Week 40, Day 6 (Morning):
I feel SO huge and I’m so over being pregnant. I’ve been on maternity leave for two weeks, and I assumed by this point I’d be cuddling my baby. Instead, I’m lugging around a fully formed human in my body and I’m having a hard time getting comfortable.

Week 40, Day 6 (Afternoon):
I go to visit my OBGYN in the hopes that she will take one look at me and proclaim “THIS WOMAN IS IN ACTIVE LABOR!” Instead, it’s a routine appointment where she tells me that I’m showing no signs of labor.

BUT THEN, EXCITEMENT! She tells me that she is going to call the hospital to schedule my induction for tomorrow!

Week 41, Day 1 (8:00 AM): 
My husband Brendan and I arrive at the hospital and are shown to our room. A Labor and Delivery (L&D) nurse enters to get me set up and check my cervix for signs of dilation. If you’d never had your cervix checked, this is what happens:

1. With gloved hands a medical professional sticks two fingers into your vagina.

2. They get their fingers all the way up and back until they feel your cervix.

3. They check to see if your cervix is opened (or dilated) and do a measurement in centimeters on how open it is. Your cervix needs to go from ZERO to TEN centimeters wide in order for a baby to fit through.

The L&D nurse tells me to put the bottom of my feet together to make a froggy pose while she checks my cervix.

She tells me that I’m at maybe half a centimeter dilated. Then she gives me my first dose of misoprostol, a pill that will slowly make my cervix dilate and induce my labor (hopefully.)

Week 41, Day 1 (2:00 PM): 
My L&D nurse comes to check my cervix again and give me a second dose of misoprostol or “miso” as they call it. I am hopeful that my cervix is cooperating but I am still at a half centimeter dilated. She tells me that her shift is ending and introduces me to my new nurse.

This nurse is a lot older and definitely more seasoned.

One of the first things my new nurse says to me is this:

“When the time comes, you need to push. You need to push, push, push! So many people go through all of this dilating, they get all the way to ten, and then they can’t push. You need to push!”

I stare at her intently and swear to her that I will push when I am dilated to ten.

Week 41, Day 2 (2:00 AM): 
We’ve been at the hospital all day and into the night, and very little has happened.

Two L&D nurses come in to give me another dose of miso and to check my cervix. One of the nurses is training and is obviously nervous. She goes ahead and starts to check my cervix. I can feel her fingers shaking inside me.

While she is in there, she looks at her colleague and hesitantly says, “um…four?” to which I bolt up in total excitement.

Her trainer looks at her in disbelief and asks nicely, “Are you sure?” Then she checks my cervix. Turns out I’m still at one.

Week 41, Day 2 (8:00 AM):
A new, really great nurse comes in. Her name is Chris and she is definitely my favorite nurse! I’m now dilated to two!

Week 41, Day 2 (12:00 PM):
As I walk to the bathroom something falls out of me. It looks like a jellyfish blob. Chris is with me and she says, “Looks like you lost your mucus plug!” and then grab a paper towel and picks it up. I think about how grateful I am that people are willing to do this job.

Week 41, Day 2 (3:00 PM):
I am now dilated to four centimeters, and things are heating up. I’m starting to get cramps that feel like a really bad period. The nurses ask me what my pain management preferences are, and I say I prefer to not feel any pain! They call for the anesthesiologist to put in my epidural.

Week 41, Day 2 (9:00 PM):
Things are getting real. Here’s what’s happening:

  1. I am dilated near ten.
  2. To help speed everything along, the team has given me pitocin, and it makes me vomit. A lot.
  3. The intense older drill sergeant nurse is back! She gives me a look as if to say “Remember your training, do not disappoint me.”
  4. My OBGYN is having dinner at home with her family. What?!

Week 41, Day 2 (9:15 PM):
The nurses all agree that it’s time for me to start pushing. They are calling the doctor who is on her way.

The drill sergeant nurse takes over. She instructs Brendan to help me hold my knees back towards my ears.

The drill sergeant waits until my next contraction comes and tells me to hold my breath and push. They count to ten while I push and feel like my head is about to explode from the pressure.

Finally, my OBGYN comes running into the room.

Week 41, Day 2 (9:15 PM):
The doctor takes one look and says, “Oh! Hi baby! We can see the top of your head!”

The OBGYN tells me when my next contraction is and I push hard again. Each push is the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done, and I vomit after each one. But I hold my breath and bear down as they count each time.

I do one last, hard push and I feel the doctor pull what feels like a massive thing out of my body.

That thing is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. My son is born!

Week 41, Day 2 (9:20 PM):
Amazingly I stop throwing up and suddenly feel 100% better. As I hold my little goo-covered miracle I am filled with a sense of accomplishment. The waiting was worth it!

This post originally appeared on The San Francisco Mama.