Welcome to The Delivery Room Dish—a place for new moms to spill on the highs, lows, and nitty gritty of giving birth. What you'll learn: there's no one 'right' way to have a baby, the delivery room is full of choices (even when labor doesn't go as planned), and every mom's got a birth story worth sharing. Up next: Monica + Andy's Director of Brand Strategy and Digital Content Jessie Mash, who gave birth to her daughter Maxine in November.

The first sign of labor was: contractions I thought were Braxton Hicks. I felt my stomach tighten once or twice on a Friday afternoon. I called the nurse and she was certain they were Braxton Hicks. It kept happening throughout the weekend, but it wasn’t consistent or painful, so I didn’t think much of them. Plus, at that point I was just 36 weeks, so they couldn’t have been contractions… right!?

We headed to the hospital when: Two days later I was at my sister’s having dinner and noticed the tiniest spot of blood. I called the doctor on-call and while she still wasn’t concerned (my “Braxton Hicks” were still happening sporadically), she suggested I go to the hospital just to be “safe” and get checked out. My 2 ½ -year-old Noa stayed at my sister’s house and my husband Eli and I headed to the hospital for what I thought would be a quick check-up.

After checking in, I: To be completely honest, I cried! It was a complete shock to be told we were having the baby one-month earlier than expected and I was a bit overwhelmed with the news. The tears quickly turned to nervous excitement as we realized that within hours we would become a family of four.

Then I: I called my sister to go to my house and pack me a hospital bag and get my dog Ernie.

Then I: Asked the nurse when I could get the epidural.

I can’t believe: how the doctor comes in just at the very end when you’re ready to push! Thank goodness for fabulous nurses who help get you to that point.

Pushing is like: A room full of people watching you and coaching you through a crazy ab workout.

The craziest part of delivery is: the feeling that first second the doctor puts your newborn on your chest after delivery. Your entire world as you know it changes right at that moment.

The best advice I received was: from a friend who told me to make sure that the first thing any friends or family do when they enter the hospital room is to greet my older daughter Noa. It made her feel so included and proud to be the new big sister. She quickly became the one to introduce visitors to the new baby. It also didn’t hurt to have a present from the new baby to give her, either.

The most painful part for me was: working through contractions and “staying still” while the epidural was being administered. It felt like an eternity, but I was later told it was all of about 10 minutes. I barely felt anything once the epidural kicked in.

I’m so happy I: remembered to have my mom take home a swaddle and hat to help prepare our dog Ernie for the new baby’s arrival.

I wish I would have: taken more videos in the hospital and saved a newspaper from the day I delivered.

The best question I asked was: “Can I have the same nurse tomorrow?” The second nurse I had was so fantastic and I learned she wasn’t assigned to be with me again the next day. She let me know that I could actually request to have her again. She also told me that I could request to have the lactation consultant come back and that I could get the breast pump through the hospital since I hadn’t yet gotten one.

I was so relieved I brought: Flip-flops (hospital shower floors, yuck!) and shampoo and conditioner. You’ll never appreciate a shower more than you will after giving birth. Having your own shampoo and conditioner from home is a little luxury that goes a long way.

What I wish I had packed in my bag is: Since my sister packed my hospital bag so last minute for me, there were quite a few things I forgot to tell her to grab that would have been nice to have: a camera charger, chapstick, nipple balm (although the hospital had a sample they brought to me), eye makeup remover, a pillowcase from home, a second set of button-down PJs.

Favorite M+A pieces for baby: Hello Baby Top + Bottom, Top Knot Cap and Coming Home Blanket. The Hello Baby Top + Bottom was the first thing Maxine wore in the hospital and for the first couple weeks at home. The kimono-style top allows for easy on and off and fold-over mitts prevent them from scratching themselves. Plus, they come in preemie sizes so it was the only thing we had that fit her! The top knot hat was perfect because you can adjust the knot to fit your little one’s head and the coming home blankets for swaddling are key!