23 hours labor
I knew that he was coming, for sure, in the small hours of the morning. I had been fairly certain, but not sure, early in the evening, but I'd opted to take a bath and a nap rather than worry over it. When my husband arrived home from work some hours later, we made love, and afterward the contractions gathered in strength. I let him sleep before I told him, I knew he'd need it, and went and sat on my favorite chair to think. I felt very calm, despite having had some pretty typical fears in the days and weeks prior (what if it hurts like hell? what if I die? what if my child has an extra arm or something? what if I can't let go and my labor lasts for days?) I'd had a pretty knockdown fight with my mom the evening prior over our lifestyle preferences, and her preference to not accept mine at all. It was the type of fight that ended in me almost slicing my finger off and then crying in the bathroom and asking her to leave. It was pretty unfortunate that this had happened right before I went into labor (which I knew could be inhibited by emotional issues) and I had a realization that I loved my life, and if my mother couldn't accept that, she just wouldn't be a big part of it. It was a sad moment, but also an empowering one, one that made me feel like it was all going to be okay, I could be my own mother now if I needed to be. I climbed back into bed, ignoring the pangs in my belly, and slept, hard.
I woke up more or less with the sun, the pangs were getting stronger now. I was having hot flashes during each contraction, and had a brief moment of panic while sitting in my rocking chair. The pain level was nothing, I could do this. But the hot flashes? Another contraction. I let myself go, fell further into myself, further into the blinding heat. I stood up, dropped to hands and knees and rocked with the contraction. The heat was gone, and didn't come back.
At this point, the contractions leveled up. My real biggest fear, that I wouldn't be able to let go (I was abused as a child and have battled this before), proved itself to be unfounded. When the moment came, there wasn't even a struggle. Some wilder, deeper, more animal part of my brain had kicked in with the hot flashes, and all my mundane brain could do was watch. My body just knew what to do. It dropped to the ground during contractions. It asked for water when it was time for water. It drank, and nibbled on food, and smiled at my friends as they arrived to assume their supportive roles. I was having back labor (I have a retroverted uterus that pushes against my backbone during menstruation, and apparently, labor) and my friends and husband were taking turns pushing on my back during contractions. I heard myself ask for a bath, and was soon soaking in the warm water. This helped tremendously, and eliminated the need for someone to be present during every moment of every contraction.
While I was pregnant, I spent a good deal of time meditating. I've never been very disciplined about meditating, even though I've known how good it is for my well-being for some time. In any case, during these particular meditations, I started humming. I practiced for months. It wasn't just a normal humming, it was a strong, vibratory humming that massaged my belly and felt as if it was capable of wiping away any worries or negativity or uncertainties that I was feeling. These sounds came from somewhere deep inside of me, and I let them erupt spontaneously. It felt good. Really good. Soon I was humming through contractions, and this proved to be as pain-relieving as the water. The humming helped keep me calm, and probably helped my supporters know when they were especially needed. Jen Anderson-Tarver, my badass midwife, had arrived by this point. She'd taken me out of my watery bliss to check dilation (6 cm) but now I was back in the water, humming. My contractions had gotten progressively closer together, to the point where I was only getting thirty second breaks. I needed food, badly, but didn't have time to eat in between contractions. By blood sugar was dropping, and I was losing control, losing my calm demeanor. My humming reflected this, as did my suddenly arching back. Jen calmly asked if I felt as if I was losing control. Yes. What did I need? Food, specifically a longer break in which to eat it. Jen gave me a homeopathic to help space out the contractions, and also to help them build in intensity to help things move along. I climbed out of the bath after eating some apples & peanut butter and crawled into bed. Jen gave me some herbal friends: Skullcap to take the edge off, Motherwort to mother the mother, Passionflower to open the heart (and the cervix). I curled into bed around my husband, and we hummed in harmony for awhile. Unbenknownst to me, my friends had left at this point, thinking that I would be laboring for a good while longer before transitioning. Apparently what I really wanted before transitioning was privacy, because it happened pretty quickly after the house emptied out. I didn't know at first, I thought I just needed to poop. So I sat there, peaceful as the contractions melted away and became pushing. My cat came to visit me. She purred at my feet and loved me for awhile. My husband came to visit and told me that he'd just cried his first tears of joy. I realized I had entered the pushing phase, but didn't tell anyone. They noticed, of course. The spots of blood on the floor were a pretty obvious giveaway.
Jen came into the bathroom to ask if I wanted to move and give birth on my bed. I was on hands and knees by this point. No way. Not moving. So she good-heartedly set up in my tiny bathroom, squeezed in between my bathtub and me. My supporters gathered around, speaking encouraging words. Someone woke my husband up, and told my absent friends that the birth was imminent. I felt the head moving down the birth canal, and something kept telling me to take it slow, to not push, to just let it happen at it's own pace. I heard Jen saying that she saw a head with not very much hair, and a hand! Don't push, don't push, don't push. I felt him sliding down, and grabbed myself instinctively to prevent a tear. Jen caught him and told me to take him and put him on my chest. I was more or less in shock at this point, and all tripped out on hormones. I had a moment of not knowing what the hell she was talking about (baby? what baby? oh yeah! that's what all of this was about!) and took my sweet little boy into my arms for the first time. I felt overwhelmingly amazed that my body had produced and expelled this little being with relatively little pain or consciously hard effort on my part. What a beautiful moment. What a beautiful child. What a beautiful life.
Elle's Birth Story
Nana arrived on our doorstep when I was 38 weeks pregnant. She wasn’t missing this birth like she did our first! Her plan was to stay for 2 weeks after the baby was born to help with our 18 month old toddler, Aria, and the transition into life with two under two.
With her in town to watch my daughter, I started spending more time focusing on getting my OP baby to turn into a better birthing position. The baby was ROP most of the time, and I didn’t want a harder labor than necessary. I saw a chiropractor (several, actually), had an abdominal massage and even tried hypnosis. On the day I received the hypnosis treatment, the woman told me to trust that my baby knew when to “turn away from the sun and toward the moon.” It was important for me to be reminded that my baby knew how to be born, and that beyond my modest efforts to turn baby, I had to relinquish the rest to the world.
The day of the hypnosis I took a nap, and was awoken by the most excruciating pain of my life. It was so violently painful that I threw myself from my bed, screaming for my mother downstairs. My baby was exploding from my stomach, punching and kicking every which way, and the paralysis of the nerve pain shooting from my pelvis down my legs left me army crawling for the bedroom door. My mom heard the screaming and came running for me. By the time she was by my side the pain was subsiding, but I was so scared. I didn’t know what happened or if it would happen again. My mom sat with me on the floor and held me while I cried, both from relief that the episode was over and fear another would strike. I palpated my belly and found that baby had turned into an LOA position. Yay!
But that evening the baby started squirming again, and with more scary nerve pain, settled back in it’s ROP position for good.
My prodromal labor started at 38+3. Beginning around dinner I had a few mild contractions that continued steadily through the night. I didn’t wake my husband or mother. I labored in bed until about 5:30am when my husband woke up, and I asked, “What do you think about having a baby today?” He was so happy! But getting up and out of bed stopped those contractions dead.
The next four days were punctuated by start and stop contractions. I would contract throughout the day and then stop after dinner. Fortunately I was able to sleep at night. Each day the contractions were stronger and I would think, maybe this will light the fire. On Sunday morning we went out to brunch with our dear friends. I was with them when their son was born 5 months earlier. Carol was also my doula. By the time we sat down for brunch, my contractions were picking up. I wondered if we’d be seeing Carol again later that day.
After brunch we went home and did some walking and checked out a new coffee shop in our neighborhood. The barista asked when I was due and I said, “I’m in labor right now!” My contractions were 5 ½ minutes apart.
I went home and up to our room to rest and the contractions started to space out. I called my midwife and told her that I give up and clearly this baby was never coming. I went back downstairs and when my mom and husband asked about my contractions, I told them I wasn’t having a baby so they should stop thinking about it. But during dinner they picked back up again, and nursing my toddler down to sleep took them to the next level. Once she was asleep, we called Carol and we got our party started! Carol arrived by about 9pm, and I swear that as soon as she walked in the door I had to start vocalizing during contractions. I told everyone to hold tight downstairs and that I wanted to labor upstairs by myself. I curled my body pillow up with a hole in the middle and laid, stomach down, on my bed. I visualized baby rotating to an anterior position and moaned softly through my contractions. Around 11pm I texted my husband to call our midwife to let her know I was definitely in labor. He texted back that she was already here, since everyone knew “this was it” before I was really willing to say it out loud. My midwife came upstairs and listened to baby. It felt special to have her there and I asked her not to leave the room, and until baby arrived, she was always by my side.
Until transition I pretty much wanted to be alone and left untouched. I requested a bath but before the tub was full I started shaking and knew where we were headed. I forgot about the filling tub and headed for the bed, where I kneeled beside it and draped my body over a spot that smelled like my husband. And there I stayed, for 2+ hours of transition, with my arms out wide and my fingers soft and relaxed. One woman held my hand while another rubbed my lower back. With the exception of my vocal chords I made sure I stayed fully relaxed. It was an out-of-body experience. The part of me connected to my body fought to stay in control and feared that if I tensed even a single muscle I would lose it and I would have to work twice as hard to pull myself back together. The part of me that was disconnected was thinking, “Dude. This is so crazy. I’m having a baby! I’ve got this. I totally rock this shit.” My contractions were long, double peaking and gave me barely enough time to draw a breath in between. The back pain was constant and unrelenting. There was no doubt in my mind that baby was descending face up. With my first, I described the sensation of a contraction as a tremendous amount of weight bearing down over the small of my back. With this baby, it felt like that, plus a blowtorch searing my flesh. The burning sensation was so real that I visualized my contractions as long bars of fire moving across my view field like musical notes, with short blips of blackness. The only real words I spoke during transition were toward the end when I allowed myself the smallest amount of humility. “I can’t do this forever,” I said.
My midwife asked if I would like to sit on the toilet for a few contractions and then head into the tub. I was happy to get up off my knees and try something different. I did a few contractions on the toilet, some while lifting my belly, and then did a few holding onto the doorframe. I then stepped into the tub and, as many women have pondered before me, thought, why am I just now getting in here? It felt amazing! I did a few more contractions while floating on my back. I said, “It sucks being on my back right now.” My midwife said, “move to wherever feels right.” But despite the discomfort, somehow being on my back did feel right for me and I chose to stay there. My husband was in the room now, rubbing my head.
And then, like magic, my moans took on that grunting quality, and we knew we were coming into the home stretch. All the women who had been hiding in the darkness of our bedroom perked up and came in to the bathroom to witness our little miracle.
I was so thankful that transition was over. A new energy was breathed into me. More contractions came and the pushing was undeniable. The force of my body was so raw and I was so ready. I could feel my baby shooting down my pelvis and pushing my skin out of the way. I asked my mom to hold my hand while a friend took over the videotaping. The photographer was ready at my feet. Carol was ready to catch with our midwife’s guidance. My husband was at my head, doing his best to make sure he was by my side but not likely to see any distended body parts. I can only describe the feeling of the baby moving down as being like a deep, powerful sound wave. The harder I vocalized the more the sound moved my tissues, making way for our baby. It was a bulging, larger than life feeling. A blow horn of limitless energy bending me. I reached down and felt my baby’s head starting to exit my body. The contraction would come and it would be like I had the strength of a thousand horses, stampeding through me, carrying my baby with them. Between pushes, baby would retreat and give me relief, until the entire head had emerged into my right hand.
I asked if baby was sunnyside up. Yes, our midwife said. Baby wiggled and it felt like stuck a fish was trying to swim out of my body. It was so bizarre I asked Carol to hold the baby still.
I was completely relaxed. With each breath I softly moaned with the knowledge that victory lay within my reach. We all chatted about the gender. About being so happy this baby would be born at home. The women gazed at my baby’s face, looking straight up at them, caught between two worlds but still peacefully enshrined in the caul. As the next contraction began to rise I said, “are we gonna push out the shoulders this time?” My midwife said Yes. “Ok, here we go,” I said, and I bore down with all my might. With the courage of every woman who occupied this space before me and the greed of a mother who desperately wanted to meet her child.
Then into this world our baby was born, and into the loving hands of a woman who has nursed my babes. The sounds of joy that cannot be contained filled the room. Tearful releases of a long breath held, the awkward first greetings of a being who has been with us all along. Baby was born sunnyside up, looking up at the full moon and born in the caul. So, I guess in the end, baby did turn away from the sun and toward the moon, as I had been asked to trust.
When I pulled our baby to my chest I curled my hands under it’s bottom and I knew right away. After the ooo’s and ahhh’s subsided I smiled and said, “I think it’s a girl.” The room gathered to look as I rolled our newborn over. Sure enough, we had a sister for our daughter to love.
Big sister woke up about fifteen minutes after the birth and came to meet her new best friend. It’s one of my most cherished memories. At only 18 months old, little girl's world was changing forever. She crawled into my arms and nursed while she gazed at this new wonder. And on October 29th, just as the sun began to rise, she learned a new word. Sister.
7lbs 14oz, 20 ¼ inches.
Saturday night, July 16th, I started getting contractions that were between 50 seconds to a minute and 20 seconds long and five to seven minutes apart. They started around 8:00pm and around 9:30 we decided to call Jen and to start filling the birth tub. The contractions stayed the same, but they were really not progressing much, but we wanted to be safe since Emmett’s labor went so fast. Jen suggested we go for a walk, and Rick and I walked around two blocks looking at neighborhood gardens and having contractions at 11:00 at night.
When we got back, Jen suggested that I get in the shower and try to relax and see if the contraction would get any more consistent or stronger. After my shower, I relaxed a bit and was able to sleep even though my hip was still hurting a lot (as it had been for a couple weeks prior to labor starting). Around 3:00am the contractions just stopped though. They had been strong enough to keep me awake the whole night, but hadn’t really progressed into anything.
Sunday was a normal day with no real contractions. The birth tub was still half filled and got cool, so we decided to empty it. We went to bed as normal but I woke up with contractions around 12:30am Monday morning, with the same sort of contractions. A little longer than a minute and still 5-7 minutes apart. We called Jen again to let her know, but she did not come over yet. We were up the whole night, trying to sleep in between contractions, and relax through them. They were not very intense, but they were enough to keep me awake.
In the morning, Rick called his boss to let him know he wasn’t coming in and I called my mom to have her take Henry and Emmett to the museum for the morning. The contractions were still the same, but we thought/hoped that once things changed, labor would probably go quickly as it had with Emmett.
I labored all day with no real change in the contractions, staying in touch with Jen periodically. We went outside and did a little gardening. The contractions stopped, and I was getting pretty frustrated. We decided to go to the pool – it sounded good to just swim around and take the pressure off of my hip for a while.
My mom stayed with the boys and Rick and I went to the pool. It was really nice to swim around, and we had a fun time just playing in the water. We swam some laps and did some flips and generally had a great time just splashing around. I had a few big contractions in the water, but nothing much more than that.
It was about dinner time and my contractions hadn’t started back up. My mom went home and we had dinner and then put the boys to bed. Before we went to bed, I emailed all the women who had come to my blessingway, asking them to please pray that things would get moving. I was pretty exhausted from staying up all night two nights in a row with this early labor. It was also just plain frustrating, and I had not experienced this with either of my previous labors.
Around 12:30am on Tuesday morning I woke up with more contractions that felt about the same as before. I stayed in bed and tried to sleep through the contractions. A little after 1:00am, Rick woke up and rubbed my back through a couple contractions. I told him they were about the same, but right after that they suddenly got more intense. He said they seemed more intense too.
Then I had one very long contraction that made me swear, squirm and sit up. It was very hard to breathe through and I could not relax. All my muscles were shaking and before I could even catch my breath there was another contraction. Rick jumped up to call Jen. I wasn’t sure he should, since I just thought this was a one-off, the first really intense one. But he called her anyway and told her to come. He told her the contractions were more intense, right on top of each other, a minute long and two minutes apart. I listened to what he told her and thought, “Why is he exaggerating? He’s lying to her to get her to come!” I asked him why he lied when he got off the phone, and he sort of just shrugged and then before he answered I was having another really intense contraction. He rubbed my back and a tried to get me to breathe, but I couldn’t.
I was still shaking all over and I could not even relax between the contractions. They were right on top of each other. They were longer than a minute and less than two minutes apart – at least it seemed that way. I told Rick I felt like I was getting hit by a freight train. I thought about the email I sent before we went to bed, and exclaimed out loud, “What did I ask for!?” Rick laughed as he ran around getting the birth tub set up and still trying to rub my back through contractions.
The contractions were so intense that it took all my concentration to breathe. It felt better when Rick stroked down my back, but it was nearly impossible for me to tell him this because I couldn’t talk during the contractions and I only had a few moments in between them to catch my breath. During one contraction he started to put some counter pressure on my lower back and it hurt even more so I smacked his hand away. I felt bad, but I couldn’t say anything, so I just wanted to get the message across to not do that. He did great being patient with me and figuring out what I wanted. I told Rick that I didn’t think I could keep doing this, and then I instantly felt (emotional) relief, as I realized with those words I was almost done.
Jen got to our house at about 1:40am and had called Julie and Angela while on her way. She set up her things and helped Rick continue to set up the tub. She called my mom and Amy to come down too. Angela arrived and really helped me catch my breath with the contractions. Jen listened to the baby’s heart during a contraction and then they helped me up off the bed and spread a shower curtain and another sheet over the bed.
Jen told me I could get back on the bed when ever I was ready. I could feel the urge to push coming, so I took off my underwear and got on my hands and knees on the bed for two more contractions. Jen tried to take my blood pressure, but I pulled the cuff off – it was too distracting. It felt good to vocalize through the contractions, and I really worked to make it low sounds, not high sounds, even though I kind of felt like crawling out of my skin. This worked out to be a great position because Rick really wanted to catch the baby, and this was the first time I didn’t grab him to be next to my face.
I announced that I wanted to push and looked up as Julie walked in. Julie has a really calm presence, and it helped me to see her. Julie checked the birth tub and asked if they should keep filling it. I told her no, and she shut off the water. I kept pushing and vocalizing through the contractions. They were very intense, but letting the sound out felt better. I could feel the baby moving down quickly, and I could also feel that I had to poop. I told Jen, to warn her, and she said it was the baby, but it was some poop after all. In between that contraction and the next I “laughed” that she lied to me (it didn’t sound like laughing, as I wasn’t really in a place to laugh, but I felt like laughing in my head). She said it was ok and that I was just making room for the baby to come.
The next contraction was really intense and I was almost surprised to hear myself roaring! Part of my brain was telling me to control the pushing, not to push too hard or I would tear, but a bigger, more primitive part of my brain was ignoring that reason and just pushing as hard as I could – I wanted the baby out and it felt good to push, and that part of me couldn’t care less about tearing! Jen told me to take it easier on the next contraction… to breathe and not push so hard. I forced that primitive part of my brain to the back because I knew she was right. I felt the baby’s head be born. Jen told me not to push and to breathe, and to lift my left leg up – she had to move the baby’s arm. That hurt a bit (ok, quite a bit). I told her I couldn’t (because this put all my weight on my right hip – the one that had been hurting). She told me I could do it, and I did, and then the baby’s arm was free and she came out with hardly a push and a huge gush of water.
Rick was able to catch her and even got to feel her head still inside the amniotic sac before it broke. He told me it was a girl, and they helped me turn over and handed her to me. A moment later Amy and my mom arrived. They had missed everything by minutes. Cora was born at 2:32am, on Tuesday, July 19th, after (we’ll call it) 24 hours of early labor, just under two hours of active labor/transition and 8 minutes of pushing.
We could tell by the molding on Cora’s head that she had been asynclitic in my pelvis for a while, and thought that was what had caused all that early labor. We think flipping around in the pool might have helped her get loose and into a better position for birth.
Amy had come to take pictures, and she was able to capture lots of great postpartum moments – this was the most important to me anyway. Julie went to wake up Henry (this was his request – for Miss Julie to wake him up if the baby came while he was sleeping). My mom and Henry cut the cord together and Henry helped Angela weigh his little sister. I called my sister at 3:00am to tell her she had a niece. Emmett woke up around 5:00am and got to meet his baby sister too.
I feel like this was my most intense birth. The active labor/transition actually seemed shorter than Emmett’s birth, even though it was a little longer. It was oddly not surprising to me that Cora was a girl. It felt odd to think of having a girl, but not odd that she is a girl. We had Cora’s name picked out for over six years, before we were even ever pregnant with Henry. It seemed surreal to be actually calling a person that! Now we are thrilled. I joked with Rick that he got everything he wanted in this birth – to help me, hands-on, during labor (during Henry’s it broke my concentration to have him touch me), to catch the baby, and to have a little girl.
I had my 40 week prenatal appointment on Wednesday, March 20th. I felt super. Jen (our midwife) thought we’d see each other next week. I woke up Thursday morning, 3/21 at 4:30am with severe back pain. I cleaned the kitchen, bla bla bla... and realized I was having contractions. Mucus plugged came out around that time. We walked the dogs around 7:30am. By 9:30am I was on all fours with contractions. Kimmy, the ultra-doula was updated. I got in the tub, I hung around. Kimmy came over around 12, or 2-ish? But I was definitely sans pants by the time she arrived. Kimmy had the hands of an angel. She rubbed my back HARD with every contraction. Jen came around 4pm. The back rubbing continued…birthing continued. I knew my parents were flying in on Friday, March 22nd. This went on for hours. My water broke somewhere in there. Kimmy, Ian & Jen were all helping me while in the shower at some point (clothed).
I started pushing at some point in the process, and before I knew it, I heard her ask Ian, “Are you ready to catch your baby?” And, then there is a baby on me, at 3:15am. It was an out of body experience. Surreal. Unreal. Amazing. There she was. The assistant midwife, Maren, said, “That’s an 8 pounder!” This was shocking, because I was told she MAY be 6 pounds. I had an ultrasound at 36 weeks, where she measured 4lbs, and one at 39 w 5 days where she measured 6ish. Over 8lbs, and over 21″ long. God and baby surprised us all. Especially with all of her dark features!
If I could give birth everyday, I would. It was unbelievably empowering, amazing, and quite frankly, easier than 41 weeks of pregnancy.
I was just a little past 40 weeks when I got a pedicure and manicure late in the afternoon. When I got home, I was tired but no more than usual. After a great dinner and visiting with my mother in law who had just arrived the day before; we sat on the deck and I just had a feeling that tonight would be the night. I couldn’t stop grinning like I was keeping a secret. At one point, I even asked my hubby to feel my belly as it felt like it was tightening on and off but he said he didn’t notice anything! As my mother in law left, she hugged me and whispered that I was going to have the baby before the next morning – she said I was glowing. I guess I really can’t keep a secret! We had a movie that needed to be returned and it was almost 9 o’clock so while my husband was getting our other kids to bed, I said I would run the movie back. I was feeling a lot of pressure, but had been feeling pressure for a while now – that low, low pressure that makes you do the classic pregnant waddle! The first redbox I went to was full, so I had to drive a bit further to the grocery store where I had to go inside to get to return the movie. I got out of the car and felt a lot more pressure but didn’t really think anything of it until I got to the redbox and was looking for another movie to watch; I had more pressure and a thought crossed my head what if my water broke in the grocery store! So, I decided to forget about getting a movie and just head home. When I got home, only about 5 minutes later, as soon as I got out of the car and shut the door, my water broke! It was classic with the whoosh, gush and splash. I think I said oh my goodness out loud and laughed. As I walked up to the door, my husband opened it and I told him my water broke and he couldn’t believe it until he looked down at my dress and it was completely soaked!!! So, I got inside and he got me a towel as I stood there in disbelief a little bit myself. I was so excited, I knew we were going to have our baby! My husband was just as excited and got the phone to call Jen. I think I was in the bathroom while he called and handed me the phone. I just remember being so giddy while I talked to her! She asked me if the baby was moving and if my fluid was clear as well as if I was having contractions, which by that time I definitely was but they weren’t bad. Everything was good and she advised me to have a snack and relax. Since it was night, she also said to try to get some rest but I was just too excited. I ended up letting Jen talk to my hubby as pretty much everything she told me as far as contraction timing went in one ear and out the other and I wanted to make sure my husband knew when we needed to call her back. We didn’t want to alert anyone that we were in labor since we wanted to keep it quiet with just us since the kids were already in bed but I did text my friend to let her know my water broke and ask for her to pray for me. After that, I decided to take a shower to pass some of the time of early labor and the contractions started to get more intense though they didn’t seem to be any longer or more frequent. I had to concentrate more to get through them though and my water continued to gush during the more intense ones. While I was doing this my husband was getting the bed covered and the birth tub filled. After drying my hair and getting dressed, I had to stop and lean on my husband during a few of the contractions. I was counting in my head and they all were still about 30 seconds long and we were waiting for them to get longer. My husband was still gathering stuff from around the house when I called for him to really time one for me when we realized they were more like a minute long and coming a lot closer together. So much for my one-one thousand counting in my head!!! Things were progressing along a lot faster than any of our other births. We decided to call Jen again as I was kneeling on the side of the bed through another contraction. I told her my fluid was tinged pink now and she eased my fear by telling me that was normal, that my body was changing so the baby could come. I also wanted to ask her if I could go to the bathroom because I really felt like I had to. She gently laughed with me and said of course. I had a couple more contractions on the phone while I was talking to her and I was being really hesitant about her coming only because I didn’t want to be too eager about her coming like I had before. But after another contraction that I couldn’t talk though, she said she would just go ahead and get ready to come over. I LOVE her for this because we had no idea how quickly we were about to meet our son. She trusted her instinct with the information we had given her. At this point, I had been in labor for about 2 hours. It was really intense and the contractions were coming very consistently. With each contraction, I could feel my baby moving down...I could feel him crawling lower and lower – very surreal and unlike anything I had felt in previous labors. I tried laying in different positions but it seemed the most comfortable was kneeling at the side of the bed. I had to go to the bathroom and with the help of my husband he got me to the bathroom where I had another big contraction after and then he helped me back to the bed. I tried laying on my right side and the contractions I had in that position were the most painful thus far, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. At some point during this time, Jen arrived. I was feeling hot and I was shaking with transition but was extremely happy to see her. She gave us both big hugs and immediately I felt a lot calmer. She listened to the baby and everything looked good. I was definitely zoning out at this point, honestly, in my head I was thinking I couldn’t do this for much longer knowing that my last births were between 8-13 hours and it was only 2 hours after my water had broken; I was thinking how in the world was I supposed to do this for that much longer!!! I began to feel nauseous and Jen placed a cool cloth on my neck. That felt really good. Kneeling was the most comfortable position for me and whenever I had a contraction, my back would arch back all on its own. Jen propped up some pillows and the blanket so I could kneel without too much effort on the bed. (It was at this point that the backup midwife arrived – I can only imagine the sight she saw as she entered the room!) This was exactly what I needed, it was easy to rest in between on the pillows and I actually had a nice little break between contractions at this point. In fact, as I was lying there with my eyes closed, I couldn’t believe labor had stalled after all that!! It felt so good but this was just the calm before he would make his grand appearance. I got another big contraction and felt a lot of pressure. I had been doing a lot of moaning and vocalizing through each contraction my entire labor and I remember asking someone, anyone at this point, to help me; Jen’s soothing voice was right beside me as she said, “Carisa, you need to stay right here, stay right here with us. You can do this. You are doing amazing!” That was exactly what I needed to hear. I felt a surge go through me and I started pushing, I felt his head and then his whole body slide right out. In fact, it was so fast, Jen nor my hubby had time to catch him so he just fell right onto the bed but since I was kneeling and I was on the bed it was a nice soft landing. He was here! And I was so happy. I remember the first thing I asked was what time it was, because I wanted to know if he was born after midnight – ended up he was born at 11:54pm so I had been in labor less than 3 hours since my water had broken. The birth tub didn’t even get all the way filled. I couldn’t believe it! It was fast and intense but amazing from start to finish. We had welcomed our 4th child into the world. After we spent some time together, skin to skin, nursing and just enjoying our new son, my husband got our older children up out of bed. They greeted their new baby brother and Jen asked us how much did we think he weighed – both my husband and I looked at each other he said 8 poundes 8 ounces and I said is that 8 ½ pounds because that’s what I was going to say!! We all laughed and when Jen weighed Tobias Artur he was exactly 8 pounds 8 ounces!