When I was nine months pregnant, I was very familiar with the inability to sleep. I was making the best of this by trying to enjoy the peace and quiet of a sleeping household, while laying on my bed, listening to my favorite oldies station. My soon-to-be-born third child was having none of it.
Nope, once again I felt the now very familiar tightening and release of the contractions that I’ve been experiencing for the last two hours. Actually the ones I had been having on and off for the last four months.
The contractions that put me on modified bed rest, didn’t allow me to drive, and brought me to the hospital two times in just the last few weeks.
I’m hoping this is just another false alarm.
My bag’s packed, my Norah Jones CD ready, and my favorite doctor scheduled to do my C-section on Monday morning, about 30 hours away.
I feel another contraction. I look up and see the clock. It’s Sunday, 2:00 a.m.
I really don’t want to call the doctor in the middle of the night. Surely that will ruin the nicest-patient-in-the-practice status Dr. B, the man my husband knows I have a huge, but totally innocent, crush on, has bestowed on me.
Please God, I’m not near ready for this baby to come today. I want my 30 more hours. We promised the kids we would take them out to breakfast. I still have to set up the cradle. I have plans!
Nothing about this pregnancy was planned. After having two babies with the help of a fertility doctor, I was shocked, albeit happily, to find out I could really get pregnant the good old-fashioned way. Who knew getting rid of my baby things was a surefire way to get a third child?
I look up again, and now it’s 2:05 a.m.
Then I felt a gush of water.
This is not a test.
I attempt the Herculean task of lumbering my extremely pregnant body down the stairs to the play room, where Joe and Tom are enjoying their last hurrah before the baby comes. They were having a camp out, complete with a tent and sleeping bags.
“Joe,” I whisper, trying to sound calm in case a six-year-old Tom should wake up.
“My water just broke.’
“Oh… did you call the doctor?”
I stifle my desire to scream and just say, “Not yet.”
“Well, you call the doctor, and then wake me up.”
My my how things change when it’s the third time around. Life as a single parent is starting to look pretty good right now.
I call the special emergency number for high-risk patients and let them know what is going on. I’m connected to the head of the practice, who’s the doctor on call and will deliver my final baby.
No Dr. B, no Norah Jones. This baby has a real sense of humor, I can tell.
I call my parents to watch Tom and Lizzy.
Now dressed and ready to go, I hear the doorbell and answer it to find my mom and dad smiling at me.
My parents are very big natural birth proponents, having me and my sisters that way. No drugs. Lamaze breathing. My dad was even in the delivery room when my youngest sister was born in 1970. At that time it was a pretty rare thing to do.
They both start coaching me in my breathing.
What could I have possibly done in a previous life to deserve this special kind of hell?
Joe is finally up, dressed and getting a cup of coffee for the road. For the second time that night I contemplate single parenthood.
Finally, we are off to the hospital.
I tell the two familiar faces I see in the admitting department that this time I’m not leaving without a baby.
Now settled in the labor room, it’s pronounced that I’m in active labor and will be having this baby now. My doctor is called, and they get me ready for my third C-Section.
I’ll spare you some of my more colorful language that I used before they could give me my epidural. Suffice it to say that I apologized to all of them between contractions and let them know that my doctors considered me their nicest patient.
Sunday, 6:00 a.m. my beautiful baby boy is born.
I look at the sweet, six-pound baby that I was sure was 18 pounds, and I’m instantly in love.
Back in the recovery room, Joe and I are full of smiles and thrilled out of our minds. All thoughts of single parenthood are gone.
How’s it possible that this was 11 years ago? From the day I found out I was pregnant with my third child, Peter has taught me the joys of letting go of all my carefully laid plans and enjoying life as it unfolds. He brings humor and joy into our family, and I couldn’t imagine life without him.
Happy birthday Peter!
*This piece has become a tradition on the Dishwasher, always getting updated and changed. The original ran on April 1, 2012, under the title, Special Delivery.