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My amazing, almost perfect, home birth

Monday, December 3rd was a normal day. I was 38 weeks and completely over being pregnant. I was really excited because I was going to get a much needed pedicure. It was amazing. She spent about 20 min massaging each leg and it was heavenly. I came home, my partner Mark and I had dinner and did our normal routine and went to bed. I remember asking him, "Wouldn't it be funny if that pedicure put me into labor?"

A tale of food, confidence and a 37-hour labor

Whenever I would tell a fellow Southerner about my plan to have a drug-free water birth, I would always receive the same reaction: skepticism and a lecture about how painful it would be. Although I would always answer their criticism with the same reply, "I have never been in labor so I know it may be too painful — I am just going to try." What can I say? I am people pleaser. It is not in my nature to challenge those who seem more experienced. In my heart I knew I could do it. I could only think of one thing that might shake my confidence: a long labor.

A laidback hospital birth story from Sweden

When I started with contractions in the evening, I figured a bath might be nice to soothe and it was — but the contractions soon ramped up to every five minutes. This meant no Kindle reading for me (I had such pleasant ideas for early labour like watching a movie together and reading in bed), so we went for a walk around the block. By the time we were back to our house I was feeling so nauseous with every fourth minute wave that we decided to call the hospital (got the hubster to do it as I have serious speaking Swedish nerves), and we went in.

Four days of labor ended in an emergency Cesarean section

Two hours after every time I ate, I would have the Cytotec inserted, and be checked for progression. By Friday evening, I was having steady contractions, so after dinner, I wasn't given any Cytotec. I was only dilated 1 1/2 cm. I was in pain, and panicky at this point. I told Jonathan, "I'm sick because of the baby being inside me. The quicker she gets out, the quicker I get better. I want a Cesarean section." He told me that wasn't in my birth plan, and tried to calm me down.

Two moms, a midwife, and a birth center delivery

The morning my wife went into labor, she came to me and shared that she was experiencing period-like cramping. It was still two weeks before our official due date, and this was her first pregnancy, so we reminded ourselves this could go on for weeks and I left for work. I was only at work for around an hour before I got a text from my wife telling me she thought her water had broken. She told me she wasn't sure and would keep me posted, but there was no way I was going to try and stay at work.

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My doula didn't answer her phone but I had a good hospital delivery anyway

I enjoyed working with the doula and thinking about how I could "reframe" pain and manage my panic in labor (panic is a big thing for me). I also prepared "birth affirmations" and put them on index cards for the doula to read to me when I started to panic during labor. I also read a wonderful book called The Big Book of Birth that gave much information about labor both physiologically and psychologically.