Melissa Joan Hart & son Mason
4 MONTHS

• April 26, 2005

I'm two weeks late on my period so I pick up a two-pack pregnancy test. I take one, which comes out negative. But part of me is still wondering.

• May 1, 2005

I see the second pregnancy test—still unused—in my bathroom and decide I'll try again. This time it comes out positive. I'm freaking out! One of the reasons I knew I wanted to marry Mark [Wilkerson, 29] was because of his love of family. But I'm a planner, and the unexpected throws me for a loop! We're so excited!

• May 11, 2005

We do our first sonogram. The baby is just a little dot. It's a little disappointing. You want to see a baby, but you just see a dot. Well, I shouldn't expect so much. It's only been four weeks since the kid was conceived.

• June 5, 2005

My boobs explode. I don't have a lot of energy, and I am nauseous. I'm craving Rice Krispie treats. Before I got pregnant, I worked out at least once a day. Now my only exercise is walking to Noah's Bagels. Brooke Shields told me that the only time in her life she didn't have to worry about losing weight was after she had Rowan. I feel hopeful.

• June 6, 2005

I see my baby's heartbeat for the first time. When I start crying, my doctor says, "You thought you were making it up, didn't you?" She hits the nail on the head. Now I believe it.

• July 4, 2005

My emotions are going nutty. I find myself crying when I listen to stupid songs on the radio, and then laughing hysterically about how ridiculous I'm acting. I have strange dreams. One is about the baby being born as a 5-year-old and me having to put him back in my belly. I have to pee all the time.

• August 16, 2005

I lie down to get a facial and place my hands on my stomach. The baby kicks so hard it moves my hand. I giggle for five minutes.

• August 23, 2005

We have another sonogram, but we resist finding out the baby's gender. Instead, we ask the doctor to write down the results in the chart.

• September 20, 2005

We are starting to get impatient. We are so ready to meet the little one. Now we want to know its sex. We drive to the doctor's office and get the results in an envelope. We go to lunch and take our time to be sure we want to know. There is a lot of power in that little piece of paper! When we get home, we sit down on the couch and I open the envelope. It's a boy!

• November 18, 2005

I've gained 37 lbs. and I have two months to go. People keep saying, "Are you due any day now?" I tell them, "Nope, two more months."

• January 4, 2006

My ankles are now as big as my calves. I feel like my blood is shooting out of the tips of my fingers, as if they were sausages. I have to get this baby out!

• January 8, 2006

It's my due date and I'm not showing any signs of being in labor. The baby keeps growing.

• January 10, 2006

We go to the doctor's to hear the baby's heartbeat. She asks me if I want to induce labor. I say, "Yes! Please!" By 4 p.m. I'm in the hospital and an IV of Pitocin is being dripped into my bloodstream. The contractions start slowly, but by 11 p.m., I can't hold out anymore: I get an epidural to ease the pain. It goes a little awry. The medication goes into my bloodstream and numbs my tongue. They have to repeat the epidural process three times before they get it right. This is a scary time. Mark starts crying.

• January 11, 2006

At 1:20 a.m. I start pushing. When we reach the two-hour mark, the doctor says, "One more push and you're getting a C-section." Well, I'm deathly afraid of a C. So I push with all my might. It feels like the baby is lodged in my hip. After three hours of pushing, the baby finally pops out! He's 9 lbs.—a very big boy.

• January 25, 2006

This has been one of the hardest times of my life. The labor was so difficult, I am only now able to stand and walk up stairs without pain. The bonding, however, has come naturally. As I nurse him, I rub his temple with my pinkie. Now whenever he's upset, he's soothed by this temple massage. I do get a little frustrated over breast-feeding. No one ever told me that it hurt so much—I'm sore all the time—or that the two- to three-hour feedings came around so quickly. People are amazed that we don't have a nanny. But you know what? I didn't have a baby to have him raised by somebody else.

postscript: April 18, 2006

It's my 30th birthday. Mark, Mason and I are at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa for the weekend. We actually hired a babysitter for the first time ever, so Mark and I can have a dinner alone at the hotel restaurant. I dropped 30 lbs. in the first week. The next 10 lbs. came off over the next two months. Now I am whittling away at the last 8. I know it will finally disappear. Besides, I have more important things to worry about now. Life with Mason changes every day, except in one way: Every day is always great.