I woke up in a cold sweat. My breathing was labored. Pain. Such pain. I struggled to sit up. Rolling back and forth to get my belly situated. I thought at least the baby is still sleeping. Then the pain hit me again. It washed over me in waves of sheer agony.
I thought I have got to pee. As I pulled the comforter back it was wet. “Shit! Did I go in my sleep?” Certainly I would’ve have woken up. I wasn’t sleeping that soundly to begin with. Then I realized it was way too wet to have been that I had gone in my sleep. My water had broken and I slept through it?
Well, it was my first pregnancy. I didn’t know what to expect. I gently nudged John. “Babe.” I whispered through gritted teeth as I tried to breathe through the pain. “Whew…whew….whew…BABE!” No more whisper. This was loud and startled him to a straight sitting position. “Call Christine….tell her we’re setting up the pool.”
John and I had read so many books about how we were going to bring this baby into the world. We decided we were going to have her at home. A water birth, with a midwife. We were going to go for a silent birth, if possible. Silent in that whispers were as much as we expected from the midwife and John. I would muffle out the moans and try to breathe through the pain.
I waddled to the bathroom and John quickly called the midwife. I took a quick shower while John set up the pool. I tried timing the contractions but in the shower it was hard to count. It seemed like they were coming too quickly. Fear fell over me as the water pounded on my shoulders. Was I ready? Was John? I know we have forgotten something. My mind wondered in the seconds between the pains.
I wrapped a towel around me. It gaped at the side my belly was so large. I stopped in the doorway as I saw John swishing the water back and forth in the pool. He was making sure it was warm enough. The sides of his mouth turned up slightly in a small smile. I could see the anticipation on his face. The love was shining as he carefully filled the pool. My heart leapt with joy. Today my family would be whole.
I sank into the pool and got comfortable. John answered the door when Christine arrived. She checked to see how far along I was after getting settled in and said we would be seeing our new arrival much quicker than she thought. First pregnancies typically take a long time she had told John and me several times over through these last several months.
An hour later I was pushing. I had been a trooper they kept saying. I didn’t feel like a trooper. I felt like I was being ripped in half from the inside out. I wanted to stop. I thought I was an idiot for choosing to do this at home. I thought this is never going to end. I pushed. I pushed harder. I gave it everything I had. Finally….relief. She was out.
Christine and John quickly tended to our little miracle. I laid my head back against the side of the pool. I watched bleary eyed as John held her up. She was perfect. Purple little fingers and toes, a set of lungs, she cried out, and lots of hair. Beauty embodied.
John’s chest seemed puffed up with pride I thought. I felt my body relax into the water. It was warm. I was cold. I was tired. I wanted to rest.
I remember thinking we did it. The quiet birth. It was so quiet. I felt the quiet wash over me. I slipped down a little lower in the water hoping the warmth would blanket me. I was cold. I was beginning to shiver. Sleep…I needed some sleep. Wait…I wanted to hold her….but I was so tired. I could just close my eyes for a few seconds while they finished things up.
I heard hustling and commotion. But my eyes were heavy. So heavy. I felt Christine grab my hand and push gently on my wrist. She was gently patting my face. “Michelle….wake up. Stay with me.”
“I’m so tired.” I whispered out.
I could hear John on the phone. He sounded panic stricken. I opened my eyes but they just rolled to the side and I couldn’t keep them open. He handed the phone to Christine and I could hear her giving vitals to the EMTs.
“John they’ll be here in two minutes.” I heard her assure him.
John knelt next to me. He held my hand and kissed my forehead. He whispered in my ear. “You can’t do this. You have to fight. I can’t do this alone. Please. Chelle..please my love. I need you. FIGHT.” He pleaded.
I managed to whisper out, “I love you, tell her I loved her too.” Sleep fell over me and I was warm.
As I drifted to my ever lasting slumber I heard John say “Lily, today water gives us life, and it also takes it away. Your mommy loved you.”