It happened. The deal that we had been waiting eight and a half months for finally went down. We’d never been through anything like it before. We had no idea what to expect. We had no idea what was coming. And then, suddenly, at 3 in the morning on the day after Christmas, there it was.
We were in labor.
We were in labor.
We had just enjoyed a perfectly lovely Christmas dinner at my sister’s house – Dave, me, my folks, his folks, my sister Katherine, her husband Lynn and our good friend Lindsay Greene. Lynn fried a couple of turkeys, putting every organic/gourmet/brined turkey that Dave and I had ever made to shame. We ate the turkey and sides and pies until we were filled with Christmas cheer and then hung out in the living room singing Christmas songs while Lynn and Lindsay played along on the organ.
Of course, I had been on high labor alert for a while. But by the time we went home that night, I had pretty much let go of the idea of birthing a baby anytime soon. On Christmas Eve, my in-laws had come to town for a week. My father-in-law is a retired OB-GYN, and he was sure that I would give birth while they were here. I was not so sure. In fact, I was almost certain that their presence would ensure that I didn’t have the baby until after they left. After all, that’s the way the universe usually works, right?
What I didn’t know at the time was that my father-in-law has some innate birth ESP. When he was practicing he never missed a birth. He and my mother-in-law would be out to dinner and suddenly he would say, “I think we need to get home,” and when they got home, the call would come in: Mrs. Smith was in labor.
He actually predicted I would go into labor the weekend after Christmas.
Which I did.
But at the time, I didn’t know this. I was totally at home with at least one more week of pregnancy.
And then, at three in the morning, I woke up with what I thought was some kind of post Christmas dinner gas action going on. I expected that it would work itself out and I would go back to sleep, but it didn’t go away. And this minor cramping pain kept advancing and receding and advancing again. I got out the iphone and starting timing the advances. They were coming kind of regular-like. I kept watch for an hour and when they didn’t go away, I woke up Dave.
It was 4:30 in the morning.
I don’t know what I expected labor pains to be like, but I’ll just say they weren’t what I expected. They were cramps, and in the beginning not very bad ones. Dave and I hung out in bed for a while. We called our doula around 5:30. She told us to get some rest. Great advice, and if when we do it again I’ll definitely try and get rest early on, but at 5:30 in the morning, with real honest to goodness labor pains coming on, there as no rest for us. There were only deep breaths and sweet words.
For the next four hours we basically did just that. Contractions, deep breaths, some giggles and The West Wing. In a way, those DVDs were kind of our anchor. The show connected us to the pre-baby and post-baby world. Oh, Jed Bartlett and friends, how much we owe y’all!
Tomorrow: The uterus with stage fright