A popular children's movie made the phrase 'When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.' I believe that sometimes it takes a lot more than wishing - like prayer and proper preparation - but agree that dreams really do come true. The birth of our daughter is a perfect example.

After eleven days of waiting and wondering and fielding "did you have your baby yet?" phone calls, we finally did have our baby. At 2:39 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2009, after about 17 hours of labor, Monika Jean Frericks was born. She weighed eight pounds, 13.5 ounces and measured 21 inches long at birth.

I never figured that Thursday, March 19 would be "the day". At my midwife's recommendation, I got up early and went to the school to swim some laps. She thought swimming would help take my mind off the fact that we still hadn't had our baby yet. The feeling of weightlessness provided by the water was great. I had a couple contractions while swimming and then again on the drive home, but they weren't any different than the contractions I'd been having for the past week.

At noon I left for an acupuncture treatment intended to help expedite labor and delivery. I'd never had acupuncture before, but I thought this was as good a time as any to give it a try.

Since Dan was born by cesarean section, I didn't have very many options for starting labor other than letting it happen on its own. We hadn't talked about what would happen if labor didn't start on its own or induction didn't work, but I imagine it would have involved a scalpel and lots of stitches - something I very much wanted to avoid.

I returned home from the acupuncture treatment and sent Dan to the barn with Glen so I could rest for a little while before heading outside myself. After answering a couple phone calls, I donned my bibs and went out.

My contractions picked up like they always did when I was in the barn, so I didn't really pay any attention to them as I waddled through my chores. Then, at about 8:30 p.m., as I went to feed the last two bottle calves, everything changed. I bent over to pick up the piece of twine I was going to use to tie a bottle holder on and - gush - my water broke.

I stood up, dumbfounded. I never in a million years thought my water would break at home. (With Dan's pregnancy, the doctor broke it for me.) I yelled for Glen. He later said that as he reached the back of the barn, he could tell something was going on before I said anything because the look on my face was absolute shock.

I finished feeding the calves and took Dan to the house. By the time I had us both undressed, the contractions were coming every several minutes. By the time I had made several phone calls to line up care for Dan and help for morning chores, I knew it was time to go. (With Dan, I never had to decide that "it was time," so I had wondered constantly how I would know with this baby.)

We arrived at the hospital around 11 p.m. By then my contractions were three minutes apart. Within a half hour they were coming every two minutes. And that's the way they stayed for the next ten hours.

Needless to say, it was a long night. Glen commented more than once, "I knew I should have taken a nap today."

As lunchtime rolled around on Friday, so did my urge to push. Glen called my dad to give him an update and told him the baby should be here shortly. My dad said he hoped the baby was there before he was (he had a two-and-a-half hour drive). It's a good thing my dad's departure was delayed or he just may have arrived before the baby.

Two hours and almost forty minutes later, Monika slid into the world. Glen said he still can't believe how long it took to push her out. To me, it doesn't seem like it took that long at all.

Looking back, I'd gladly do it all over again. I still have a hard time believing we were able to have our baby without the help of a surgeon (even if the experience wasn't without stitches). In the couple days that have passed since Monika's birth, the differences between surgical delivery and birthing the way Mother Nature intended have become even more apparent.

Given the choice between another c-section and Monika's birth, some other mothers might have chosen otherwise, but for me the experience really was a dream come true.