A 5 cm Head Start

You're already 5cm they said. The baby will be here any day they said. That was at my 37 week checkup. I packed my bag and was ready for go time. Fast forward to 41 weeks and 3 days (the longest month of my life) and finally the little guy decided he was ready for the world. I was very excited about being halfway through dilation before labor even began, and this being my second kid, I was stoked at the idea of have a shorter labor. My first was a life-altering, mind-tripping 30 hour natural labor with 3 hours of pushing. 

I had been having practice labor every few days or so starting at 38 weeks, with bearable contractions, ten minutes apart, fooling me into thinking it was time, only to find them disappear a few hours later. So when they started up again, I barely gave them much thought. But after the normal hour or so of trickery my body had been playing on me, things got suddenly real, with contractions moving almost immediately to every two minutes, yet still not too painful. So now I'm confused. But about half and hour later, it became clear that tonight was the night, as I took a shower, moaning my way through each now quite serious contraction.

I called René, got my friend over to watch my daughter, woke up my husband, and off to the hospital we went! I felt so confident in this labor. I knew what positions my body needed, I knew I was more than capable of natural birth, and I knew everything was going to be great. Sometimes blind optimism is the best medicine.

We arrived at the hospital after only two teeth-clenching contractions in the car (whichI don't recommend) at 12:45am. I was 6-7cm at the assessment center, and 8-9 cm a half hour later when we got to the room. Things were moving at such a glorious pace. I was able to push through contractions pretty soon after we got to the room, yelling like a strong, proud woman should, through each one. Kneeling over the couch and bed was my jam, then we brought in the birthing ball and squat bar and before I knew it baby was coming down.

One hour past the last check, I'm now fully dilated and ready for the home stretch. This labor had been so short that I was able to focus like I was playing a soccer game, pumping myself up between each contraction, honing in on my strength and endurance, and boosting my self-confidence with every contraction.

We decided I should lie on my side to push him out. This was a wonderful idea. After a few pushes, I could feel him making his exit. I knew exactly how to push this time around, and felt so powerful that once his head was nearly there I didn't even wait for the next contraction, I just kept pushing him out, and smooth like butter, there he was!! Born at 3:07am, four hours after labor started. They caught him and put him immediately on my chest, and my perfect little guy immediately started nursing (and never stopped). Everything was so amazing. So fast. So seamless. The way nature intended. We were allowed to go home 12 hours later, the same day. 

From the beginning of this pregnancy to holding my son, we didn't have a single hiccup. And after two losses between him and my daughter, I feel so happy, so lucky, and so fortunate to hold my healthy baby, and finally exhale. 

Even though everything happened so smoothly and so fast, I couldn't have done it without René. She has an absolutely necessary presence in my births, providing a peace and calm and insight and exactly everything a woman needs in every moment. I owe the confidence I had throughout my labor to René, my birthing muse.