It was November 28th around 4:30 in the afternoon. We had just gotten a snowstorm the previous day and my husband and I were out for a short walk with our dog in the beautiful winter landscape. The moment we had been waiting for was finally here.

It was time to call the midwife.

I had been having contractions on and off all day but they were finally getting somewhat consistent. I called Hiedi to let her know it was starting. But I wasn’t expecting what she said in return.

“Go home. Eat a good dinner and go to bed.”

Go to bed? How can I go to bed? Our baby is coming!

As excited as we were it felt like there was no way we could possibly sleep, but we made our way back to the house, cooked a good protein filled dinner and went to lay down. After all, she had been delivering babies for 30 years, she probably knew better than us.

We went to bed, but there wasn’t a lot of sleep happening. I would just get my body settled when a contraction would come on. They were about 10 minutes apart at this point. My legs were shaking – from excitement, adrenaline, nervousness – I’m not sure, probably a combination of them all. I knew that my body was going to exhaust itself if I couldn’t get more relaxed.

Around midnight I decided something needed to change and to get in the shower to see if that would help. It was instant relief. The hot water melted my body and helped me relax through the contractions instead of tensing up. It felt like I was only in there for about 15 minutes, but I ran out of hot water and my husband told me it had been over an hour!

I left my shower sanctuary, but knew that my body needed to be in the water. My water had not broken yet, so I decided to go in our hot tub, while my husband waited for our hot water to catch up so he could fill the birth tub in our living room. I turned the temperature down to 98 and made my way through contractions leaning over the side of the tub for the next 6 hours. The water gave me enough relief that I did sleep in between the contractions, but it was still a long night.

Around 6am things were starting to ramp up and it was time to call the midwife again. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart at this point and getting stronger.

As I made my way around the house the intensity hit me and I threw up whatever snacks and water I had been drinking. I had heard this was a sign that the baby was getting closer, so I was encouraged by this. My midwife and her team said to just keep doing what we were doing and they were on their way.

I made my way to the living room and got in the birth tub. The water was the only place I wanted to be. When our midwife arrived, they checked me and found I was 6cm dilated. They suggested I get out of the water for a bit. I tried 2 contractions on the couch, but the intensity was too much, so I got back in the tub. Hiedi said as long as I was still progressing it was fine, but sometimes the water can slow labor.

After I got settled back in the water in my squat position, I mentally let go. I felt safe and at peace that the midwives were there and just wanted things to happen. I welcomed the contractions and just told my body to do its thing.

This sped things up. It took just under an hour and I got an overwhelming urge to push. Hiedi was surprised at this since they had just checked me, but she said to just do whatever my body was telling me to.

In my mind I was scared again. The intensity was overwhelming and my body was just acting on its own at this point. I didn’t know if I could do it. I was seriously questioning why I had gotten pregnant in the first place. Hiedi and her team talked me through each contraction and encouraged me that I was doing great. She coached me to get into a sitting position because it didn’t seem like I was pushing effectively in a squat.

I was fighting it at this point. But there was nothing I could do to stop what was happening. Once I wrapped my head around the fact that this was it, I was almost there, again I decided to surrender and let it happen. I just wanted it to be over and to meet my baby. Looking back, the mind and body connection was so strong. Going into labor I was nervous and a little scared. Could I really do it? How painful was it going to be? Was I as strong and tough as I thought I was? I think these thoughts had a big impact on the length of my labor. I think if I would have gone in more confident then it would not have taken as long, because once I did overcome the fears things happened fast!

I got into a sitting position and did what my body told me to. At some point during a push my water broke with a big pop. Once I had mentally made the transition it took me about 20 minutes and the baby’s head was out. They checked for a cord around her neck and everything was clear and told me to push whenever I felt ready. It was an instant relief! I snatched up this little slippery bundle and brought it to my chest.

I couldn’t believe I had just done that. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I was exhausted, but also felt on top of the world.

Baby started screaming right away, which was a joyous sound to know that their lungs were working perfectly. I was so relieved that labor was done and that the baby was fine that I had forgotten to even check if it was a boy or girl. My husband finally asked. I lifted up this little bundle and said “It’s a girl!”

We had decided on the name Alice Elizabeth after two of our grandmothers. She was born at 10:55 a.m.

After a few minutes I pushed out the placenta and soon got out of the pool and into a nearby lounge chair so that we could both be checked out. I had a small tear, but did not need stitches. I had pushed a little too fast when she was crowning. I felt it when it happened and wasn’t surprised, but was thankful that things would heal up on their own.

About 2 hours after birth, the team had helped me shower and had everything cleaned up and we were both doing well. Alice was already sleeping in my arms. Birth is tiresome for both mama and baby! They packed up their remaining things and crept out the door with a promise to be back the next day.

We were alone, just our little family of three in our own living room. My husband and I were just on top of the world and couldn’t believe any of it had just happened. We slowly made our way to the bed and cuddled in for our first sleep as a family.