For the majority of my pregnancy, I had always sensed that we wouldn’t quite make it to forty weeks.

We wondered if our son would arrive on Christmas or New Year’s at 37 or 38 weeks but, after those dates came and went, we had almost accepted that maybe my “mother’s intuition” wasn’t quite yet strong enough to be accurate—especially after our midwife had told us to just count on going past our due date at our appointment the prior week.

Starting at 36 weeks, I was eating six dates and drinking a cup of raspberry leaf tea a day and, on New Year’s Eve, we even spent four hours making eggplant parmesan from scratch because this particular recipe was supposed to induce labor.

It was only that Monday night when I really surrendered my plans and my ideal timing to God’s plan and His perfect timing. I even whispered “I Surrender All” as I fell asleep that night.

Dogs are amazing.

If you would have told me on Tuesday evening that I would be laboring in twenty-four hours, I wouldn’t have believed you.

But our 100-pound Husky-Great Pyrenees, Redick, knew.

She started to follow me around the house into every room I went—even laying down in the bathroom—and panting.

I had been declining cervical checks, so we really had no idea where we were.

Wednesday morning consisted of an early morning lift—including squats and running stairs—and my 39-week appointment that was entirely uneventful.

I texted my mom and told her that all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and eat ice cream.

Instead, I worked all day.

Five o’clock came around and I wasn’t feeling too great, so I took a long shower while my husband, Jason, made dinner. Redick opened the barn door to our bathroom by herself and laid on the floor, which is extremely unlike her when there are turkey burgers going down in the kitchen.

When I got out of the shower, I had a text message from my boss’ boss asking to post a video addressing the protest on the Capitol.

I remember thinking “If I’m in labor now, this is the world my son will be born into and this is the chaos I will be managing. What a night to remember.”

So, I waited for the video while Jason and I ate dinner and played a game of SORRY.

The video came and my team and I got it posted and stood by to monitor the comments.

Meanwhile, I finally caved and Door Dash-ed Graeter’s ice cream and ate a waffle cone with Buckeye Blitz and Peanut Butter Chip as we watched the Pelicans game.

It was about 8:30pm when we were sitting on the couch and—at least I thought—my water leaked.

Sure enough, all the signs we learned from our doula indicated that it was, indeed, my water and it continued to leak.

I experienced a couple of other early labor signs that I won’t go into detail here, so I texted my team at work to let them know why I might go radio silent tending to any comments on that video we posted just an hour earlier.

We also texted our doula to let her know that we thought we might be in labor.

She had taught us to prioritize resting when labor began, especially if it was late at night. So, we got ready for bed and wondered whether we would go to the hospital the next day or if it would drag out for a week.

Jason also thought that it was finally a great time to pack a hospital bag.

As soon as we laid down, I started to have what I believed were contractions. It was honestly hard to tell considering I had never experienced them before and because I had also been having Braxton Hicks contractions regularly since about halfway through my pregnancy.

Our doula asked whether I was able to talk through them and the answer was no, so we started to time them.

They were about five minutes apart for thirty minutes, and then started to go between six and nine minutes apart.

Waiting for that three-one-one, we stopped timing them.

But they didn’t let up.

Under the impression that this was just the beginning, I told Jason I wanted to go to the hospital immediately and get drugs. If these were mild contractions, I didn’t want to find out how intense contractions felt.

He encouraged me that I could do it, so we pushed on.

After a while, the contractions weren’t tolerable laying in bed.

So, we finally acknowledged that we were probably like really actually in labor, gave up on sleep, and headed out to the living room to find a more comfortable position—on all fours leaning over our ottoman with Jason doing a hip squeeze with every contraction.

At this point, Jason decided to have our doula make her way over to our house to help us continue to labor. He also called our midwife to let her know that we might be seeing her soon. Both phone calls were paused mid-way for him to tend to his hip-squeezing duties and, in debriefing with each of them, both our doula and midwife said, based on the moans, they were convinced that I was definitely in active labor.

Meanwhile, we started timing the contractions again and they moved quickly from every five minutes to—by the time our doula arrived at 3am—every two minutes.

Our doula told us that it was probably time to get to the hospital, nervously saying “I can catch a baby, but I’d prefer not to.”

By this time, an epidural was the last thing on my mind. Actually, nothing was on my mind. There was no higher-level thinking—just a primitive fight-or-flight response that had to face each contraction as it came wave after wave—and my body was in the fight.

Since the contractions were coming on so hard and so close together, it took us thirty minutes to leave the house.

I had a contraction leaning over the middle console of Jason’s Jeep. I had a contraction on all fours on the floor of our garage as the smell of gas swept up my nose (top three worst contractions). I had a contraction in the car (luckily, we live only five minutes from the hospital).

Since it was 3:30 in the morning, we had to go to the Emergency Entrance—a route we did not trial well enough.

Jason parked the car and froze as he stared at the steps I would have to climb and the long walk I would need to make.

Luckily, our doula had some experience and explained that he could pull up and drop me off so he pulled the car around and requested a wheelchair.

They had trouble finding one so, in the meantime, I took to all fours on the driveway right there in front of the Emergency Entrance to live out another contraction.

They wheeled me into Check In where I, yet again, dropped to all fours in the hallway to have a contraction while Jason provided the necessary information (and asked me for my social security number mid-contraction).

We finally made it to triage and I was already nine centimeters dilated—and starting to push.

So, they put me back in the wheelchair—riding it backwards so I could somewhat stay on all fours.

It seemed like the lady pushing the chair was going a hundred miles per hour and I told her that she better slow down or I’d throw up. She kindly replied that they try not to deliver babies in the hallways and kept pushing—probably even faster.

At this point, the entire hospital knew of my presence—and I didn’t care if babies were trying to sleep.

We got into our room and they didn’t even have time or access to my arm to put in a Hep Lock IV.

I continued to push with almost no coaching—but ALL the screaming—for about twenty minutes. Halfway through, exhausted, I finally moved from all fours to my back and used the bars on the sides of the bed to push myself up as I pushed down. So much for using less energy.

It seemed like moments and hours all at the same time, but my midwife finally stood up into action and our baby was on my chest moments later—with every feature of Jason’s and none of mine except for my eyebrows.

After it stopped pulsing, Jason cut the cord and we laid skin-to-skin for two hours as we tried to process the miracle that just happened.

We hadn’t slept for twenty-four hours, but time and even space no longer felt like a construct. We just existed, together, the three of us.

Honestly, I don’t remember much more.

I know that I don’t have a single visual because my eyes were closed the whole time and, aside from a handful of things, I don’t recall much of what was said (but I can count on a few curse words).

On the flipside, I do remember—I wouldn’t call it praying, but—calling on Jesus a handful of times and reminding myself that he endured much more pain than I was experiencing and so the least I could do was bring my son into this world as an act of worship for what He did for us.

We had packed every laboring tool under the sun—birth affirmations, twinkling lights, a portable speaker for worship music, a birth plan, a heating pad, a swimsuit, a birthing gown, you name it.

We didn’t use a single thing except for each other and our faith.

Childbirth is such a unique and different experience for everyone—even for the same woman from baby to baby. Literally what-seems-like hundreds of combinations of factors can play into it.

I would say, for me, it was holy and spiritual—and I experienced it with my best friend who was my absolute rock throughout it.

While we prepared as best we could by hiring a doula (shout out to Amanda at Birth in Confidence—seriously, hire her if you are in the Dayton/Cincinnati Ohio area!) and educating ourselves on ways that allow for an environment to best encourage a natural childbirth, we also prayed for it.

Throughout my whole pregnancy, God was continuously reminding me of His favor—for which I have done absolutely nothing to deserve. He has blessed me with so many gifts—from the parents He gave me all the way to the experience I had to become a parent myself.

We truly believe that our birth story is just another provision of God’s favor.

Regardless of how a baby enters this world, I am in awe of the way God has designed the creation of life.

It truly is a miracle.

And if you’re reading this, you are an actual miracle.

I am a mother now and I am forever changed.

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