The pains I had waited for began to come around 3am. I breathed prayers into the darkness, asking for strength and endurance and a peaceful labor. The pains were short, averaging around 30 seconds, but coming regularly, and as the hours passed, they steadied and became a baseline to my morning. By focusing and breathing, and not fighting and tensing up, I was able to make breakfast, ready my daughter’s lunch, and check for school closings.
The thermometer said -7.
By 7am, the tattoo of pains began to intensify. It was harder to focus, and I needed quiet and room. With five people in the house besides me, it was hard to find, but I took a long, warm shower and came back to center. Reality shut down around me and I was aware of very little happening- the increasing light, the excited voices, the hush of snow muffling the sounds of the street.
The nurses at the birth center called to say my room was ready. Since it was my third, I was overdue, and I had already been 4cm dilated two days earlier at my non-stress test, they had hurried the cleaning crew. No rush, just get here as soon as humanly possible…my doula braved the icy, snowy roads to leave for the center, as well.
By the time we arrived at the center, I was having to stop walking and talking during contractions. It took me quite a while to get up to the second floor, flanked by my doula and my husband. The elevator was particularly interminable, but I was still “on top of” the contractions, breathing, stopping, focusing, and letting myself be comforted by the silent presences around me.
Checking in to the birth center was like checking in to a hotel…gorgeous room, comfy bed, and low lights. I got out my fuzzy slippers and changed into my black lounge clothes for labor. The nurses began to flit in and out of the large door, setting things up, preparing quietly but hurriedly.
I had to walk. Up and down the hallway, flanked by my companions, I moved through the waves that overtook me in increasing swells.
I had to sit. We returned to the room and I sat, lotus position, on the bed. I was humming…moving from side to side, rocking the baby down and out, singing with the pain. Faster, harder, and stronger the pains came, but I forced myself to be inside of my body, to rationally see that the contractions were moving me closer to the end- and end that I could bring about with strength and courage.
The bath was ready. We got in, R behind me, with his arms around me, allowing me to float. My doula stood outside and leaned in to support me through the contractions, rubbing my neck, whispering to relax, to breathe, to move him down. My humming got stronger. I felt a sudden, overpowering “NOW” shouted to me from deep inside somewhere. Moving quickly to my knees, I pushed, and something popped- my water had finally broken.
I pushed. A breathless, burning pain was followed by immense relief.
I pushed. There was frantic movement and raised voices, but all I heard was the call of my body and the overwhelming instincts to let be what was happening.
“WAIT,” my doula said conclusively in my ear. I stopped, breathed, until I saw her nod.
I pushed, and my baby entered the world. Pulling him through my legs, I floated back against my husband and we all sucked down gasping breaths.
It was 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital, and 30 minutes later I was eating the best salad and pizza I had ever eaten.
Welcome to the world, #3.