Elizabeth's birth story began late Sunday evening. I was having contractions all night, but I didn't really pay attention to them since I had been having contractions for the last two weeks. Clint and I stayed up late doing housework (we were both "nesting" and preparing for Elizabeth's arrival). Then at 1:30am, I told Clint that I thought we should start timing the contractions. Sure enough, they were 3 minutes apart. We timed the contractions for the next two hours and they remained consistent so I called my parents at 3:30am to come to the house and watch Sophie. It was time! We went to the hospital around 5:30am. The contractions were still 3 minutes apart, but not very intense. I was dilated to a 4 when we arrived. We started getting discouraged around 8:55am after a conversation with our midwife. I had not progressed any further and we were thinking about going home. Then 5 minutes later, at 9:00am, my water broke. We knew then that we were having a baby. The contractions immediately became much more intense and I began hard labor. I dilated very slowly throughout the day and the contractions became very difficult to get through. I was committed to a natural childbirth with no pain meds or medical interventions so I continued to work through the contractions, but I almost gave up. I finally entered the transitional stage of labor between 4:00pm and 4:30pm and was ready to push very soon after that. Elizabeth was born with just a couple of pushes at 5:03pm. Thank goodness because after 16 hours, I was exhausted! There are really no words to describe how I felt when I held her for the first time, but there was a rush of many emotions. I cried out of relief and joy and love and amazement. She is very special to me and Clint and symbolizes new life in so many ways for us. She is truly a blessing!