My morning started with quite a surprise. I had been having contractions on and off all through the night and was just falling asleep after one when I felt liquid ooze out of me. I leaped out of bed, calling to my husband that “This is it!” I stood in the bathtub expecting to find that my membranes were leaking. Instead, I was shocked to find my underwear covered in blood, and I instantly thought of all the terrible things that could be going wrong. We called one of our midwives and she said she’d meet us at Birth Village in 5 minutes. My husband called a very shocked Uber driver and we left running on adrenaline. Our midwives were there when we arrived and we listened to the baby’s heartbeat and everything seemed fine. I have never been so happy and relieved to hear the heartbeat before! We listened a few more times during contractions and when she looked at how much blood had come out since leaving the house (just a little) it was decided that my cervix had effaced and dilated all at once causing the gush of blood and that labor would probably get going quite quickly. But there I was still not feeling any different than I’d felt during all the nights of pre-labor, wondering what I should do with myself until labor really got going. Then the contractions started to change so quickly! I rocked on the birth ball for a few, but suddenly that wasn’t comfortable so I moved to lean on the sink in the bathroom. I kept seeing myself in the mirror between contractions and it all seemed surreal…was I really here having a baby? But in no time there was no denying it. The contractions just kept getting more intense. The baby shifted down and I had to go to the bathroom and I began to feel queasy and I didn’t want to be upright anymore. I knew from my previous labors that I was right at the beginning of the transition. Our midwife came into the bathroom to check the baby’s heartbeat and he was so much lower than before that I wondered if he would get here before the pool filled. I was so happy when our midwife popped back into the bathroom just a little while later to say the pool was ready. The water felt amazing and it really helped me relax in between contractions. During contractions though my body felt like it was going to explode! They were so intense! I tried every position I could think of and quickly realized that there was no position that felt better than the others. This was just going to be crazy intense labor. After this, my memories of labor get all disjointed. I remember my sons arriving. They were so good and quiet that after their initial greeting I hardly knew they were there. I’d just glance up and be surprised to see one or both of the boys right there next to me watching in silent awe. I remember three contractions where I felt despondently sad about being so far away from everyone and desperately wanting to be back in NY near our family. I knew it was better to let these feelings out rather than keep them bottled up so I decided to just say it out loud. My husband Mike says it came out like a scream “I don’t want to be here. I want to go home!” Acknowledging it worked though, and after saying it I felt a bit better and like I could move on. I also remember being very conscious of my baby moving inside me, a sensation I’d never noticed while laboring before. There was a lot of wiggling and turning going on in there, as if the baby was also hard at work, trying to find his way to being born. I was also very conscious of Our midwives quietly encouraging me through each contraction. Usually, all this talking while I’m in labor would have really annoyed me – but this time, as each intense contraction was followed by an even more intense contraction, it was really helpful to have all the encouragement. I also desperately did not want to be alone in this labor. After I got into the pool I wanted Mike to stay right beside it, at first just holding my hand, then both hands, then letting me hug him, and finally as labor reached its peak letting me dig my fingers into his shoulders and pull on him with all of my might. And finally, I felt the baby drop down low enough where I could push him out and a wave of terror swept over me. At that same instant, I remembered reading that panic attacks are sometimes a part of birth so instead of trying to flee I turned to the midwives and cried out “I’m panicking! Talk me down!” and I have no idea what they said but it worked. Soon my composure was back and I was so ready for this baby to be born. In another contraction, I could reach down and touch his head all wrinkly and soft and waiting to crown. The next push brought tremendous pressure and I wanted him out! I got ready to push with all my might when Priyanka read my mind and said “Don’t blast the baby out just because you want it out.” And I knew she was right. I did not want another big tear again and would have to ease him out so I just did little pushes through the next three contractions. It was the longest, most intense crowning I’ve experienced but then finally he was born, our third son, and I was in love with him the moment I saw him! He gave the littlest cry and then became quiet and so alert, just taking in the great big world around him and all the people who were so happy to meet him. And despite having such intense labor I feel great. I only had a small tear this time and very little pain or swelling. The long journey and all the trouble of packing up and moving from UP down to Kerala for this birth were definitely worth it. I am so glad I got to have my water birth, and my baby got to have a peaceful entry into the world just like his brothers. Bv notes This birth was such a treat right from the first prenatal With two boys inquisitive, smart yet very sensitive when their brother was being born We loved how the older brother reminded us that his younger brother would like to cut the cord this time You guys have done a great job with bringing them up An amazing mum who knows just what she wants and a super loving man who knows what exactly she needs at the right time! And yes a must mention for the mum’s sister who took such good care of the boys and the mum and the new baby Well done ! love does make the world go around…

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