My maternity leave started at the end of January. The hope was to have a month to prepare for the delivery expected at the end of February. About 5:00 a.m. the morning of the 8th, it was clear I wouldn’t get that month.
The pains started around 3 a.m. My husband was getting ready for work, trying not to wake me, not knowing that I was already awake. The pains high and wide, radiating over and around the top portion of my body, were not acute enough to mention, but insistent enough to keep me awake and uncomfortable. I let him leave without a word about what I was experiencing.
I initially thought I was experiencing was a severe attack of gas.
A couple of hours of tossing, turning, trips to the bathroom, marked with more frequent and acutely painful episodes, I began to prepare for my trip to the hospital, for it was clear, this was not gas. My only hope now, was that the pains would subside enough to delay the ambulance call. I didn’t want to ride to the hospital in the dark. I don’t know why this was important to me, but it was.
Though this was my first labor and I was alone, I didn’t feel anxious or afraid. I felt determined to wait for daybreak. I like to believe my relative calm kept the pains at bay. More likely, I was just lucky.
I made the call at first light. The ambulance arrived about 10 minutes later. The ride to the hospital took 6 or 7 minutes. I’d called my mother and husband during the 10 minute wait, instructing them to join me at the hospital.
My mother appeared while I was still in the labor room, staying behind while they wheeled me to the delivery room some time later.
Once in the delivery room, the doctor and nurses seemed to ignore me, scattering about the room attending to various things. After a few moments I started screaming, “The baby’s coming, it’s coming, NOW!!” several times over. As one, they arrived at my side in time to catch the baby just as it plopped out of me.
In my mind’s eye it was a very close call, but in actuality, not.
The birth of a male child for 10:04 A.M.
Twenty-seven years, one week ago, yesterday.
pictured: the birthday man and his little sister following a celebratory brunch