I will never forget the chilly Saturday morning when I emerged from my bathroom, crying, with a pregnancy test in hand. I whispered to my husband, “I’m pregnant!” and fell on the bed in awe at the magnitude of this. It was so much for me to process and my range of emotions was vast. When I called my best friend Stephanie a few minutes later, I was still crying. After she squealed with delight at my news, I remember her asking, “Are these happy tears?”

I think they were what I’d call overwhelmed tears. I had always imagined myself as a Mom but by age 36 there was a part of me that felt it may not happen. Seeing the proof that there truly was a life growing inside me just moved me to tears, and reminded me very quickly how much my life was about to change.

Over the next week or so, I became a lot more adjusted to my big news. I was getting excited to tell people and had a hard time keeping it in until the typical 12 week green light. I was blessed with a fabulous pregnancy. I didn’t vomit once, I had good energy, and I didn’t gain a ton of weight or carry it anywhere but my belly. I craved healthy foods and lots of water. I ate more raw green peppers in those nine months than I ever have in my life!

As my due date approached, everyone who saw me kept insisting I’d be early. But I didn’t feel that way. My baby, who by then loved doing the wave inside me belly, seemed very content. My due date came and went, and still no labor. By this point I was starting to get nervous. My only fears about childbirth were the possibility of a c-section or an induction, which I heard was painful.

At 41 weeks, my doctor sat with me and my husband following another undilated exam, and told me she’d give me a few more days before she had to induce me. I remember asking her if it would hurt. “I’m going to level with you here,” she said pointing at my belly. “There’s no way for me to get that out of you without some amount of pain.” She’s a straight shooter.

I tried every natural method of inducing labor imaginable, but still no labor. My doctor scheduled me to be at the hospital the following week. I had a cervical balloon induction which, as most will tell you, is a very uncomfortable and pain-intensifying procedure. I wanted to have a natural childbirth, so I opted against an epidural. My Lamaze techniques would have been much more useful if I were able to get up and move around, but the balloon induction required me to lay in the bed.

It’s hard to say just how long labor is when you have a balloon induction, since the process starts the night before and quickly brings on and speeds up your contractions. To me, it felt like I didn’t have five seconds between contractions. All I know is that I finally dilated and pushed out a healthy, 7 lb 15 ounce, 22 inch baby boy at 12:19pm the next day. We loved the simplicity, strength, and meaning of the name Jack (“God is gracious”) and chose it for our perfect new baby.

Looking back now, the first few hours, days, and months of being a new Mommy were a bit of a blur. You’re in such a whirlwind and so much is going on because everyone around you wants a piece of the action. You go from lots of alone time to zero alone time, erratic sleep, and a sudden uniform of pajamas. I exclusively breastfed Jack, too, so learning how to master that and deal with its incredibly rigorous schedule was labor in and of itself!

Through all this, it’s hard to pinpoint just when I fell madly in love with my son. All I know is, I did.

Becoming a mother was both everything and nothing I expected. While I knew my relationship with my child would be special, I had no idea how intense a bond I’d form with someone so new. Jack has filled a void in my life and my heart that I didn’t even know existed. He is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but also the best thing that has ever happened to me…and I tell him so often.

Now that Jack is a year-and-a-half old and converses with us, he has become my best friend. We have inside jokes, favorite games and songs, and a special language all our own. Kisses, hugs, and “I love yous” mean more to him now, and hearing the word “MaMa” in his sweet little voice melts me each and every time. Motherhood is a wild ride, but the most worthwhile accomplishment of my life. I try everyday to give Jack my best of everything, since he brings out the best in me. And I’m thankful everyday that God chose me to be Jack’s mother.

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