One of my favorite parts of the labor happened towards the end. Around 7.5 hours into active labor, exhausted and in terrible pain, I cried out between contractions: “I don’t think I can do this!”

The most beautiful chorus of voices all called back immediately: “Yes, you can!” It was as if everyone had been prepped to respond to my cry. Literally, 5-6 of my team members said those words at the same time, with so much conviction and energy, it gave me strength to keep going.

Another voice said immediately after, “In fact, you’re the only one who can!” I relied on my team’s strength and support to carry me through this last part.

A few excruciating contractions later, and finally, I heard the words I’d been longing to hear for hours: “He’s crowning!” The moment had come, at last! But then, it was still many pushes before he was on his way out. He kept descending and then moving back up the birth canal, so between contractions, we’d lose some of the progress we gained (so frustrating and discouraging!)

At last he did make his way out, emerging turned to the side, rather than face down or face up. He was so beautiful, and my arms ached to hold him instantly. He was placed on me, but soon I heard worried voices instructing that I needed to be laid down instantly. I heard something about hemorrhaging, and immediately, four people were moving me to the bed.

“Just lay her in the floor! She needs to be laid back right now!” But I was already on my way to the bed.

Action was swirling all around me, oxygen mask in my face, delivery of the placenta to try and stop the bleeding, a shot administered to stop the hemorrhaging, and careful monitoring by my midwife.

The baby was still on top of me, and I was barely aware what was going on. I was worried about the bleeding, as I heard the worry in other’s voices, and I asked Karen – who never left my side those 8 hours – “Am I going to be ok?” She reassured me that although I was hemorrhaging, I would be just fine. I went back to bonding with the baby.

Kyle clamped the umbilical cord, and soon Little Mister Baby was sucking from me. Karen gave me some green smoothie and water, and I rested, taking it all in.

The hemorrhaging stopped and after an hour of bonding, the baby was taken to be washed up. I was washed up, too, and the baby was weighed and measured – 8.2 ounces, 21 inches. He was gorgeous, and I was so in love with him already.

Diane and her team monitored me for another 2 hours, and finding everything was in good order, they left for the night, telling us to call if we needed anything.

After giving me hugs, sharing congratulations and joy, and telling me how proud they were of me, my three girlfriends left as well.

It was quiet, just Kyle, the baby and me. We decided to let Mikah sleep (he hadn’t been told I was having the baby) and introduce the brothers to each other in the morning.

Exhausted and completely spent, we ended our first day together – Kyle, me and Little Mister Baby.