We ate so much my pants got tight and I had to hold the waistband the entire time we were watching. (Of course my pants might have also been tight because I was nine months pregnant.) My Braxton-Hicks were acting up.
We finally turned in for the night around 10:30. Mary said, "Maybe we won't sleep tonight!"
And I said, "Why? Because Isaac is restless?"
And she said, "No! Because maybe you'll have the baby tonight!"
And I replied, "I can't have the baby tonight. Mark's sick." (He had the flu).
I went up to bed and laid in the dark feeling uncomfortable for a while. After a half hour of watching the clock, I finally had to admit to myself that I was feeling uncomfortable in five minute intervals. I remember thinking how unfortunate that at just the moment that I could have gotten some sleep, my labour was beginning. I think I decided that this was the worse possible moment to go into labour. If only I'd known that last night had been my last full night of sleep for months (possibly years).
I finished packing my overnight bag. I wrote out last-minute instructions for my mother who would have to come the next day. I put a spare key outside in our hiding place. I packed Cole's daycare bag.
Then I woke up my husband who was still suffering from a touch of the flu. I said, "I'm sorry, Honey. But I think I'm in labour."
He said, "What do you want to do?"
I said, "Go to the hospital."
Then I knocked on the guest bedroom door. Ben later reported that my sister leaped like a gazelle across the room with excitement. She had been secretly hoping that her visit would serendipitously coincide with my labour. But it seemed so unlikely. And then all of a sudden it was becoming a reality. She was pratically giddy.
Mark and I headed out around midnight. As we were loading up the car, I remembered the next day was garbage day. So we put the trash out before leaving.
We got to the hospital and I got my epidural. I thanked my lucky stars I'd never have to have an epidural again. A few hours later, around 4 a.m., I gave birth to Amelia Marguerite Hei-Ling Peron.
I was watching my husband's face when she came out. It was the most moving expression that crossed his face. A gasp and in a millisecond a flood of relief and a flood of joy.
We phoned Mark's dad first because he wakes up early. He comes from a family of four brothers and no sisters. He had two sons. And even though we had told him the ultrasound results, his first words to us that Monday morning were, "..and is it really a girl?"
It really was.
A beautiful, cherished daughter.
When we were contemplating names, I suggested the name "Joy". And sometimes I look at you and think, "Look at all that joy!"