Lying in bed I feel another contraction. The familiar tightening and release. The same contractions I’ve had for the last four months.
The contractions that put me on modified bed rest, didn’t allow me to drive, and brought me to the hospital two times in just the last few weeks.
I’m hoping this is just another false alarm.
I have my bag packed, my Norah Jones CD ready, and my favorite doctor scheduled to do my C-section on Monday morning, about 30 hours from now.
It’s Sunday, 2:00 a.m. I have to leave for the hospital at 6:00 am Monday.
I really don’t want to call the doctor in the middle of the night. Surely that will ruin the “nicest patient in the practice” status Dr. B, the man my husband knows I have a huge, but totally innocent crush on, has bestowed on me.
The clock says 2:05 a.m.
Then I felt a gush of water.
Oh no, this is not a test, this is the real deal.
I attempt the Herculean task of lumbering my extremely pregnant body down the stairs to the play room, where Joe and Tom are camping out, complete with a tent and sleeping bags. It seemed like a great idea when they planned it last week as their last hurrah before the new baby came.
“Joe,” I whisper, trying to sound calm in case a six-year-old Tom should wake up.
“Yeah,” my husband croaks out.
“My water just broke.’
“Oh… did you call the doctor?”
My, my, the third time around is different. What a far cry this is from when we were expecting Tom and the slightest move I made would be enough to wake Joe from the deepest sleep and have him offering to do anything to make me comfortable.
I stifle my desire to scream and just say, “Not yet.”
“Well, you call the doctor, and then wake me up.”
I consider life as a single parent.
I decide that yelling at Joe is not going to get me to the hospital, which is 40 minutes away, any faster. I better start enacting a plan since I really don’t want a home birth.
I call the special emergency number for the high-risk patients and let them know what is going on. I am connected to the head of the practice who is the doctor on call and will be the one who delivers my last baby.
No Dr. B, no Norah Jones. This baby has a real sense of humor, I can tell.
I call my parents to watch Tom and Lizzy.
It was hard to believe that only hours before, Joe and I had taken the kids out for a special dinner to go over the “baby week” plans with them.
I had the “It’s a Boy” pencils ready to go for Tom’s kindergarten and Lizzy’s preschool class. Their “I’m a Big Brother, and “I’m a Big Sister” shirts were at my parents’ house all set for them to wear to the hospital and for school. I was prepared. I had a plan.
And this baby said, Ha!
Dressed, and ready to go, I hear the doorbell and answer the door in the black of the night to see my parents smiling at me.
The contractions are coming pretty regularly now, and I’m not in a very smiling mood. But I want to be the perfect daughter, so I try.
My parents are very big natural birth proponents, having me and my sisters that way. No drugs. Lamaze breathing. My dad was even in the delivery room when my youngest sister was born in 1970, a time when it was still a rare thing to do.
They both start coaching me in my breathing.
I start to wonder what I did in a previous life to deserve this special kind of hell.
Joe is finally up, dressed and getting a cup of coffee for the road. For the second time that night I contemplate single parenthood.
Finally, we are off to the hospital.
We see the same familiar faces in the admitting department that I have seen on my two previous visits.
“I’m not leaving this time without a baby,” I announce.
We all laugh.
It’s Sunday, 4:30 a.m.
Now settled in the labor room, it is pronounced that I am, yes, in fact in active labor and will be having this baby now. My doctor is called, and they get me ready for my third C-Section.
I’ll spare you some of my more colorful language that I used before they could give me my epidural. Suffice it to say that I apologized to all of them between contractions and let them know that the doctors considered me their nicest patient.
Sunday, 6:00 a.m. My beautiful baby boy is born.
I look at the sweet, six-pound baby that I was sure was 18 pounds, and I’m instantly in love.
Back in the recovery room, Joe and I are smiling our heads off and all thoughts of single parenthood are gone.
We start making the calls: Baby Peter is here, a day early, but perfect.
How is it possible that it was nine years ago that the boy who makes me laugh and smile when I least feel like it, was born? He brings humor and joy into our family, and I couldn’t imagine life without him.
Happy birthday Peter.