Week thirty-nine: Baby arrives!

7:15am: I can go back in the tub! My water was clear so Rachel okayed another visit. She was sure that it would help get through the true transition period. So, as they fill the water again, I lay on the bed sure that I’m going to fall apart. “Ride each contraction like a wave,” Rachel says. Okay, I can do that, but what about the undertow? It’s about to kill me! “Sink into the bed and relax your muscles.” Somehow, as frustrating as these comments are, they help. We strike up a conversation about nursing toddlers. My nurse is also nursing her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and is excited to learn that Jacob is still nursing. We start talking about the trial of older kids nursing, like when they ask for it in public. I try to tell them about Jacob’s “shiggies.” Rachel thinks I’m saying “shaking” and tries repeatedly to tell me it’s normal. Nobody understands me. I can’t talk anymore, as much for the fact that my throat is dry, as for the actual contractions. They tried to give me a catheter when I delivered Jacob. I refused and didn’t want to go down that road this time so for hours now I’ve passed on the water and juice. I had all the IV fluids, but that doesn’t help my ability to speak. I’ve been afraid of choking on ice chips, so I’ve missed those as well. (Note to self: next time take them!)

7:30am: The tub is ready and we roll down the hall. I can’t walk. I don’t know how I got into the tub. But the water, at my request, is as hot as the baby can stand and somehow it is refreshing. I’m in the tub for two contractions before I absolutely have to push. Rachel says okay and tries to help me back into the wheelchair so I can return to my room. I refuse. I’d heard her talking about a prior water birth, which she’d allowed, against hospital policy. I told her I’d like to be the second. She consents, but not before assuring me that she’d never live it down.

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