Guess who has arrived, gentle readers!
The young gentleman's due date was October 17th, and I had been planning to work at least through the 7th. But Thursday the 6th I arrived at work and almost instantly knew, despite the absence of anything dramatic like contractions, that I would be making it through the morning of that day at best, and no more.
Friday I had an OB visit at which I hadn't progressed in terms of dilation or effacement but the midwife said she would be very surprised if I didn't deliver within the week.
Saturday I started having contractions. Very far apart, but strong enough that we called the friend who would be taking care of Perdita in our absence, and headed to the hospital. I had barely progressed any further, and we were sent home. I cried a bit, mostly out of fear that I would continue to have strong (read: EFFING PAINFUL) contractions which weren't doing anything in terms of dilation or effacement, and would eventually have to receive inducement drugs to bring those things on, and would then be dealing with a level of pain even beyond my previous induction, and then someone would tell me that childbirth is a woman's Mt. Everest, and I. Just. Could. Not. Handle. That. Naturally I convinced myself that what I could not handle would inevitably be what happened.
Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Sunday morning we: got up, started timing the increasingly frequent contractions, went out to breakfast (with friend, who had stayed the night), realized immediately after putting in our breakfast order that Berowne and I needed to leave or become a local news item, went to the hospital, was found to have some progress, was told to walk the halls and be re-checked in an hour, walked the halls for about ten minutes before the contractions were making me literally shout (which I don't believe I ever did in my previous labor) and were right on top of each other, requested an epidural, was found to be 9 cm dilated with the baby halfway down the birth canal, pushed for four minutes while screaming like the world's neediest banshee, and gave birth.
From start to finish, and I count getting up that morning as the start, it all lasted under five hours. I couldn't have been in active labor for more than forty minutes, so naturally the fellow who put a girdle round about the earth in that time shall be known here as Puck.
It was... intense. But no one tried to feed us any useless gendered mountaineering analogies, or withhold pain medications, or, later, refused to take the baby to the nursery so we could sleep (somewhere around the thirty-fifth straight hour of no sleep with a newborn Perdita, we begged the staff at that hospital to take her for a few hours, and were flatly refused and it was hinted that only monsters who didn't want to bond with their child would ask such a thing), or expressed judgement around formula supplementation should that prove necessary, or treated us with anything but kindness and the assumption that we are equipped to decide what is best for our family. The difference between our previous experience and this one? Night and day.
I'd say now we know where to have our next child, but part of this experience was a tubal ligation for yours truly. I know, I know, Mom; but I'm a month away from being forty and pregnancy is hard on me. Also we live in a two-bedroom, 870-square-foot, house. In any event, the decision was made. And of course it is very convenient to have the procedure done when you're already in the hospital, but what it ends up meaning is that you are recovering from vaginal childbirth and abdominal surgery at the same time. Not a picnic.
Puck is a delightful little creature and as good a sleeper as his sister, though she was obliging enough to sleep during the night, and he is on a completely different schedule (also appropriate for his namesake). Hopefully this will resolve itself eventually. Perdita, while very much enamored of this new small person, is not differentiating between good and bad forms of attention, which hopefully will also resolve itself. Berowne and I are dazed with exhaustion and toddler-related frustration but happy. You can fit a lot of love in 870 square feet.
Books, next time: I read a ton in the night watches, after all.