Today’s my birthday, so I thought it fitting that I post this today. WARNING: I will hold nothing back in this story, so it’ll be graphic.

Oh the agony…of WAITING! My daughter came at 37 weeks and 6 days after my water broke. There was no question that the baby was coming.

This was not the case with my son.

I’d had contractions on and off for weeks – WEEKS! At one point, we were worried that he’d come before September even started, then nothing. He was due on September 22nd and my mother in law was staying with us to watch my daughter during the event from August 29th to September 26th. When nothing happened by a few days before the 26th, she changed her flight to October 2nd.

On September 27th (40 weeks and 5 days), I felt a little nauseated during the afternoon, but otherwise completely normal. Miserable and anxious as hell (hoping I wouldn’t need to be induced). I was out with Tara conversing with neighbors and joking about how long the little guy was taking to meet the world.

A little after 8pm that night, I felt some diarrhea cramps and proceeded to be uncomfortable in the bathroom. I then got Tara ready for bed and went to do my Sunday evening chores. Taking the trash to the curb was one of those and I got another wave of “cramps”, but they were intense enough to make me stop and breathe. It finally occurred to me that these were not just cramps, but contractions and maybe I should time them.

I started timing when I went back inside and loaded the dishwasher. I had to stop again and hang over the sink breathing deeply. By this time, they’re approximately 4 minutes apart and I’m in the bathroom about every two contractions. I still wasn’t sure it was labor vs just a serious case of diarrhea.

I went to take a shower and continued to have contractions. When I got out, I admitted to Greg that I was having some intense ones and that it “might” be it. We weren’t sure, thought at worst it was in fact early labor, and didn’t want to overreact or rush off to the birth center. We went downstairs to watch South Park.

I watched the first maybe five minutes before needing to go to the bathroom (again!) and Greg helped me time contractions. They were down to 2 minutes apart and I couldn’t talk or move through them at all anymore.

I finally started making calls. My doula was the first call and she agreed it was time to call the midwife. The midwife listened to me breathe through two contractions and said to meet up in an hour at the birth center. She asked how I felt because sometimes second time moms just have a feeling. I said I just didn’t know because we’d had so many false alarms and things were so different this time.

The biggest thing was that my water hadn’t broken and I had NO vaginal discharge of any kind throughout all this. With Tara my water had broken first and I had a thin mucusy blood streaked discharge all through labor.

However, I did say that I remembered getting really shaky late in labor with Tara and that I’d started to shake while on the phone. After getting off, I got really uncomfortable so I went to try to get comfy in bed. Once there, I rolled around almost continually and started feeling like it was just one big contraction.

I thought to myself “fuck this! Take me to the hospital and get me a c-section – I can’t do this!” On the heels of that thought was “I feel like I might throw up…oh shit.”

I went to sit on the toilet (yes again) and pulled the bag out of the trash can next to it. On the first heave into the bag, my mucus plug (which I’d previously lost THREE times in the past month and a half) shot out like a cork.

When I stood up there was some blood (normal as long as there’s not gushing blood or anything – this would be the “bloody show”). I put a pad on, grabbed my iPad and phone because I only knew they were planned to come with me not thinking of how useless they’d be under the circumstances.

I went downstairs as fast, but calmly and safely as possible. I only told Greg “we need to leave. Now. Also I just threw up in our bathroom trash.” I told his mom that it was official, we were definitely having a baby that night.

We got in the car and even Greg’s mom was looking worried and said “take care of yourself”. I nodded, Greg stayed calm and cool throughout. I saw the first minute and a half of the drive before the real fun began.

The contractions (I’m told – I was focused internally) came less than a minute apart and I was vocalizing in low tones like my life depended on it. Frankly, my son’s kind of did. I didn’t think “don’t push”, I simply tried to not think of pushing at all in any way. I was officially scared of delivering in the car.

I braced a hand on the middle console and the door handle and was literally lifting my butt up off the seat with every contraction. Greg was even encouraging me and just all around amazing, particularly with the staying cool in a potentially frightening situation.

I opened my eyes three times and was thankful every time with the kind of progress we’d made on the drive. By the time we were pulling in at the birth center at 11:20pm, I was finally thinking “oh God, don’t push”. I got out and didn’t even talk to the midwife as I walked past her. She said my room was the first on the left.

I walked in, walked into the private bathroom thinking I needed to poop again. Did nothing, wiped out of habit, and still saw a little blood. I went to flush, but couldn’t stand to take the time so I honestly just walked away. It’d been like a minute since I walked in, maybe two.

I walked the three steps toward the bed where I saw a chux pad, stripped my pants off, laid down, and started pushing. They tried to look for his heartbeat, but either only found mine or got worried about his because it was only about 70. They gave me an oxygen mask because I was struggling to not hyperventilate with how fast it was all happening. They checked me and found the baby pretty much right there.

They said forget finding the heartbeat and even told the nurse on the phone (who was on her way) that we were just going because I was already like crowning, encouraged me to push in earnest, and…on the first push, his head was on the verge of out, but the contraction didn’t last quite long enough and his head popped back in – barely. One the second push, out popped his head, along with my water evidently. On the third push, out popped his shoulders with a shriek from me.

Suddenly, at 11:27pm, I had a baby laid on my chest.

He was beautiful and frankly I was pretty shocked. It took several minutes for the afterbirth to follow and it honestly hurt a little this time because it was bigger than Tara’s was. When they examined me and said that I had a first degree tear and that if I was good to myself and didn’t do too many stairs or anything like that, they wouldn’t even give me any stitches (and was even less sore the next day than I remember being with Tara days later).

When they weighed him, they asked if Greg or I had any guesses. Greg was 7lbs 14oz when he was born. I was 7lbs 7oz. Tara was 7lbs 4oz. This little boy was late and I had a feeling he’d be bigger than Tara because of being in the womb longer and just feeling big while in there, so I said “a high 8”.

I kid you not, the midwife laughed and said “try a high 9”. He was 9lbs 12oz and 21in long. Monster baby! He even had a nice big round head, because he wasn’t in the birth canal long enough to get a cone head.

So yeah, the second time was so different from the first, but just as amazing. We went home a couple hours later, so Tara never even knew we left. She went to sleep an only child and woke up a big sister. I got called a rock star for how I handled everything. Most importantly, I have my wonderful little sweetheart, Vincent.