April 18th I woke up and called my mom to wish her a happy birthday. Of course a large majority of the phone conversation revolved around encouraging me to go into labor that day. I told her it didn't look promising. The day progressed as usual with a few braxton hicks here and there but nothing out of the ordinary. Around 4pm my mom called and left a message telling me I had approximately 7hrs left to have this baby on her birthday. Around 9-930pm I started having strong braxton hicks but I tried to ignore them since I'd been having them on and off all week. Some of them nearly painful and a few times some timeable, painful contractions that would just fizzle out after a few hours. Around 10-1030 I noticed they were still regular and accompanied by some mild cramping and back pain. I kept trying to just relax and ignore them since I'd already gotten excited several times about the possibility of labor only to be disappointed when it would stop.
11pm we went upstairs and got ready for bed. I laid down only to sit right back up after I had a pretty painful contraction. They seemed to be 10x more painful when I was laying down. After about 30min. of tossing and turning and trying all sorts of positions to get comfortable I told Alex I was going to hop into shower and see if I could make them go away. I wanted to be in labor and I knew if the shower didn't help that it was a strong possibility that I was. I didn't want to be up all night if it was just a false start like all the previous times.
Around 12am I thought something could be happening. After taking a long, hot shower and pacing the bathroom I started to notice that I couldn't walk through my contractions. I woke Alex up and he held my hand through some contractions while I sat on the edge of the bed. Between contractions we were discussing whether to call the midwife or not. Of course during a contraction all I could think was " Ok I'm calling her as soon as this one is over!" but then after it was done I felt fine and wondered if it was truly the real thing. At 12:30am I decided it was time to call. I couldn't walk or speak through the pain of the contractions anymore and figured that was probably a good sign. I told Cindi that I still wasn't sure it was the real thing but I was in quite a bit of pain. She told me she was going to get ready and be on her way.
At that point Alex was up(and I'm pretty sure listening through the bathroom door while I was talking to Cindi) and getting dressed. We both went downstairs and Alex started to get out the birth tub. Between contractions I kept telling him to wait on putting up the tub and that I didn't want to feel silly having it all set up when it could still just be a false start. I think I was having a hard time believing I could actually be in labor. Over the next hour I paced the living room, sat on my birth ball, the toilet, and got on my hands and knees. When I couldn't get comfortable I realized that this was the real thing and I got a little scared. I was moaning through the pain and trying to relax, but each time the pain would start I could feel my toes curl in towards my feet and I would start to worry about how I was going to cope with this for possibly hours and hours.
After Alex was done with the tub he turned on my birth playlist on the computer and sat on the ottoman. I was on my knees with my arms up on the ottoman and just held his hand and arm. I know I got a little hateful at times when he would try to talk to me or touch me when I was having a contraction and as soon as it was over I would apologize. I don't know what time it was but it was around this time I started feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom with each contraction. After it was over the feeling would be gone. I told Alex and I wondered aloud if I was supposed to feel this way and surely it wasn't anywhere near time to push. I got my answer a few contractions later when I felt a sudden, more intense pressure. I told Alex to call the midwife and see where she was at because I felt like I needed to push. He called her and helped me get my shorts off. Right after that I felt even more pressure and very pushy. Alex hurried to get the plastic tablecloth and shower curtain we had ready and laid them down on the floor between the ottoman and the TV. Just a minute after helping me scoot onto the plastic my water broke. Alex was still on the phone with the midwife and I was really feeling the urge the push. I could hear Cindi coaching Alex through the phone telling him to tell me to breathe like I was blowing birthday candles and to try not to push and that they were very close. To try not to push when that was all I wanted to do was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It was painful not to push and at that point I didn't care, I just wanted the baby out. I know I even screamed a few times. Not from the pain but from the frustration of trying to hold a baby in that really wanted to come out.
Around 1:55-56ish(my best guess) I was blowing out birthday candles as hard as I could when I felt the baby's head and I think I told Alex that I couldn't help it and that it was coming. After the head was out I heard Cindi tell Alex to go ahead and tell me to push the baby the rest of the way out. At 1:57am April 19th, Joy was born into her daddy's hands. I was still on my hands and knees as Alex passed her between my legs and and handed her to me.
It was just minutes later that Cindi and Michelle arrived and took over. They helped me move to the couch and checked me over as I nursed Joy. I was happy to hear that I had no tears and didn't need any stitches. This surprised me even more when we found out Joy was 8lbs 9oz. Leigh had been 6lb 9oz. and I had "needed" an episiotomy with her. After making sure Joy and I were both ok I was helped upstairs and took a nice shower. Cindi and Michelle cleaned everything up downstairs and after making sure we were all settled in bed, left at what I'm guessing was 5am.
All in all I enjoyed our homebirth and loved being able to go to sleep in my own bed just hours after giving birth. The only thing I would change would be calling sooner! I figured my labor would be shorter the second time around, just not that short! I already know that any subsequent children we have will be born at home if possible. It was a wonderful, intense, beautiful experience that Alex and I will both remember for the rest of our lives.