It’s been awhile now since Leo graced our lives with his sweet presence and I can’t help but feel so appreciative of my body…my belly held life. My belly; now a vacant and deflated home, cradled my sweet baby for months.

This was, by far, the absolute most empowering 13 hours of my life. I felt capable, supported, and strong. I woke up around 7am with contractions and by 8:30am my body bellowed out to me with every wave of pressure that it was time to call my midwife, husband, & photographer. And of course my mama. After calling everyone, I found myself aimlessly wandering through my apartment trying to decide whether I needed to eat, shower, or maybe take a nap. Each contraction brought with it a little more intensity. When my husband made it home I decided I’d take a shower and at least try to ease my way through the morning, knowing that for the next undetermined amount of hours I’d be preoccupied with getting little Leo safely delivered.

We’d planned to meet my midwife at the birth center at 10:30am. Me being me, I insisted on my ritual morning coffee stop, regardless of the literal human trying to come out of me. As we pulled up, another wave of pressure came over me and there I was, contracting and ordering my iced coffee; a true testament to my PNW roots.

We quickly made our way to the birth center after that and somehow my little one knew just when we made it there, because as soon as I made it to my birthing room, the real work began.

The next nine hours flew by, now that I’m reflecting back, but it definitely didn’t feel like that in the midst of it all. I bounced between the tub, the bed, the toilet, and standing and hanging onto my poor husband’s shoulders.

This chunk of the day is where I feel most proud of my body and my spirit. Somehow I was able to surrender to my experience completely. I allowed my body to do the work I knew it was built to do…and it did. There were some kinks along the way, naturally. Leo’s head was tilted and his sac wouldn’t break, creating an intense amount of pressure early in my labor. Luckily, my midwives gave me all the tools to dilate properly before trying to push my baby out.

Finally though, around 7:30pm -give or take- I was dilated to a 10. Leo’s sac was still intact, however, and I remember my midwife checking, seeing that my water wasn’t broken, and saying “well, push and we’ll see how it goes”, and all I can remember is how much of a relief it was to hear her telling me I could push. Every woman is different and every labor is different, but for me, pushing is such a relief. The amount of pressure it takes away from the pain of contracting is unreal and it’ll probably always be my favorite part of childbirth. When I began to push, I was on the bed, but I had 100% planned to be in the water when I delivered and honestly, nothing was going to stop that from happening. My whole support team helped me off the bed and helped me into the tub…I got on my hands and knees, pushed three times, and pulled my baby from under the water. And there he was. Raw, untouched by the world. His wrinkled baby feet, devoid of any color resting on my now empty belly. My husband held his held gently while I came back down to earth.

Every moment after that was like swimming through a sea of euphoria. Baby cries. Baby snuggles. Hugs and kisses from my family and friends. Birth is so beautiful, friends.