Definitely another one! I flop over to look at the clock. Convinced this was definitely my time, I watch the numbers intently as I wait for the next contraction to present itself. Five minutes pass so I wake up my husband. “I am in labor,” I calmly state.
“Are you sure?” he replies.
He can’t be serious, I thought. My due date is today! I ate Chinese food for dinner and walked about 5 miles around the mall yesterday. Clearly he has forgotten about the vow he had taken on our wedding day 6 years earlier: “I promise to never question my wife. She will always be right!”
Irritated, I simply restate my earlier declaration and advise him to get out of bed so I can change the sheets. I will soon be calling my sister to come over and stay with our sleeping three year old daughter. She needs fresh sheets.
Then, because nesting is making itself apparent, I decide to go down the two flights of stairs into our basement to wash the sheets. I pause at the washer to breathe through another contraction, then I put in a load of laundry. (Yes, I do have another clean set of sheets, which I immediately used to remake the bed. I think I just do not want to come home from the hospital to a pile of laundry.)
“Is it time?” my sister exclaims into the phone. “I will be right over!”
I travel back downstairs to switch the sheets into the dryer. A large puddle of water greets me as I approach my machines. I call to my husband and report the problem.
“Are you sure?” he replies.
Breathing through another contraction, I sarcastically state, “Tonight is not the night to play this game.”
My sister arrives at my home with a packed bag, prepared to stay for the next few days. I have already prepared our daughter’s lunch for daycare, but I feel the need to go over everything that she will need for that day. My sister listens carefully and says that she will be by to meet her newest relative as soon as she can.
We are in the car on our way to the hospital. As I am breathing through more frequent contractions, it suddenly dawns on me that I am about to give birth to our second child. And it is going to hurt!
My husband and I pull up to the hospital. We enter through the Emergency Room doors as instructed. A kind nurse gives me a ride in a wheelchair up to the Labor and Delivery floor. I am immediately brought into a room. Monitors are hooked up and I am told that everything looks great. I decide that I want to give birth naturally, so all I need to do now is focus on my breathing.
“Can I have the drugs please??!!!” I plead to the nurse. It had only been a few hours, but the pain is exhausting and intolerable.
“I am sorry,” she says. “That window is closed.”
“Can you open it?” I ask. She chuckles.
My husband and I are all alone in the room. I have this incredible urge to push. I tell him to get help.
“It will be a few minutes” he says upon his return. Then he mutters something about the shift change.
“That’s not the right answer.” I scream. “Get someone now!”
My obstetrician and a nurse come into the room. One of them pulls out the table portion of the bed as the other one puts on gloves. I don’t think my legs are even in the stirrups yet, but seeing them gives me permission to push.
And with that, a healthy baby boy burst into my life.
March 6, 2021
I dedicate this story to my amazing son, Ryan, on his 21st birthday. You entered my world with determination and have displayed this trait every day of your life. You have brought your father and me countless hours of pride and joy. You make me laugh with your quick wit and keen sense of sarcasm. You amaze me with your independence.
While I can not be with you in person today to celebrate your first legal drink, I want you to know that I will be toasting you all day. I love you!