I count from when I wrote the first contraction down in my little notebook. 11pm on June 4th. Conal was born at 4:57pm on Tuesday, June 5, 2007, 18 hours later.

Those were some hours.

I could tell you about the contractions that lasted for 90 seconds each and were so painful I thought I would throw up.

Or, I could tell you that I lied to the doctor at 7:30am and said the contractions were 5 minutes apart, even though they were only about 7, because I was done. Didn’t think I could take any more. I just wanted to go to the hospital already.

I could also tell you about the sweet, sweet L&D nurses who made a few of the hours bearable.

Or the massage therapist who, at 11am, tried to help me work through the contractions by pressing into my low back, while I was on my side. If I told you about her, I would have to tell you that her technique didn’t work. It made me feel like my body was going to erupt. So, I nicely told her to stop.

Maybe you’d prefer to hear that I gave in right after the massage and had an epidural, when I was 7cm dilated but feeling wiped.

Or that, had my legs not been unmovable dead weight, I would have kicked myself in the butt for having the epidural since it effectively shut-down my labor and it was all pitocin from there on.

Better yet, I could tell you that at 4:30, the nurse checked me out and said, “Whoa-ho. His head is right there, we’re ready to go.” And then I pushed for about 20 minutes and out he popped.

But, no. I’m not going to tell you any of that today. What I’d like to tell you is that at the start of those 18 hours, I was just someone. Someone waiting to become. At the end of those 18 hours, I was someone else.

Someone for whom all the sleepless nights, crying jags and icky diapers wouldn’t matter because they were all part of having this beautiful, wonderful and amazing boy in her life. Someone who knows love beyond anything she has ever known before. Someone who would, a year later, find tears in her eyes every time she looks at her baby boy on his one-year birthday, proud of the little person he has grown into.

Someone who is Conal’s mother. Lovely, lovely Conal’s mother.

Happy birthday, Conal!