Nothing like an hour of false labor last night to bring to (unflattering, fluorescent) light the fact that I’m totally unprepared for the real deal.
I had dozed off during part 2 of The Mormons on PBS – which is truly a testament to my late pregnancy fatigue. Because trust me, there is little more entertaining in this world than watching Nate hem and haw and eye roll and grunt and shake his fist and make these bizarre guttural animal sounds towards pretty much anyone defending his former religious upbringing. Still, my eyelids felt heavy and by 9 or so I was under the blanket on the couch, pillows under my wreck of a lower back, sound asleep between my flatulent dog and my flatulent sigOth. Bliss.
At 10 sharp I woke with such a pain (Such a pain, I had, oy!) that I bolted upright. After an hour of alternately rocking back and forth like Rain Man, lying in bed trying not to cry, and pacing the apartment breathing in absolutely non-Lamaze sanctioned ways, Nate asked if maybe he should get the car.
Get the car.
Because in New York, you don’t have a car at the ready by your front door. You have to call your garage with some notice (provided they’re still open if it’s nighttime), walk two blocks to get it, then drive the long way around the neighborhood until you’re back in front of your front door. Unless you want to deal with a taxi. Which, well, driving up the pathetically paved and potholed FDR drive in a rainstorm is not exactly a magical journey in Cinderella’s carriage.
Also he asked whether he should call my mother. Because that is our brilliant childcare plan for when the time comes: Call my mother who lives a good hour away in the best of traffic conditions to come stay with Thalia while either I go to the hospital alone or–well, I don’t know what. Incredibly well-considered, I know. Plan B is that the baby holds out until May 9 when my city-dwelling father is back in town from vacation. Plan C is too ill-conceived and embarrassing to even say out loud.
“I don’t know if you should get the car,” I answered. “Which probably means no. But I just don’t know what I’m feeling right now.”
“Well is it labor?”
A simple yes or no was all he was looking for, judging from the way he was rocking from side to side, his eyes as wide as the moon. But I couldn’t muster either. Instead what came out was something like. Well it’s contractions. I don’t know. Maybe. The baby’s kicking me. Or kicking an organ. Or an ovary. Something. It hurts. I can’t breathe. It feels like labor. It doesn’t feel like labor. It’s not regular. It’s every 4 or 5 minutes. It’s definitely contractions. I don’t know if it’s labor contractions. I don’t know.
“Doesn’t fetal movement slow down when you’re in labor?” he asked.
“I don’t know, does it?”
“I think so.”
“I have no idea.”
A thoroughly competent team, the two of us.
More pacing. More breathing. More getting back in bed. Then out of bed. And all along, all I can think is that I hadn’t charged my cell phone, I didn’t know where my camera was, and my hospital bag needed some serious attention. Worse, my hair looked exceptionally crappy since I didn’t bother drying it that day–meaning I would forever be immortalized in the baby’s first photos looking like Don King on a bender.
More moaning. More clutching of internal organs. Then – a rush to the bathroom. After which all pain miraculously and hastily subsided. Nate noted that I didn’t look “white and ashy” anymore. I could breathe again.
I didn’t need a lift to the hospital. Evidently I needed a Colace.
Today’s plan: A little less folding and refolding of newborn clothes, a little more reading up on birthin’ babies.
Thank you so much to Pundit Mom for nominating my Letter to #2 for an April Perfect Post Award. It’s always nice when the essays that mean something to me also mean something to someone else–especially someone whose own writing I love so much. In fact, if I had gotten my shit together in time to bestow an award, it very likely would have gone to Pundit Mom’s own wonderful essay at HuffPo called I am not the Babysitter about her experience having an adoptive daughter from China.