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I wake at 5 in the morning with my water breaking, and then proceed to do in an hour the birth preparations that I had planned to do over the next couple of days. We take our two boys (4 and 7) to a friend's house. We get to the hospital at 7, where our doula, Bonnie, is already waiting for us. Early labor, which starts soon after we arrive, is easy and manageable, and our pastor and his wife arrive with hymnals; we sing hymns (on my request, including "Tell me the story of Jesus" ). I feel hopeful and optimistic that with such a beautiful spirit, I will be able to give birth to this baby quickly and easily, without any medical interventions. Most of that anticipation ends up coming true, but certainly not all of it! At ten thirty (3 hours after labor begins), our friends leave, and labor gets pretty intense until 11:30, when it gets unbearable. I beg for relief, and my sweet duola talks me through each impossible contraction, and then tells me that if I wait for two more contractions, she'll call the nurse. After one particularly difficult contraction, she sways with me and sings, "Have Thine Own Way, Lord." DH follows my barking orders, feeding me one ice chip at a time, making the rag I'm holding colder by dunking it in ice water, and encouraging me in the process. When the nurse arrives, I am too late for any intervention (thankfully in retrospect), and just ride the roller coaster to the end, when I begin pushing at 12:30 and my beautiful daughter is born at 12:45. She gets a 9 on her apgar, is 8 pounds, 15 ounces and 20 ½ inches long (my biggest baby, and the only one I push out without any pain medication!), and is amazingly pink and healthy and hearty. I am in awe about how much baby was inside my body just yesterday and am very happy she begins nursing right away.

Blessings on all the moms still to deliver. --Barbara
 
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