it is crazy to me that we have a son and he is here, on the outside, and that he was born just about three weeks ago. our family is three now, and we have this perfect tiny squishy little baby boy to endlessly kiss and cuddle--it is still so surreal to me! anyways, I have put this off for awhile, just because there are so many details I don't want to leave out, but here is forest's birth story. it was a Monday night, November the tenth--the night of our babe's due date!--and I was crying, feeling huge and sad and uncomfortable and so discouraged that I hadn't been having any contractions and that it would probably be a long time before we got to meet our boy. Zach and I got ready for bed and he comforted me, saying that Forest would come when he was good and ready and that it would be the perfect time! We agreed that we would plan on him being at least a week late (since that is usually how first pregnancies go), and we prayed for our hearts and for Forest and for the labor and birth and such, whenever it would be, and we went to bed. At about midnight, I woke up with a strange feeling and I thought my water had broken (I will just say this: I know I didn't pee my pants but it didn't seem like enough for it to have been my actual water breaking!). I started having contractions very shortly after that, about fifteen minutes apart (I was keeping track of the timing on my phone), so I walked around our little house and sat on the exercise ball to breathe through them. I told Zach to get some sleep, since it was probably going to be quite a long day. The contractions were slowly getting more intense and closer together, so when they got down to being seven minutes apart, I hopped in the shower to relax a little bit. After the shower, things started to get reallllly intense and contractions were close to five minutes apart (which is when some people say to go to the hospital). We called our backup doula, Barb, around 6 am (our original doula, our good friend Morgan, had called the night before to say she had gotten real sick but would be good to go by the next morning and I had told her that it would definitely not be happening that night but it did! So she had set up a backup for us, just in case.) and she came over about an hour later. By this time, I was feeling very tired and weak and the contractions were so hard! Zach was running around the house getting things ready but did such a great job coaching me through each one, holding my hand and reminding me to breathe deeply through each one. It really is such a mental thing! The pain is obviously really intense but I could definitely notice a difference from when I was mentally on top of it and breathing through the peak of the contraction, compared to when I let myself get scared and physically almost collapse from the pain. Anyways, once Barb got there, we were almost down to three and a half minutes between contractions and the birth center is close to 45 minutes away from our house, so at around 8 am, we got in the car to drive up to SLO. I barely remember the drive other than it being the worst car ride of my entire life. Having to sit still, in a car, in a seat belt, through what was probably the worst of my contractions was so hard! But we made it to the birth center, sat in the car for about twenty minutes while I breathed through some more contractions, sat on a bench out front while I had another one, sat in the waiting room and had another one, and then very slowwllllyyyy walked to our room, having about two more on the way there. When our midwife, Helen, arrived and checked me, I was dilated to 9 cm (Praise the Lord) and my bag of waters (amniotic sac, ew) was literally hanging out of me! One thing I remember was Helen saying, "WOW that's amazing! Can we get a photo of that?" (Also, I don't remember this but Zach says I told Helen she was my most favorite midwife and that I was so glad she was helping us deliver Forest? I also yelled at her and the nurse and told them they were lying to me and I didn't believe them and then two seconds later, apologized for being sassy! they loved my sass :) Anyways, when I stood up to move to our room, my water broke everywhere and I almost collapsed from the contraction that followed. Also they had to put an oxygen mask on me cause I started hyperventilating and my hands and feet got all tingly and weird! Basically, right after that, I started pushing (which was far easier than just sitting through the contractions, in my opinion!), with Zach holding my hand and pep-talking me right in my ear (he was the greatest partner and coach anyone could ever ask for!), and less than an hour later, at 10:24 am, baby Forest was born and we were cuddling! It was, by far, the hardest thing I've ever done, physically and mentally, but the second he was born and cryin on my chest, I had forgotten allll about the pain. Helen was stitching me up down there (I had a little bit of a tear in my perineum) and I couldn't even feel it cause I was snuggling with a brand new baby! and now, that same tiny baby is a bit bigger and is almost three weeks old and is sleeping on my chest and melting my heart!