The pregnancy had been going smoothly. I’d been exercising even through a cold New Hampshire winter, letting myself indulge in whatever treat I wanted, (although the craving I most remember was for steak tip salad), working my regular church job as well as a few hours part time at a spice shop, and was feeling good. I’d made it through Easter, and was planning on pinning down all the details necessary for my maternity leave, which would start when the baby was born. I was due May 25, Memorial Day, and we were hoping for a home birth, although we weren’t sure which home.
In early February, we’d begun a renovation project with the intention of moving out of the church parsonage and into the house Dude owned in a neighboring town. As these things tend to do, the initial “kitchen cabinets and a couple floors” idea took on a life of its own, and it eventually became a whole-house renovation. We had explained our timeline to the contractors, and were hopeful–but not very optimistic–that we could have the birth in the new house. My midwife, Sarah, was flexible; as long as we had a comfortable space somewhere and running water, she was game, and the home visit was set for 36 weeks.
April 20, a Monday, at 35 weeks, I was off from my job as pastor, so I was working at the spice shop. I spent the day packing spice orders and feeling anxious. After weeks of anticipation and wishing he would just get here already, I felt completely unprepared for the reality of bringing a tiny human into the world.
That evening, after dinner, I took a selfie and posted it to Instagram with this caption:
35 weeks. Starting to freak out a bit about the fact that soon I’ll have an actual baby. A real live human being. The thing moving around in my ever-expanding abdomen will be a person. With a personality and needs and preferences and quirks. A couple weeks ago I was feeling like I couldn’t wait until his arrival. Now I’m feeling like I’m not at all prepared. #selfie365 #pregnancy
I stayed up until about 11, reading the chapter in my pregnancy book about labor and delivery, and searching for local birth classes I might be able to take in the next couple weeks, and then, feeling exhausted, I went to sleep.
Around 12:30, I woke up to a wet bed. I thought I’d probably peed (hey, it’s third trimester pregnancy, right?) and went into the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet, and as I relaxed, I started getting suspicious, thinking that my bladder could not possibly hold as much fluid as was coming out. When I finished, I was still dripping a bit, so at that point I was pretty sure what was going on.
I carefully walked back to the bedroom, turned on the light on my nightstand, and nudged Dude awake. “I think my water broke,” I told him, feeling terrified and thrilled at once.
His eyes came half open. “Seriously?” (I almost laughed at how he sounded slightly perturbed).
Then, with drowsy resignation: “Of course. It’s a Tuesday.” (We’d read somewhere that Tuesdays are the most common day of the week for American babies to be born.) Then I did laugh, and told him I should probably call Sarah.
To be continued…