Dr. Phillip Demond Fletcher is my husband! We have known one another since college 1994. Yes, I was in college when you were born! We first met at the University of California, Riverside just past the bell tower while we were both in undergrad. We had a very interesting dating relationship which helps me understand why people put "complicated" as a relationship status on social media. Phil is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and I am a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., because of that we have referred to our relationship as "The Golden Love Affair". Do you get it? Ask me about it if you don't. We figured it out and married in December 1997! From our union came three amazing unique souls Nicollus, Najee and Nichelle.
Because Phil is the original Fletcher we refer to him as "The Arrow Maker"!
Dr. Phillip & Nicolle Fletcher
On November 21, 1998 in Moreno Valley, California our life was forever changed by the birth of our first child Phillip Nicollus Fletcher aka Nick. Phillip (my husband) and I had only been married 3 short months before I became pregnant. That was a surprise to us for sure. So much so that I was hesitant to announce our pregnancy because then everyone would know we had sex! I was 21 years old when we married. We did not have a clue about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or being actual parents. We thought taking a childbirth class would be beneficial. We found one not offered by the hospital but it was so strange we dropped the class before completing it. Funny, now that I teach childbirth classes I am always reminded of how strange some of the birthing concepts are to the average American.
When I was expecting there were two women who received an epidural while giving birth and as a result became permanently paralyzed after their births. Well, that was all you had to say to me. I opted for unmedicated labor 100%! I figured there was no amount of pain from labor worth the possibility of being paralyzed.
I waited and waited for labor to begin on its own but my doctor told me my amniotic fluid was low and I had to be induced immediately this was ten days post my estimated due date. I was sent straight to L&D after my appointment to be induced with pitocin. I labored hard without additional pain medication because I wanted to walk during and of course after I gave birth. There were several funny moments during my labor, specifically the interact between my husband and I. He was trying his best to support me but what I needed the most was for him to release my hand with the IV and stop touching my sweaty face with hands. YUCK! Thankfully my mother was able to intervene and explain to him what I was unable to.
I look back at the birth of my son with such pride and joy. I do not remember the pain, honestly I only remember the reward of having a son and the pride of accomplishing the birth goal unmedicated.
The most difficult part of this birth was after! I was told I would not be able to leave the hospital until they measured how much food my son took in which meant they were forcing me to allow them to give him formula or they would not let us leave. My plans were to breastfeed. After being forced to do what the hospital staff wanted I planned to work on breastfeeding at home. Once I got home it was a bloody scream festival because he had grown accustomed to the bottle while in the hospital. Insert another mission...breastfeeding sabotage in the hospital must END! I opted to let my breastmilk dry up because he would not take it an instead preferred the bottle. That was a sad moment for sure. We survived but it was not the option I would have ever chosen for myself or our son.
On November 16, 2000 in Little Rock, AR UAMS hospital we welcomed our second child Najee' Nicolle Fletcher aka Naj. At this time my husband was in bootcamp and unable to be present at her birth. She was born on his basic training graduation day. The pregnancy for Najee' was very much planning. My husband and I both said we could not be the sole entertainment for Nick so we got to work, wink wink! It wasn't long at all before I was pregnant. Phil and I were both working at a group home as house parents in Temecula, CA. Our family needed to make a transition so Phillip enlisted in the US Army. While he was away at boot camp I with our son opted to move to Conway, AR where my parents were living for the birth. That is how I delivered at UAMS, I'm sure it was an insurance thing.
I can remember her birth like it was yesterday. I was determined to go to my husbands graduation in Fort Sill Oklahoma but non of my family members supported that decision. I prayed and prayed then finally the Lord made it clear that I was to stay at home. Good thing I did as she was born during the graduation ceremony. Wouldn't that have been a story? All I remember was having contractions and thinking, "is this all?" If you recall my last birth I was induced with pitocin so these contractions were easy in comparison. I moved as my body deemed best. I was not directed for forced to do anything and it was beautiful. I labored most of the day and night that way. I took a shower, I walked the halls and then after midnight I finally told my mother to take me to the hospital. I arrived and after about 2 hours I gave birth to our first daughter. She immediately breastfed and it was perfect!
On January 9, 2002 in Fort Knox, Ky we brought it all home with the birth of this surprise baby girl. I got pregnant with her immediately once my husband returned home from boot camp, making our girls 13 months apart yeah, I KNOW! This was by far the easiest birth of my personal experience.
The plan for Nichelle's birth was for my sister in law Nicole (an RN) to attend alongside my husband. Well, those were our plans at least. It was late in the evening when I began to experience what I knew to be labor contractions. I allowed my husband and the other two children to sleep while I rested, walked the halls, up and down the stairs and rested on the toilet seat (a great place to labor by the way, you can keep things clean by simply flushing, it naturally relaxes the pelvic floor and opens the hips). After a few hours of that I woke my husband requesting to go to the hospital, but I was not 100% sure this was it so we did not call my sister in law to avoid a false alarm.
Upon arrival at the hospital I was no longer able to walk so my husband put me in a wheelchair and took me to labor and delivery. The L&D nurse looked at me and asked, "What can we do for you tonight?" I replied, "I am in labor." I believe because I was very calm and spoke clearly they did not believe that I was indeed in labor. Unfortunately, she was unable to keep those thoughts to herself and said to me, "You don't look like you are in labor!" Again, I told her I was. They sent me to triage to wait. Nichelle was also ten days past her estimated due date. She was ready and she came quickly! While laying on the bed in triage I told my husband I felt the baby coming. He did not even respond with the urgency of what I was feeling required. I screamed, "The BABY IS COMING!" Then the nurses all rushed in and I delivered our Chelle Belle in triage after being in the hospital only 10 mins. I still remember my husband calling his mother and my sister in law saying she is here. They were shocked. We had a plan but Nichelle had another. My triage birth! She also nursed immediately and did so for 13 months.