There are a lot of things in this world that I do not know or understand. One thing that I know without a doubt, is that becoming a mother has been the most incredible thing to ever happen to me in this lifetime…and I never want to forget a single detail from the day we brought our first baby, our son Jonah, into this world. If you’ve been following my pregnancy since the beginning, I’m sure you are aware that around 34 weeks I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Due to that diagnosis, my OB felt that it was in the best interest of our sweet baby boy to induce labor one week early. At my appointment on Thursday, November 29th, Kevin and I found out that we would be meeting Jonah on Friday, December 7th, 2012. We were told to be at the hospital by 6:30 a.m. that morning. I was certain that I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before my induction, but I did eventually manage to fall asleep snuggled next to Kevin…our last night as a family of two. My alarm clock went off the next morning at 4:35 a.m. The hospital where I would be delivering was about 45-50 minutes from home. I got up, showered, and finished packing my hospital bag. Kevin packed his as well, because he would be staying with me in the hospital. We were both rather quiet that morning. We were over the moon excited, but I was equally terrified at the birthing process I was soon to experience. Being a first time Mom, I had no idea what to expect. The fear of the unknown definitely overcame me. When we were all packed up and ready to go, we took a moment for a short photo opportunity! One last photo of Jonah as an inside baby at 39 weeks 3 days 🙂 Future Mommy and Daddy looking just a little tired 🙂 We both kissed our furbaby goodbye, and just as we were ready to head to the car, I broke down in tears. I was so scared. I couldn’t wait to meet the little one inside me, but I was also so scared. Kevin was amazing through this entire experience. He knows exactly what to say to calm me down…and after I was able to smile through the tears, we grabbed hands and headed to the car. It was a dark, rainy, dreary morning. The dreariness would continue all day. We listened to Christmas Music on the way to the hospital, arriving a little after 6:30, and walked into the Labor and Delivery wing. The nurses were so warm and welcoming, immediately putting me at ease. By the time I got undressed and hooked up to the initial monitors, it was around 7:40 in the morning. Kevin pulled a chair up beside my bed, and we held hands as we watched the morning news. The nurses hooked up monitors to my stomach; one to monitor my contractions and one to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. For some reason, Jonah’s heartbeat wasn’t picking up too well on the monitor, so we had to use an alternative method to monitor him. More on that in a bit. While we were waiting for things to start, I talked to my Mom and sisters on the phone. They were on their way up to the hospital. Boy, were they in for a long wait! 🙂 My OB, Dr. M., came in around 8:00 to see how I was doing. I told him how nervous I was, but he didn’t believe me because he said that I was smiling too much to be nervous. He was right – I was smiling, but I was also nervous! I wasn’t having any noticeable contractions, so I was started on Pitocin at 8:09. The nurse was instructed to come in and turn it up every 15 minutes or so. I started to feel very slight contractions, but nothing that caused any pain…minor discomfort was more like it. At 8:20, Dr. M. decided to break my water in order to get things moving. He used something that resembled a crocheting needle to break my water. I thought it was going to be really painful…but it wasn’t too bad. It was uncomfortable, but over as soon as it started. After he broke my water, he and the nurse decided to monitor the baby a different way, since he wasn’t picking up on the external monitor. I don’t even know what it was called, but they basically took a wire and attached it to the baby’s head inside me, in order to monitor his heartbeat. One by one, I was being attached to more wires and monitors. I literally couldn’t move around because I was connected to so many different things. Around 8:45 that morning, I really started to feel the contractions. They were becoming a little more uncomfortable, but I was still able to talk through them. My Mom arrived at the hospital around 9:00 that morning. I was still in pretty good shape – I was able to talk and visit with her while experiencing the contractions. My Dad and Step-Mom showed up about half an hour later…and while I was still able to talk and visit with them, I was starting to not be able to talk through the contractions. They were coming about 4-5 minutes apart at this time. The nurse kept coming in to turn up the Pitocin, and I definitely knew it. My sisters showed up at the hospital around 10:30 that morning, and by then I was to the point where I couldn’t talk through the contractions anymore. They were also about 2 minutes apart and the intensity was taking my breath away. I felt bad that I couldn’t really talk to my sisters at this point. The contractions were bad…they were almost on top of each other and I couldn’t talk at all. I suffered through the contractions for a little over 3 hours. Around noon, Dr. M. agreed that I had labored enough to now have the epidural. Coming into my induction I was 3 centimeters dilated and 70% effaced. After starting the Pitocin and contracting for those 3 hours, I was still 3 centimeters dilated, but now 80% effaced. I was pleading for the epidural at this point. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the anesthesiologist came in and started the process of giving me the epidural. There was a lot of paperwork to fill out, and a lot of questions to answer. (Thank goodness for Kevin – I couldn’t talk, so he took care of this part for me.) I was so focused on the pain from the contractions that I didn’t even care I was about to be poked with a huge needle. Finally, around 12:30, I was all set and ready to go. The IV had been placed in my back, and I started the epidural. Within about 10 minutes, I was unable to feel the contractions. Also, I looked like this: I was smiling again 🙂 I was able to move my legs for about an hour, but eventually, I became completely numb from my waist down. I wasn’t able to move at all. It was a weird sensation, but I am so thankful that I didn’t have to suffer through the contractions anymore, or so I thought… …Dr. M. came and checked me a few more times throughout the day. I was able to visit with my family again. Kevin’s parents were at the hospital now, too. Around 3:30, my Dad and Step-Mom came in and stayed with me while Kevin went to get something to eat. I was not allowed to eat at all that day. Kevin wouldn’t have eaten if we didn’t force him to 🙂 While Kevin was away, Dr. M. came in and checked me around 4:00. He said I was now around 7 to 8 centimeters and 90% effaced. I texted Kevin right away, and he came back to the hospital. I really thought that I would be delivering soon…but I still had a ways to go. Once Kevin came back into the room, my Dad and Step-Mom left and I tried to nap for a little bit. I was able to sleep for probably 45 minutes. At that point, our family came back to visit in pairs. We just talked and visited to pass the time. Finally, at 6:30, Dr. M. came back to check me and I was a little more than 9 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. He checked the positioning of the baby, and found out that Jonah was facing the floor. Ideally, he would have liked for the baby to be facing the ceiling. He had the nurse turn me onto my left side in order to try and get Jonah to turn around. Thankfully he was still head down, but we now needed him to face the right direction. Dr. M. said that I would be ready to push very soon. He had to deliver another baby in the room next to me, and then it would be my turn. We later learned that the woman delivering next door was actually one of Kevin’s colleagues! What a small world, huh? 🙂 My excitement was starting to peak…we would be meeting our baby very soon! I was still a bundle of nerves, but I was trying to just soak in ever moment. I turned the TV to ABC Family around 7:00, and one of my favorite Christmas Movies was just coming on…The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. I distinctly remember turning to Kevin and saying, “Our goal is to have this baby by the of this movie!” My sisters were back in the room with me at this point, and we were just relaxing and watching the movie. Around 7:30, the nurses changed shifts, so I met my new nurse. She was a total sweetheart, and made me feel so comfortable. She did notice, however, that my epidural was running low. So, she ordered more. I started to feel some pain again, and panicked when I realized that I could also move my legs again. The epidural was wearing off. It was now around 7:30, and I asked the nurse when the anesthesiologist would be here. She assured me he was on his way…but he never came. At 8:00 on the dot, the nurse said that Dr. M. was finishing up next door, and he wanted me to start pushing. At this point, everyone left the room except Kevin and my sister Julie. She was going to be in the room with me as I delivered 🙂 It was such an amazing experience not only for her, but for me as well. She and Kevin were awesome coaches, and I’m so thankful they were both there. So…I started pushing…and I could feel everything. The epidural was now completely worn off, so I could feel it all. I was scared out of my mind, because I have zero pain tolerance! The nurse showed me how to push, and with Kevin and Julie on either side of my legs, I began to push. It took me a few tries to get the hang of pushing – I wasn’t focusing my energy in the right place at first…but I quickly fixed it. Dr. M. came in the room around 8:15 and took over. The nurse was helping me push now with Kevin and Julie. Kevin was amazing…looking back on that amazing moment brings tears to my eyes. He never once left my side…he cheered me on…he held my hand and helped hold back my legs. He truly was the most wonderful source of support and encouragement. And Julie…my sweet sister, Julie. She actually started taking over the counting for the nurse! She counted to 10 and cheered me on…telling me I could do it…I will do it. So I pushed, and I pushed, and I pushed some more. It was a pain that I could never put into words…but with each pain that passed, I knew it was bringing us closer to meeting our son. Halfway through pushing, I became very ill and actually threw up four times. In that moment I was so ready to give up…I was experiencing the severe pain from contractions, the searing pain from pushing, and throwing up. Dr. M. was also amazing…he felt so awful that I was sick. He kept me going though, along with Kevin and Julie. I was a crying mess after getting sick, and he made me stop and look at him to refocus my attention. It was now even more real to me. Kevin and Julie had both looked down to see Jonah’s head. They told me he had hair, and I now more than ever wanted to see and hold our miracle. Dr. M. had to cut me, just a little, because I was starting to tear. I could feel it, but at this point I just wanted him in my arms. Kevin cheered me on and pushed with me on each push. A few minutes later, Dr. M. told me that he would need to use something like a suction cup to help get the baby out. Jonah’s head was pretty big, and since he never fully turned to face the ceiling like the Dr. M. had hoped, he knew that he had to help me get him out. I remember looking up at the TV and seeing that The Santa Clause was still on, and I remember glancing over at Kevin, in tears, and giving one last push – the hardest push of all. One second later, Jonah was out…and he was beautiful…and I couldn’t even breathe because I was so overcome by what I had just done. It was 8:44 p.m. Dr M. suctioned out his mouth, and I heard him cry for the first time…and I cried right along with him. I looked at Kevin and my heart melted. Jonah was placed on my stomach and all I could do was cry tears of happiness. After wondering whether or not Kevin and I would ever have a baby…our son was in my arms. Kevin’s face is something I will never forget. The nursery nurse took him away rather quickly and cleaned him up a little bit. Kevin had to go with the baby to the nursery. Thankfully Julie was able to stay with me. I do have to say though, that I was still in pain, even after Jonah was born. I never felt that relief that so many women talk about. I still had to deliver the after-birth, and I had to push it out just like the baby. After it was out, I felt a little bit better, but I was still feeling contractions. Kevin was with the baby in the nursery for almost an hour. I couldn’t wait to hold him again. Dr. M. took care of me, and the nurses cleaned me up. I was bleeding more than normal, and had to have a shot for that reason. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Kevin brought Jonah back to me, and I cried again. He told me that Jonah was 7 pounds 13 ounces, and that he was 21 inches long. I couldn’t believe our little miracle was finally here. Here is one of the first pictures we have of Jonah: We put his red hat on to announce his name to our family! They all came back a few minutes later, and were so excited to meet the little guy they had waited so long for. All of that pain? Worth it. All of the tears? Worth it. Throwing up while pushing? Worth it. Bruises all over my body from the IVs and other needles? Worth it. Everything was worth it. And you know what? I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I was finally wheeled into my recovery room around 11:00 that night. I was exhausted. Nurses were checking on me every 15 minutes because of the bleeding. Finally, around 1:00 in the morning we were able to get some sleep. It was the longest, most amazing day of my life, and I never want to forget it. Our son is finally here, and we are so in love with him! 🙂 A lot of people have been asking how we came up with his name. Jonah is a name that I have always loved. I remember telling Kevin how much I liked it when we first found out we were expecting. He didn’t not like the name, but he wasn’t crazy about it at the time either. Once we found out we were having a boy, he brought it back up to me and said how much he liked Jonah. From there, it stuck 🙂 What made the name even more wonderful, is the meaning behind it. We sort of picked his middle name, Alexander, first. Kevin’s middle name is Arland, just like his Dad’s middle name, and his Grandfather’s first name. We decided not to use Arland, but we still wanted to honor that name somehow. Well, all of the letters of Arland are in the name Alexander. Also, for my side of the family, my Dad’s name is John. All of the letters of John are in Jonah 🙂 Jonah Alexander honors both my Dad, and Kevin, his Dad, and his grandfather, while still giving him his own unique name. Once we realized this, we knew it was perfect and would never change 🙂 I just have to say that to anyone who has given birth without an epidural, you are my heroes! I honestly don’t know how you do it…you are amazing! Although I experienced the end of my labor med-free, I was in excruciating pain after 3 hours…I can’t imagine having to go through that for the entire 12 hours that I labored! It’s hard to believe that Jonah is 10 days old today. Time has flown by, and before I know it he will be a month old. Next year at this time I will be wondering how he is one. No matter how fast or slow time may pass, one thing will never change: our son is the most important person in our lives and the love we feel for him is unlike anything we’ve ever felt before. It is unconditional. It is unending. It is patient, and kind. It is everything.