It was a warm spring day, and after having off-and-on contractions for 10 days, I doubted whether this time was for real. The contractions had started again before dinner, as they had all week.
But wait, something did feel a little different. Between bites of my sun-dried tomato pizza, I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. “I’m ready for you,” I whispered to my belly.
At 8 p.m., I called my midwife and told her the contractions were coming closer together, but they still felt easy. I wanted to stay home and see what happened. In the meantime, my man ran to the car to pack the cooler with juice boxes, coconut water, and leftover pizza. My suitcase of supplies was already in the trunk, filled with LED candles, lavender, meditation music, and pillow cases that smelled like home.
As it turned out, the suitcase never got opened. At 9 p.m., between contractions, I said, “It’s time to go.” Thunderpants drove to the hospital (within the speed limit) while I was on all fours in the backseat (yes, my seat belt was on). Between contractions, I walked into the hospital. Then, my water broke on the rug in the lobby! Hence, the “Caution” sign, thanks to yours truly:
My midwife was waiting for us in Labor and Delivery. “You’re 9 centimeters dilated,” she told me. “You can push any time.”
As I pushed out my baby — without an epidural or any drugs — I felt the greatest empathy for any woman who does opt for pain medication. I really get it. The nurses cheered me on. Thunderpants stood behind me, silent and strong (and probably freaking out) as he held one of my legs in the air.
I bore down and experienced the deepest feeling I’ve ever felt in my life. Just before 11 p.m., I birthed our daughter. Thunderpants caught her under my arms and placed her on my chest, both of them crying.
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