Around 3:00 am on February 18th, I woke up with some pretty strong contractions. Given that they woke me up from deep sleep, I was pretty sure they were the beginning of labor. I slept as much as I could so I would be well rested if possible. I remember feeling so excited that she was actually coming soon! I was able to sleep on and off and got up in the morning knowing it was going to be her birthday. The day sort of went as normal for a while, the contractions were strong, but I was able to eat, cook and just pass the day. Finally around 3 or 4 in the afternoon I talked to Jes and we thought it would be a good idea to check me out, see how things were progressing and everything. So Jes came soon after that and it was clear that I was indeed in labor, but Ava was not in an optimal position. I had dilated to about a 4, but her head wasn't straight and so Jes wanted me to try and see if we could get her to reposition. I got my upper body down lower than my hips and Jes sort of sifted my hips with a sheet to see if Ava would drop out of the pelvis a little and get her head straightened out. Which she did! Jes went ahead and left and I got into a position sort of half on my stomach to try and help Ava move on around and down and sure enough soon after that my labor really ramped up. Now that her head was in a good position, she started moving down fast. I kept thinking it would take a while still...but luckily my doula DeShawna was with me and she helped time my contractions and we decided we better call Jes and Michelle and have them head on over. A few hours after Jes had come by I was really starting to feel the contractions! I kept hoping all of my mindfulness practice was going to get me out of the pain...and it did help...but I still felt it! And it was all happening so fast...a few hours felt more like thirty minutes. When Jes and Michelle got there it was around 8:00 pm and I knew it wouldn't be much longer. I was glad they were there...they checked out Ava and everything was going really well. My contractions were getting much stronger and closer together...but I still was able to catch my breath in between them. Finally I felt like I needed to use the bathroom and once I sat down she really moved down. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get back to the bed or even to the floor, but I did manage to get to the floor. Jes went ahead and checked me at one point and she said I was at a 7, but I knew she was coming fast at that point. To me it felt like I progressed from 7 to pushing her out in a matter of minutes. My body knew exactly what to do...I just kept telling myself to relax my body and let her come on out and I guess it worked. Before I knew it I was pushing her head out. I was hoping once I got her head out, she would just come right now the rest of the way, but instead she was still in her sac! That wasn't exactly what I expected...so I had to literally catch my breath for a second and then push her the rest of the way out. I hadn't even seen her little face yet! That last push wasn't difficult really. What a relief once she was on my tummy! They pulled her out of her sac quickly and I just stared at her. I had to be reminded to actually like hold her and rub the vernix in and stuff! I was so relaxed with the whole experience that it was like I was just in a trance at first. I held her while I pushed out the placenta, which I opted to leave attached to her. I just loved holding her, it felt really nice to get up out of the floor and be in my own bed. My 3 and 5 year old were right beside me. It was amazing. She was born at 10:20 that night. I chose to leave the umbilical cord in tact and give her a full lotus birth, which was such an awesome experience. We just carried a little bag with her placenta in it for four days after which is just fell off on it's own! Ava was such a calm baby overall. I was grateful to be able to give her such a gentle birth at home. It was a really beautiful experience. My husband was deployed, so he only got to be on the phone with us, but having my mom, my grandma and my other littles there with me made it so perfect and special. She never had to leave my sight and we slept in our own bed our first night. We just had such a great experience. I wish I had all my babies the same way. It's amazing how much easier it was to relax at home. I never had to worry that something was going to happen that I didn't want...I was really in control of the whole experience and I knew Ava and I were safe and in good hands. I wouldn't have changed a thing.