As most of you know, my due date came and passed, much like those with my other two children. And even with contractions on and off on Monday and Tuesday evening, I still found myself in a place, like many "past due" preggos often do, where you know the baby must come out, but you're not quite sure if you're totally ready to swallow what that means.
On Wednesday night, after a midwife visit and a long night struggling with the prospect of everything that had happened over these last nine months colliding, I had a "standing with fists in the air in the pouring rain" moment -- which for a large pregnant woman on a dry Atlanta evening meant a solid 30-minutes of crying to Coldplay on repeat sprawled out on the sofa.
It was the release of all the worry, anxiety, and stress about what truly adding another life (perhaps a more complicated life than I was prepared to handle) to our family. It was saying to the universe that no matter what happened and no matter how many signs I saw that were pointing me in a direction I did not want to go, I was ready.
And thus, a couple of hours later, I popped up, jumped off the couch (I am married to Mr. Clean, remember?), and my water broke.
That's about as poetic as this whole labor thing ever got for me.
I found myself in an odd predicament, mind you, as I wasn't really having contractions at that point. And so, I called my doula, called my midwife, and called the huz, who, in good form, spent the next 30 minutes cleaning up my trail of amniotic fluid (most of which I contained to the kitchen floor instead of GASP! THE CARPET!).
And waited - on one hand hoping things would soon kick into gear - and on the other hoping that they would decide to kick in AFTER the dreaded Atlanta rush hour.
The contractions did in fact arrive, but shifted from every 6 minutes to every 12 minutes to some weird numeric pattern (Fibonacci maybe?) that basically meant that I was not going to have this baby as quickly as I had hoped. The kids woke up, the babysitter arrived, and I finally decided (at around 9am), that I needed to walk and really get things moving.
As things started to pick up, my midwife called wondering where the hell I was since "hello, it's your third baby, dear," and we all hopped into our cars for the long ride to the hospital. Managing the contractions and a severe back cramp that would be a thorn in my side (almost literally) for the rest of my labor during the car ride was made a bit easier by the spark of sun shining through the clouds on what had been a series of rainy and overcast days.
Okay, so I lied. That is about as poetic as my labor ever got.
Upon my arrival at around 11:30am, I was plugged into the 4000 machines, poked and prodded with all sorts of needles and gloved hands, and was left to labor at 4cm dilated.
The hours passed slowly, with irregular, but strong contractions, and an incredibly odd back pain that finally resolved itself after much movement and heat. The labor began to remind me of my daughter's, which due to her posterior positioning, was almost inhumanly painful thanks to severe rectal pressure that could not be resolved by pushing because of a posterior and not yet fully dilated cervix.
At one point, near 2pm, my contractions slowed to a point where I fell asleep at least twice that I remember, and upon waking, my midwife suggested I get in the shower. The hot water on my back and the deep weeping sobs (yes, I'm a crier) did little to comfort me and when I hit a point where I just could not physically endure it anymore, the huz looked at the midwife and said "she's there."
And so I was.
The midwife had to hold my cervix forward since it had not yet moved anterior, and with one long push that included me screaming the following in this exact order "Get her out now, now out now out out get her out now out please out now get her out now" she was in my arms.
It is an odd moment when you've had this being in you for so long, to see her sliding down your stomach, staring up at you like it's just another day in your lives.
And it's even better seeing the culmination of the last five years of your life together in one very happy place and breathing one collective sigh of relief...