With every conceivable fear rattling around in my brain, I counted the hours, minutes and seconds until my 9:00 pm scheduled induction. My son was now almost a week late in arriving and my doctor decided it was time to issue an eviction notice. Having it scheduled made the terrifying reality shift into sharp focus as it was now going to happen. I was going to be a mommy.

Throughout my pregnancy, I had kept my expectations realistic. Many women I knew had miscarriages and complications in their pregnancies. It would be foolish of me not to at least consider that I might lose my baby along the way. I couldn’t be that lucky to nail it on the first try, could I?

And yet, as the days turned to weeks, and eventually months, I turned out to be one of those incredibly lucky women who had everything go right all the way through until the end. I was scared of becoming a parent, still. I had a lot of fears about being able to attach and bond with my son, worrying that my dysfunctional upbringing would be his burden too. My husband did his best to comfort me, as did my friends, but there were a few moments where I broke down in tears that day.

I arrived at the hospital at the scheduled time, ready to face whatever I had gotten myself into. My check-in went smoothly enough. I was placed in a quiet room, put on an IV, and strapped into two monitors, one for my contractions, the other for the baby’s heartbeat. My husband set up to sleep in the small built in bed beside mine.

I didn’t expect to get much rest, though. The device to begin the process was inserted and I was in tremendous discomfort. The contractions were much stronger and happening more frequently. The monitor showed the jagged line climbing and falling more steadily with each passing minute. Eventually, the pain became too much for me to breathe through and I paged the nurse for some relief.

The doctor approved a general pain reliever, which took the edge off and wouldn’t hurt the baby. It helped but I didn’t get the relief I expected. As the effects wore off a few hours later, I was paging the nurse for another dose when my water broke. Then, things got interesting. The pain of the next contraction jumped significantly and I could barely stand it. The one that followed that had me sobbing in tears like a toddler.

At that point, the relaxation and breathing techniques did nothing. I could barely focus on anything, I was so blinded by the complete agony. I remember someone ordering for an anesthesiologist for an epidural. I also remember thinking that anyone who did this without pain management was out of their mind.

The first attempt did nothing. I was told they missed the area on my spine where the drug was supposed to go. A second had to be ordered, and after that took its effect, I was quickly numb and stable from the waist down. I was bundled up and left to progress in relative peace.

The next few hours were a bizarre haze of semi-consciousness. Unbeknownst to me, the dilation and contractions continued while my nerves were blocked. Eventually, the time came to push and the sensation lead me to feeling only pressure. The baby was born less than 20 minutes later with only my husband and a nurse to help me. My doctor had another delivery happen before mine and didn’t make it back in time.

My son was a healthy 8lbs 3oz, and 22 inches long. They wiped him down and laid him on my belly as I wanted, a squealing little mess of slimy skin and dark hair. I loved him immediately. All the fears I had were dissolving. I looked up at my husband, who had tears running down his face and knew that we were now a family, and everything was going to be just fine. This frail, tiny creature I held in my arms was all that was right and true in the world. My life had new meaning, and was bound and determined to be a better person for him. He deserved it.