Our birthing time started out inauspiciously. Claire woke me up at 1am on Tuesday 9/8 complaining that she didn’t feel well – she turned out to have a 100 degree fever and sore throat. I pulled her into bed with us and noticed what felt like early, real pressure waves. I gave her some Tylenol knowing that if this turned out to be the start of things, we’d all need some sleep! I did a finger drop and fell back asleep pretty quickly. I woke up intermittently between 1 and 5, noticing more pressure waves each time. Each time, though, I was able to fall back asleep with a finger drop or Peace cue. My water broke with Claire before any waves had begun, so I was fully expecting that to happen again, and when it never did, I decided it just wasn’t time yet. I was wrong!! At 5, the waves were pretty intense, and I decided to start timing them in bed. To my surprise, they were coming 6 minutes apart, consistently, and were 45 seconds-1 minute long each time! I continued using the peace cue (I’d been in center switch since I decided to time them) during waves to stay relaxed, and that worked really well. I woke Brock up at 6 to alert him that I believed things were starting up. But then I wound up falling back asleep for 20 minutes before the next one came! The pressure waves were very erratic starting at 6, so I wasn’t sure anymore if this was the start or just a pre-birthing time fluke. We decided to get up and get Claire situated – if Annie was coming Tuesday, Claire needed to be situated anyway, and if she wasn’t, then Claire couldn’t go to school regardless, so we called in grandma. She picked Claire up at 8:30, by which time the pressure waves were more intense, if still unpredictable. After Claire left with my mother in law, I got back in bed and did the deepening track and fear-clearing track. I found that I was not comfortable laying in bed, so I put on center switch and walked around the house, trying to help Brock get things in order. By this time, the pressure waves were more regular, coming about every 5 minutes, with less intense waves coming in between. The Peace cue was my best friend during that time. I liked leaning forward on furniture, standing up, using the peace cue. Still, nothing felt as intense (read: painful) as I expected. We called the birth center to let them know that things were happening, and they advised us to come to our scheduled 11:15 appointment to check my progress. By 9:30, I decided that things were progressing faster than we thought (based solely on my body’s intuition – the pressure waves were still not as intense as I thought they should be), and at 10, I decided we just needed to go. We loaded up and got in the truck at 10:30 (sweet Brock was running around like a headless chicken, in spite of the fact that we’ve done this before and were better prepared and arrived at the birth center at 11. The pressure waves in the truck were very intense, and I used the Peace cue as much as I could. But I arrived at the birth center with a smile on my face! We had requested that the tub be filled with the birthing stool in it when we arrived, and the water was still running in it when we got to the suite. Leslie was the midwife on call, and she had to check me before I got in. I was 8 cm! I couldn’t believe it. I got in the tub immediately, and Brock did, too. The jets felt amazing. The waves got more intense, and it was all I could focus on. All of a sudden, I decided it was time to push, and I got down on my hands and knees. They turned off the jets and just told me to do what my body told me to do. The next wave, I felt the urge to push and kind of forgot everything else in the process! The sweet midwife student kindly told me after that wave to try to keep my voice at a lower range smile emoticon I followed her instructions for the next one and felt Annie descend. The student then told me that, in this position, I would need to catch Annie. My only thought was – seriously?? I have to do all this work AND catch the baby?!?! After just 12 minutes of pushing, Annie was born! I looked down and didn’t see anyone else’s hands, so I caught her! It was the most amazing thing. I can’t describe it! I found out a few minutes afterwards that she was born with the bag of waters in tact – a mermaid baby!! We were so relieved, we pulled her to the surface and I held her close. It turns out she had a short umbilical cord, so I had to re-situate myself to avoid clamping the cord early. Things after that were pretty much what I expected – sheer joy. I got out the tub and into the bed. Annie was perfect – 8lb, 3oz, 21″, all pink and perfect. Lots of hair! And covered in vernix. The placenta was delivered without any problems, and the postpartum waves were more intense than I had experienced with Claire but were still manageable. Annie was tired and took a while to do the breast crawl, but she did eventually latch and nurse for a little bit. She slept for 3 hours after that! We were cleared to leave at 3, but waited till 3:45 so she could nurse a little more before getting into traffic. Y’all, we arrived at the birth center 43 minutes before Annie was born. I never thought I would get that lucky. Hypnobabies allowed me the birth that I wanted – most of the birthing time to be spent at home, comfortable through the pressure waves, able to progress at a reasonable pace. I wanted the waves to begin in the morning and to be fully rested and ready for the work ahead, and I was. I wanted to avoid rush hour traffic, and we did. We even got a good night’s sleep Tuesday night at home! The only mar on the day was that Claire was sick with hand, foot, and mouth (a very contagious but not dangerous virus), and was quarantined from us until 24 hours after her fever broke. She just met Annie yesterday afternoon, and was very upset to find out she wasn’t staying home with us. She does come home today after school, and even though I know it will make everything more complicated, I am so looking forward to having my whole family home. I’m grateful for the Hypnobabies experience, and for being able to share all of this with all of you!