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I was due with my fourth child in the middle of the July heat. It had been a great pregnancy all in all, but as the temperature soared during the final weeks I was feeling done. In the evening of July 17, 2007 I started to feel twinges and contractions that were definitely more intense than the late pregnancy contractions I was used to. I wondered if these would lead my baby to me. Unfortunately my toddler had other plans, she spent a restless night in bed between Jon and I and prevented either of us from getting any sleep. I took a late night walk and dozed off around 4:30am still contracting, butthoroughly exhausted.<br><br>
Wednesday morning greeted me far too soon. The three smiling faces of my children awakened me just before 7:30am and a few big contractions followed shortly behind. I stumbled out of bed to enjoy a coffee and the newspaper and wondered if labor was imminent. The next few hours were full of on-again, off-again contractions. I kept busy tidying up around the house, relaxing, working on the jigsaw puzzle I bought to keep my mind of the final weeks of pregnancy (as I was rather tired of knitting....), and just enjoying the sunshine before the unbearable heat of afternoon arrived. The contractions would occasionally pick up in frequency and intensity then they would subside. I fell into a nice routine of finding solitude indoors while I labored and enjoying Jon and the kids in the yard when the contractions waned. It was a very relaxing day.<br><br>
By afternoon I decided I needed to spend some time alone so I took a long cool bath. I felt ready for the baby to get serious about being born. I piled a bunch of pillows on my bed and just sat with my thoughts. I had three strong contractions, one right after another then I felt a strange 'tap' behind my naval. My water had broke! There was a small amount of meconium in the water, but I felt it wasn't a cause for worry. The baby was still moving and I felt at peace. I checked the time, it was a few minutes after 5pm, and told Jon that things were finally progressing and I was retreating to the bath for a while. He went about the business of making dinner and getting the kids to bed.<br><br>
The next hour was a challenge for me. I had the distinct memory of the intense pain of back-to-back contractions from my previous births and I was both dreading the sensation and excited at the knowledge that my baby would be in my arms soon. Even in transition my labor seemed to stop and start. I would have several strong contractions in a row, then several minutes of nothing. I would just get into a pattern of coping with the intensity only to have the momentum disrupted. I was getting frustrated and distracted by the noise from the kids down the hall. I knew this wasn't working and I needed to do something different, and soon.<br><br>
I just floated in the tub for a while and thought about my labor thus far. I found it strange to have such a moment of peace in the midst of this part of labor and I realized that I had enjoyed so many moments like these during this particular journey. I was overcome with gratitude, what an amazing experience to have for my last pregnancy, my last labor, my last birth. I feltrejuvenated and ready to see this thing through.<br><br>
Immediately my contractions returned, one after another. I was oblivious as to how the house had quieted around me. I couldn't help but to push with each contraction. I could feel the babydescend with every push, but the journey was so slow. I had to recenter myself frequently, to just remind myself that this was the way this baby needed to be born. I knew I was close, I was trembling andnauseous . All at once I felt I may vomit so I got out of the tub. As soon as I stood I felt the baby crown. Two pushes later she was in my hands.<br><br>
I sat there, stunned. It seemed as though time stood still. I just stared at the beautiful girl in my hands and cried tears of joy. Another daughter. She looked so peaceful. Every so often she would startle or shudder. She was purple and not quite breathing yet. In fact she seemed unaware that she was even born. I had not yet delivered the placenta so I knew she could take her time transitioning from her uterine home to this new world, though I did have that little feeling of worry in the back of my mind. I yelled out for Jon but he didn't answer. I gently rubbed her little body and one eye fluttered open then quickly shut. I couldn't help but laugh. She looked so very peaceful.<br><br>
I called out for Jon again, still no response. Where was he? The house was silent so I figured he either took the kids out or he was putting them to bed. I began to feel that the baby was taking too long to pink up. I put my mouth over her mouth and nose and sucked. I could feel the rattle of mucus moving and she let out a little cry, fluttered her eyes a bit, and again relaxed. Her color was starting to turn a little more rosy and I knew she was fine, but I suctioned her a few more times anyway. Each time she would struggle to open her eyes, let out an annoyed cry, then settle down again to her slumber. Finally she opened both eyes and we just examined each other for a while. She started rooting for my breast and I nursed her. I felt the contractions resume and I knew it was time to prepare to deliver the placenta.<br><br>
I heard a voice behind me, "You had the baby?"<br><br>
Jon was in the doorway. After our previous night of sleeplessness he had fallen asleep while putting the kids to bed. He immediately sprung to action preparing places for me to get comfortable in the bedroom and the bathroom. I delivered the placenta and he held our new daughter while I got cleaned up, then he got us settled in bed while he set about cleaning up. He kept me well fed and hydrated and we marvelled at this new little person for a while. It was a perfect birth, I spent my labor and birth on my own, then was surrounded by love and support right after. It was an amazing way to end my childbearing experience and I am grateful for all I have learned on this journey. I sincerely wish that all women would get to experience this amazing rite of passage in such a pure, unadulterated form!
 

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Congratulations!!!
 

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Beautiful! Your story made me tear up. *sniffles*<br>
Congratulations and welcome to the world new baby girl!
 

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I am crying!!!!! How simply marvelous
 

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Congratulations!!!! I really enjoyed reading your birthing story (my most recent birth was a solo UC).<br>
Welcome baby girl!!
 

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That's one of the most beautiful birth stories I've read...and I've read hundreds! I love how you lovingly suctioned her. So much better than a syringe. She even slept through it<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> Thank you so much for taking time out to share with us!!!
 

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wow- what an amazing experience! Congrats!
 

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So very beautiful. What more in life is there? Congratulations!
 

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Your beautiful story brought me to tears, mama. I thought it was just the instability of being so close to labor myself until I read the other responses lol. What a wonderful, peaceful story to visualize as I prepare myself mentally for this birth. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Congratulations Mama! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
OMG I am sitting here in tears too! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/happytears.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="happytears">: That was truly beautiful and very inspiring for me. Thank you so much for sharing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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What a truly awe-inspiring and beautiful, moving event. Congratulations!
 

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Congratulations to you and your family! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/grouphug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="grouphug">
 
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