It was about on October 10th 2017 when I started feeling kinda lousy, even though feeling lousy was pretty much my entire pregnancy. Between the swelling everywhere at the end, all day sickness from week 7 to 17, bleeding gums, oily hair, none of my clothes fitting the last few weeks except oversized men's pajamas, and working full time on my feet until a week before she arrived. I wasn't sure if what I was feeling were true contractions or not, but I filled up the bath tub with hot water and laid there for some comfort. Eventually Gabe came home from work and we were pretty sure I had been in labor since I was contracting about every 10-15 minutes for 30 seconds at a time around on October 10th. I was tracking every contraction with an app on my phone because I needed to send it to Gelena, my amazing midwife, to confirm if I was in real labor or not. Around , we made our way to the birthing center. The contractions were very intense and we were expectant to meet the baby soon. Once we arrived and Gelena checked me, I was 2 centimeters dilated. WHAT! Only 2 centimeters?!?! I thought to myself, "Oh boy, this is going to be extremely hard.. I may wimp out." We headed back home and I was told to try to sleep so that I'm not exhausted during the more intense labor. Sleep? That was nearly impossible. I would shut my eyes and end up squatting next to the bed in pain. My husband was such a trooper through the entire process. He kept telling me I was so strong and that he was there for me. That up and down nonsense continued until about and we again made our way to the birth center because I felt like she was about to be here. When we arrived, she checked me again and I was only 4-5 centimeters dilated. Alright, now I'm worried. Now I'm considering a hospital birth. Can I handle hours more of this? Can I handle even more intensity and pain?
I worked up the courage to suck it up and stay put and work through the pain. I started encouraging myself mentally and verbally. Since I was not progressing much between October 10th to late afternoon on October 11th, they had me begin walking more, lunging, squatting, doing laying exercises, using the tension ropes, getting in the birthing tub, taking herbs and diffusing essential oils. I felt true exhaustion at that point. I had never in my life been so tired and worn down. I was discouraged, tired, irritated and beginning to become sad that my birth plan was going out the window. Gabriel kept encouraging me that I could do it and that going to the hospital wasn't an option unless medically necessary. I was trying not to get frustrated with him because I knew he was just trying to be supportive, wise and logical. By , the baby wasn't moving down any and they were concerned because I had done everything I possibly could to try to get her to move. The last and final option was to break my water. So that's exactly what we did. Almost immediately things became more intense and the pressure was very real. I knew she would be here very soon. I didn't know when to push so I asked Gelena, and she said to start pushing when I felt like I needed to push. So with each contraction that's what I did. With a midwife holding each leg, a wonderful doula holding my head and encouraging me, and my husband gripping tightly to a rope that I was tugging on the other side, I pushed with all my might to meet our little girl. I was told I pushed for two hours, and eventually she was in my arms, and Gabe and I were both weeping with joy. She was perfect. Beautiful and everything I could have hoped for. It was worth it all. The months and months of disliking pregnancy and what it was doing to me, and the 32 hours of labor. I couldn't have done any of this without my incredible, supportive, loving husband, my amazing and knowledgable midwives, my super helpful and kind student doula, and Jesus. They aren't joking when they say it will all be worth it. It absolutely is.