There are moments that we mark in red on the calendar of our hearts and minds and quietly observe them on our own when those events are revisited. Some of them are annual, some or monthly, some are weekly, some are precious and beautiful, some are painful and sad, some are a combination. All are important in an intensely personal way.
This was me a week ago today.
A week ago tonight at about 9.30 my bag of waters broke spontaneously as I was crossing the street with Jeremy and Evangeline following dinner with our neighbors, F and J. F had given me a hard time about not having my water break while we were there and I started having contractions with a little bit of regularity when dinner was over. Having had them off and on all day and the two weeks before, I didn't want to give them more than a passing nod of acknowledgment. I've been down this road before, you see, this could go on for weeks and weeks. We joked and I assured F that my water had never broken before either early in labor or as the first sign of labor. He promised me there's always a first time for everything! And indeed, he was right! Forty-five minutes later we were crossing the street when I felt a small gush of fluid. I wasn't sure right away that SROM had just happened but after a few more steps I told Jeremy my suspicions and by the time we got to the house I was pretty certain that I would get into the bathroom and know for sure. It didn't take long for there to be clear fluid running down my legs requiring a change of clothes. I was definitely ruptured. Contractions sputtered to a stop as I called the midwife to give her the report, I had checked myself (again) that morning (because I could- the danger of knowing just a little too much) and knew I was 75% effaced and 2cm but I hadn't felt the baby move since I ruptured. Because we had a scare not even a week before with low heart tones and I didn't have a doppler at home we made a plan to have a nurse friend come and bring a doppler so we could get heart tones. This was just for peace of mind, for my peace of mind. I felt like she was ok but I wanted to know she was ok. Sue came, bringing a doppler and set to work cleaning my kitchen after we listened to that beautiful swooshing train sound in my belly. Baby V was fine. I had woken up that morning pretty sure this was the day, I've had this with every one of my babies, I've just known when they were going to be born in the next 24 hours. All day long I felt like my body was trying to go into labor but was being held back. My FaceBook status twice reflected it: "Feeling like a car revving the engine" and even less poetic "You-know-what or get off the pot girlfriend. I'm going to dinner now." I couldn't swear on FaceBook for some reason but you all know what I meant. Having seen it before in myself and women I've attended I had a hunch that having my children around was keeping me from kicking into gear and so we planned to pack them up and send them on their way to our friends LKH and EKH where we knew they'd be safe, have fun and we wouldn't need to worry about them and I could get down to the business of birthing a baby.
With the girls gone I worked on getting in touch with Linda as we had planned for her to come and take photos of the labor and birth. Thankfully she checked her Facebook and saw the message I left her since her number was erased from my phone causing me to panic that we wouldn't be able to get a hold of her. She called and headed right out, getting to our place around 11 or maybe midnight. I don't remember because by the time she got there my contractions had indeed decided to get this show on the road and I was in early labor.
There is obviously more to the labor/birth story but I'll leave you with this. A week ago tomorrow I looked like this:
And today, we have this:
These moments are marked in red in the day planner of my heart for several reasons. They mark the beginning of the end of the journey of bring our daughter into the world, they speak of the healing of some very painful moments and relationships along the way, they remind me of dear friends both new and old that journeyed with me, they testify to my personal strength of surviving another HG pregnancy and the agony that caused as well as the labor and birth, they chronicle the love of Jeremy and I birthing together again, they are likely the last of their kind as we feel we are done having children, and they direct the eyes of my heart back to God, the author of it all. Moments such as these deserve the red marker, emblazoning them on my heart's memory forever. I hope you have learned to pause and cherish such moments.