Just four days before my due date, we welcomed our son into the world:

8 lbs. 1 oz., 20.5 in. long

The day before he decided to make his appearance, I was experiencing contractions all day.  I never experienced contractions with Toddler Checkers because my water broke first, and I wasn't sure I would know what they felt like since I had never had them before.  But trust me when I say you will know when you are having contractions.  Someone once described them to me as feeling like menstrual cramps; this was mostly true for my early contractions.  My contractions were not regular at that point, maybe happening once or twice an hour, so I didn't think much of it.

That night, we were also hosting a dinner for a group of friends who were visiting from out of town.  Throughout dinner and especially through the late evening hours, my contractions were gradually becoming more frequent and more painful.  By 1 AM, I decided to start timing them, and sure enough, they were coming every five minutes!  We called the doctor and got the okay to head over to the hospital.

It was almost 3 AM by the time we arrived, and by that point I was already 4 cm dilated, but they said the baby was still high. They suggested that I walk around for an hour to see if I could dilate more on my own before they admitted me. And so, we started our walk around the hospital, pausing every five minutes while I grimaced in pain, using the rest of the time to figure out what we were going to name this child.

At 4 AM the nurses told me I had dilated to 5 cm, and said I could stay (I would have cried if they sent me home).  They started my IV, moved me to a room, and soon after I received my first epidural. I realized it was wearing off after a few hours when I started crying and muttering expletives through my contractions. I asked my nurse if it was supposed to hurt this much (although I should have known since I received the epidural with Toddler Checkers), and I wondered how any woman could bear the pain of a drug-free labor and delivery. To those who have made it through a natural birth, I salute you.

After I received my second epidural, I felt immediate relief.  I was scared a second epidural would slow down my labor or inhibit me from being able to push, but I didn't have problems with either. I quickly dilated to 10 cm, but they had me "labor down" (wait until the baby's head was closer to the birth canal) so I wouldn't have to push as long. When it was finally time to push, I pushed once, and they told me to stop and called the doctor in for delivery! A push and a half later at 10:49 AM, the boy was out, and I couldn't believe he was out so quickly!

Even though I got the epidural with both Baby Checkers and Toddler Checkers, my birth stories are very different!  I definitely was not expecting to feel any pain this time around, so I was surprised when my epidural wore off when it did.  I also expected to push much longer, but since he came out in 2.5 pushes, my physical recovery was much faster this time around.

We are just a couple weeks in and are falling in love with this little one.

2 weeks old