On the morning of July 27, 2012, we ate eggs and bacon. We discussed my every symptom and physical development. It was starting to feel like I was having one long contraction for an entire week. To get things moving, we nearly jogged around the block. Still nothing but an achy cramp.
Then a second small trace of water showed up on the black dress I had been wearing for the last month and we decided to go into the birth center and just have ourselves a baby already. After a quick exam, we learned I was 7 cm dilated and still not in labor. Andrea, our midwife with dreadlocks down to her butt, suggested we keep up the walking. We walked miles and miles that morning and still no word from the uterus that she was ready to get things started.
After a turkey sandwich lunch, brought courtesy of Samantha and Publix, we decided it would be appropriate to break my water and get the show on the road. The prospect of an amniotic hook hooking my amniotic sac was terrifying, especially since I imagined what came next would be a big ole baby head pounding against my cervix. It’s one thing if it just happens and it’s an entirely different thing to choose to feel such pain. Still, to go home pregnant was not an option. At this point it was a lot easier to visualize the waterbreak happening naturally so I practiced some visualization tricks and put myself back on a walk with Aaron until Whoops! There goes the water!
After a crushing drop from William, the contractions started in full force. Once it was over, I think we counted 23 total contractions before the excruciating push. An hour and twenty minutes later William weaseled his way into the world.
The midwife and her assistants were amazing. William’s shoulder got stuck and they knew exactly what to do. They were quietly encouraging and attentive. They told me how strong I was in a tone of voice that made me feel strong. They left us alone in a dimly lit room to nuzzle and nurse our slippery little bruiser of a baby. At 9 lbs and 7 ounces with a heaving 14 inch chest, William is already a strong, determined little baby athlete. He holds his head up and looks around with the sweetest grey eyes. But he did not come easily. He was as content in utero as he is outside of it.
In labor, the pain feels like a physical force that you have to push through your body. The only way to get it out is with a lot of breath and noise. It feels like God’s curse coursing through your body—a curse for not knowing how good something can be if it’s just given to you. The pain makes you want the baby, and when it’s over, nothing feels more like life itself than that little, breathing human you made.
William has completed us. I think Clara, Aaron, and I all feel like better, purer, happier versions of who we were before we had this baby to love. So happy in anyone’s arms, all he wants is to be loved. Nothing has ever felt as natural, good, and right as family.