You would think by now I might have realized that things never work out like I plan, but I’m still learning. My due date was Saturday, Sept. 25, but I’d always assumed I would be late. I planned on working right up until I went into labor. But as the date got closer, I felt more and more uncomfortable after working a full day. By halfway through each school day, my legs and feet would be so swollen that my students couldn’t stop commenting on them. So at my doctor’s appointment on Sept. 23, we decided that even though I wasn’t dilated at all, the next day would be my last day of work before giving birth. I was torn, feeling like I should be with my students as long as possible, but also grateful for what I thought would be several days “off” before giving birth.
The next day, Friday, I told my students I wouldn’t be back until after my maternity leave. I think they were relieved. Having seen a few too many movies, they were convinced my water was going to break and they would be forced to deliver my baby in class! I hadn’t felt well all day, and I couldn’t keep food down. It was like there was simply no room for anything in my stomach.
At home that night, I made a list of last-minute things I wanted to do over the next few days. Ace’s birthday was coming up on Sunday, so I planned lasagna for dinner and an ice-cream cake to celebrate. Later that night when my best friend, Robin, called, she reminded me that she had an appointment with her newly adopted daughter on Saturday morning. I told her, “No worries. No one gives birth on their due date. And besides, Ace’s birthday is Sunday; I’m sure I’ll be home for that. I’m thinking the baby will probably come next Wednesday or Thursday.”
That night I woke up several times to contractions. I really didn’t think much of it because I had been having light contractions for a week. These were a little more painful, but passed quickly. At 4:45 a.m. I woke up again, and this time I was wide awake. I started re-organizing the bookcase in the living room. I know you’re probably thinking, Who organizes her bookcase at 4:45 in the morning? What can I say? I woke up energized.
The contractions were coming fairly regularly, but I wasn’t timing them yet. About 6 a.m., I started paying more attention to how often they were occurring. It seemed like approximately every five minutes or so, but I wasn’t sure. At 7 a.m., I started timing them and called Robin and Cindy – who were both going to be in the delivery room with me. Robin said she should be back from her appointment by lunchtime. Cindy told me to let her know when I was going to go to the hospital and she would meet me there. Shortly after that I called Jon’s girlfriend, Annette, to come over. She timed my contractions for an hour. They were between four and seven minutes apart.
I kept insisting that the contractions were going to stop, that I wasn’t really in labor. Annette convinced me to call my doctor, and after explaining how close the contractions were, we were soon on our way to the hospital. Up to this point, I had managed the contractions fairly well. But as soon as we got in the car, I admitted to Annette how much pain I was in.
I checked into the hospital and changed, but it was 10 a.m. before I saw the doctor. I was two centimeters dilated. I looked at Annette and said, “I’m really in labor?” She laughed and said, “Yes, this is it, you are having this baby today.”
I was still in shock. When will I learn that I’m not the one in charge? I reminded myself that God knows what He is doing and laughed at myself for being so sure that I could control when I would go into labor.
It hit me that this was it. I was really about to have this baby.