At 5:00 a.m. on Monday, July 23, I was awoken out of a dead sleep by a terrible contraction. I had been having contractions on and off for days, but nothing like this. I laid there in bed and watched the clock and about 10 minutes later experienced the same kind of contraction. During the third one, my agonizing sigh woke Josh up. "Are you having a contraction?" He held my hand and grinned when I told him it was my third one in under 30 minutes - he knew they were different too.With his handy Contraction Timer App on his phone, Josh watched and timed my contractions. Around 6:30 a.m. when they started to become 12-15 minutes apart, he said it was time to go for a walk. "I am not going to work today, I want to meet my son." We went for a 2 mile walk around our neighborhood, timing contractions and talking about the anticipated day. By the end of the walk, my contractions were around 7 minutes apart.Back at home, I bounced on my yoga ball, finished a decorating project, and watched an episode of Law and Order SVU all the while experiencing stronger and more intense contractions. My contractions had been 5 minutes apart for over an hour, but I did not want to be one of those people who gets sent home from the hospital. I knew they were really bad, but were they just bad to my weenie, pain-intolerant self? So, I suffered for a while longer at home, by this point having to brace myself against Josh through each contraction. Finally I had a contraction that lasted over a minute and a half and that made me wish I could just die, I decided it was time.At 11:30 a.m., we left for the hospital.When we arrived and got checked in, I was doubling over in pain with contractions that were bringing me to tears. When they checked me and told me I was at 5 cm already, I was so happy that all that work had not been in vain.Two hours later at over 6 cm dilated, I got my epidural. God's miracle drug. I could move my legs and wiggle my toes but I could feel no pain. What a crazy sensation.My nurse, Tracy, was so encouraging and sweet. She made my labor experience that much more enjoyable.I had friends and family come visit me during this second half of my labor and it was a fun distraction. They laughed as we watched contractions on top of each other show up on the monitor with not so much as a grimace from me. When I was checked two hours later, I was at 8 cm. One of the reasons I debated the epidural is because I've heard it can slow down your labor, so I was happy to hear it hadn't.By around 9 p.m. it was time to push.This was the part I was so nervous about. But it wasn't at all like you see in the movies. It was just me, Josh and my new nurse on duty, Vanessa. Josh had a Coldplay Pandora station playing on his iPhone. Josh and Vanessa each sat at the end of my bed and held my legs for me as I pushed. They gave me encouragement and helped me focus. Not too long into the pushing process, Vanessa could tell that Grady's head was turned sideways preventing him from coming down through my pelvis. She told me I was basically pushing against a brick wall. This was our new goal, to get Grady's head to turn. So they turned me on my side and tried pushing that way. Then to the other side. Finally, after over an hour and a half of pushing, we got his head to turn. The epidural had started wearing off at this point and I could feel a difference in my pushing. I could tell when my contractions were coming better than the monitor could detect. Five pushes later and Vanessa called the doctor in to help deliver Grady.At 10:53 p.m. Grady Ford Goodman was born. He came out screaming and with a slight cone head from being stuck in birth canal so long.Holding my baby boy for the first time was a feeling like none other. It felt so surreal to finally meet the boy I had been carrying and dreaming about for the past 10 months.When I slipped him inside my gown, he was instantly calmed. I was his mom and he felt safe with me.Josh kissed me with tears in his eyes, "This is our boy."At 7.2 lbs and 20 inches long, Grady is perfect and healthy. We praise God for his faithlessness to us and for this most precious gift.