

I’m glad I had planned on having her naturally. By the time I got to the hospital, there wouldn’t have been enough time to get an epidural and I would have been clueless and likely afraid of doing it all on my own. Instead I was under control and afterward I had the most amazing high. I was on top of the world, my body had done something so hard and I survived!


I had a hard time visualizing myself using hypnobirthing CDs; so before I delivered, I compiled a playlist of my favorite dance-y songs. If I were to visualize myself doing anything, I wanted to visualize dancing and rocking out through the pain. The nurses and midwives got a kick out of it. The midwife told me something along the lines that it was one of the happiest, upbeat deliveries she’s experienced. And it was a happy experience! If you’re on Spotify, you can listen to the playlist right here.

Chris was the best cheerleader I could have asked for. The fact that the entire labor was under 2 hours probably made the experience that much better, but I’m so glad I went natural with this one. Throughout this week I’ve kept thinking how our bodies are such amazing things. We can do some seriously hard stuff.

Juniper is an amazing little babe so far. She’s eating and sleeping like a champ and she’s already given us huge smiles. She looks just like a darker-haired version of Penelope. It’ll be so fun to see how they’re similar and different in the coming years.

I can’t believe I’m already a mother of 3. I still feel like college graduation was just weeks ago. It’s unreal. I’m so grateful to have these kiddos in my family!

From a work standpoint, her timing couldn’t have been better. I hired a calligrapher to help me manage the coaching aspect of I Still Love Calligraphy. Erika has been instrumental to my mental health these last few months. She’s taken on enough of the workload that I’ve been able to create new content for the course while still staying involved in the teaching process.

Each Monday and Friday we sit at the computer and attack the uploads from students. She’ll go through the work and leave feedback. I’ll review Erika’s feedback and leave additional comments if any are needed. Instead of sitting at the computer for 12-14 hours on these days like I was previously, I’m spending around 4-5 hours at the computer these days. But last week, Erika was out of town on a much-deserved vacation with her husband. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up if I were to have Juniper. The little Miss was so thoughtful and arrived on Tuesday, leaving me plenty of time to rest before Friday’s workload came along.

Maintaining work hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Chris is at home helping me with business and family, so making sure I get sleep before these big days isn’t so much of an issue. Juniper has been a very well-behaved baby, so I can just snuggle with her if she’s fussy and finish my work just fine. It’s been a huge blessing to be able to work while growing this family of ours. Taking time off would have been a necessity if I didn’t work from home and at a desk. It’s been nice to take it easy while still be productive. That newborn phase can be so joyous, but frustrating when you have the energy to get a million things done but can’t because you’re ‘stuck’ feeding a baby.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a fabulous thing to be ‘stuck’ doing. But it’s nice to feel productive while giving her the attention that she needs.


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    1. Congratulations! I’m glad that everything went quickly and fairly smoothly. You are amazing. Good work!

    2. Joy Nicholas says:

      Congratulations!!! What a beauty!!! My 4th was 9 lb’s 5 oz’s and a week (at least) early, and he was my best sleeper. As a newborn. Not so much now that he’s almost three. ;-) Sounds a bit scary with the bleeding, but I’m glad everything turned out okay! Hope you’re healing quickly!!

    3. nan says:

      Congratulations!!!!She is a beautiful little girl. I am glad to hear your delivery went well.

    4. Lauren says:

      Congratulations! She’s lovely.

    5. Katie says:

      Melissa, she’s an absolute doll! Congratulations! I love hearing happy natural birth stories. So inspiring.

    6. Jasmine says:

      Congratulations, Melissa! She’s gorgeous!

    7. Sabine says:

      Beautiful pictures of a beautiful little girl. Congratulations!

    8. maddie says:

      Beautiful story and beautiful girl :)

    9. Angel Y. says:

      Congratulations! She’s gorgeous!

    10. Joan says:

      You are amazing and June is beyond beautiful! Blessings to you and June and your family!

    11. Sig!s says:

      Congratulations! Both with your baby girl and the natural birth. I think what you described in your story, that mental preparation is so important to turn fear for labour into looking forward to it, is so very very important for other women to hear/read. Yes, this is what our bodies are meant to do, and we can do it! And it’s not because you had it all wrapped up in 2 hours that a 22 hour labour, like mine, isn’t possible to do naturally.
      Keep inspiring others with that beautiful story!

    12. Meg says:

      Congrats on the new addition to your family! I love the part about your playlist, any song recs?

    13. kristin says:

      aw congratulations!! she is really a cutie pie and i love reading positive natural labor stories. quick labors are the best (mine with O was like that)! and that post-birth high is better than anything else in life. hope you’re all settling in well!

    14. Nancy says:

      Congratulations. She is adorable and I love her name

    15. Julia says:

      Woohoo! Congrats! I loved delivering unmedicated. You totally feel like superwoman, huh?! She is beautiful. I love her name!

    16. Jen Allyson says:

      wahoo! super excited for you all!

    17. Karen says:

      I love her name. It is nice to hear original fun names. congrats

    18. ira lee says:

      congrats to a beautiful baby!!!!!

    19. Bonnie Fisher says:

      Hey Melissa,
      I love baby stories and this one was exceptional. I had no idea you just had your baby so recent when I saw you at UCA. You are amazing!

    20. Tang says:

      Congrats Melissa!!! She’s beautiful. Wishing you lots of amazing family time. :)

    21. Heidi Lassila says:

      Congratulations! I love hearing natural birth stories! It is completely mental preparation. Birth is so amazing!

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