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Last Birth

(Because, I am always nostalgic as I approach my children’s birthdays – a note from last year.)

I have watched as the hours have passed today.

9:30 AM  – I was walking. My first mile after months of being told not to push myself. Just a mile. Just a mile.

10:30 – I was picking up Asher, wiping down counters, kissing my husband goodbye for the day.

By 11:00 – they were coming in small waves. A soft stirring.  I picked up my son from the school bus and I fed my children lunch.

Noon – I rested. On my side, glass of water in hand, talking to the stirring, asking my own body. Stay or go. Call or sleep.

By 1:00 – I called.

3:00 – We weren’t there to deliver and we certainly weren’t taken seriously. We were there because I called. Because I listened to myself. When they asked if I’d like to be checked out, to see if the contractions were real or not, if they were doing anything, I insisted. Please. This is my fourth child. Yes, I can talk through them, I can walk through them. No, I am not wincing or yelling or crying. But I know my own body. These are not pretend, this is not practice.

3:30 – Finally hooked to monitors, the doctor came.  Drink water. Take a shot. See if these go away.

4:00 – Nurse leaned in, told me she didn’t think they would.

5:00 – I was smiling at the doctor, as she apologized for not admitting me sooner, as the nurses buzzed around me to hook up IV’s of antibiotics, to set up the warming light for a newborn.

6:50- There was pressure, just enough to tell me it was time. I told a nurse, who then caught my daughter’s head.

6:54 – My daughter slid from me, effortlessly on my part, she appeared on her own, in the midst of a flurry of bodies, everyone rushing into place, like they had all missed their cues.

The doctor arrived in time to cut the cord.

 

That was last week.

And today, I’m reliving every moment as they pass.

Meanwhile, my two year old is crawling under an empty laundry basket, like a turtle’s shell. My older children are running amok. My husband is running with them. Our house is busy, busy, busy – but I’m sitting on my bed, with my tiniest child, listening to her sleeping breath and appreciating this quiet moment as it happens.

My last baby is one week old. The pregnancy and giving birth chapter of my life is over.

The last week is over.

Before I know it, this little girl beside me will be running into the world without me too.

Before I can even catch my breath, she’ll be the one calling me, asking if I think it’s time.

Or maybe not. Considering how she chose her own day and time, nearly a full month ahead of the doctors predictions – considering how she didn’t need me to even push for her to make her way into the world – I’m hopeful she won’t even need to call, that she won’t question herself at all.

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