I was due August 30, and as expected due dates go I took it with a grain of salt. I had done this once before, and figured my body would be better tuned and ready to go this time around. I was perfectly happy in my pregnancy, some pelvic pain but no third trimester horror stories. No rush to get it over with. Plus, I was enjoying the last weeks with Elena, just her and I before the chaos of bringing another baby into our home hit us.

The last three weeks of my pregnancy I had a ton of pressure and Braxton hicks contractions. I seriously felt like I was going to go into labor any minute. Days passed. Then weeks passed. My due date came and went without any incident. Braxton hicks gave way to prodromal labor, and a few arguments with my ob on not inducing. Sophie was fine, she knew when to be born. I made a deal with my doc that if we hit 42 weeks that we'd schedule induction. That being said, I walked a lot of laps in the mall, around Target, basically anywhere that had air conditioning to save me from the August heat. A week,"overdue", my doula suggested doing a fear release and doing some deep relaxing. Keeping the tension and fear of induction wasn't going to help labor to start. I found a great MP3 on YouTube, followed it up with a hypnobirthing recording (Another post to follow on hypnobirthing). I went to bed incredibly relaxed, and hoped something would start the next day.

At 4am on September 7, I was awoken by very strong contractions. It was Labor Day; the irony wasn't lost on me; it had been a running joke from every passerby that stopped to ask when I was due. These contractions were strong, to the point I couldn't ignore them or get back to sleep. I put on a hypnobirthing recording to get my mind and body centered and relaxed. I was so happy that labor has started on its own, and I was going to have the birth I had so desperately wanted. By 5 am, I couldn't keep still in the bed and Alex woke up, asking if I was okay. I let him know labor was definitely underway, and that I needed to call our doula, Julie.

Julie got there about an hour later, right as our three year old daughter Elena woke up. Elena was happy to see Julie and didn't seem to notice too much with me. My friend Lorraine picked up Elena shortly after, so I could labor. Elena shouted bye as she ran out the door; she loves Lorraine and her kids, so I knew she'd be happy and taken care of. Julie relaxed with me in my bedroom, rubbing my back as we listened to music. I kept the room dim, lit by LED candles.(They look great, and I didn't have to worry about blowing them out if we had to leave quickly.)

We spent the day laboring at home, eating, walking outside before the summer heat cranked up, eating Panera, and watching movies and Game of Thrones. I spent time in the shower and bath tub to relax; the water felt amazing! I spent a lot of time on the birth ball, or leaning against the counter in my kitchen. The whole time Alex and Julie just loved on me, rubbing my back and belly, encouraging me. I felt so peaceful and relaxed; a definite perk with the hypnobirthing mindset. I was aware of what was going on around me, but I had no idea where I was in my labor. I had no clue if I was get close to the end, or if I had miles to go.

Fast forward about another twelve hours. I was heading into transition, contractions were intense and the pressure from my bag of water was insane. I tried resting on my couch, and literally prayed for it to pop. Thoughts of,"Maybe I should go to the hospital, they'll pop it for me," came into my head, promptly followed by, "You gotta be getting close. You're actually considering that." I had a strong urge to go the bathroom, shook all the way up the stairs,and once I got there my water broke.

"Oh, thank God!"

The release of pressure was a huge relief, and I just sat there and breathed. I started to feel the baby descending, and started making my way down stairs to head to the hospital. The urge to push backed off a bit, so we stayed home for a few more contractions. I was sitting on the ball, shaking, when Julie pointed out that I was definitely in transition. Time to go! Luckily the hospital is only a few blocks away. I rode in the front passenger seat backwards to the hospital, while Alex drove and prayed I didn't have the baby in the car.

Hospital staff knew we were on our way, and got us into a room quickly. I declined a hospital gown; I wanted my own comfy maternity dress. They checked me, and I was measuring 7 cm.The travel and being at the hospital had back tracked my progress a bit. I was laboring on the bed on all fours, the only position that felt good to me. After checking me, my next contraction felt like I had to push and I couldn't even control it. I literally roared, and Sophia was crowning. The sweet nurse, Nikki, had her head and asked Julie to hit the button on the wall, summoning the rest of the birth team. My ob was out of town, so the attending doctor came in. He yelled at me to lay down so they could deliver me; I yelled back," No!". 1) there was no way I could move and 2) I didn't want to. There's more than one way to catch a baby. Next contraction, Sophie was out, caught by Nikki before the staff could even fully get in the room.

Sophie was beautiful and healthy. She was born at 10:40pm, September 7, weighing 7 lbs 14oz and measured 20 inches long. I labored at home for nineteen hours, and she was born after twenty minutes at the hospital. I had no interventions or medications. I felt peaceful and in control of my birth. I was loved and supported through it all, and the nurses at Carroll Hospital Center are rock stars. My doula Julie is amazing; she's loving and intuitive, and I can't imagine having a baby without her. My husband Alex is the best, he loved me through it, and supported me in birthing the way I wanted to. Unhindered. Supported.

To learn more Julie, you can find her at charmcitydoula.com