A little over two weeks ago I had given up all hope and accepted that I was just going to be pregnant forever. College spring break passed, then the kids’ spring break began. My due date came and went. No amount of pineapple, spicy food, or bouncing on an exercise ball seemed to be doing any good. The old wives’ tales are just that, and babies arrive when they’re good and ready.
Relief came just three days after my due date. At four o’clock in the morning, I felt a little twinge. It just felt a little crampy, so I wasn’t sure it was a contraction. Twenty minutes later, another one came along, and again twenty minutes after that. I browsed through my iPod’s pregnancy apps to see which contraction timer was most aesthetically pleasing. (You know you’re only in early labor when you can choose a contraction timer based on its aesthetic value.)
Boyfriend was still sleeping and the midwives had said that anyone can have practice labor and it’s best to save waking up your partner for when you know the contractions aren’t going away. (I’ve never experienced practice labor, but since my water didn’t break on the first contraction like it did with the boys, I thought I’d wait and see.) He got up to use the bathroom around 6:00 and I was still contracting. He asked how I was doing and I said, “Fine. Just having a few contractions.” He got all excited and started timing them. Once the sun came up, he filled up the AquaDoula tub in the living room and left a message with the midwife to say that contractions had begun.
From seven to nine, I began to feel it wasn’t going anywhere. I walked around the apartment, leaning on furniture when a contraction hit. Then I went back to my room and sat on the exercise ball for a bit. I lay in bed and watched Gabriel Iglesias: Hot and Fluffy on Netflix to have something funny to take my mind off of labor. I tried to watch another show but lost interest and went back to focusing on contractions. It was then that, in retrospect, we probably should have called the midwives back.
I had it in mind that we shouldn’t call them until contractions were four minutes apart for an hour. By then it was really too late. I was breathing through them, but not able to talk during one. The kids were hungry so I asked the boyfriend to get them something from the local fast food joint. Once he got back, I told him we should call again. The contractions had progressed from 20 minutes apart, to 15, to 10, to five, to four, and they were getting more intense.
It was just after ten o’clock. Boyfriend called the midwife and said it was time to drive down. Then things took a rapid turn. The contractions got much closer together. I kept asking if the midwife was close. I wanted to get in the water, which was waiting for me in the living room, but the midwives had said not to get in until they were there. It was getting difficult to relax through the contractions. Then, all of a sudden, my water broke. I told the lovely boyfriend to call the midwife again, that the baby was coming. She suggested lying on my left side. I rolled over. It didn’t help.
My uterus went into overdrive. Whether I wanted it to or not, whether I was participating or resisting (I was trying with all my might to resist), my body was pushing that kid out! Boyfriend told the midwife, “She says the baby’s coming.” The midwife replied, “Well, get a towel.”
I truly felt like I was splitting in half. I reached down and felt the head crowning. I told the boyfriend, “You’re going to have to guide the baby out.” And he did. My germaphobe, easily icked out, gets nauseous at seeing blood drawn boyfriend delivered our daughter. He placed her on my chest, wailing, just as the midwives walked in the door. They quickly took over and took care of all the rest. They stayed for a few hours, helped clean up, looked after the boys while boyfriend and I bonded with the baby, and then they quietly left. My dad came and got the boys after they had a chance to hold the baby, and then it was just the three of us, quiet and peaceful and in awe of this precious little being who had joined us so suddenly.