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Cassidy Miller
Before my actual birth story, let me give a little background... My first pregnancy, I delivered 2 and a half weeks early. There were no "false alarms", nothing too dramatic, just contractions started one day and didn't stop. We headed to the hospital and after 26 long hours of labor, Harlo Elle Miller was born.

This pregnancy, I thought for sure I'd deliver early as well. They say when your body has done it before, it usually does it more efficiently the second time around... well "they" were wrong. I had started getting Braxton Hicks contractions around 20 weeks. By 30 weeks they were getting a lot more frequent and causing a little more concern. I was checked at 33 weeks and had started dilating a little so I took it easy for a few weeks, tried not to over-do it; limited picking up Harlo too often, just the basic stuff.

At 36 weeks we had made it to the "safe point" where my midwife, Janae said I could still deliver at home if I went into real labor. I was dilated to a 2 that week.

We got everything ready, ordered our birth kit, finished the nursery, stocked our fridge and waited. And waited. And waited. 37 weeks and still at a 2 (dilatation). 38 weeks, still a 2. 39 weeks, still a TWO. Since I had it in my head this baby was coming early, by 38 weeks I already felt over due. I never thought Id make it to 38, let alone 39.

39 weeks was my toughest week. We had a real false alarm, contractions lasting 10 hours, getting stronger and then totally stopped! That whole week was like clock work. No contractions in the morning, they'd start around 1:00, pick up around 6, stay consistent until about midnight and then get farther apart. Just enough to keep me up every hour or so through the night. I tried everything in the book to deliver that week. EVERYTHING! Nothing worked.

When I finally got to my due date, July 31, I actually felt relieved. I had dreaded going over due for weeks now and now that I finally was officially over, I could just relax. I made a vow to not try to start my labor on my own and just wait it out. I put my black/blue cohosh tincture away, threw out the castor oil, stopped using my clary sage oil and even decided to not be checked or have my membranes stripped at my appointment on Tuesday because I didn't want to be disappointed when I was still dilated to a freaking 2.

At 9:40 on Tuesday morning, my water broke. I had just gotten Harlo out of her crib when I felt it. I rushed to the bathroom to make sure that's surely what it was and that I didn't just pee my pants (at 40 plus weeks of pregnancy you can never be too sure) Sure enough, it was definitely my water. I called Brady and he said he'd come right home. I called my midwife, Janae and she congratulated me and told me I had 48 hours to start labor on my own if I don't get checked and not to worry if it doesn't pick up right away. My regular daily weak contractions started a bit, but nothing that would classify as my "labor" actually starting. I told her I'd keep in touch and made sure it was okay to go run a few errands. Then I called my Doula, Trisha and filled her in on all the details too.

Brady got home at around 10:30 and I got in the shower and got ready. Still having very random weak contractions. We decided to go get some lunch and pick up a few last minute things at Target. We had a lovely lunch at Durangos, my sisters and mom happened to all be going there anyway so we met up with them. Everyone was a little worried I wasn't headed right for the hospital, I think, but we carried on with our day. I went to Target and got Harlo a baby of her own and picked up a few things for the new baby that we'd forgotten about.

We headed home around 1:00 to put Harlo down for a nap and I decided I'd take a little nap too while I still could. I rocked Harlo and got her down at 1:30 and Janae called to check on me. I told her contractions were still sporadic and pretty weak and that I was going to take a nap. I texted Trisha with the same info. At 2:15 just as I was heading to lay down I got a good, strong contraction. 3 minutes later, another and another and another. Between contractions I quickly called my mom to see if she would come French braid my hair out of my face and she hurried right over. She stayed through a few contractions and predicted I'd have this baby in no-time. I texted my doula and told her I thought this was probably it (now 2:50 and contractions are 2 minutes apart and getting stronger with each one) and to head over, but no rush. My first labor was 26 hours I didn't want to tie up their days for too long when I didn't have to. I told Brady I didn't want to calll Janae until 3:15 because I was certain, just like all the contractions before, that these too would soon stop.

At 3:00, the contractions jumped up a notch on the intensity scale and we decided to call Janae. Again I told her not to rush, but to start heading over. Both Janae and Trisha were there by 3:30. At first I was able to greet them and talk a bit between contractions, but that quickly changed. I was just not getting a big break between and each contraction was taking a lot out of me. Every contraction I kept my knees on the ground and leaned over my birth ball and had Brady push on my tailbone and hips, that was the only way they were comfortable. After a while I started getting really tired and had Brady sit on the floor with his back against the bed and I sat back against him. I sort-of slept between contractions and when I got one I would lean forward and curl my body around my belly and just focus on what I needed my body and my baby to do.

I decided to get up to use the bathroom and on my way in, Janae said to be aware that sometimes emptying your bladder will make things more intense because it's not there cushioning the baby and allows the baby to drop a little more. Definitely true. :)

After that I got into a nice hot bath. The water definitely takes the pressure off and makes the contractions seem less intense. I sat in the tub and Brady poured water over my shoulders. I kept my tank top on and the water seeping down through the cotton felt so, so good. After a few minutes in the tub I started to feel my baby move down and my contractions, yet again, took me to another level. The intensity made me need to throw up. So, still in the tub, puking in a bowl I heard my midwife say "this is good. It sucks to throw up, I know, but it will push your baby down." Definitely true. After the throwing up, I could feel her moving right on down. That's when I started saying things like "seriously, you guys!" and "this is not fun anymore" The contractions were so much that I didn't want to hold my body anymore. It seemed SO heavy. I kept my knees in the tub and hung over the side, letting it hold my weight up. I was starting to lose control and Janae told me to push for 2 seconds then breathe through a contraction to see if that felt better. It did! Pushing did the same thing as having Brady push on my tail bone. It took the edge right off. At first I was purposely pushing and then my body started sort of pushing on it's own. I needed out of the tub. Now. I went back to my birth ball position like the beginning and in my head I thought "k, I don't want to do this anymore." (which every midwife will tell you that as soon as a mom says this, baby is coming.) Before I could even say that though, I was saying "She's coming!"

"Okay, let's check ya" Janae said (I hadn't been checked at all up to this point.) I got down on the birthing area that was all set up for me, as soon as she went to check she said "Oh, there's her head!" I asked if she had hair and everyone laughed and said "yes! tons!" and that's all I needed to hear. I pushed and Janae told me to feel her head. As soon as I felt her, the pain was gone. I was able to relax and take a second to figure things out. It was me and Stella, just doin' our thing. I wanted her out right away, but knew I needed to take it slow so I wouldn't tear. Janae started directing me a bit and pretty soon her head was almost all the way out. Janae said "big push to get the rest of her face out" and I did, then she said "K, Cassidy. Reach down and grab your baby." her shoulders were just coming out and I reached down and pulled her right up onto my body. All by myself. Most amazing moment of my life. Brady cried (first time I've ever seen him cry in our life together) and I just giggled and said "My baby! Stella! my baby!!" It was so amazing. She was finally here. FINALLY after 40 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy. We did it! I did it! I actually birthed a baby 100% natural at my home. I've wanted to for so long and now I've done it. It feels so amazing. I'm still in shock.

About 2 minutes after she was out, Harlo came in to meet her new sister. Right when she walked in she said "oh! baby!" and I told her "this is Stella! she came out of mommy's belly!" Harlo came and plopped down right beside me, clapped her little hands then held them out to hold her new sister :) She was totally un-phased by the birthing set-up and the fact that Stella was still attached by the cord! ha.

Stella was born at 5:26pm. Just 3 hours after my first real contraction