Sure enough, though, my contractions were coming in at only six minutes apart.
I remember Max giving me a blessing before calling my parents and telling them I was going to the hospital. I also remember feeling a wave a nausea come on and all of a sudden my water breaking. I started to cry at that point. I was terrified.
We walked into the hospital around 12:30 AM. The security guard who buzzed us into the labor and delivery unit smiled when he said "I think it's time." I nervously laughed - I still don't know why at that point I wasn't convinced that that would be the day I would go into labor, but that changed when the nurse who checked us into triage said that I was 90% effaced and 4 cm dilated. I didn't have much time to register what that entirely meant, because the contractions suddenly began coming on stronger and stronger. I remember holding the nurse's hand through one of the more painful ones (her name was Sarah and she was an angel) as Max ran to go park the car and grab my hospital bag.
Sarah held my hand again as Max watched the anesthesiologist put in the epidural and chat about medical school. I admire those who are willing to have a natural birth, because for me that epidural was a gift straight from heaven.
Within four hours I was ready to go. I silently prayed over and over again that my doctor would be the one on call that night. Even though he wasn't, he would still be the doctor to deliver our son, which was just one of the many, many blessings that early Thanksgiving morning.
At about 6 AM, I started to push. I pushed for two and a half long hours, which in retrospect, I'm still amazed I survived. Even with an epidural, the pushing and the crunching and holding my breath soon became exhausting. There were several times I can remember looking up at my Mom and saying over and over, I can't keep doing this; every time she'd reassure me that I could. Finally, just minutes before 8:30 that morning, at 8:27 AM to be exact, I distinctly remember my doctor looking as serious as I had ever seen him. This was it.
Anyone who has been through this will most likely tell you the same thing I always heard, that there are no words to describe the following moments or feelings. I heard his little cry for the first time. I remember looking up at the faces of my own Mom and Dad, and most especially my best friend and my husband Max. I remember realizing that he was now a dad. I remember my tears blurring everyone's faces and this feeling of love that overcame me. It felt so instant and unconditional. I remember the first time they rested this baby boy on my skin, and I remember whispering that I was his mom. Those moments are so sacred and so special. They all will forever be saved in a part of my heart I never knew existed until that Thanksgiving day.
The following hours and days are a blur of love, and exhaustion, of tears and prayers filled with gratitude. Even now, almost two months later, I look down at this baby boy and still can't believe he is ours. I've always believed that families could be together forever, but had no idea how much more that would mean to me when I began a family of my own. Max is the champion of all fathers and husbands, who even though he had his first semester of medical school finals looming when we got home from the hospital, loved and cared for us in a way that will forever cement our relationship. They say that there are no words to describe the love you have for your child, but the same goes for this new aspect of love you will feel for your husband.
I have never felt so thankful as I did that Thanksgiving morning for the plan of happiness, and for this new profound sense of true happiness I was just now experiencing as a new mother. I can honestly say, it was the best day of our lives.
(And just so you know - the first thing the doctor gave me after delivery was an ice cold Diet Coke. It should be noted that this was the best Diet Coke I have ever tasted, and by that act alone, my doctor will always remain one of my true kindred spirits).