One year ago today, John Ralston Illian was still kicking madly inside my belly. I was on my way to a non-stress test, and almost 42 weeks along. I was, in the words of my midwife, “an emotionally labile very pregnant woman.” Prone to crying, fits of emotion, and feeling overwhelmed. My dreams of an unmedicated natural labor where i arrive at the hospital having done the bulk of my laboring at home and birth the baby in a matter of minutes were quickly disappearing. Even the midwives were whispering the I (induction) word. Not coming out and saying it, mind you, but hinting that it might be needed if we reach 42 weeks. Little did i know that in less that 24 hours i would be holding my newborn son. I was doing everything I could to encourage this baby to come on his own– evening primrose oil, castor oil (DO NOT recommend, it will only give you –well, let’s just say it will make you have cramps and labor and birth something different), accupucture and massage to all those points you aren’t supposed to do while you are pregnant– to bring on labor (didn’t work), spicy food, sprints up and down long flights of stairs (well, maybe not sprints– fast walks), writing letters to the baby, inviting him/her to come in the manner he/she wanted, all to no avail. After my non-stress test showed low amniotic fluid, there wasn’t really any choice. The baby was coming today, like it or not. You can read Jack’s birth story here . Even though his birth happened differently than I anticipated, it was amazing and special and worth every bit of pain. The past year of snuggles and kisses and mamalove has been such a gift. Almost every day I stop and say a prayer for the gift Jack is to us. Even through the sleep challenged days and nights I have learned to love another person in a way i didn’t know was possible. I don’t love him more than my husband, it is just– different. The things I have done and are willing to do for him are more and different that I would do for anyone else. I feel I have been given a glimpse of God’s deep and unconditional and amazing love for us– his children– all people on the earth. I love watching everything he does– even if it is mundane and silly– and I believe that God takes the same joy in watching us create meaning out of our lives. He still longs for us to love him and enjoy him– in the same way that I love Jack’s smiles and sticky hugs– but even when they don’t come, I still love him. Thank you Jack– for teaching me to love.