I was at work on November 22nd when I felt an overwhelmingly uneasy feeling, it was all I could think about. Little did I know, I was about to go into labor and the day that I had been praying for had FINALLY came. That day I had worked an abnormally long 10 hour shift, completely exhausted I laid on the couch and my dog had literally wrapped herself around my stomach and cuddled with me. After laying there for a couple hours my husband James tells me we have to go get groceries for Thanksgiving the following day. Great. Standing in the checkout line I feel my first real contraction (though it wasn’t painful yet I knew for sure it was a contraction). I glance down at my phone to start timing them, the clock says 7pm. In the car and I feel my next one 7:17 pm. My contractions go from 15+ minutes apart to 9 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart. Later that night I’m sitting in the bathtub still timing my contractions, they get down to 2 minutes apart. I rush out of the bathroom telling James to get everything ready because one thing was for sure, I was NOT having this baby at home. I remember having to use the bathroom so bad but I refused to sit on a toilet because I thought my baby would just fall out of me (silly, I know). At 10:45 we go to the hospital, they hook me up to monitors and start recording my contractions. Soon after, the nurses come in to check my cervix, I was only 3 cm dilated and I was extremely disappointed because the week prior I was 1.5 cm dilated. We decided to go home so I could labor on my own. I thought this would be a good choice because my contractions were uncomfortable but not by any means painful…yet. As soon as we get home the contractions get excruciating. The pain was so bad I was throwing up after each contraction. I tried to sleep but I would be woken up with a contraction so I would try to curl up in the fetal position to ease the stomach pain (thinking it was similar to period cramps HA). At this point I’m restless, I can’t sleep, lay, sit, stand, do anything without wanting to scream out in pain. I get in a hot bath again to try to get comfortable and it helped for a few minutes but then my body was quick to adjust and I was back to unbearable pain. I tell James “I can’t do this, I need the epidural and I need it now”. James tells me I should eat something quick before we go back to the hospital. In between the contractions I scarfed down a handful of blueberries and out the door we went. The hospital was on the military post and if you have ever been on one you know that you have to get your IDs checked when entering the base. We drive up to the gate and James hands the gate guard our IDs I hear the guard say “well, looks like you’ve been randomly selected for a car inspection!” In my head I’m thinking this can NOT be happening I just need to get into this hospital. We tell him that I’m in labor and we can’t do the inspection and thankfully he let’s us go. It’s about 2 am and the nurses check my cervix again and I’m 5cm dilated, they tell me I will be admitted. I get into our hospital room and I start puking from the contractions but the vomit was dark purple, the nurses all start freaking out thinking its blood and I tell them it’s just blueberries, the nurses all burst in laughter. Time goes by and its about 4 am and I’m waiting to get my epidural, they check my cervix and I’m 7 cm dilated. I was so motivated hearing that because I had made it this far on my own, without medication. The anesthesiologist comes in and my anxiety takes over. I had an extreme fear about getting the epidural. I was more scared of that needle in my back than giving birth. Let me just tell you that needle in my back made my labor SO comfortable, I was numb in all the right places but I still had function of my feet and toes. Unfortunately the epidural brought my active labor to a halt, I was stuck at 7cm for about 5 and a half hours. Around 9:30 am I complained to the nurses how I felt an extreme urge to go to the bathroom and she told me that It’s normal and that feeling was the baby going into the birth canal. The nurse checked my cervix and she felt his head, she tells me “it’s time to push”. Moments later the OB comes in and tells me we are going to start pushing. I had no idea what I was doing but pushing came so natural, I just knew I needed my son to be in my arms. I push through 2 sets of contractions and I get to the third contraction and the nurse tells me to cough. I’m thinking “why does she want me to cough?” I’m so confused but I do as I’m told. I hear them say “One more cough!”, I cough again and I hear him crying. 10:01 am on 11/23/2017 (Thanksgiving) my son Carter James Russell was born, measuring at 19.5 inches long and 7 lbs. Overwhelming love. The best feeling in the world, and the very best day of my life.