Ryan and I are proud to announce that our son, Tosh, was born Monday afternoon. He weighed 5 lbs, 9 oz and is 20 inches long. Since he arrived early, he's small, but he has long legs and fingers, and big ol' feet. On Sunday evening, my contractions were coming on stronger, but were still irregular and felt like Braxton-Hicks contractions, not what I imagined active labor to feel like. We took a long walk and came home for dinner. As I stood up after dinner around 9 pm, I felt an obvious "clunk" deep inside, which reminded me of slipping an old transmission into gear. Not 30 seconds later, regular and hard contractions began. I think Tosh hadn't been in position and finally slipped down onto my cervix. Ryan noticed that my belly had dropped considerably. We were on our way! It only took a little more than an hour to achieve contractions 5-6 minutes apart and 1 minute long for an hour. So, I called Andrea, my homebirth midwife, as instructed. She thought I would probably labor like that for awhile, and told me to call her again when my contractions were longer and closer together, or when I felt like I wanted her there. I labored on the bed in the side lying position like we practiced in class, and being totally relaxed made the first 3-4 hours hours pretty bearable. When I started feeling bothered by the pain, I climbed into the birthing pool we had rented, and stayed there for another couple of hours. It was pretty relaxing, actually – Ryan set up Hulu and I caught up on The Office and The Simpsons. All I needed was a swim-up cocktail bar and it would have been downright pleasant. =) However, when the pain got so bad I didn't even remember Hulu was on, Ryan knew it was time to call Andrea. That was 3:45 am, and she arrived 20 minutes later. She examined me and I was 7 cm dilated. I then labored some more in side lying pose until I was 9-10 cm. I remember being pretty delirious, but not so far gone that when Andrea explained to me that I was in transition, I replied, "Gee, ya think?" Thankfully, that was the meanest thing I said during labor. (I think … you might want to confirm that with Ryan. haha) It only took a few contractions after that until I was ready to push around 5 am. Andrea said she thought we would probably have the baby by sunrise. It took me awhile to get the hang of pushing, but soon Tosh was within an inch of crowning. Then, he got stuck. I had horrible pains near my pelvic bone and just couldn't get him past that point. I pushed and pushed and pushed for 5 hours, and my contractions grew further and further apart, as long as 20 minutes apart! We tried every position in the book, and nothing helped. By 11 am, I was completely exhausted and they put me on oxygen. I took a nap for about an hour while the midwives took a break. Andrea came back in our room around noon and we tried again for about half an hour, but no dice. I was completely defeated. So, she left Ryan and I alone to regroup and decide what we wanted to do next, which included the possibility of hospital transfer. Ryan gave me a huge pep talk and convinced me to get into the shower, which I didn't want to do because I was feeling so weak in the legs. But not long after I got in there, the contractions picked back up and I squatted. It took only a couple of contractions & pushes to get him past the sticking point, and with another push Tosh had crowned. Ryan and I were alone at this point, I remember, so he ran out and got the midwives. (although, I was pretty … um … vocal with that push, so I think they had figured that out. haha) Ryan and Andrea got back in time for me to push out Tosh's head, and Andrea had Ryan catch him. Then Andrea said, "WAIT … STOP … I see a hand." Turns out he had his arm above his head, and that's why he got stuck. And, why passing the head hurt so badly! So to birth the rest of him, I had to push very slowly, but with only one pretty easy push he came out and doesn't have a mark on him. He even looked as pretty as a c-section baby, other than a suspiciously arm-shaped dent in the back of his head that has since filled out. Since I was practically on my hands and knees to deliver, leaning forward into the squat like the yoga frog pose instead of leaning back, Ryan and Andrea passed Tosh to me through my legs so I could hold him while I sat down for a few seconds, then they helped me up and out of the shower, and into bed. From then on out, it was like a standard home birth. I got to hold him and nurse for awhile before they cleaned him up, measured him and did the Apgar test. Andrea was scheduled for a family vacay the day after we delivered, so Michelle (who came to our class) is her back-up, and she and Andrea's apprentices have visited every day for follow-up care. They have been very helpful with nursing and other baby care tips, as well as my recovery. We are very pleased with our home birth experience! It wasn't easy, but we are so thankful we were able to deliver at home despite the complications. It never would have happened without our Bradley education – both the learning about complications and how to handle them, and also learning how to work as a team. Ryan's coaching made all the difference.