Matilda Rose was born at home early Sunday morning (2:44 am) November 20, 2011. It was actually her due date. I started having pre-labor contractions off and on the whole week before she was born. It definitely got us excited a time or two, thinking things were going to progress. The contractions were pretty mild up until Friday, November 18. I had slowly been losing my mucous plug (the bloody show) for over a week as well. Jeremy and I were excited and ready. The evening of November 18 my contractions were strong enough that I couldn’t sleep through them, but they were anywhere from 6 to 12 minutes apart. My midwife, Toni, encouraged me to try and get as much sleep as I could because I needed to be as rested as possible. It was a broken night’s sleep as I awoke upon each contraction but slept in between. The contractions continued in the same manner when we got up on Saturday, November 19. I ate breakfast, found some different ways to labor through the contractions (hands and knees, over the exercise ball, leaning into Jeremy), and per Toni’s suggestion took another nap. We went to Toni’s office at 10:00 am for a change in scenery. She checked me, and I was a good 2 cm dilated. She stayed at her office and continued to work as we headed home, all hoping we would be calling Toni soon to come to our house. Jeremy and I got back and began walking laps in our neighborhood. I found that walking through a contraction was much less intense for me than being still through one. We ate lunch somewhere in the mix. A little before 2:00 the contractions became so intense for me that I threw up and after that release they began to come more frequently. We called Toni and she arrived sometime between 2:30 and 3:00. I had begun active labor. Jeremy was an amazing coach he never left my side. We walked laps in the backyard for a while and then moved inside. I began to labor through contractions on my hands and knees again while Jeremy held warm compresses on my lower back to ease the additional pressure/pain I was feeling in my lower back. I rested over the exercise ball between contractions. I also found that deep moaning through the contractions was a total release as well and helped me move through the contractions. Toni and Andrea (Toni’s assistant) would come in and check on me periodically. They would check the baby’s heart rate and my temperature. Andrea checked me at 7:30, and I was 7 cm dilated. Things picked up. I continued to labor on my hands and knees, while Jeremy continued holding warm compresses on my lower back. Around 10:00 Toni checked me, and I was a good 9 com with a little lip of the cervix on the front that needed to slip open behind the baby’s head. I took a hot shower, letting the hot water run down my back as I leaned into Jeremy through contractions. The hot water really helped me relax. I got out and we walked around the house. I tried sitting on the birth stool and leaning into the bed and stepping a leg up on a chair through contractions – hoping to open the last bit of the cervix. It seemed like forever trying to get the last bit of the cervix to open. Toni and Andrea continued to check me over those few hours. I got in the shower two more times, which was the most relaxing thing for me. By the last shower I had reached transition. I was totally ready to give up. I was completely overwhelmed and exhausted and didn’t know how I could possibly get through it. We moved back to the bed. Andrea came in and began encouraging me. She put lavender oil on my wrists to help me relax. Things came to a standstill. Contractions basically stopped. They encouraged me to try and take a nap. Jeremy and I went to sleep. We probably slept for about 15 or 20 minutes, and I was abruptly awakened by a contraction where I needed to push. Toni told me not to push yet because she needed to check the cervix again. It was so hard not to push. She checked me, and the lip of the cervix was still covering the front. Toni let me grunt (lightly push) through the next contraction to see if I could get it to slip behind the head. That didn’t work, so she broke my bag of waters. On the next contraction Toni let me push gently again and the cervix opened on up. Yay! I began pushing at 1:45 am. The pushing contractions were very overwhelming for me. They were incredibly intense/powerful. Jeremy told me what to do each step of the way. I couldn’t figure out the rhythm on my own. He told me when to breathe and when to push. My pushing contractions were pretty far apart, so they gave me an herb tincture to increase the frequency because they didn’t want to risk the baby being under distress and having to wait 5 minutes for another pushing contraction. Toni and Andrea continually checked the baby’s heart rate between contractions, and I was told to relax my breath between contractions to not stress the baby out. My mom was here as well through the whole thing. She had some particular motherly things to say to me during the pushing phase that really helped me focus. I knew what I needed to do for my baby. I let go of all of my fears of pain that may come and pushed with all of my might. I was on my side on the bed. Jeremy held one of my legs and my mom held the other as Toni and Andrea tended to me and the baby. I pushed for 1 hour. In the final contraction I pushed 3 times. Jeremy asked if I had one more in me and on the 4th push out came the baby’s head with its body following all at once. I didn’t realize what was happening. Jeremy and my mom both gasped in amazement and suddenly there was a baby resting on my belly. It took me a moment to wrap my head around it. I thought I still had more pushing to go. It was over. I had done it. And, there was our little baby! It was a girl! Our intuition was right. Little Matilda Rose Johnson! We now understand how quickly you can fall in love – it only took 1 second of laying eyes on her! We enjoyed an herbal bath together as we cleaned up for bed. She loved being back in the water. It was really, really hard work, but I absolutely loved birthing our little girl at home!