Hi, I’m MaryJo. On April 10th, 1998, Abigail Grace entered this world QUICKLY! We got the ‘Heart and Hands‘ book and found it to be very complete! We had also asked my friend, Tracie, to assist, since I helped her, and since she has home birthed her last two! Well, on April 3rd, I lost my plug and my Braxton-Hicks were increasing in pain. I thought surely this was it. My due date was the 13th, but with my last two I was two weeks early. I had also taken PN-6 this time so I was anxious to see what affect it had on the labor. My prenatal care was very simple. I drank raspberry leaf tea, took vitamins, and got plenty of rest. We never heard the heart beat or took my blood pressure. Having this in mind, we were excited about the simplicity of childbirth. Sad to say, my contractions on April 3rd petered out and I was left with no plug and 3 cm. dilated. The next Thursday (April 9th), I was doing the dishes and at about 8:15 p.m. the baby gave this incredibly strong kick and I felt a gush of warm something run down my leg. At first I thought I had wet my pants. So I went to the bathroom, sat down on the toilet and went potty (or so I thought). As I was walking back down the hall, there was another big gush down my leg. At this point, I became suspicious about my water being broken. So I walked back into the kitchen where my husband was talking to his parents on the phone. I pointed to the puddle and then to my belly and he just waved me away. I pointed to the puddle again, and this time he says “Hold on, Mom and Dad. Mary Jo is trying to tell me something.” He looks at me and says, “What!” I say, “My water just broke!” Oh, if I could have taken a picture at that moment! He gets back on the phone and says, “Mom, Dad, I -uh, got to go, so, talk to you later. Bye!” At this point, I had had no contractions, just water pouring down my leg. This is exciting to me, because all of my previous children were hospital births, and my water was broken to speed the process. Of course, laying on your back reduces the chances of your water ever breaking! So what do I do? I finish the dishes!! Then, at about 8:45 p.m., I have my first contraction! It was about 30 sec. long, and hardly even noticeable. So about 9:15, we decide to get some rest. My contractions were 15 min. apart and 30 sec. long. Oh, I just knew this was going to be a long night! So, I dozed in and out until 11 p.m., when I got up, seeing if gravity might speed things along. At this point, my contractions were 6 min. apart and 40 sec. long. At 11:50 p.m., my contractions went to 4 min. apart, but still just 40 sec. long. At this point, Eric decides to call Tracie to come assist. At about 12:10 a.m., I have this really hard contraction that lasted like 1 min. 30 sec. I could feel an extreme amount of cervical pressure. Then the contractions went back to 4 min. apart 40 sec. long. I had about 3 more small contractions, then another very hard long one. I felt a lot more cervical pressure and told Eric to check me. I laid down on the bed and he said, “The baby’s head is through the cervix!” “What,” I said, then I had another long hard contraction. At this point, Eric goes to get tongs to get the hot compresses out of the crock-pot. While he is gone, I feel the urge to push with the next contraction. He comes back, hears me moaning “that moan” and says, “Get to the bed.” We had planned ahead of time that I would birth on my side to try to slow the explosion rate of the head, thus controlling whether I would tear or not! So, after the contraction is over, I start to walk to the bed (which I was only 7 feet from). I got about 2 feet from the bed and another contraction hits. During this contraction, I feel the head starting to crown. Eric is wildly throwing the blue pads on the bed, and Tracie had NOT arrived yet! Fortunately, I had laid out the birthing kit on the dresser, so Eric didn’t have to sweat too much! So I lie down on the bed and Eric applies the first hot compress. Still no Tracie! I have another contraction and the head crowns more. Eric is applying the hot compress this whole time. One more contraction and the head is out, then I give a little push and out comes the baby. Wow, we are so stunned at how fast it happened that I have to remind Eric to clamp the cord. That was at 12:35 a.m. Tracie didn’t show up until 12:50!!! She figured she had plenty of time! She walked in to see me holding a baby and delivering the placenta. The placenta was birthed and everything was fine. There were some very interesting things about our first home birth. First, how fast she came out, which I could notice the difference with the PN-6. My contractions were much more productive! My water also broke on its own. I delivered my first placenta, every other one was jerked out of me by a doctor in a hurry. She presented herself face-up! and I didn’t tear! (Praise the Lord!!) Oh, man, after she was born I felt so good! We didn’t take our other kids anywhere, we just shut their door and they didn’t even know she was born until they got up in the morning! Abigail is a very good nurser.