I woke up Friday Morning July 15, with the urge to transform my downstairs into a full service home office. Sure, I was a stay at home mom who only used my computer for Pinterest, but to my pregnant brain this made total sense. So off to Ikea I went, just one day shy of 39 weeks. After what I’m positive was a full 13.1 miles of walking and several hours of assembling furniture I was done with my home office and promptly passed out on the nearest sofa. I awoke around midnight to contractions, however I was afraid they might be Braxton hicks and I did want to be “that girl” who constantly thinks she’s in labor but isn’t (I had been crying wolf for two weeks already!) So I went on with business as usual, looking forward to my weekend time. My husband Jeff and I had quite the nice Saturday, a little shopping, a little lunch and of course a Harry Potter movie. After some discussion as to whether the baby would be Gryffindor or Slytherin I fell asleep, as pregnant women do without warning, again on the nearest sofa. At 4:03 pm my eyes shot open, I rolled off my couch like my butt was on fire and got on my hands and knees on the living room rug. There was no mistaken, that was a labor contraction! The contraction lasted about a min and then it was over. I looked at my husband and said “I’m in labor” and he responded, “Oh honey let’s time out your contractions and wait a few hours” Just a side note, this is the wrong thing to say to a woman who just realized she’s in labor. I picked up the nearest couch pillow and threw it at his head and said “Call the Doula!” My contractions were coming about 8 minutes apart at this time so I took a shower and tried to mentally prepare myself for the upcoming journey. My contractions quickly dropped from 8 minutes to 3 minutes apart and for some strange cosmic evolutionary safety reason I wanted to be with my mother, or any woman I felt was “safe” which definitely ruled out Jeff as he was obviously to blame for this whole mess! So, I called my mommy and she came right over. As soon as she walked in the door my water broke. It was time to get to the birth center! My poor husband was so nervous, scared, excited (insert basically any emotional adjective) so he was running around the house like a chicken with his head cut off, even though we had practiced this at least fifty times! But, we finally got it all together and made our way to what I like to think of as the Ritz of birthing babies, the holistic birth center. It was here that I entered into labor land and its time warp. I labored for a long time in my VIP Ritz suite. I walked in the garden, chilled in the lazy boy, then got into the fancy tub with its trippy light therapy and corresponding Enya soundtrack. It would have been quite delightful if I wasn’t for the Exorcist impression I did every 3-5 minutes! My midwife was amazing, but after a few hours it was obvious I needed to focus, I wasn’t dilating. It was heartbreaking to hear this, it was after midnight and for the first time I started to doubt myself and my belief in my body began to waiver. My midwife kicked everyone out of the Ritz, turned off the lights and asked me to get out of the tub. I laid down on the bed and wrapped up in Jeff’s arms, where I fell asleep. For the next three hours we laid there together in complete darkness, and I cried to him and vocalized all my fears. In between contractions, I slept. At the peak of each contraction I started organically chanting the word “Open” which became a mantra of sorts all the way to the finish line. My midwife came back and asked if I wanted to be checked. I was so nervous that I was still going to be at 3cm. But, I wasn’t! I was 7 cm and counting. I felt a burst of energy, reassurance and determination that I WAS going to get my baby here and it would be soon! After that I progressed rapidly, still shouting OPEN at the top of each contraction. At 9 cm I encountered an anterior lip that just would not go away, my midwife sensing my frustration looked at me right in the eyes and said, “You can and you will push this baby out!” I grabbed my husband’s hand and roared like superwoman with one final push and there she was! Gemma Sparrow was here and she was beautiful. I laid my head back in sheer relief and cried. She crawled right up my belly and attached to my breast where she stayed until I delivered the placenta. After a warm shower and hot meal we went home together, and for the first time we all got snuggled into bed as a family. Gemma was 7 lbs. 110z of pure love, born after 16 hours of totally natural labor. There is no doubt that it was the most painful and difficult day of my life! I cried, screamed, cursed, punched, begged for drugs, threw up, bled, and seriously thought I could not go on. But I had support, belief in my body and the desire to give my girl the best start to life I possibly could, and so, I endured.