It was six days past due date and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not the Bear or a mouse.

The hospital bags were packed tidy and near, in hopes that Baby Brother soon would be here.

I awoke with discomfort at ten minutes to three, with cramping contractions and a strong urge to wee…


Do you really want me to keep this up? I think that’s enough.

As the story continues, at a few minutes before 3 am, on the 24th of February to be precise, Hero Hubs came to join me in the bathroom, and we started timing contractions. They were all over the show and inconsistent, so we thought we probably had a decent amount of time and didn’t need to be in a rush.

Based on how long and laborious the Bear’s labour was, we’d planned on showering and slowly making our way to the hospital. {Big mistake.} I decided to skip the shower because it felt like things were beginning to pick up, so I washed my face and started to put on make up and HH shaved and showered. I attempted to time contractions with the stop watch and lap function on his phone, but I was a little too frantic to do so when they arrived… another ten minutes, and they were suddenly coming hard and fast.

My dear husband returned from the shower to find me stressed and in the middle of a contraction. I’d only managed to put on foundation. He encouraged me to count to thirty (a technique which seems to help with the passing of each contraction because the pain usually peaks and won’t get worse after thirty seconds) and I promptly replied by telling him I couldn’t count to thirty. I may have interjected an expletive at this point, but we can’t be sure.

I think there is a special dispensation of grace for the things that might come out of ladies’ mouths whilst in labour. But the use of the expletive, along with the end of makeup application, confirmed for HH that this was actually labour and not a false alarm.

As the contractions continued, things began to get serious. I couldn’t walk around to go and get things together — they were coming so close together and so strong, I constantly felt the urge to go back to the bathroom and sit down. HH alerted Agnes that I was in labour and, being instructed to get dressed, I pulled on a black dress for some reason.

I made my way downstairs and suddenly the waters of life were a-flowing — I hurried to the loo again and by this time was beginning to feel back pain and lots of pressure. I felt like I’d soon be wanting to push, which made me panicky. Everything was happening way faster than we expected and I was not sure what to do. The contractions were so strong I was crying out in pain, even though I really wanted to be quiet and not wake the Bear.

Having gathered everything up, HH came downstairs to find me in a frantic state:

“This baby is coming!”

I heard myself exclaim, and in the back of my mind I heard my Mom saying the same thing to the nurses a little less than three decades ago as she arrived at the hospital. {I was born seven minutes later.}

I interject here to say I am not a feminist. I am very thankful when men choose to take charge in hectic situations, like they did when the Titanic was sinking and mostly women and children survived. (James Cameron got it all wrong.) Let’s resume.

Hero Hubs took charge. He instructed Agnes to help me back upstairs so that I could lay down on our bed. I got there and he was right behind me. He checked to see if the baby was crowning. He’d thought through the amount of time it would take an ambulance to arrive to deliver the baby or get me to the hospital, and decided that it would be faster to get in the car and go. I thought about the distance to Mr. Potato Head, our oddly-shaped car sitting in the parking garage downstairs.

The baby wasn’t crowning. “Let’s go to the hospital. I can get you there fast honey. If you feel the urge to push, just don’t. Let’s go now.”

The next thing I remember we were back downstairs, HH and Agnes having gathered up the hospital bags, my purse, our camera, etc., and me standing by the door with a towel to catch the water. By this point contractions were predictable: coming fast, enduring, painful.

I looked at Agnes and said, “This is like a TV birth. This is just crazy.”

We rushed to the elevator — well, HH and Agnes rushed and I got there as quickly as I could. I remember feeling badly that Agnes was carrying so much and I wasn’t carrying anything. In a moment we were in the parking garage and the bags were in. I stared at the car because I was leaking and didn’t want to get in. HH hurried me into the passenger seat and we were out of the gate and on our way.

I was sitting on a couple of towels, but I could still feel the waters moving — baptizing Mr. Potato Head’s floor in front of the passenger seat. Fortunately it was more of a christening.

We were on the road, and I was in prayer. The last contractions before we left home were so strong I wanted to push at the end of them, so I began to pray that the next contraction would pass me by, without me feeling that incredibly strong urge to push and having to simultaneously somehow stop myself. I was thinking about the Passover and the Israelites in Egypt and praying “Lord please let this pass me by. Lord, please let this pass me by.” ad infinitum.

God met me in the passenger seat of Mr. Potato Head, and the first contraction I should’ve had, based on how far apart they were coming, passed me by. I was quiet and at peace and kept praying as we turned onto the N2.

A few minutes later we neared our exit and the next contraction came. HH counted to thirty as we rounded the off ramp — Potato’s tires squealed with excitement. The contraction was painful but I didn’t feel the need to push. I was thankful.

We left home at 4:04 am, and the twenty kilometre trip should’ve taken about as many minutes, but we arrived in the parking lot at 4:12. Average speed: 150 kilometres (100 miles) per hour.

We screeched into a closed reception area and circled around to the Emergency Room entrance. The gentleman standing guard outside immediately knew what was happening and coded something into a keypad, and suddenly four people were there to help me out of the car and into a wheelchair. I didn’t want to sit in the wheelchair because I was so wet and leaky but someone had brought a blanket and so I sat down.

While HH backed into a parking space and grabbed our bags, I was wheeled through to the labour ward as fast as the orderly could go. Another contraction came and I asked him to count to thirty for me. He laughed and obliged me by gently counting as we sped through the halls. While I grimaced under the pressure, I worried about my dear Hubs being able to find me.

A moment later, I was wheeled into the delivery room and I remember looking around as I crossed the threshold, taking a deep breath and thinking, “This is where I’m going to have this baby.” I was happy about that.

Another moment passed and I was up on the bed with two midwives in attendance when HH rushed in and dropped our bags. My black dress was a convenient choice: there was no time for pain medicine or changing clothes or anything else. The baby was crowning and there was only time to push.

I don’t remember another contraction. I don’t remember having a moment to breathe. I just remember giving three good pushes. With the first, Blake’s head was out, and the umbilical cord needed to be loosed from around his neck. With the second, the shoulders were stuck for a moment. With the third, the shoulders followed, and in an indescribable feeling — familiar from the Bear’s delivery and like no other — pain and joy meet, life flows and you suddenly know: This is a beginning. This is life. This is amazing. Ouch, hallelujah.

At 4:21 am — nine minutes after Mr. Potato Head pulled into the hospital parking lot — Blake’s life on the outside began.

For a million reasons which I hope to share on another day, six days past his due date at four in the morning was absolutely perfect timing.