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At 4:30 in the morning, I woke up and knew I was going into labor. By 6:30, the contractions had gotten pretty strong, and by noon we were in the hospital. At 2:30am the next morning, my son arrived.

It wasn’t the labor I expected — after 10 hours of intense back labor, I asked for an epidural despite my intentions to avoid one. After the epidural we had one set of complications resulting in a lot of doctors and nurses crowded around my bed and what my husband describes as the scariest 20 minutes of his life. We hit a few more bumps before the night was over, and I had to remind BWB repeatedly to be my husband, not a doctor. In spite of all that, it was still beyond anything I could have hoped for. At the end of the very long day, they put a perfect little boy on my chest and he was here.

For forty weeks and three days, I carried him around with me. Even before he had started to resemble a tiny person more than a miniature manatee, I was talking to him. He took Step 3 of the USMLE exams with me in December. I probably looked like a crazy person in the hospital halls, explaining to my abdomen that we were going to have to remember to do a really good neuro exam on our patient this morning, or promising that as soon as we got one more note written we’d go and get something to eat. For the last month or so, he had terrible hiccups which tended to start after every time I ate. We played games with his feet, where I’d push on them and he’d slide them down the side of my belly, pushing out somewhere else. I knew where his back was, and would rub it while I was working.

It’s funny that I went over by a few days, because at 35 weeks they told me they were worried about preterm labor. That didn’t happen, obviously, but from then on it seemed like it could happen any day. I wasn’t ready, though. Honestly, I would have been happily pregnant for another month as long as I could have not had the prelabor nonsense — the false starts and contractions keeping me awake all night, those weren’t pleasant at all. Up until that all started, pregnancy was pretty wonderful. There was a person inside me, my son growing from a few little scraps of DNA. It’s amazing, pure and simple.

So there we were, in the labor and delivery room, and they put this little person on my chest and it’s my son, our baby boy. How does one even describe that moment? It’s still surreal, to this day, to think this little person is the same guy I whispered to in the hospital stairwells. I get a little choked up every time he gets the hiccups, remembering how it felt before he was born. I think a piece of my heart has permanently been removed and embodied in my little guy, and I’ll be vulnerable forever because of it.

As I write this, our son is curled up on my chest, sleeping. He’s a tiny miracle, and I still can’t express the depth of my amazement that God saw fit to give him to us. He has arrived, our lives have been totally turned inside out, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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