It all began around 12.30am on Saturday when I had to get up to use bathroom. Going back to bed I noticed some mild contractions. Not having been in labour before I couldn’t be certain until approximately 5am when I started timing them. Yep I was having regular contractions lasting roughly the same amount of time and spaced about 7-8 minutes apart. This validation left me feeling anxious, excited and in anticipation of what lay ahead. As fear crept in I would push it away and come back to my breathing, relaxing as much as I could. I waited patiently until my partner awoke after 6am and I broke the news to him. This would be our special day, or so I thought. He seemed calm but excited. Who would have thought after all these months the inevitable birth was upon us?! In that moment the 9 months that had passed felt like an eternity, but also that it had passed in the blink of an eye. Was I ready for this? I don’t believe any amount of time can truly prepare you for the unknown of childbirth and parenthood. The key here is desire and determination, both of which I had in abundance! I contacted my birth team around 7am to let them know. At 10am my labour was further confirmed by my “bloody show”. This was really happening!! Oh shit! Again, the words echoed in my head, “am I ready for this?” Despite feelings of disbelief and fear, I was excited, committed and determined to do what it took to have the birth I desired. As our day went on, it was otherwise a normal Saturday. We had my partner’s young daughter with us that weekend, so we invited her nana over to spend some time with her, as she would then take her to spend the night at their house. I needed to post off an item, so I insisted my partner walk with me around to the post office (about 15 minutes away) in attempt to keep my labour moving. He thought I was crazy. I thought I was doing the right thing as taught by my doula, who suggested I devise a labour plan of activities I could do instead of sitting around in anxious anticipation, which could go on for hours. By the evening we had everything ready including the pumped up birth pool. We both then lay down on the bed to rest. There was no sleep for us, however as my contractions started to become more intense. Now at nearly 20 hours into my labour, I decided I was ready to have my birth team there with me. Would our baby arrive tonight? Would I have the calm, peaceful birth at home that I wished for? Could I do this? Still, so much doubt haunted me, but I continued to override this with positive thoughts and affirmations, whilst continuously connecting in with bub to reassure it (and myself) that “we have got this”. I had put on the TENS machine and the two midwives and my doula all arrived around the same time. By midnight we had decided to start filling the birth pool, which took ages and we even ran out of hot water before it was full. So kettle top ups and a pot on the stove helped to increase the volume, whilst maintaining the temperature. Oh what a relief it was to be in that pool! My muscles could relax, as I sunk into each wave of contraction. But, unfortunately things didn’t seem to progress, so I was asked to hop out in order to receive an internal examination, which confirmed I was at that point, only 6cm dilated, despite being over 24 hours into my labour. I felt a bit disappointed, deflated and again questioned my ability to birth this baby at home. But I also knew it was possible to dilate the remaining 4cm in a short time if my mind, body and baby were in alignment and ready. I was absolutely determined. Despite any doubt, I knew that I wanted an intervention free home birth. This had been all I had wanted for as long as I could remember. So who was I to stand in the way of myself achieving this?! Beside the pool, I did some body work in order to get bub into more optimal positioning. This was uncomfortable, to say the least. I moaned and groaned and carried on until I was allowed to get back into the warm pool. Why wasn’t bub where it needed to be? How long would this go on for? And yes, yet again, can I do this? These thoughts ebbed and flowed in my mind. This time my partner joined me in the pool. But alas, there was still no progression. So out I hopped again in order to have another internal exam. My waters were still intact and bub’s head was positioned off to the right. I was now 8cm dilated, but the left side of my cervix was not as dilated as the right. I didn’t know that this was even possible?! Yet again feeling slightly disappointed and deflated, I tried not let this show, as the last thing I wanted was for them to suggest a transfer to hospital in order to move things along. What did this mean?! More intense body work and me knowing I would do whatever it took to stay at home. My midwife had me pacing up and down the stairs whilst I had my contractions. My goodness. This. Was. EXCRUCIATING. My partner, my biggest cheer leader, paced alongside of me feeling my immense pain with every step. At this point exhaustion started to creep in, as I began to reach the height of discomfort of what I felt my body could handle. Never once however, did I feel the need for pain medication/relief. As the end of Saturday neared, I recall being relieved that we wouldn’t have a ‘Star Wars’ baby. A “May the 4th be with you” baby. Then my waters broke all over my bed, but it was only a hind break, as bub remained in it’s waters right up until delivery. I was worried about making a mess and tried desperately to get up and move so as to get to the nearby ensuite, but this seemed harder than I could manage so I had to surrender to lying there on the bed feeling the gushes with each contraction. Although my baby’s head was not quite in the optimal position, I was allowed to hop back into the pool and that’s when I finally hit the second stage of labour and felt the urge to push. After labouring for almost 36 hours, my pulse sky rocketed as I pushed in earnest. My oh so obliging partner got in and joined me. His support was invaluable. As I dug my nails into his arms, my face turned deep red and I pushed like billy-o for approximately half an hour. Boy did I push! I worried the neighbours would hear me screaming my lungs out. But only for a split second, as I bore down and pushed with all my might, desperate to meet this being that had been growing inside of me. A few contractions later our baby flew out across the pool. The midwife scooped her up and put her onto my chest. It was only then that I realised she was a girl. We couldn’t be happier. A healthy little girl. For some reason throughout the pregnancy I felt we were having a boy, so it took me a while to register she was a girl. My partner found this to be a relief as having already had a girl, this was known territory for him. I was helped out of pool and onto the nearby lounge. The amazement and bliss experienced as I cradled this tiny being in my arms was immense. Soon, any memory of the pain I had endured faded away. She was perfect in every way. Soaking her in in totality as I lay there in disbelief, disbelief that this tiny being had been growing inside of me over the past 9 months and that she was finally here, earth-side once again. Soon the family gathered to meet our newest addition. Her older sister was smitten, as we all were. Everyone wanted a cuddle. She was alert and content, taking in her new surrounds. The relief that she had arrived safe and sound was huge. I was also so proud of myself for birthing her naturally at home. It felt like such an accomplishment. A rite of passage into motherhood. Despite being difficult at times, my unwavering determination, likely combined with my stubbornness, got me through. This being said it takes a lot of vulnerability and just letting go as well. Trusting that I had what it took to birth not just a baby, but myself as a mother. That evening we shared dinner together with the birth team. It was a surreal experience. Everyone was relaxed and happy, reliving some of the highlights of the previous day. Spending so much time with them meant we had created a deep trust and thus a special bond. As they began to pack up and leave, a strange silence fell upon the house. Our family, now increased by one. I daren’t put her down. It was so amazing to be able to do this in the comfort of our own home. I wouldn’t have changed a thing!