Eva Amurri is sharing details from the emotional day she welcomed son Mateo Antoni into the world.
The blogger and actress, 35, opened up in a Thursday post on her site Happily Eva After about Mateo’s March 13 arrival, which began early in the morning when her water broke — something that didn’t happen until “a day into [her] 36-hour home birth” with daughter Marlowe Mae, now 5½, and “NEVER” happened with son Major James, 3.
Thankful that she would give birth “with many hours of daylight ahead” as opposed to “the still of night,” she alerted the “troops” — her doula, Kelsi, her midwives, ex-husband Kyle Martino and her friends — that the process had started, and spent the next several hours monitoring her labor.
“We still had lots of time for him to make his way from the city,” Amurri says of Martino, 39, who was not present in the room for the birth but came in right after. “I could hear how excited he was, too, and that made me so happy.”
“Kyle and I had officially ended our marriage a month earlier, but would continue our bond in a different way for the rest of our lives,” she goes on. “This would truly be the beginning of a new dynamic, and one that I was sure would be much more positive for our family.”
Amurri “napped” for about four hours, then “ate snacks and stayed hydrated” until she felt her contractions begin to accelerate — at which point she gave Martino and her midwives the go-ahead to make their way to her home.
“I told [Kelsi] how scared I was that I couldn’t do it this time. She just held my head and let me cry, and told me that everything was okay,” Amurri writes. “I felt an overwhelming feeling of both separateness and togetherness: while this experience was one that I was going to do completely by myself, with my own body and my baby, there was also a community around me keeping me safe and loved. I knew I had to surrender to the experience physically and let my body and my baby work together to bring him out to meet us.”
One perhaps unexpected person who helped her do just that? Daughter Marlowe, who told her mom she “definitely” wanted to be present for her baby brother’s birth and “would come to the bottom of the bed to really get a good view” between moments of sitting on the lap of one of Amurri’s friends, “so calm and serious.”
“She came to me and fanned me with a piece of paper or cooled my head with a cloth,” Amurri recalls. “It brings me to tears to remember her that afternoon. Always, always my firstborn baby, but so big now in so many ways. The beauty of her curiosity and strength, her ability even as a small child to hold space for me in my moment of transformation, will be something I never ever forget. I have always been so proud of my daughter, but witnessing her in the essence of her own strength as a person made me the proudest I have ever been of her.”
Amurri, who is the daughter of Susan Sarandon, got her wish of being “surrounded by mothers” as her “third birth journey” came to a close.
“My daughter was there right beside me. My ex-husband, and forever co-parent, was downstairs with our son, waiting for the first cries of the newest member of our family,” says the Saved! actress. “As I screamed and bore down to bring Mateo in to the world, I felt as much fire and fury as I always had during the final moments of birth, but so much hope too.”
Of the moment of Mateo’s arrival, Amurri recalls, “I felt his head crowning, and then the relief and release of his body rushing behind it. I heard his cry, and the joyful laughter of my friends and daughter. I brought his body through my legs and to my chest, and I saw his face for the first time. His blue, open eyes, his wet hair and his full lips and dimpled chin. All at once, I recognized him and fell in love.”
“This soul and spirit that was always meant for me — this bright, beautiful boy who has always been ours,” she writes, going on to share that she endured just “three hours of active labor” — making it her “fastest” childbirth experience yet. “The relief and gratitude I felt in that moment was immeasurable.”
Amurri describes how the hours following Mateo’s arrival “were incredible and unforgettable,” and included the newborn doing skin-to-skin with Martino and Marlowe and the family eating Mateo’s birthday cake together.
“Mateo’s birth taught me to trust myself and my community, to lean in to my tribe and to surrender to the unknown. It showed me that I have love in so many places, and that even the most delicate and heartbreaking of changes can still bring about the most beautiful futures.”
Amurri’s third child is the first she and the NBC Sports analyst have welcomed together since they announced their split last November and finalized their divorce in February.
“I have an unconventional family, for sure, but one I am so grateful for,” she writes in her blog. “One that is rooted in deep love and courage. I hope to continue in that sentiment down this motherhood journey as a Mama of three, and to continue to let Mateo teach me whatever lessons he brings with him.”
This article originally appeared on People.com.