Having my baby was the hardest yet most rewarding thing I have ever done.
There were times during my 19 hours of labor that I didn’t think I could take anymore.
Throughout the process, there were several nurses at Mother Frances Hospital who guided and helped me, but one nurse was there to the end.
Nancy Kniffen was my coach, cheerleader and support. She was stern when she needed to be and made me laugh when I needed it.
When I thought I could take no more, she told me I could.
She tried to make the hard, drawn-out process as enjoyable as possible.
An avid Dallas Cowboys fan, as I am, she tried to keep my husband, Joe, calm by calling out to him every once in a while to give us the score of the game on television.
And she had a rolling bet with the nurse delivering a baby next door.
Apparently, there was a mother in labor as I was, and the two nurses had each bet that they would deliver their baby first.
Neck and neck, the race ended up at the wire.
It came to the point that the doctor was going to the woman next door to deliver her baby, but Ms. Kniffen persuaded her that I needed her services first.
And it was just in time, because by the time the doctor entered the room, Ms. Kniffen was preparing to deliver my baby herself.
I felt sorry that the woman next door had to wait an extra 30 minutes or so for the doctor.
I don’t know what kind of prize Ms. Kniffen won for the bet, but I feel like I won the best prize of all — my beautiful baby, Dean Jakob, had entered the world and changed my life forever.
I feel like I owe Ms. Kniffen so much for all of her help to make that happen.
Casey Murphy lives in Tyler and is Morning Telegraph business editor.