if you've just started reading, click here to start with part 1 . And you can get that recently-opened beer back out of your fridge.
So hubby only slightly rolls his eyes (what a nice, accommodating boy he is), grabs the camera and takes the photo. Then, because he's awesome let's not forget, he notices that I had started doing the dishes and picks up right where I left off while I grab the phone to give the midwife a call.
"Good morning, this is Linda."
Yes, that IS how she answered her phone at 5 a.m. Gosh I love her.
At this point my contractions were a little over 5 minutes apart, but definitely getting stronger. I felt a little silly making a big deal out of things just yet, but Linda had insisted that I *not* wait until I was panicking given that I'd been walking around at 4 cm dilated for at least a week. So I call and she says that unless she hears from me again, she'll leave her house in about an hour.
Ten minutes later I insisted that Tommy call her again. We didn't have time for any of that lollygaggin', y'all...
Had I gotten the bed ready before this? I don't remember. But at some point I put on an extra sheet, a shower curtain liner, and then another clean sheet on top of that. And now I'm humming through the contractions with my eyes closed- some of them the "easy" abdominal pain kind, some of them the harder back labor kind. And it kept switching. A few of one then a few of the other. Sometimes 4 minutes apart, sometimes 5- never getting closer together, but still getting progressively stronger.
Now it's 6 a.m. My darling friend V. arrives with her two girls, all three of them bright eyed, bushy tailed and clad in pajamas. They were, I think, as excited as my own children that it was finally baby day. I mean, they'd only been leaping to their feet every single time their phone rang for the past two weeks hoping that it was us demanding they come over and entertain our already-borns. It was about dang time we actually give them something to do!
For the record, I never saw any of them until after the baby was born. It was incredible. At one end of our long, skinny house is our room and the bathroom, where I was holed up for all the good stuff and at the other end, separated from the maternity ward by another bedroom, a hallway, the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room, is the play room/den. Somehow, unless I was just so out of it that I missed it altogether, all children stayed waaaaay down there and I was in my own private cave of silence waaaaaay over here. It was glorious.
Did Linda get there before or after V.? I don't remember anymore. I think Linda was already here. I think I was on my side. I think I was worried that my "pushing slowly" plan wouldn't work out and that I would get all impatient just like I had all the other times and I would regret it. I think I was hatin' on the back labor. Stinky rolling baby and even stinkier separated abs allowing the baby to roll!
For a while I was on my hands and knees on the bed....rather, elbows and knees with my head down. I was the anti-gravity lady. I became that lady that thinks she can slow things down and she thinks that slowing things down is a GRAND idea. Why? Why? Why would I think that? Those are the words of a fool! Speed things UP. Get them OVER with. Now that is the mantra I'm usually chanting.
At first I would start counting backwards from 45 down to 1 when a contraction would start. Because the journey to the top is rarely longer than 45 seconds. By the time I hit 1, I'd be back on the down slope, relief in sight. And by "counting" I mean out loud, deep voiced, ridiculous counting. The thing that may have frightened the staff of the average hospital. But no one asked me any questions or switched on bright lights or tried to "check my progress" when clearly I was progressing just fine without knowing the actual numbers.
And then Linda got me to sit up. Gravity. I was at the edge of the mattress, facing the headboard, with my left leg bent as if I was sitting in the lotus position but with my right foot braced against the (fabulous, wonderful, fantastic) hardwood floor.
As the contraction would start, so would my humming, but then as it got stronger, as it got to that point that you're not sure if you can handle it anymore and you're thisclose to being certain that your body is about to split in half, I gave up the counting, and, unplanned, started tapping my foot rhythmically. And instead of humming, I'm sort of singing a low song. A low song with no words. A song that carries me over the waves of uncertainty fear. I didn't know what the song was at the moment. I didn't think it. It just happened and it was good. It was only after the first week that it hit me:
During those most trying moments, it was the Lord who walked with me.
end part two