A year later.... Finally I was able to process the birth and write a little bit about it. I have shared it with ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) ICAN of South Florida Community Group in hope to be helpful to other moms seeking a similar experience. Some thoughts about the birth of Mariana. (There were many moments I actually believed that Mariana would make us wait and decide to be born on Easter, so I thought it would be beautiful to write her birth story today, April 16, 2017 - This is my second HBAC. The second home birth after a c-section. I hope to inspire and help all women out there that wish for a natural birth, especially if they have had a previous c-section) Mariana had her own plans, from the start. We conceived her in one very important time of our lives. It's one of those decisive moments in life where you know you've entered a path, and to reach the light at the end, you must go through with the journey within. I believe that each soul, and baby in this case, brings a new challenge and gift to the marriage and family. The blessings are the results of conquering the new lessons presented along the way. We knew that it was going to be all worth it, and it already is. Mariana's birth never "worried" me. I asked myself many times, what fears do I have? How should I prepare myself? Should I plan the home birth differently this time? Should I plan at all? The internal answer was always the same. Do nothing. I felt that planning for it was taking away from her journey. Interfering with a plan that wasn't mine. I knew if I started to plan her birth, I would make it mine... and it wasn't my birth. It was hers. This realization and the awareness of her wanting to live her own experience, made me think about my own birth. Mariana'a birth wasn't my birth.. so which one was mine? I then realized our parents often talk about our births as theirs, not ours. She had asked to come thru me, that's all. All I had to do was to step out of the way. Being a mom of two had already taught me that motherhood is all about stepping away. Stepping away from yourself, stepping away from your own upbringing, stepping away from everyone else's opinion about how to raise your own children, stepping away from your own expectations. I learned that for me, this was the only way to free my kids, so they can learn one day how to own their world. I have this image that comes to me every once in a while, where I see my kids walking away from me, with an amazing understanding in their faces, of what mom and dad really taught them. If I'm to see that, I'll be satisfied with my job. So I stepped away.. At 40w1day Mariana decided to make her entrance. I had been gracefully thinning out the cervix since the night before. I could feel the gentle rushes coming and going all thru the night. They felt great. I would feel a whole sensation in my body, sort of a chill, before the contraction. I said to myself.. oh wow, this is maybe why they call it a rush. And then I realized: A rush is nothing else that a contraction that you don't oppose to! I had read all the Ina May birth stories, and they all talk about these "rushes" - I thought about this a lot, and found the answer in my own experience. That morning I really felt the time had come. It wasn't a physical sensation just yet, but an emotional call saying that my baby was ready. She was ready. It was time for me to surrender, and use all the resources to help myself open the way for her. My midwife answer a call from my husband, at 7 am or so, telling her I was "in labor". My husband was very excited, he knew Mariana was coming, and even though we weren't sure if real labor would actually kick in, we both felt that was the day. My midwife, Gelena Hinkley, came to see me around 9 am. I was 3 cm (this was the only vaginal check I got during the whole process) and very thin and soft cervix, but baby's head was still not engaged and a little off center. Still, I felt she was coming very soon. My midwife said she would check on me in a couple hours, to rest and have a good breakfast in case things would pick up. I called my doula right away. I knew she would come by and help me thru what I was feeling, and with the help of a good inversion, a side pelvic release, and her rebozo, I felt the baby's head nicely dropping into position during a rush. It felt amazing. The contraction started just like the other ones, but thru it, when the movement happened, it intensified and centered. Nothing has felt so right in my life. It's the feeling that something falls into place, exactly where it needs to be. Birth is very symbolic. After these exercises, the plan was to take a quick walk to the corner and back, and then try to eat and sleep to see how it would progress. By now, we are around 11 am, and we decided to order Chipotle for everyone, like nothing was going on. Husband and kids went to pick it up while my doula and I went for the walk. (Understand that at this point we all thought that I wasn't in "labor" yet, and that we had hours ahead to prepare, eat and call people! Little we knew we were going to be holding Mariana so very soon!) This was the best walk of my life, so far. It was chilly, the only day of April where a cold front decides to hit. It was sunny! So sunny! And the contrast of the temperature with the sun and the excessively blue sky made it all look sparkly and surreal. After a couple of steps the rushes started to intensify, and the walk turned into an intense labor journey. Here we are, with the information I was 3 cm a little while ago, and feeling like I was so, so very close to holding my baby... but wait! You mean this can actually happen without anyone announcing the very next step before it happens? You mean this can actually be my baby's journey and not mine? Don't I need to be checked and be pronounced "in labor" for the body to work? Don't I need to hear the words: Ana, you are in labor"? My doula would said to me: Mama, you know better than anyone. You are were you feel you are at. We walked, stopping at every rush, at this point around 3-4 mins apart, hugging, squatting, swaying, laughing, crying, talking. Yes, one of the best walks of my life, and I'm surprised of the intimacy and comfort when we come together in birth, Dawna. An honor having you around. I remember at some point I burst into tears of joy when I realized that it was happening, I was laboring in complete peace and comfort. I felt SO LOVED. I felt so very loved. The Chipotle arrived, and my husband and kids drove right by us. I could tell their faces got real serious when they saw me just a few minutes after they had left. I must have been transformed, and I probably looked like I was in the zone. There was no way back. I had already left. I said to Dawna, I can't eat past this point. We entered thru the garage and I sat in the toilet of the small half bathroom downstairs. By that time there was show, and I told Dawna and Flavio to "give me a pool"! They improvised and thankfully my doula carried a birth pool and the whole setup with her. My midwife was not there yet, and my doula suggested to let her know things had "picked up" while setting up the pool exactly on the same spot my daughter Solange was born. After the fact, we realized I was transitioning at that time. Starting during the walk with the tears and awareness moment and ending with another high consciousness moment before entering the pool. This moment was a walk thru all my births. My first born, Oscar, the c-section, and my first experience as a mother. Solange, my first home birth, that incredible journey of faith; and now, Mariana, and this moment where I felt I was so incredibly able to just be a channel for her. I knew I could do it in that instant, I was so sure! And that made me so happy! I hugged Dawna, and I told her how lucky I was! Right there in transition! I noticed that in that moment instead of "breaking down" I felt totally empowered, I felt so thankful for having gotten there! I felt I had past the necessary tests in my life to deserve being gifted the ability to truly step away. As so I did. With every rush, now in the water, I relaxed my body, like I wasn't there. I opened my mouth with every wave, and breathed out. I relaxed, I left, but the rushes still came. I watched myself give nothing, do nothing, while at the same time doing all that had to be done. This has prepared me for motherhood now in a whole different way. I'm a new woman, a new mother and a new wife after this experience. That moment lasted around 30 mins or so. It was a peaceful moment. Quiet birth sounds, and lots of silence. The family around, my husband blessing me and supporting me, the kids bringing water. My doula pouring water on my belly, on my back. Amazing. They say this is the calm before the storm. They say that after transition there is a quiet moment to realize and recognize the soul of your baby. Once together, the mother and baby come down, united. My midwives, Gelena Hinkley and Sandy Lo, had arrived at this point, and certainly enough, at the next move my water broke, in the water, and with the next rush I could feel her coming down and I touched the top of her head. No fuss, nothing unexpected, no one moved or made a huge deal. The next rush the baby crowned gracefully and I supported her head while smiling and giving thanks to God. With the next rush my midwife asked me to go on a one knee/squatting position to facilitate her entrance, and Mariana was born in the water received by mommy and daddy. She made her own transition to this world at her own pace, surrounded by love and family, surrounded by those who understand birth as a normal natural process. Right before this point I remember thinking of asking my midwife for a check, and expecting to hear I had at least progressed past 6 cm, but instead my baby was already there. Mariana was almost 11 pounds, and her birth at a hospital would have probably meant a c-section, or a traumatic vaginal birth due to the inability to move around on hands and knees or switch to a natural position to safely birth an 11 pound baby without any cuts, episiotomy or medication. My baby remained on my chest at all times. Cord was cut 1 hr and 15 mins after she was born, and was breastfeeding. Among all those that were present and assisted the birth, I was able to feel it was just me and her. There is so much I could say about how safe I felt, at all times. Thank you to my midwives and doula for their outstanding work, their "precision" at each step, and their love towards me and my family. Solange woke up just in time to receive her sister, and the siblings witnessed Mariana's entrance, in tears of awe. Happiest day of my life. Because this wasn't just Mariana's birth. I feel I gave birth to all the children that day, once more. I feel the family is reborn, the union, the marriage. This was Mariana'a gift to us. We are a new family. Thanks to her, and God.