While my mom was visiting, she helped me make my bedroom habitable. With a fifth baby on the way, we needed more than the two tiny bedrooms our cottage provided. I worked through much of my pregnancy to paint walls, sew curtains and arrange the furniture in the children's new bedrooms. My husband and I were relegated to the basement bedroom in which we had a new, bigger, untrimmed window, peeling paint, torn wallpaper and a crumbling concrete floor. It was quite a dungeon. Now, it was transformed into a calming Bavarian retreat.
I lay in my peaceful sanctuary expecting the contractions to slow. I kept careful track and didn't give much heed to the continuing contractions; I just knew it was because I had overworked myself. Half an hour later my husband came in to check on me. He took over time keeping. One by one, the children found their way into my room. By now, I had to breathe through my contractions. The children sat quietly at the side of my bed and watched. Between contractions, I looked out my newly finished window and conversed softly with my beloved pods. By now, I thought I was in labor, but was enjoying the quiet peace of these moments so close to heaven. My sweetheart, however, was starting to quietly panic and urged me to at least move upstairs. I did, but knew I couldn't yet leave for the hospital. A hospital stay is at least a day and could be more. I had to water my flowers.
We had a strange neighbor, in those days. His IQ was not quite normal and he did not respond to social cues. My good Justin was always patient with him. Here I was, in labor and watering while the children got themselves ready to go to a friend's house for the night, and Todd came for a visit. He would not be ignored or put off for another time. Justin hastily read through the poems that Todd needed him to read. Still watering, I had another contraction and with that contraction, there was pressure. Oh, no! I thought to myself. Pressure is last. I sent the kids next door, gathered my things and put on my shoes. When I was safely seated and buckled, Todd finally decided he would let us go.
The drive to the hospital is only a couple of minutes from our house. I needed to use the restroom, but decided to wait. Every time I use the bathroom before I leave, they need a urine sample when I get there. Up the elevator, to the Delivery Unit. The nurse brought me into a room and handed me a gown. Before I put on the gown, I asked the her if she needed a urine sample. She told me that she didn't so I hurried into the bathroom. I went inside and locked the door.
Here I was, on the toilet, not yet changed, the door locked and I needed to push.
"JUSTIN!! Oh, no, JUSTIN!! THE BABY IS COMING! SHE IS COMING NOW!"
I had to make a decision right there: do I have the baby on the floor of the bathroom or do I get to the bed? Somehow I got to the door and looked at the bed across the room. Perspective is really something, isn't it? I looked at the bed 20 feet away and watched it stretch to an insurmountable distance. I thought, There is no way! Then I looked at the hard hospital room floor. I ran for it. I fell onto the bed as a whirlwind of medical staff flew around me. Upon inspection, the resident (I don't even know his name) explained that the bag of waters was the only thing keeping my baby inside. Another contraction took care of that as the incredible pains of childbirth inflicted their torturous assault. For the first time ever, I tried to do the idiotic tiny pushes to give the staff and my husband time to get into position. When I absolutely couldn't wait any longer, out she came.
Ten minutes from the time we parked the car, to the time I held her tiny, unbelievably tiny, body. Instead of a welcoming greeting or words of love, my first words when she blasted her way into our lives wasa breathless, "Already?"
The welcoming greeting and words of love came, though. How could they not?
On our Baby Pod's first birthday, I have come to understand that her personality fits her delivery. She is full of energy and has kept us hopping from the beginning. This baby needed to be born into a big family because she loves the noise and the bustle. She took her naps in the living room for the first three months because she woke up as soon as it got too quiet.
Happy First Birthday, little cyclone. We love the happy, fun, joyful uproar you brought. We are in for a great ride.