Once upon a time, exactly 12 years ago, Abigail Rose was born. Eight days late, not that I'm still bitter about that, although she was due on my birthday (sorry again, really the last time, although I'm not sure how to avoid mentioning my birthday when all sorts of stuff happens that particular day).
I was awake at 1 a.m., staring at the ceiling, wondering why I was still pregnant, and feeling rather sorry for myself. At 1:15, my water broke. Which was actually not what I was expecting at all; I was ready to count contractions, only I wasn't having any. Still, at least now I could go to the hospital. Progress!
I'm not quite sure about my voice level once I figured out what was going on, but I called to Eric, who went from sound asleep to sitting up in record time. His first words to me, as he realized the miraculous path we were about to embark on? "Do I have time to take a shower first?"
Well, why not?
I called my parents because Mom had already committed to being in the room with us and she was not going to get out of it even at this ungodly hour. She said she'd meet us there. Yay Mom!
Eric and I drove out, honking our horn so the neighbors would know what we were up to, as they'd requested weeks before. We got to the hospital and found Mom out front. The door was locked. We causally walked to the side emergency entrance. I was sent up to the birthing wing, on the condition that they had to verify that my water had indeed broken. Trust me, you know, but whatevs, nurses. I was willing to play their reindeer games.
The conformation came back, of course, so I got to keep my fancy gown and robe on, and crawl into the bed. It was about 5 a.m. at that point, and what I really wanted to do was go back to sleep.
Only in the next room, someone else was giving birth. Loudly. And I was all like, come on there, lady! Why do you insist on keeping me awake? And also, I'm nervous enough about doing this myself, so could you please tone it down a little?
By 10 a.m., the lady was finally finished with her screaming (a girl!), and quiet settled over the ward. I tried to close my eyes, but sleep was just not going to happen. I gave up and took several walks around the hallways with Eric instead.
Oh, they were all about taking walks around the hallways to induce labor. Which seemed weird to me because clearly I was in labor, so what more did they want from me? Shouldn't I have been getting my feet massaged instead? Apparently they didn't think I was "in enough pain yet" because I was being too quiet about the whole ordeal. I just felt like we all knew I was in labor, so really, what was the point of yelling about it? The monitor showed I was in the thick of things... what more did they need?
Then 11:30 came, and with it, "transitional labor." And wow, that was fun. The nurses who didn't believe I was in enough pain yet were shocked that suddenly this show was officially on the road. I interrupted their lunch. Ha! Well, that's what you get for not taking the monitor seriously.
So yeah, this whole next part is sort of a blur to me. All I remember is that it wasn't particularly fun, but in the middle of that somewhere I found myself thinking, this is it? This is what I've been worried about my entire life? Because really, the hype is way worse than the actual process. (And no, I still wasn't screaming. I just made my mother hum to me and wouldn't let Eric stray so much as an inch away from my side.)
It's funny how the entire world just stops, when you're focusing so hard on something. Time literally stood still. They said I could push, and I did. For 1 1/2 hours, not that I was counting (I was too busy with other things to count).
And then! Abby!
My mother, by the way, was having some sort of post traumatic breakdown at this point--apparently watching me give birth was more than she could handle (and, incidentally, she was not in the delivery room with Johanna when that time came, so we obviously broke her). A half-hour after Abby was born, the visitors started streaming in--grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins--and Mom was like, wait! You do know know what we've been through here! We need space!
I know that because she told me afterwards.
It was so wonderful to finally meet Abby. She was absolutely perfect, weird cone head aside. (Well, that's what you get when you're eight days late.) We loved how she slept all crunched up, with her hands in her face. We loved how she fit so perfectly in our arms. We loved to finally be able to touch her, and hold her, and see her in real life.
And that's the story of the day Abby was born, how our lives were irreversibly changed forever, and for the better to boot.
Tonight's song is Foo Fighters "Times Like These." Because it SEEMS APPROPRIATE.