I was just looking at my phone history to see what sort of text conversations were happening one week ago. They were something along the lines of: “If I don’t have this baby soon, I’m in ‘trouble.'”
Jameson was born hours before his due date rolled around.
William was born hours after his due date.
Beatrice waited a whole four days before labor kicked into gear.
And this baby? Well… Dates can be wrong, but you go with what you’ve got, and according to calculations, this baby was happy as a clam, despite the Big Bad Forty-Two Week mark that was quickly approaching. Sometimes I’d have a contraction that would make me perk up and wonder, Yes? Maybe? Then long minutes, hours, would tick by, and No. Not it.
Thursday, when I was 41w4d along, I met with my midwife and we discussed Options. When she left, I knew I had a few days to do my best to walk and take baths and drink tea. And I knew that Monday morning, she would call the hospital to make arrangements for me to go in and get things rolling.
Here’s the deal: I don’t hate hospitals. But I do home births for good reasons, one of those being a deep preference. Giving birth in a hospital isn’t my first choice, but getting an IV, pitocin, EFM, and all that could lead to? Really, really not my first choice. But [deep breath], God is bigger than all of that. I know that. I knew that. But I had to remind myself. A lot. Things don’t have to go my way. Sometimes they don’t for good reasons, for reasons I can’t possibly understand and simply have to trust in the perfect Father who holds my life in His hands.
These are the thoughts that would go on in my head while I walked briskly, mile after mile. (Because, as an aside, I felt really, really good right until the end of this pregnancy. I was incredibly thankful for that. Floradix? Liver? A walking regimen all 9 months? Whatever the reason, it was a gift.)
There were plenty of mornings waking up and feeling “hope deferred-ish”, as I told Ryan. And then I would remind myself, don’t hope in labor today. Hope in God. (Hope in God never leaves you with a “deferred-ish” feeling.)
Anyway, that Saturday, we had the option of having my midwife stop by in the evening to strip my membranes, or we could just wait till Sunday, when she was planning on coming and pulling out all the stops — herbs, membranes, you name it. We just couldn’t decide! Saturday or Sunday. Or Monday in the hospital? Were we getting ahead of God? Gah! I just couldn’t sense what was the right decision. My hormones, which had stayed amazingly in check for 9 months, were suddenly clouding everything. Take it away, Ry.
He made some last phone calls for advice, and finally decided Yes. Tell her to come tonight.
At 7:08, she texted to say she’d be at our house in an hour or so. I let my friends and family know what we’d decided, and then got a game plan together. “Okay, kids. Here’s the deal. In an hour, Regina is coming. We need to clean the kitchen, pick up the house, get pj’s on, and be in bed by then. Let’s go!”
And — I kid you not — no sooner had I stood up to start cleaning up from dinner than a contraction hit me. And another. And another. In fact, the whole time I was tidying, they just came faster and faster. It took me a bit to realize what was going on, and when I did, I just couldn’t believe it. Didn’t believe. Just cleaned faster and more furiously, thinking I should just ignore them rather than get my hopes up? But they were there. I’ve always been a bit excited when labor started, in spite of the looming ordeal, but I’ve never, ever been so thankful. Really? Really, we decide to go ahead with stripping the membranes, and Boom! Labor starts? Really? One more day of trying every trick up our sleeves, knowing none of them were sure guarantees of anything, and Boom! God steps in? Really? I wanted to cry, but I was just too surprised to even do that.
Ryan was out mowing the lawn — we all have our Before Baby priorities! — and although I was tempted to ask him for help with kids, I decided to let him keep mowing, and I’d just keep moving. There were a couple of snippy moments I had to apologize for, trying my best to explain to them that I was just getting really uncomfortable. Jameson seemed to understand, and got very busy going the extra mile on my behalf.
We all sat together on Beatrice’s bed to read Jemima Puddle-duck. Ryan came in, and I told him about the contractions. Regina arrived and smiled at the news. I finished the story, tucked them all in bed, and — deep breath — got ready to move on to the rest of the night. Here we go!