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Maria and Michael
Vaginal delivery, epidural

My husband and I were married in October 1994 and knew that although we wanted to wait a few years, we wanted two children. We took the time to get to know each other, buy a house, get settled in, and travel. Meanwhile, everyone in our families kept pushing us to have a baby, and couldn't imagine why on earth we would want to wait so long. I am very happy we did wait, as we were completely (well maybe not completely) ready to plan for a child in early 1999. I stopped using my birth control pills in April of that year, and by July I was pregnant. I didn't get any morning sickness and felt completely fine. If it weren't for the lack of a monthly period, I would never have known that I was pregnant. When I was 10 weeks along, we had an ultrasound and discovered that I had what is called a blighted ovum. Basically I miscarried. It was terrible and we felt cheated. It took me a long time to even want to try again, as I felt devastated and such sorrow for my little angel that never was.

In January 2000 we decided not to 'try' and get pregnant, and just let nature take its course and see what would happen. In May I found out I was pregnant again and I was ecstatic, but very nervous. My due date was set at January 10, 2001. This time, as before, I again didn't get any symptoms, which of course made me scared to death. At my seven week appointment, my OB sent me in for an ultrasound just to check, and lo and behold, there we saw it: a teeny, tiny, flashing heartbeat. What a moment! We both cried and felt such a feeling of relief. The remainder of the pregnancy was pretty uneventful, and I was gaining weight at a relatively slow pace, which made me happy. At 19 weeks along, we had another ultrasound, which revealed we were having a boy. Of course my husband was very pleased with that information, and we began thinking of boy names. We chose Michael Joseph. After that, the feelings I had towards my growing, unborn son were incredible. I loved him so much and was grateful that everything was going so well. I didn't have any nausea, cravings, or anything of that nature. Except for the fatigue, discomfort, backaches and difficulty finding comfortable sleeping positions, my pregnancy was almost enjoyable, so I can't complain. But because of this, I feared I would have a hard labor. We took the childbirth education and baby CPR classes and felt somewhat prepared.

On Friday, January 5, I had a manicure and pedicure and was feeling rather nice for once. For some odd reason, we stayed up late that night until about 2:30am watching TV and just talking. At 5:15am I woke up with some cramping which felt like heavy menstrual cramps. They would last about 20 seconds and came 10 minutes apart at first, so I didn't wake my husband up right away. I still wasn't sure if they were contractions, so I began reading some books. Within the hour however, they started coming six to seven minutes apart, and I woke my husband around 6:30am figuring this was it. I decided to take a shower, and while in there they starting coming three minutes apart. It happened so fast, so I called the doctor who told me to come in to be sure, even though she didn't think it might be time yet because it's my first pregnancy. I decided 15 minutes later that I was going to the hospital right away. I figured I'd rather be sent home then to risk having the baby at home or in the car. It's a good thing we did leave.

It was snowing, and the sun had just come up so it was so beautiful out (it was that fluffy, pretty snow). I wish we had videotaped our leaving. When we arrived at the hospital they told me I was three to four cm dilated, and that it was definitely happening that day. We were so excited and scared at the same time, and called our parents.

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As soon as we were taken to my labor and delivery room and I sat down, I felt a big, warm gush as my water broke. By 10am, the contractions were very painful and lasting about 45-60 seconds, with hardly any rest in between, so I asked - no begged for an epidural. They gave it to me, and when my doctor checked me, they were surprised to find that I was fully dilated. By this time it was around 11:30am, and the epidural made a HUGE difference for me. I felt no pain at all, and was able to bear the additional wait for the contractions to move the baby down. At about 3:00pm we began pushing, which was not painful, but very exhausting. I tore naturally, but only required two stitches. Our baby was born at 5:45pm on January 6th, healthy and with a loud cry. He weighed exactly 8 lbs, and was 20 inches long. My husband was WONDERFUL and we were so moved. Neither one of us will ever, ever forget the moment our baby came into this world for as long as we live. It truly is indescribable. I was in labor for a total of 12 1/2 hours, and the doctor and nurses were surprised at my progression - they said it went really fast for a first timer.

The moment my son was born and they placed him on my chest was the best moment in my life. I fell in love with him. I have to say that this experience has truly changed our lives.

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