I was at my wife’s side and full of anticipation and a bundle of nerves as she’s wheeled into maternity at Mercy Hospital but managed to stay composed as I had the easy part! I always wondered what it was like to see a baby’s birth and pondered the miracle and mysteries of life. I often wondered how circumstances bring a man and woman together and how they are united as one to bring a life into the world. It truly is a gift from God. So here we are in a small room where we are greeted by my wife’s doctor and the medical team and nursing staff. They were all so professional and put us at ease. I could sense my wife was having pain and was thirsty but she could only have ice chips. I was so proud of Maria and loved that she was giving birth to our son. We arrived at the hospital on Monday, December 7th, 1998 at around 6:30 pm and I could see that I might need to step outside at times as my wife was experiencing quite a bit of pain. We were not really sure of what to expect but we were eagerly anticipating our son and wishing for everything to be fine. All I remember was there were times in the room where it was just my wife and I and other times a nurse would come in to check her vital signs and monitor our soon to be born son. There was a tv monitor to watch during the wait. At times I remained quiet with my wife because I did not know exactly what to say and because I felt a bit in awe of the situation. I also sometimes wondered if I was the one giving birth how it would feel. She was so brave and strong for nine months and now all that waiting has come to this moment. I don’t believe I could do it myself. I gained such respect for my wife and for all women who have given birth. It has to be the most amazing experience a woman can have once she gets through the pain! I sensed my wife was in discomfort as she asked for something to take away the pain. I called for the nurse and indicated that my wife was indicating she could not take the pain anymore. She told us to wait as she would ask about an epidural. My wife was in labor through the night as it was now 2:00 am and still we were waiting. I was a bit nervous as I could only stay by her side when she could bare the pain. Since her labor was long she did get an epidural as I watched the anesthiologist hook up the epidural infusion pump and the catheter tube. He told me that I had to step outside at this time while they administered the catheter tube. I never realized how difficult childbirth could be and I felt for my wife and I knew she was strong and knew she and our baby would be fine. I was still a wreck though she was the one going through the pain and hopefully joy real soon. I too was looking forward to feeling joy. After about an hour or so the doctor summoned for me to be by my wife’s side. I was praying silently that everything would be ok and that my wife would hopefully be cradling our son soon. I was back in the small room by my wife’s side and could tell she was tired and wanted to have the baby already but we still had to be patient and just wait while all the medical staff assisted in the birth. It was surreal at times as I thought back to the time when my wife first whipered into my ear saying the incredible words “I’m pregnant!” I was so excited and floating on a cloud as I said to her “I’m going to be a dad!” It was the best moment and I was so thrilled. I urged my wife to be strong and breath like we were taught in our class. I was thinking back to all the other wonderful expecting parents in that class wondering whether they had their babies yet. I could sense my wife was really growing inpatient as she snapped at me when I was encouraging her with her breathing but I just stayed by her side and kept encouraging her. I looked at my watch and was amazed how long her labor was as it was 4:45 am and still we were waiting. I believe by the reactions of the doctors and nurses that they were now inducing my wife so I was growing anxious and had to step outside. The nurse said she would summon me when it was appropriate. So I grabbed a snack and a soda and waited while CNN played but I didn’t hear a word. All I could think of was my wife and praying. I was now again summoned to come back as I saw the team gathered around my wife and I had my robe and mask on and was able to peak as it seemed closer to the time. Within a couple of minutes a scurry of excitement as I heard my wife being encouraged to push and then I witnessed the most amazing thing in my life and then heard the little cries. Our son was born! It was a miracle! It was 5:20 am on Tuesday, December 8th 1998. My wife and I were now the parents of a beautiful little boy weighing 6 lbs 13 oz and I was so relieved. I was especially relieved for my wife, Maria. I was so proud of her.