The day my firstborn entered the world is not a day I will ever forget, for multiple reasons. It was the day we were blessed with a beautiful, healthy child. It was the day I became a mama. It was the day I realized that when it comes to birth, you do what is needed. My due date was March 3rd. Or 4th. Or 5th, depending on which report you looked at from my OB’s office. On file, they put me as March 3rd. I went with March 4th, since that was the middle date we were told, but felt like our baby would be born on the 5th. I had planned a peaceful water birth to bring our baby earth side. I love water, it’s my happy place, and so it seemed fitting that I should bring our baby into the world in my happy place. Because I have heart defects, I had to initially start care with an OB to make sure I wasn’t high risk. She knew I wanted a water birth and referred me to a cardiologist, who did some tests and then referred me to an electrophysiologist to be cleared for a natural water birth. Both of them cleared me for natural labor. The day my OB transferred me to the midwifery for my water birth, I did a little happy dance and thanked the universe for allowing me to be able to bring this baby into the world the way I wanted to. On the night of March 1st, I started having contractions. They hurt, but they weren’t super close together. The midwives had told me to come in when they were 3-1-1. I put a contraction timer on my phone. 8 minutes apart. I felt like maybe the baby would come that night, once the contractions would start coming closer together. But they didn’t get any closer that night. Consistently 8 minutes apart, like clockwork. They hurt enough that I couldn’t sleep through them. On Thursday, they stayed 8 minutes apart. I called my midwives’ office to see if there was anything I could do to speed things up or get some rest. The midwife that was on call that day told me to try a bath to relax a bit. I was in the tub 4 times that day. I did feel a little better in the tub, but I still could not get any rest that night. On Friday afternoon, I called the midwives’ office again. The midwife that was on call that day told me what I was experiencing was called prodromal labor and that we had 3 options. The first option was to induce active labor with Pitocin, but she didn’t recommend that because I hadn’t slept for 48 hours. The second option was to go to Labor & Delivery and be put on “Therapeutic Rest” with Morphine for 5-6 hours. The downfall there was that the Morphine would pass the placental barrier and could reduce the baby’s respiratory rate. The third option was for her to phone in a prescription for Ambien to my local pharmacy, and I could try to rest at home. I didn’t like any of those options. I compromised with her on taking Unisom to try to get some sleep and said I would call back in if I was unable to get rest. I was able to get about an hour and a half of sleep with Unisom before I was woken up by contractions. The contractions were about 5 minutes apart, lasting over a minute, for about 45 minutes. Maybe baby! But, they stalled back out to 8 minutes apart shortly after. Another sleepless night. The next day was Saturday. I spent the day rotating back and forth from the tub to the bed. Contractions still were 8 minutes apart. I fell asleep for about 45 minutes listening to a guided sleep meditation. As a last resort, I got our heating pad out and wrapped it completely around my midsection. I didn’t think it would work, but the contractions stopped for about 2 hours. I fell asleep on the couch with the heating pad strapped around my midsection with my maternity support belt. Around 4AM on Sunday, March 5th, I woke up to contractions that were on top of each other. 2 minutes apart. I couldn’t get off of the couch to wake Andrew, to tell him that it was time to go. Luckily, our cat, Niko, came to the rescue. He started playing with one of the cat toys we have in the house very loudly. Knocking it against walls, running around in a mad dash. He woke Andrew up, and when he came out of the bedroom to stop the cat from acting crazy, I managed to get “Babe, we have to go” out. He packed up the car with our bags and the car seat and we were off. We got to Labor & Delivery Triage around 5AM. They checked me, told me I was being admitted and they were getting the water birthing suite ready for me. I couldn’t help but smile through the hard contractions. Our baby was going to be born on the 5th, like I had thought all along. Andrew called Nicole and let her know we were being admitted. Once we were in our room, the contractions spaced out a little bit more, but I could bring them on easily by just moving around. If I bounced on the ball, rocked in the chair, or walked around, they were there very quickly. I was in and out of the tub to keep the contractions rolling. Progress was slow, though. Every few hours only brought on one more centimeter. The midwife said if we broke my water, it might help speed things along. So, she broke my water and the contractions started picking up in intensity and length. 3 hours later, I had only gained one more centimeter. I was exhausted and reaching my pain threshold. The midwife said she knew I had it in my birth plan to not offer any pain medications, but she thought I needed to get some rest before pushing. I ended up getting a shot of Morphine to take the edge off of the contractions, although it was not what I had planned. It wore off in about 2 hours. She checked and said I could start pushing if I felt like I needed to. Sweet relief! I pushed for 2 hours straight. Every contraction. Every pushing position the midwife knew. Our baby was not descending. I had been in active labor for almost 20 hours at that point. The midwife looked at me with such a look of sadness and said she was sorry, but that she had to call an OB in to assess my pushing and to discuss the possibility of needing a c-section to birth our baby safely. I was devastated. I cried, repeating “No, no, no” over again while she left the room. I was losing my peaceful water birth. The gentle, natural birth I had jumped through hoops to have. The OB came in and assessed the situation. An emergency c-section was needed to bring our baby safely into this world. When the OB asked if I had any questions for her regarding the procedure, the only thing I asked was “Can our photographer be in the operating room?” I wouldn’t get to see my baby being born. Thankfully, the Anesthesiologist said it was okay. Within 20 minutes of them saying a c-section was needed, our little girl was born, crying as soon as she was out. I cried when she cried, before I had seen her, before I knew if she was a girl or a boy. All I knew was my baby was here. My baby was alive. And I knew I would go through everything all over again in an instant if I had to. She was born March 6th, at 12:11am. I was almost right about when she would join us. Her birth is nothing like what I had planned. But it is what we needed. I’m still getting used to the new scar that will be a part of me forever. I’m hoping it will be a constant reminder, not of the birth I didn’t get to have, but of the life I created and carried. The life I will love for the rest of mine. P.S. Shout out to the handsome guy that is my twin flame, the father of my child. Andrew, you were so strong and supportive through all of this and you are totally killing the Dad thing. I love you.