My due date for baby #3 was 2-16-14. I don’t have my babies “ahead of schedule.” So on 2-12-14 when I started to feel little twinges in my lower abdomen, I wrote it off as nothing. The day went on as normal, and every so often, a little cramp. I suppose you could say I was in denial of what was happening. Although, I’d argue that with a 4 and 2 year old, I was maybe too busy to take note of what was happening. My husband travels out of state for work and when he arrived home that evening, I casually mentioned that I had been having some sporadic contractions all day. He looked pretty instantly panicked haha I was too focused on getting me and my son out the door on time for his Valentines Day Pizza Dinner at school that evening. No time for a baby! So, off we went at 530 pm. During the dinner I began to have some legitimate pain during my contractions but they were still very far apart. At this point, I’m still in denial. Upon getting home and getting Madden into bed, things pick up even further. By 8pm, it’s clear…I’m in labor! I begin sending out the necessary text messages to my people (mom, sister,best friend) and my mind begins racing about all the logistics of this delivery. Because it’s a few days early, I realize that I’m ill prepared! There aren’t enough groceries in the house, no hospital bag packed, no cooler for my placenta, birth plan not written out, and most importantly- no one to watch my kids while I’m gone! I’m sure you’re wondering how I didn’t have all this stuff figured out prior…but, I just didn’t. Marc offered to the store to pick up some staple groceries and my cooler. I began packing a bag and called one of my best friends who lives in Ohio. As soon as she got on the phone, I began sobbing about how I wanted her and only her to be the one coming to stay with my kids while I was gone. Being the crazy awesome friend that she is, she was already packing her bags and on her way! It’s a 2ish hour drive for her, but I planned to labor at home as long as possible so it seemed fine. As things started to become more painful, I began texting with the other TMD ladies in our group text. They all were so excited and so encouraging! I’m extremely thankful for having their support while I labored at home. Alyssa even offered to be my doula via FaceTime! Hahaha They kept encouraging me to get into the tub. I am SO not a bath person and I kept adamantly refusing the suggestion. My contractions were very strong but irregular. Some being 3 minutes apart, some being 8 minutes apart. I finally conceded to try a bath and HOLY COW!!!! What was I waiting for all this time!? Sweet relief. I remember texting them saying “is it too late for a water birth??” 🙂 While I was in the tub, I asked Marc to sleep (which he did without hesitation). After the tub, I let Marc sleep while I labored in the living room. Eventually at around 3 am I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I woke Marc and we set off for the longest and bumpiest (thanks to Michigan’s awesome winter causing massive unavoidable potholes) ride of my life. Once we got through triage (I was 7cm) and admitted I was able to get back into a tub with whirlpool jets! I hadn’t even known this was an option with my previous labors, but I had an awesome awesome nurse this time who was so accommodating! I was able to be in the tub for one hour at a time and then I had to be 20 minutes out and on the monitor. I alternated back and forth between the tub and a birthing ball for about 3.5 hours. I had opted out of an epidural (first timer), and was feeling really really great about how I was managing my pain. My husband was so amazingly supportive and applied counter pressure when needed. My mom had arrived and her presence in the room brought me a great sense of security and calm. Around 7 am I finally made a decision that I needed to have my water broken in order to get this show on the road! This was something I had previously stated I wanted to let occur on it’s own but the beauty of a birth plan is that it’s flexible! Once my water broke, all bets were off. This is where it gets dicey, folks. I wanted to feel in control, empowered, strong and confident that I could birth this baby naturally. None of those feelings occurred. I felt out of control, weak and powerless against my pain. I was in the throws of transition and I lost my focus. Alyssa probably would’ve come in handy at this point. The next 44 minutes were intense. That’s the only word I can use to describe it. Transition was upon me. Each contraction was excruciating and I was on the verge of throwing up the entire time. My breathing methods failed me, my mind failed me. The pain was winning. I finally began to feel intensely pushy and a check by my doctor confirmed that it was time to push. Here’s the thing, for those who don’t know or who have always wondered- when you’re pushing a baby out, you not only have to manage the pain of that act, you also can still feel each contraction with the same intensity as before. Better yet, you have to curl your body around that painful contraction, which you want nothing more than to crawl away from and HOLD your breath (if you’re having a traditional hospital birth)! I feel a bit naive saying this but, I honestly thought that once I was pushing the pain of contractions would be on the back burner. Instead I found myself so overly stimulated by all the pain I was feeling. I was shocked. It took me two contractions and two failed pushes to finally find my stride and feel the push the way I needed to in order get this baby OUT! Two more contractions, a fair amount of involuntary screaming on my part and a few massively painful pushes later, I heard my husband announce “it’s a boy!” (This was a surprise gender baby) Saylor J was born on 2/13/14 at 7:44am weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces and measuring 22 inches in length. The largest baby of my three, my second boy, my first ever natural birth, and a red head.