Wow! Where do I begin? Well I am currently a few days over 37 weeks pregnant and have taken my final "monthly picture." I can't believe 9 months has come and gone so quickly. Daniel and I have had quite the adventure lately. I have been having early contractions since about week 32, I believe. As a result, my doctor reduced my shifts to 8 hour shifts instead of 12. I much appreciated that. So it comes as no surprise to me that I went to sleep on Friday night having contractions-- painful but not "oh my gosh" painful-- every 10 minutes. Because this was not the first time this has happened, I just went to sleep. I woke up a few times having contractions but was able to fall back asleep so I really wasn't all that excited. I woke up at around 5:45am and decided I should probably keep track of the frequency. I also noticed that I was having an incredible amount of pressure "down there." It literally felt like her head was coming out. I was contracting pretty much on the dot, every 10 minutes. After keeping track for a little over an hour, I figured I should try to get a little more sleep, as I really had only about 3 hours of sleep at this point. I woke up around 9:30am and continued to have contractions. At around noon I'd say, I decided that instead of keeping track of the timing, I'd try to distract myself and see if that would help. My dad and I went on a walk. Shortly after our walk began, the contractions seemed to be coming about three minutes apart and were much more painful, especially in my back. After we got home, I figured I better give the doctor a call. I called the on call doctor who said I should come in to the hospital to be evaluated. This is me, photographed by Dan, shortly after our arrival to the "prove it" room, as I lovingly call it.After a couple cervical checks, a lot of activity, and very painful contractions every two minutes, the doctor determined I was in labor and I should be admitted. She thought that because I had dialated 2 cm and almost completely thinned out in such a short period of time, it would be unlikely that my labor would stop. The nerves really started to kick in, as I've always been a little nervous about delivering a baby. In fact, I found a poem I wrote in Junior High about my fear of giving birth. It made me laugh, because the end of it pretty much said I'd never have a baby! Anyway, I was taken to our room where I was poked like a pin cushion! Oh-My-Word! I cannot believe how painful those IV attempts were. When I found out they had to use an 18 gauge needle, I knew this would be painful. I know how big and how hard those 18 gauges can be to get and I was not excited. The first nurse who attempted was HORRIBLE! I literally was in a sweat and seeing stars by the end of her proding. She even let one needle hang from my arm as she attempted another vein, while the hematoma grew larger and larger in my arm. I was mortified. The IV nurse eventually got a site, which I was very unhappy that it was basically on my wrist. Dan wasn't happy with the first nurse. Here's my IV that Dan proudly took a picture of! Haha!I continued to contract and eventually was talked into taking some Fentanyl IV. Why was I resisting? That stuff was G-O-O-D! Exactly what I needed! By this time it was nearly 1am and the nurse wanted me to try to get some sleep, if possible, as she predicted I'd be in active labor by 5 or 6am. Well I did sleep... some... by 6am came and the contractions had slowed down to about every 10 minutes. They were becoming more mild and I no longer felt I needed fentanyl. At 9 am, the doctor came in and said he was going to send me home. He said that because I was still considered "pre-term" (I was 36 weeks and 6 days), they wouldn't keep my labor going by inducing... I was please with that. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and SLEEP! And sleep I did! I slept all day Sunday and slept 10 hours that night. I couldn't even imagine how exhausted I'd been if I actually delivered our daughter that morning! The Lord was looking out for me! That was quite an experience for Daniel and I. We are both glad we were able to experience this prior to the real event because now we feel we have a little better idea of what to expect. We were able to talk about what went well and what didn't go well. I think we both feel we have a better plan in place now. And while I am anxious to meet our daughter, I am going to cherish these last few days, weeks, or however long it is until our bundle of joy arrives!