I was 39 weeks pregnant, and my midwife was coming to the house for a regularly scheduled appointment. I was huge and uncomfortable and sick of being pregnant (like everyone at this stage), and she said she could try and start my labor if I wanted. I didn't want to get my hopes up too much yet, as I had gone to bed every night for the past three weeks thinking this could be it. And then I'd wake up in the morning, still huge and uncomfortable.
So she came and she worked her magic, involving a membrane stripping and some herbs. She stayed a little while, but nothing was happening. Almost immediately after she left though, the contractions started. And I have to admit that my first thought was oh crap, this again, I remember this. There is some kind of crazy labor and childbirth amnesia that makes you willing to go through it all more than once, but the (not so) fond memories sure came rushing back.
My mom and the kids were here, but I hesitated on calling the midwife back and having Bryce come home from work. I didn't want to raise false alarms. And honestly, I didn't really want anyone sitting around staring at me. The contractions weren't horrible yet, but I was having to go into another (quiet, dark) room to deal with them. When the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, my mom told me that I really should start calling people. And I'm glad she did!
Things seemed to happen quickly from that point on. Debbie and Abbey and Bryce showed up. We moved up to the bedroom and they started getting things ready. The contractions were getting very painful and intense, and I was beginning to feel desperate. In reality, only about an hour had gone by since I made the phone calls, but to me it felt like an eternity. Childbirth, no matter where and how you do it, is hard work. Painful work. I knew everything was okay, but man, did I ever want it to be over. Abbey checked me and said I was almost fully dilated. Standing and walking around was feeling much better to me than anything else, and somehow I ended up then standing over the one section of my bedroom floor that hadn't been protected with plastic and sheets. And then my water broke. The next contraction came, and I could tell this was it. The baby was coming, but I was too much beyond words to let anyone know. I just knew that I most definitely did not want to do this anymore, so I pushed as hard as I could. No one expected the baby to come so fast, but luckily Debbie was there to catch. She came out all at once while I was standing next to the bed. Her birth was of the baby just fell right out variety. Bryce was expecting to hear something like oh there's the head, so he wasn't even looking. He told me later that all of a sudden there was a baby in the room, and it didn't even seem real. I heard her cry one little cry, and I knew that it was over and that it was all going to be okay after all. The relief is hard to describe, but it was enormous.
After that moment, it was all very peaceful. People were cleaning, kids and dogs were running around, my mom was cooking a meatloaf, but I didn't notice any of that. I got to hold our baby girl in my own bed, surrounded by friends and family. I had my bath and my food just when I wanted them. All the mess of the delivery was gone by the time I even thought to look. It was as if the new baby just slipped into our lives, instead of being an event that occurred somewhere else and required introduction. Everything had gone so smoothly and quickly and really just like I thought it would. I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was perfect.