I suppose this story began last fall when I realized that the Lord had chosen to bless us with another child. Anne was 10 months old, and while I felt decidedly unready for another pregnancy and delivery, the anticipation of a sweet, soft baby is always joyful. I tend to worry during pregnancy, but this was my first completely uneventful pregnancy, and it was a blessing to fully enjoy those precious kicks and hiccups.
As my due date neared, I was again dreading labor and delivery, but Modern Modesty shared a great post of verses on fear that I read and meditated on each time I felt that nagging panic. Since we decided to keep the gender a surprise, our family began to revel in the excitement and mystery of the new baby's arrival as we counted down the days. The girls were unified in their desire for a little sister, and Leah had already settled on the name Cinderella.
My due date was June 26, just five days before our insurance year restarted. Our plan has a high deductible which we would have to pay again if she arrived on July 1 or later, so we prayed that this little one would arrive in June. My forty-week appointment was scheduled with my midwife on June 25 at seven in the morning, and her office is thirty-five minutes from home. Now showing a presentable face before the sun does has never been my specialty, but with three little girls to arouse and dress, I knew leaving the house at 6 a.m. was bordering on the impossible. So we asked the ever-so-accommodating grandparents to keep the girls overnight, which was a delightful arrangement for everyone. Grace was so excited, she packed their backpack with clothes and (necessary!) toys two days early.
Wednesday the 25th dawned rainy and cool. Ben was leaving for work at the same time as I was leaving, so we walked to our cars together, and he gave me a parting hug and kiss and reassurance that God is in control. I was a brimming cup of emotions and tears, and his reassurances made a few of the tears slip over the rim.
I arrived on time for my appointment, and I waited anxiously for the midwife. She is a bustling whirlwind of confidence and realistic positivity, and morning hours did not seem to dampen her enthusiasm. She brightly asked if I was ready to have this baby; while I most emphatically did, I was none too excited about the process of arrival. I lay on the table, willing her to find me much further progressed than I had reasonable hope for. No sooner had she begun the exam than my water broke, and it was no mean trickle. It was more along the lines of a gushing spring. At my last exam, she had stripped my membranes and pushed me to 2 cm, and today she said I had progressed to 3 cm. She sent me home to walk and wait, giving me an adult diaper, her cell phone number, and instructions for encouraging contractions to begin.
As I got in to the van, the tilting of my pelvis made a small river rush down my leg, and I felt an intense gratitude for the morning rain that hid the puddle I just made on the black top. I called Ben, and asked him to come home from work. He wanted to make one more stop in Cleveland, but I insisted that I needed his moral support. Behind the hospital and the midwife's office is a lovely wooded walking trail. It is a small area, but the path circles and loops, making the most of the area. I took a lap around it, hoping that maybe contractions would start right away, and I wouldn't have to walk home. I was really hoping for a repeat of Anne's birth--surprisingly quick, but it wasn't following that pattern.
I got into the van and headed home. Ben met me there about 10:30, and it felt so good to have his presence. We laughed as I cut up Leah's night-time PullUps to use to collect the flood of amniotic fluid that continued to gush. A sweet friend stopped by, leaving me encouraged by her fellowship. After some lunch, a call to the midwife, and a little rest time, Ben recommended that we drive to the park and go for a walk. It was a great suggestion. Except for the whole labor and gushing puddles part, it was a lovely date.
As we neared the end of our walk, the contractions began to fall into a more regular five to ten minute pattern. It was about 2 o'clock, so we decided to drive to Westlake where the hospital is, since the midwife had asked us to check in at the office at four. Halfway there, we realized this was probably going to end with a hospital admission, so we turned around to switch vehicles with my father-in-law, so they could have the car seats.
We still had some time to kill before the appointment, so we went to Volunteers of America, one of our favorite secondhand stores in the area, and nabbed a few deals. Ben found a box fan, and I found seven hardback Bobbsey twin books for the girls and a hardback edition of Oliver Twist. Score! Pushing a cart down the aisles, breathing through the contractions and praying that I wouldn't make a puddle or a scene was a little awkward, but the shopping was a great diversion.
To be continued....