"When are you going to have that baby?" they kept asking,
as I passed my estimated due date and kept on going.
In a day of inductions and planned c-sections,
waiting around for labor is archaic.
"Who knows?" I would smile and shrug.
The end of pregnancy is a time full of signs.
I can know the times and the seasons --
it's clear(ish) when the baby is term.
Ready for the world, but still inside.
There were Braxton Hicks contractions for the entire third trimester.
But really, until last Friday, not many real or regular contractions.
On Friday, I noticed they were coming every 30 minutes.
Mostly all day long, picking up in the evening,
letting me rest at night.
I worked on double and triple checking that I had what I needed
for when the time came.
I took my mom for a drive to see what we could see,
but I stayed close to town.
On Saturday, they were about every twenty minutes.
Is the laundry caught up?
On Sunday, by bedtime, they were ten minutes apart.
We put all the gathered things together in one place,
and laid a towel in the bed for me to sleep on, in case my water broke.
They tapered off a little while I slept,
but I was aware of them even in my sleep that night.
When I woke the next day, they were still there,
slowly advancing toward zero hour.
I had another non-stress test scheduled for Monday,
and we watched three or four of the contractions on the monitor,
and how the baby's heart responded.
I was offered the choice of coming back for another
either the next day, or the day after.
I scheduled it for the day after, suspecting she'd be born before that.
And leaving the hospital, we went to walk, to get this labor moving.
The doctor had asked me to go to the hospital
when they were five minutes apart.
But I don't operate that way.
So I tried to gauge averages.
Around 8 pm on Monday,
they were between 3 and 10 minutes apart for the hour.
They were hurting, so I got in the shower.
Suddenly, I was having them too close.
When we arrived at the hospital,
I had the joy of being stabbed with IVs
and peppered with medical history questions
while going through transition.
All the preliminaries finally completed,
and the doctor appearing in short time,
my request to get in hot water was finally granted.
This is my fifth child, and not my first rodeo.
I did not expect any speed in delivering her.
It was a surprise then,
to have to pull the cord on the wall when my water broke,
and there was meconium in it,
and in the rush to try to get me back to my room,
she was delivered there in the hot tub room -- not according to plan.
My husband said the hospital personnel
looked like Keystone Cops racing about,
with the alarms beeping.
My baby in my arms, they helped me on to a wheelchair
and covered me up to get me back down the hallway to my room.
I have been mulling over what Jesus said to His disciples
in Matthew 24 for several weeks now.
He talks about signs like labor pains,
and as I always approach labor gradually, with one eye on the clock,
and one on whatever duty I am trying to complete,
it's been in the back of my mind.
There's a normal rhythm to our lives
that is disrupted by approaching childbirth.
The signs increase, and the focus narrows.
Are my bags packed?
Where is my insurance card?
Do I have what I need for this immense event?
That last day, seeing the evidence,
we had everything in the car ready for transport.
It is interesting to me that in telling all the tumultuous signs
of the end of the world to His disciples,
Jesus describes a faithful servant
as one who is feeding the household when his lord returns.
Let's narrow our focus, and pass out the vittles.
To Peter, before He departed, He said, "Feed my sheep."