Around 12:30 am, a crackly pop echoed throughout my body and shook me awake.

“What was that? That’s unusual” I thought to myself, laying still wondering what it was. Within a minute, a contraction immediately followed and I got up to use the bathroom.

I was getting worried about passing the 42 weeks and having to have a hospital birth, being 12 days overdue. Could this really be it?

After the short relief, while finishing up on the toilet, another contraction came more intense than the first.

“Hmm, that was fast.” Thinking to myself.

I drew a bath thinking it was another false alarm and sat on the toilet waiting for the tub to fill. Another one came and it was even more intense than the last, I had to poop.

I got through the next and carefully lowered myself in the tub of hot water. Within a minute another contraction came. By the 3rd of 4th, I was convinced this was not just another cluster of Braxton hicks I had been having like the previous month and a last. I had to poop again.

I ran back to the bedroom to lean on the pilates ball and another contraction hit.

I woke up my husband, “Hey, I think this is it, it’s time”.

“I’ve heard that like 8 times this week.” He replied in a grog.

I was a bit irritated so I got up and went back to the bathroom to get in the tub. Before I could make it to the tub I had to poop for the 3rd time. Even more intense.

I ran back to the bedroom and said “We need to go to Sunshine”.

“OK, that’s what I haven’t heard. Let’s go!” He lifted our 22 month son Raven out of bed, as I grabbed my purse, his shoes, firetruck and my house slippers.

“Come on, you don’t need any of that stuff, Let’s go.” He said, knowing the urgency better than I did. He grabbed my backpack with clothes

Another contraction. It stopped me in my tracks and I had to wait it out.

As soon as it left I ran outside to the van. It was raining, and the cool drops on my skin were a nice distraction from the last contraction.

My husband already situated Raven and everything we needed in our converted camper van.

“I think I need to be in the back on the bed. It feels better on my hands and knees”. I told my husband.

“Ok, hang on back there, you could have this baby in the van!” He replied. “Heh, look it’s 1:11 am. ” He said lightly, which happens to be our number which imminently reminds me that everything is going to be OK. We began our 25 minute trip to the Full Moon Family Wellness and Birth Center.

The contractions kept coming stronger and harder. Hubby was driving fast and every bump in the road forced me to balance. I kept stacking pillows up to lean on and absorb shock.

We hit a bump and I felt liquid running down my leg so I bunched up the blanket under me.

At one point in the van it started to feel like real pain that I have never felt before and  the words of my sons Godmother when I asked her how bad the pain was with both of her home births echoed in my mind.

“It was hard work.” She said. “The hardest work I ever did in my life”.

I focused on that idea and all of a sudden the pain did not feel like pain any more. I could feel my body and it felt like I needed to push with each contraction.

“I feel like I need to push!!!” I yelled.

“Try to hold off on pushing, we are almost there”. He said. “We are at Mar Monte. ” he said on the phone to Sunshine.

I looked up and I could see the rain drops coming down over the Mar Monte sign.

I worked myself through another 3 or 4 contractions and all of a sudden we were at Full Moon Family Wellness and Birth Center. Rain was pouring down and as soon as the contraction ended I jumped out of the van barefoot and ran up the stairs into the lobby.

“Here it comes”. I said out loud and put the blanket down on the floor and got on my hands and knees. Sunshine put her hand on my back.

My husband put Raven down and he ran over to me and gave me a compassionate hug. It helped, a lot. I got through the next contraction and Sunshine asked if I wanted to go upstairs.

As soon as it passed we scurried up the stairs as fast as I could. The next couple contractions were a blur. Everything was happening so fast. At some point I renege stripping off all my clothes but my primary focus on was to feel what was going on inside of me, prepping for the next contraction, and resting, catching my breath and hydrating between each. Sunshine and Paige offered water between each at the most needed times. My husband had his hand in my lower back as I held myself up on all fours. Raven would give me a comforting hug during the rests. I told them I wanted to get in the water but the birth tub wasn’t quite ready.

A couple more contractions came and went and finally the temperature in the tub cooled enough to get in. It was only about a quarter full, but enough to get my bottom him. Everybody helped me in and the contractions came one after another. Raven wanted in the tub so hubby stripped him down and put him in. He sat down and looked up at me. Every time another contraction came I would look at Raven and tell him, “Here it comes!”.

Hubby was pouring water on my back, repeating Sunshine’s instructions, and telling me what was going on. Sunshine instructed me to push with each contraction and I did. I could feel my body wanting to push.

By this time, I was roaring through each contraction. At one point I said out loud, “I don’t think I can do this”. And everyone encouraged me, “You’re almost there!”. I had to get off my hands and knees, my arms were tired, and lean on the edge of the tub. I felt like an animal, there was nothing more primal than the awareness needed in the very moment to prepare my mind and body for the next push.

Sunshine told me to feel down there, and I could feel his head. It encouraged me to spread my hips wider and have the confidence to push through to the end.

I pushed as hard as I could with the next contractions, I let out a scream, and Sunshine instructed me not to scream, but to use the power of my inner core to push, and I did. Phoenix was almost out. She told me if he wasn’t out with the next push I would have to get out of the tub. The next wave came and I pushed, I could feel the ring of fire, and I imagined our sons heading pushing through. At one point she told me to rest and not force it, and I didn’t. I believe this is what prevented any tearing.

He wasn’t all the way out, so they pulled me out of the tub and laid me out in the floor, Sunshine had to dislodge his shoulder to set him free. I could feel the rest of his body slide out and Sunshine set him on my chest. I just held him, relieved and breathing.

“is it a boy or girl?” I asked Sunshine

“Go ahead and look”. She said.

But I couldn’t move to check, I was silent, I just held Phoenix on my chest being grateful that he was healthy and made it to this world safely.

At one point another contraction came and I felt my placenta slip out.

Phoenix arrived at 3:19am on the first day of the spring Equinox.

We spent the whole next day and night there in the storm and watched the rain fall and trees blowing from the upstairs bedroom. Hubby made food in the kitchen while we rested. What a beautiful day and birth.

My dream was to have a natural birth and it came true. Thank you for this beautiful baby boy. Thank you for my loving and supportive family. Thank you Paige from Santa Cruz Birth Photography for capturing the beautiful moments. And thank you Sunshine for all your prenatal care, birth and labor coaching, beautiful birth center, and for being real.