On the morning of Wednesday May 6th, 2009, Matt and I went to our doctor?s appointment to check on the baby. I was 40 weeks and 6 days along and I had only dilated 1 cm. The baby?s head was still high and my cervix looked nothing like it should for someone about to have a baby. Also the baby?s size was concerning to the doctor (Dr. said she was 9 lbs 13 oz!) Therefore, I should expect to get a c-section or have a horrible birth experience. At that same appointment, my blood pressure was slightly elevated to 145/90. Dr. told me to walk to the hospital and get admitted for observation. Matt and I walked straight over the hospital and once we were admitted, found that my blood pressure readings were normal. However, after talking it over with Dr., we decided to stay and get a c-section since we were already admitted and resigned to having to get surgery to get the baby out because of her size. Even though we decided to go that route, I still had reservations about it. Something was making me uneasy about it but at that point I felt I should trust the doctor?s advice. We scheduled to have the c-section at 7:30pm and called everyone to tell them. We told my mom to get into the car and drive as quickly as possible so she could meet her new grandbaby that evening. Little did we know that Grace had other plans. Much to our shock at 5pm my water broke. This caught us completely off guard, because she hadn?t shown any signs that this was coming. I took it as a sign that this baby wanted to be born the old fashioned way. This made me so happy because I felt it was what was supposed to happen and I was glad that my water broke in time to let us know. We canceled the c-section and decided to give it a try. I started to get pretty painful contractions at about 10pm that evening. I didn?t have to suffer long, because shortly thereafter I received an epidural. That felt amazing. Not only did my pain go away, but I felt better than I had in months. No backaches, no crabbiness. I was on cloud nine. That allowed Matt and I to relax. Matt updated his Facebook status and I talked with friends and family. By 8am on Thursday May 7th I was 3-4 cm dilated. This was great news because secretly I had feared that I just would not dilate (I thought I would be the only pregnant woman who didn?t do this, lol). I wondered if I would have a horrible birth experience because I had been told by doctors she was too large. So surprisingly throughout the day, I continued to dilate. I was 5 cm by noon. I was still feeling good, though I could tell the epidural was wearing off a little. Mom had arrived from the night before, so she kept me company while matt ran home to get a shower. She later told me she was praying for me to progress as she scratched my back and tried to make me more comfortable. From 12 noon to 2:00 I dilated another 5 cm! So by 2 oclock I was fully dilated. BUT the baby had still not dropped into my pelvis. Her head was up high so Dr. wanted to wait to start pushing until the baby dropped. By 3:30 I was ready to push and the baby showed signs that her head was lower and ready to go. The only problem was that I wasn?t! The epidural had worn off somewhat and was only keeping some of the pain away. I felt exhausted because I had not slept the whole night before. When I started to push I could feel every contraction and I could not get my stamina up to push the baby out. I would push with each breath and by the end of the 2nd or 3rd breath I would lose all my strength and just stop pushing. After 3 hours of pushing I started to cry. I felt myself pushing but I didn?t feel like it was doing anything to move the baby down. I was so tired that I would almost fall asleep or pass out in between pushes. I had my mom holding my head, my best friend holding one leg and matt holding the other leg. I began to break down and cry. I said I didn?t want to continue and that I wanted a c-section. Matt kept looking into my eyes and telling me that I could do this. I was starting to partly believe in what he was saying at that point. Then Dr. came into the room and sat down between my legs and said we are going to have this baby. A few nurses came in as well and suddenly I was surrounded with about 7 people telling me that I could do it and to just PUSH! I was still doubting my ability even at that point. But I just kept doing what they told me to do. By now it as 6pm and I was crying and screaming, pushing as hard as I could and the baby would just not come out. Dr. said she would need to use forceps and matt and I looked at each other and agreed (even though we said we would not do that before). We trusted Dr. so we told her she could. She used the forceps and with one more push the baby?s head came out! With the very next push her whole body slipped out of me along with a huge gush of fluid. I couldn?t even see what was happening, but I felt her come out of me and I was amazed. I couldn?t believe that we had done it! She was actually here and I made it through without a c-section. Grace didn?t cry at first, and they were a little concerned about her breathing, so they had to tend to her before I got to hold her or see her. Matt was crying and so happy, I just felt a huge sense of relief and disbelief that my body had just gone through that. Grace was born at 6:21pm on Thursday May 7, 2009 weighing 9lbs 5oz and measuring 23 inches. She is a healthy little baby girl and I am so proud of her for stepping in and making us do it the old fashioned way. This was the most amazing experience I have ever had and I am so grateful for how everything turned out.