It turns out Monday, September 13th, my 35th birthday, was to be my last day as a pregnant person. In hindsight, I would have skipped the vegetable lasagna for dinner. Who knew? After months of waiting, and a week of cursing the gods and complaining to anyone who would listen, little Mavbling decided he was in all sorts of a hurry to get here.
The day started out innocently enough. Mavrick’s mom, Holy Toledo, arrived mid-afternoon. She was sick of waiting around six hours away for the birth of her first grandchild and decided to come here and attempt to talk him out of my uterus. My mother, Bon Bon, who lives a half a mile down the street, decided to help her. By 5:00 p.m. I had a granny posse sitting in my kitchen. They were armed with coffee, Granny Power, and red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. They had a nice, long chat with my belly. It was time, they said.
Dinner came and went. Around 11:30 p.m., Mavrick and I decided to hit the sack. It would be the last time I peed and brushed my teeth as a pregnant person. At about midnight, Mavrick and I were lying belly to belly, just chatting about our day, when we heard and felt a POP come from down below. I had heard that sound one other time in my life, and it was when my water broke with Jr.
Me – “Baby, I think my water just broke!”
Mav – “No, I think that was just the baby kicking,”
Me – “No way. Did you HEAR that?? You can’t hear Mavbling kick. That was something breaking.”
Mav – “Did any water come out?”
I reached down and felt …. Sigh. “No.”
Mav – “Okay then. Kiss. Goodnight. Happy Birthday. I love you.”
I laid there for a few minutes. I was so sure that was my water breaking. I was trying to not let it get to me, but I was really becoming depressed over not going into labor. For somebody with my attention span, being a week overdue was like hard prison time. I rolled over to go to sleep and ……. GUSH! Oh ya. Water. Broken. Let’s do this.
I hopped out of bed, because I’m sorry, I don’t care how excited you are to go into labor, it’s no reason to ruin a very expensive mattress, and even more water came out. (I’m calling it water here for those of you that are uncomfortable with the fact that it’s actually amniotic fluid. But, really, if you ARE that type of person, you should probably stop reading right now. Because shit is going to get way more graphic. You have been warned.)
I hurried around the bedroom, cleaning up and getting changed, sure that Mavrick would wake up. He didn’t. I threw myself on the bed and huffed and puffed and tossed and turned, just waiting for my contractions to start, sure that Mavrick would wake up. He didn’t. An hour later, I was pretty sure they were coming about 12 minutes apart. And despite my best attempts to wake Mavrick ‘naturally’, the man was still fast asleep. I was going to have to wake him up.
As my hand moved towards his shoulder, it occurred to me: this is a once-and-a-lifetime moment. I am about to wake up the love of my life and tell him that the birth of his firstborn, his son, is imminent. Also, HA, I was right, totally my water breaking. We are about to spend our last hours as pregnant people together, and become parents. It seemed strange to me that a moment of such import came down to a jostled shoulder and a whispered, “Babe. It’s time”. I felt like I should at least have a cupcake with a candle or something.
Of course he responds with “Are you sure?” Yes, yes I’m sure. At this point, my contractions were very mild, under 30 seconds long, and coming every 10 minutes or so. We call the midwife center, give them a heads up that labor has started, and we will call again when we are ready to head in. We call our doula, the one and only Hot Mama, and tell her to get her ass over, it’s baby having time.
It was going on 2 a.m., and I still felt pretty good. The contractions were bearable, but they were starting to get a bit longer and closer together. Hot Mama got there a little after 2. I could hear Holy Toledo upstairs. I tell Mavrick to go let her know that we are in labor. The granny chat worked. Mavbling was coming.
We walk around the back yard. I decide I want to get a shower. Oh, and by the way, the contractions? They aren’t fucking around anymore. They went from la-de-da to sweet baby jesus on bagel, this hurts. Within a half an hour my contractions went from 8 minutes apart to having maybe a minute of downtime in between peaks. I quickly went from wise-cracking mindbling to ‘baby, hold me, rub my back’ mindbling. As the contractions racked my body, I found comfort in humming some god-awful alien spaceship landing call, which I insisted on repeating over and over again, in volumes ever increasing, as labor wore on.
By 3 a.m., I knew we had to go. This baby, the same baby that had decided to take his sweet old time and be a week freaking late, all of the sudden was in a hurry. As pressure in my pelvis increased, I actually started to think we weren’t going to make it to the Midwife Center. We call the midwife. She said give her a ten minute head start, and she’ll meet us there.
I call my mom. Bon Bon can be a tad frantic on a good day, and I didn’t want to panic her. I mustered every ounce of composure I could and called her to tell her we were going in. Of course she wanted to come right then and there, but I managed to talk her into waiting till we got to the center to see what the deal was, and then she could pick up Holy Toledo and head down.
Mavrick is racing around to pack the truck. We had bags, a check list, equipment. It looked like we were going on a weekend getaway. In hindsight, you really don’t need that much stuff. We ended up using exactly none of it. But, what labor story is complete without the daddy-to-be frantically racing around making sure you have your toothbrush?
Hot Mama was helping me out to the truck. She’s trying to get me in the back seat, and all of the sudden, I feel it. Mavbling dropped down. WAY down. The pressure was almost unbearable. My alien song went up in volume, I was practically shrieking it in my driveway, and I started to panic that we really weren’t going to make it. I was going to give birth in a freaking Ford.
They hustle me in to the car, and we take off. Mavrick is flying through downtown, running red lights. I am laying across the back seat, Hot Mama is frantically rubbing my back, and I’m sing-yelling out the open window. I probably looked very much so like a braying cow. We stop at one red light, and a car pulled up next to us. A couple looks over. There I am. Sing-yelling an alien song to them. I am sure they thought I was drunk.
By now, there was no break in between contraction. It was one right after the other right after the other. We pull up in front of the Midwife Center. Our midwife and nurse are waiting with the doors open. I cannot get out of the truck yet, because I am in the middle of a gut-wretching contraction. Instead, I am sing-yelling to them. It passes, and I used the five second lull to dart into the birthing suit.
The midwife checks my cervix; I am five centimeters dialated. I start sobbing. I really thought I was closer than that. You can’t push till ten centimeters. I wasn’t going to make it. I was going to die. The midwife says, “Don’t worry sweetie. You can go from five to having him lickity split!” They ran a jacuzzi bath for me, and Mavrick texted the granny posse. “She is five centimeters. Head down here in an hour.” It was 4:15 a.m.
I get in the bath. I get out of the bath. I get in the bath. Mavrick gets half in, half out. I’m out of my mind with pain. If it wasn’t for Mavrick and Hot Mama, I would have lost my mind. They rocked and rubbed me through every contraction, and did not laugh at my alien sing-yelling. It was beyond my control to stop it. I was swearing, fuck shit fuck shit fuck shit. I would then apologize for swearing. I didn’t want the nurse and midwife to think I’m uncouth!
At one point, I’m laying back in the tub, the nurse is trying to pour warm water on my belly, I’m convinced I’m dying, and she leans in and says, “You are doing great. This labor is BRUTAL.”
Okay. People. When your MIDWIFE NURSE, who sees women in labor literally every day of her life, tells you that YOUR labor is brutal, you know it’s freaking bad. Even in my whacked out state I remember thinking, “Fucking figures. Go big or go home, Ms. I Want To Have The Baby Naturally.”
The need to push hit me like a car. I was standing up in the tub, leaning against Mavrick, and my legs literally buckled and I started pushing, right there. Probably time to get out of the tub. I get onto the bed, on my side. Hot Mama has one leg up in the air, the nurse is holding the other up to my chest. I have Mavrick locked in a head lock, forehead to forehead with me, while I sang-yelled into his ear and begged him to stay with me. I needed him.
I would apologize to him after each push. I tried to apologize to everyone. In between pushes, I was trying to explain to them how much better it felt to yell when I pushed. Each push got louder and louder, like I was going to yell the baby out. Hot Mama said, “I can see his head! He has hair!” I said, “Is it red?” The baby started to crown. At this point, I lost all control of myself.
I grabbed Mavrick by the shirt and started screaming RING OF FIRE RING OF FIRE RING OF FIRE. Mavbling’s head crowned and was out. And that’s it. He was stuck. The midwife said to Mavrick, flip her over on her hands and knees, he is stuck, we have to get him out. Mavrick did as he was told, and I got tossed like a rag doll.
So there I am on my hands and knees, my son stuck inside of me, in a wild panic. All I could think of is if anything bad happens now, we are fucked. This is the risk you take when you use a birthing center. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to my baby. I yelled like you have never heard a person yell in the history of yelling. I pushed harder than any other woman has ever pushed in the history of pushing. My eyebrows shot out of my asshole, I pushed so hard. But it worked. Mavbling shot out of me and onto the bed.
Mavrick got to cut the cord, they wiped Mavbling up and handed him to his daddy, wrapped in a bloody towel. I was sort of stuck, waiting for someone to help me. They turn me back over, and start cleaning me up. There we are. Mavrick on the edge of the bed, a look of absolute shock on his face, a bloody towel and his son in his arms. There is me, covered in blood and gore, getting wiped down with a washcloth. There is Hot Mama, crying with the emotion of it all.
There is an open door, propped open when we got there, and left open in the confusion. Through that door walked two grannies. They thought they would be in the waiting room for a few hours, drinking coffee and trying to granny one-up each other. The confusion in their faces when they saw Mavrick holding the baby was priceless. Almost as priceless as Mavrick’s face. It was 5:15 a.m.
In less than 5 hours we went from pregnant people to parents. Our lives would never be the same. We stayed at the Midwife Center for a few hours, and headed home around 11:30 a.m., a mere 12 hours after we had gone to bed. Only now we had a son. We were home by lunch.
September 14th, the first day of the rest of our lives. To be continued …