On the day of the 23rd I was having random braxton hicks contractions but nothing too serious. My mother in law and I were determined to get this baby out before Christmas because I was due the 18th and really wanted to be home Christmas morning to watch Landon open his presents. We went walking in downtown Saratoga and it was so cold outside! It was snowing and pretty miserable so we stopped to get coffee and ended up only walking for about 20 minutes. When we got home we took another walk and I bounced on my labor ball a little. I was losing my plug but not getting my hopes up. I really didn't think I was going to go into labor. We put Landon to bed and I was exhausted so I tried to lay down and watch tv at 7:30. Around 8 I started feeling weird cramps on the bottom of my stomach and in my pelvis. I wasn't sure if they were contractions or not so I just walked around my room and tried to lay down again. 15 min later they were coming 2-3 minutes apart so I decided to go call Joey and my doula. By 8:45 they were getting hard to breath through and I was starting to think this would go faster than I expected. Joey got home around 9 and he frantically changed out of his uniform. My doula called and told me to head to the hospital since it was a 30 min drive and my contractions were intense and coming every 1.5 min, she would meet us there. The car ride was absolutely horrible. We pulled up to the hospital and I jumped out of the car, tried to walk through a contraction to the door and yelled for a nurse to point me to L&D. She helped me into the elevator and Joey followed us with the labor bags. I checked into my room at 9:49, all while moaning and breathing through really strong contractions. The nurse asked me to pee in a cup so I tried and instead my water broke all over the bathroom, I instantly started bleeding. The nurse checked me and I was 7cm. 3-4 more minutes and 2 more contractions and I was almost 10cm. I started pushing and it helped with the pain. I could see and feel Nolan move down with every push because I wasn't on any drugs. As he started crowning I reached down and felt his head. One more push and he was out and on my chest. He was so beautiful, perfect and HUGE! After an hour of nursing they weighed him, 10.1lbs. Amazingly I only tore a tiny bit. Natural childbirth was the most amazing and empowering experience ever. Next time I will definitely just have a home birth. I trusted my body and my instincts and giving birth was a breeze!