I’ve been mean­ing to post this for some time, but keep get­ting dis­tracted. Babies: so demand­ing! I had a few moments today where I decided to stop neglect­ing my blog (at the expense of con­tin­u­ing to neglect vac­u­um­ing). Then I read it again and got a lit­tle teary. Babies: so emo­tional! Happy weekend.
All through­out preg­nancy I had felt good—sometimes even great—and then at the start of the 40th week, I was over it. I felt big, unwieldy and tired. I didn’t want to do anything.
Ari’s due date was sup­posed to be August 10, but I was fairly cer­tain it would come and go with­out his arrival. I went to the baby store across the street and the owner said my belly looked dif­fer­ent from a few days ear­lier. She said know­ingly, “I think it’s going to hap­pen this week­end.” We had reser­va­tions for Prov­i­dence that night and I kept think­ing, “Let me eat this one awe­some last meal…”

The week­end came and went. No baby.

I saw the mid­wife on the due date (a Wednes­day) and she had me set up an appoint­ment for fetal mon­i­tor­ing the fol­low­ing week (41 weeks). I ate another good meal at Rus­tic Canyon. I thought I may have had a con­trac­tion, but oth­er­wise, things were semi-normal. I had wanted to re-watch the British veri­son of The Office, so every day we watched another episode or two before falling asleep.

Early in the morn­ing of Fri­day, August 12, I woke up think­ing I may have had con­trac­tions dur­ing the night. I also recounted a really weird dream involv­ing a potluck where some­one brought water­melon and marsh­mal­lows on skew­ers. I woke Ryan up and he asked if I wanted to walk Harry with him. (This is unusual. In our seven years of dog own­er­ship, walk­ing the dog in the morn­ing is almost always some­thing Ryan does alone.) As we walked around the neigh­bor­hood, I thought, “OK, these are def­i­nitely con­trac­tions.” Ryan decided to work from home. A few hours later, after we’d eaten donuts and tracked more con­trac­tions, he decided to take the day off. I kept think­ing, “This might not be it, this could stop at any point, or this could go off and on all week­end.” But the con­trac­tions kept get­ting closer and closer together. We fin­ished The Office.

We called Labor and Deliv­ery and they said I could come in if I wanted, but I could def­i­nitely wait. We stayed home. A few hours later I was hot and uncom­fort­able and thought I might be hap­pier in a nice cold hos­pi­tal. So we headed to UCLA around 6pm. We brought so much stuff! Read­ing mate­r­ial, a lap­top loaded with tele­vi­sion shows, a ton of music and an exer­cise ball. I fig­ured I’d be labor­ing for a while, and envi­sioned myself walk­ing through the halls and sit­ting on my ball while Ryan talked me through things and rubbed my back.

The nurses put us in the tini­est triage room and there wasn’t much space. The pile of neces­si­ties sat in a cor­ner and Ryan had nowhere to sit. We guessed how dilated I might be. I said it would be great if I was at five or six cen­time­ters, but Ryan thought it was more likely that I was three or four. Finally I saw our mid­wife and she checked me. I was already dilated to six cen­time­ters! That meant we could move into a big labor and deliv­ery room. Every nurse who came by kept say­ing, “You seem so calm for how far along you are!” I wasn’t par­tic­u­larly com­fort­able, but I wasn’t sure how much more intense it would get.

For some rea­son I was very con­cerned about being hun­gry dur­ing labor. My par­ents went to get deli for din­ner and I kept think­ing I would have to have them bring me something.

Oddly, I then for­got entirely about food. I had to wear a mon­i­tor because the baby’s heart rate was drop­ping between con­trac­tions, which meant I had to stay in a fixed posi­tion in bed. This annoyed me, and I kept try­ing to talk some­one into let­ting me move around. Even­tu­ally I made it to eight cen­time­ters. I really wanted to try for an unmed­icated deliv­ery, and at this point I knew I could keep going with­out drugs. At some time after mid­night, as I was wig­gling in bed, I felt a huge gush and heard a “pop.” “I think my water just broke,” I said to my mom and Ryan.

I got checked again—ten cen­time­ters! The mid­wife said it was going to be time to push soon. I don’t remem­ber much about push­ing except that I yelled—a lot—and that it hurt—a lot. At one point, my mid­wife told me I was mak­ing noise but not push­ing, and I needed to push. This made me mad, and in a fit of “I’ll show her” I really pushed. So hard that a baby came out, all at once, it seemed. For some rea­son I thought it would be grad­ual, like here’s his head, push push, now his chest, push push…But it felt like one big move.

At many points dur­ing preg­nancy, you are blown away by what your body is doing. I’m grow­ing a human, I kept think­ing to myself. And then sud­denly, the thing that’s been inside you is out­side you and it’s noth­ing short of amazing.