Three years ago today, I was in the tub, soaking in complete denial of what the day had in store.
The week before, E had been battling her third round of croup. It being the middle of summer, there were few places to find a cold breath of air during her coughing fits. The ER doctor suggested we put her head in the freezer. I’m still not sure she was joking.
She only wanted me, on the couch, in the rocking chair, but mostly snuggled up with her in bed. So there I was, her massive, whale of a mama, for whom sleep was a distant memory, perched precariously on the side of a tiny twin bed with a child the temperature of a pizza oven. I was willing the contractions to stop.
“Listen kid,” I said, “I know I’ve been telling you in not so nice tones to get the hell out of me for the past three weeks, but I implore you now to stay where you are. I promise I will give you chocolate before you’re two.”
Wonderfully, baby listened.
The following Monday, when I was a week overdue, E went back to the day home. I joked that she might have a sibling by the end of the day. I closed the door to go home. Click. Contraction. Ha ha. Very funny.
I got back home. Closed the door. Click. Contraction. What a joker.
I went about my usual morning, tidying up from breakfast, likely folding one of the seven hundreds onesies people had given us, all the while feeling these twinges grow stronger and more consistent. At an ultrasound appointment later that morning, Luke asked if I was in labor.
“Nooo, no, no. Just a cramp.” He humoured me by feigning belief.
He goes back to work. I go home. I had an appointment with my OB at 2. “I can make it until 2. This isn’t that bad.” I got in the tub, also known as the midwive’s epidural. I was still just calling it a bath. A really long bath from which I never wanted to emerge.
The drive to the doctor’s was interesting. It’s amazing how much power your mind can have when you need it to. Only have contractions at red lights, I told my uterus. It obeyed, but there were four red lights and it made me pay for each one.
Once there, I mentioned casually that I might be in labor. She attached me to some machine behind a curtain from which I would occasionally reach out for Luke’s hand.
“Your contractions are three minutes apart,” she said.
“Do we have time for me to go home and change.” Luke asked.
“Mmm… Maybe,” she said.
As much as it would have been an exciting end to this story, we did not end up having a baby in the SUV. In fact, our little man took another seven hours to make his grand entrance, or exit. Both, I guess!
Today, three years later, I stood in the kitchen preparing cupcakes for the first birthday party this poor second child has ever had. Mixing the icing, all I could think about was that peaceful soak in the tub when the two of us had our last conversation as one, when this glorious being knocked on the door and told me he was ready to take in the world.