We were sitting on the couch, on April 30th. It was way too late for us to be up, in the 11 o’clock hour on a weeknight. A Tuesday. We were watching a D@vid Bl@ne special on Opr@h, where he was attempting to break a world record for holding his breath underwater. We were up late because we are naughty people who never go to bed on time but also because we were very casually trying to induce labor. She was reluctantly (lots of eye rolling) doing n!pple stimulation (not fun while watching Opr@h) and I was pushing special acupressure places on her ankles.
At 12:35am (now May 1st) she said “ahhhh!” and flew off the couch. I thought she had seen a giant spider (unfortunately this has happened before at our house). But no. “MY WATER JUST BROKE.”
There was actual liquid on the couch, and she leapt over to the part of our living room that is slate, and pulled down her pants just in time for an impressive show where torrents of amniotic fluid came gushing out. Splattering all over the floor like in the most unrealistic movie, ever. I must admit I was totally, utterly unprepared for her water to break on her due date.
We don’t do things textbook style. Hells no. Anyway, we eventually went to the hospital in the middle of the night to ‘confirm’ that her water broke. Why don’t doctors trust people? Of course her water broke…no need to send us to the hospital in the middle of the night to confirm that her water broke. Did Dr. PSS (poor social skills) think we thought S was peeing all over our home?
The next morning, with little sleep, we woke up and told Smarty. That was a good moment. A sunshiny moment. Her labor slowed over the morning, and she was able to garden with Smarty for a while. Some friends came over. Right before we left for the hospital, she was on our porch, wearing giant earphones, rocking, moaning and clutching her water bottle – looking, according to her best friend, like we just met her at a bus stop.
Smarty insisted on riding with us to the hospital in our friend’s van. We hit traffic. Smarty helped S with her low moans, making noise right along with her.
How do I write about the painful, eternally long labor? S had back labor. She swore like a sailor. She barked at me. She barked statements at me such as “do stuff!” Apparently I was just supposed to know what that meant. S was amazing. Strong. Held it together. Finally got some narcotics (2 shots) at the very end. She pushed for 2 hours.
Oh!!! Smarty was there. The whole time. How could I forget that. He wanted to be there to cut the cord. How fucking adorable is he? At about 11pm, after marching in and out of the room, playing with my mom, coming in to sit with his mommies, then leaving again, I finally held him for a while and told him to go to sleep – that we would wake him up when she was about to come out.
So he slept. Right in the hospital room. And by ‘room’ i mean suite. Like with a balcony, and a GIANT whirlpool tub, and hardwood floors (more about that later). Smarty slept on the small fold out sofa type thing. Just crashed out right there in the midst of everything. And he slept. And slept. And slept.
Slept right through the bleeping machines, the nurse coming and going, S moaning, S screaming. Slept through S screaming in an unmedicated birth, with back labor. He slept through S’s screams as our doctor put her entire hand inside S in order to PUSH her cervix OVER the baby’s head. He slept though S screaming over the birthing stool. Through S begging for drugs. Through crying. Through more screaming. Screams like you can’t imagine…all followed by Smarty, snoring.
So then it was like 3 in the morning. There were 13 people there (including me and the doula) in the final moments: S’s dad, my mom, Smarty, my best friend and her husband, S’s best friend from high school, S’s mom and her husband, S’s brother (our donor for Smarty) and his wife, and WTF. After much pushing, it seemed kinda impossible to me, to S and to everyone I think, except the doctor, that an actually baby was emerging from all of this.
When it seemed like it was actually going to happen we woke Smarty up. I coaxed him out of bed and we watched as his sister’s head emerged, all cone headed and smooshy faced.
And then she was just there, squishy and big (almost 9 pounds) on S’s chest. That moment for me was actually a little anticlimactic, and honestly I missed the feeling of a slickery baby on my own chest. For both S and I Smarty’s first minutes of life were the most miraculous event that has ever existed. This time she was just…there. I found out later that S felt the same way. The magical moment came a few minutes later..
Smarty had been talking about this for months. He put his tiny 3 year old fingers in the scissors and we cut through her cord together. That moment, for me, was when the heavens opened. The moment that was too good and light and perfect to exist on this earth.