11 years ago yesterday I was waiting. My third child was already 7 days past his due date. It was hot and I was exhausted, from the heat, from parenting two other small folks, from the wait. I tried to enter into some free form zen space about waiting, consoling myself with the knowledge that my daughter was 18 days late, that my son was 10 days late. I resolved that this next baby would come when it was time and no sooner. It was a good line to repeat to my poor suffering ankles but deep down I was tired of waiting because waiting is hard, summers are hot, parenting small folk is frustrating. I went all day waiting, feeling twinges of something, having an instinct, afraid to pin it down enough to call it ‘labor.’ I was no more uncomfortable than usual. After a long day I finally went to bed. In my heart though and in my belly, I had a feeling something was up. It took a long time for me to get to sleep. It was not yet labor but I had a feeling, something had shifted. I was ready.
I was asleep, deeply asleep. The contraction woke me. I stared at the ceiling for what seemed like a long time until another one came. I had been sure what woke me was wishful thinking. When the next contraction came I looked at the clock and I tried to go back to sleep…but not really. When it became clear that the contractions had some intention and some rhythm, I woke Dave. We called the Doctor and the midwife. Unlike Riley’s 36 hour cycle of labor and birth and Chester’s stair step start and stop labor, Henry’s pattern was like a train traveling on the track. I heard the whistle blowing from a long way off in the distance, coming closer, chugging along constant, building. The Doctor and midwife arrived only moments before Henry did. Once he made the plan to enter the world there would be no stopping him.
He has not changed a bit in that way. Thanks be to God.
Happy birthday, my Henry!