The morning before Cole was born, I woke up and my first thought was, "I need to paint my toenails right now, or I will never get the opportunity again." So I got up, and painted my toenails. And then I finished my very last order that I had been slow to complete. I was running low on ready-made bouquets, so I tore through all my supplies and made six more. I napped. All in all, a pretty normal day.
At 7:30pm I started feeling a little weird. I was talking with Cole's godmother on the phone and told her, "I think I'm in labor, but I'm not sure." I then insisted that I made dinner (although Nick told me it was a terrible idea), but I really needed something to do to keep my mind occupied. I was pretty convinced that a) nothing was going to happen and b) when I was in labor, I was going to ignore all the signs until it was too late. It's probably important to note that my contractions had been coming at 6 minutes apart from the very beginning, but again, I didn't want to get my hopes up. Just in case, I texted my doula and told her the situation. She called immediately (because she knew better), and told me to just keep going how I was going, and let her know when things got more intense.
So Nick and I watched television. We started casually getting our things together. I sat on a yoga ball. At 10:30pm contractions were coming at 5 minutes apart (when they tell you to go to the hospital), but we decided to wait a while longer. So I sat in the dark on my yoga ball. Practiced my hypnobirthing. Completely lost track of time. And around midnight we decided to call my midwife at the hospital because contractions were coming about 3 minutes apart. She told us to come in immediately. I had visions of pulling myself together in real clothes so I didn't make a spectacle of myself. I ended up walking to the car in my pajamas and robe. I didn't care.
At this point it was about 1am as Nick slowly drove through Beacon Hill, trying to avoid any bumps in the road. The night was so incredibly quiet. In my head, all I could hear was the first verse to one of the books Nick read Cole every night before we went to sleep - "On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, 'Life will never be the same...'"
And then we were at the hospital. I imagined that the ER would be empty so I could be spared the indignity of walking through a crowd of people in my robe, but that wasn't meant to be. I'm sure I was quite a sight to the people in the waiting area. We were admitted, my midwife checked me, and we realized that my contractions were now 90 seconds apart. Apparently we were actually going to have a baby.
I distinctly remember my midwife and doula complimenting me on my freshly painted toenails. Thank goodness I listened to my instincts that morning.
The rest of the story is a bit of a blur. I went into my zone. Nick and my doula were there to support me. I had constant back labor that made me more uncomfortable than I expected, but I completely lost track of time. At one point I got annoyed because I thought someone had turned on a light, but it was actually the sun rising. I don't think I opened my eyes for about four hours. I hit a wall, like every laboring woman does, but got an amazing pep talk from my midwife who told me that I could either give up, or tear through the wall. And then things started moving quickly (or even more quickly, considering things were moving fast to begin with). An hour later, Cole was born. We had only been at the hospital for six hours.
After it was all said and done, I was in labor for twelve hours, start to finish. Even more remarkable was that my water never broke - Cole was born in the caul - which is incredibly rare and supposed to be a sign of good luck. My doula had never seen this happen before, and my midwife had only seen it once. Everyone in the delivery room was in shock. We knew he was a lucky baby from the moment I was pregnant, but a 7 pound 7 ounce baby delivered in the caul was a pretty strong signal from the Universe that this baby was incredibly blessed.
We were also pretty shocked at how quickly things moved. My doula told us that I had the fastest birth for a first-time mom she had ever seen, and the best hospital birth she had attended. My midwife told us it was the best natural birth she had attended. I was just shocked that he was here. I was prepared for anything to happen, but I wasn't prepared for things to go so well. I believed in myself, but deep inside I had doubts that I could do it.
After all of the complications and difficulties and heartache, this was the absolute perfect ending. When we made it up to our room, Nick and I spent the entire day just staring at Cole. Perfect baby. The best day of our lives.