8:00 a.m. Saturday, October 10, 2009 – The nagging abdominal pressure is back for the fifth or sixth time in half an hour, so it’s probably time to get up. I assess the aches and pains in my back and hands before scooting myself to the edge of the bed and trying to get enough leverage to roll into a sitting position. Yohannes is still fast asleep, so I hobble to the bathroom to take a bath which is becoming part of my daily routine (sometimes twice daily). Getting in the bath feels like trying to get a turkey into a two-quart saucepan, but the hot water feels great, and I can hardly bring myself to get out again. I’m 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and the timing is perfect. My sisters are visiting for the weekend, and all I have to do is get through a wedding and a birthday party and then I’ll be ready. And if the contractions feel like this the whole time, this whole “having-a-baby” thing might not be nearly as bad as people make it out to be. The pressure turns to a dull pain, and continues to ebb and flow every 7 minutes or so, but it’s mild, and hardly worth mentioning to Yohannes, who will no doubt take it as a sign of the impending Armageddon. I decide to wait until we’re walking into the wedding before mentioning it.
5:00 p.m. Monday, October 12, 2009 – 57 hours and no sleep later, the ebb and flow is finally becoming something more along the lines of a tidal wave stuck on repeat. My sisters have already left to go back to Virginia, and according to the midwife, my body doesn’t seem to think that 40 weeks and 5 days of pregnancy and 57 hours of regular contractions are any reason to try to start pushing out a baby. I’m sitting alone in the car in the Aldi’s parking lot while Yohannes makes a “quick trip” to get some essentials. 20 minutes later, after my four worst contractions to date, I’m thinking what an idiot I was for not translating “quick trip” into Yohannes Time. To his credit, we really need to restock the fridge, but my mind is starting to veer off of the rational straight and narrow by this point.
9:00 a.m. Tuesday, October 13, 2009 – After another 16 hours, I’m writhing in agony and completely naked in the shower of the labor and delivery room when 5 nurses come rushing in because I accidentally pulled the emergency call string. I’m in too much pain to be properly embarrassed, especially because the same five nurses already saw me in all my naked glory just an hour or two earlier when I did the exact same thing while trying to go to the bathroom. I’m starting to wander why I was so adamant about doing this without meds. In fact, I think I’d literally kiss someone if they gave me some drugs right now.
10:00 a.m. Tuesday, October 13, 2009 – Wait, what? They’re telling me not to push? No, that’s wrong. I know that is wrong. The nurses tell you to push! I’ve seen it in movies a dozen times! To keep from bearing down before the midwife gives the okay, I have to take deep breaths and blow them out with all my might. I remind myself of a two year old trying to blow out all the candles on a birthday cake. My dad and my youngest sister are pacing the hallway outside my room. My mom is coaching me, and Yohannes is RIGHT in front of me because when he tried to stand up to get a drink, I freaked out. He’s doing the breathing with me, and asks for the smelling salts that someone mentioned earlier because he’s getting lightheaded. I ask how long before I can push. The nurse says probably within the hour, but all I hear is “hour”, so I completely panic, because there is no way that I’ll last that long. Before I know it, I can’t help pushing, so the nurse gets midwife, and I get the okay. I give a giant push, and we see a little black curl crowning. Less than half an hour later, at 10:56 a.m., my little boy literally kicks his way into the world, and although the nurse and midwife are still sewing and massaging from all angles, I feel euphoric at the end of the contractions, and the beginning of a new life.
Happy 5th Birthday, sweet Nati. I’m so glad you’re mine.