“Hrrmmm”…I groaned as I rolled my giant belly over to blindly search for my phone on the nightstand. 6:04 am. Why am I up this early? This seems absurd. What’s wrong with me? Oh I know. I’m about to start my period. Wait. That can’t be right. Aunt Flo doesn’t visit when Mr. Stork is on his way.
I stumbled into the bathroom and attempted to understand the crampy feeling in my lower abdomen. “This can’t be labor. It doesn’t even hurt. And I’ve finally come to terms with being induced,” I thought aloud. I’ll just go downstairs and see if the bathroom needs cleaning…again.
The morning sky blazed through the back door. Above the tree line was steel blue with gold streaks. It was like looking at a spilled treasure chest at the bottom of the ocean. Pirate’s gold before a storm. It was a beautiful last day. The last day before our inducement date. The last day of being just married. The last day of a solid night’s sleep.
“Hmmmph”…the cramps kept coming. Maybe I was just feeling aftershocks from the food poisoning. Yeah, that has to be it. Just food poisoning. After checking our very clean bathrooms for the third time, I pulled open my favorite baby book. It was filled with daily bible verses and a prayer for your unborn baby. And it seemed like six oh clock in the morning was a perfect time to pace the living room in my baby blue slippers and read the first three months of baby prayers. I needed that distraction. I needed those reminders. I needed to get to tomorrow.
The time actually flew by and before I knew it, I was opening the garage door to my parents who stopped by to drop off some donations for the church yard sale. It was great. Nothing was a better distraction than picking through my mother’s hand-me-downs.
“How are you feeling?” my mom asked nonchalantly.
“I’m crampy. It’s nothing to get excited about…tomorrow is the day.” I casually reminded her.
“YOU ARE CRAMPY?!?! Honey! That’s labor!” She wrapped her arms around my head and was a bit more excited than I anticipated.
“Mom. It’s not real labor. The contractions aren’t longer, stronger and closer together. That’s what the class said and they aren’t.”
“How close are they?” she asked. Why wouldn’t she just drop it? Didn’t she understand that I had come to terms with the induction? That all I wanted to do right now was rummage through her junk? Her wonderful, glorious junk? I knew that in order to end the conversation topic, I would have to sound as firm as possible without squashing her excitement like a bully stomping on a little kid’s balloon. Either that or I needed a diversion.
“I haven’t timed them. But trust me, this is not labor. Cole, do you want to stay here with me?” Cole, my five year old nephew, was an innocent bystander throughout this entire conversation until I decided that he would be a perfect out. And of course he would want to hang out with me…afterall, I am the Aunt that always has macaroni and cheese and a creek in her backyard.
Twenty minutes later, I was attempting to convince a five-year-old that walking IS a fun activity.
“I have an idea. Let’s play ps3!” He argued back with his little smily sparkly eyes. It’s amazing how a kindergardener can sound so convincing.
“C’mon Cole…I need to walk while Uncle Jeremy helps Pappap. It’ll only take a minute, I promise.” I lied as another cramp washed over my abdomen. I quickly threw on my shoes and punched in our house alarm code.
Walking felt good. Even going at a forty minute mile pace, it felt like an accomplishment. The sun was high in the sky and the warmth made me sweat a puddle into my too-tight-even-though-I-wear-wide’s New Balance shoes. Cole was miserable and my ankles were the same size as my lower thighs, but it didn’t matter. This was my last day before my baby arrived and I decided to focus all my efforts on soaking it in. Soak Katie. Soak it good.
Suddenly, my daydream was interupted by a shrill ringtone.
“Mom?” I could hear our house alarm on the other end of the phone before she said a word.
“Honey….” she was only slightly frantic. “Honey…I opened the door and the alarm went off.”
“It’s ok, Mom. We went walking. Just punch in the code on the keypad and it’ll stop.” I was crossing my toes hoping that she would find the pad in time. Then I realized that the alarm was past it’s warning stage and had started it’s “render-the-intruder-deaf” volume level. “Mom! Mom! Can you hear me?!?! Answer the phone and tell them the password!” This was going to be impossible. She was likely already deaf. At this point there was only one thing to do….call my boyfriend and explain the situation.
Five minutes later, I was ranting about how Jeremy was supposed to answer his phone when his 41 week pregnant wife called. I was the priority, right?!? What if there had been an accident? What if my water broke? Why the heck didn’t he answer my call?! He should know that it is more important to hang up on my mother and answer the dang phone when his hormonal wife calls him!
“Honey, do you think Jeremy will be mad at me?”, Mom asked as she drove her Honda beside me with Cole in the backseat.
“No.” Maybe a little, I silently thought. I kept walking.
As we approached the house, I challenged Cole to a race. “Let’s run to the stop sign!” I don’t know why but I thought I had a decent chance. He climbed outta the car and took off. I started my waddle-run and that’s when I saw a cop car in our driveway. Crap. That means that Jeremy didn’t answer the phone call of security company either. It seemed like ten miles to get past the final three houses. After admitting defeat to Cole, I waddled up to the police officer talking to my neighbor as she watered her plants.
“Ma’am, do you live here?” he politely asked.
“I’m really sorry. My mom accidently set off the alarm…”
“She’s IN LABOR.” My mom chipped in with a giant smile covering her face….
“I’m sorry.” I said to the cop, shooting darts at my mom with my eyes. “I was just taking a walk and she thought we were still at home.”
“Well, the door was open and so I went inside and checked things out. It’s locked now though. Congratulations. You take care now.” He smiled as he slid back into his car. It was probably out of pity that I was lugging around fifty extra pounds of baby weight.
I smiled back and nodded. “Thank you.” I turned back toward the house and the smile dropped off my face. Double Crap, I thought. I didn’t have any keys. I felt slight anxiety wash over me as my brain ran amok. What if my water broke this very instant and I had no way of getting inside?!? I would be standing in the driveway covered in amniotic fluid and shoes full of sweat with a five-year-old and a overly-excitable mother. My thoughts were interupted by the beeping on my phone. It was from my father-in-law. He was texting me to let me know that the security company had called him and he gave the ok to send the police.
I couldn’t do anything but laugh out loud. I held up the phone for my mom to read as I chuckled at the absurdity of the entire situation. My mother started laughing too. I knew that she was terribly embarrassed just by looking at her eyes.
“I’m laughing because I just want to cry.” She stared at her wringing hands. She would have never purposefully tried to put anyone out…literally or figuratively. “Jeremy is really gonna be mad, isn’t he?”
Another cramp hit me…”well, let’s just hope that he has his keys! Besides…this is a great story for Will one day. This is what happened the day before he was born…and I love that.” And I meant it. Afterall, it’s the small things that I always loved knowing about my own birthday…like how it was a very bright day outside and how my older brother was very gentle with me when he came to see me. To me, it’s details that make a birth story a real story.
Anyhoo, it didn’t take long for Jeremy and my dad to come home and rescue us women. And since I continued being ‘crampy’ with no real changes, my parents went home (with the promise that we would call immediately if anything changed) and I continued my day on the couch curled up with the remote control and a stack of magazines.
Throughout the day, whenever another cramp would come up, I found great relief by just sitting on our 1970’s toilet in our master bathroom. No other toilet was the same as this great throne. I could lean back and rest until the contraction subsided and I didn’t have to worry about breaking the substantial piece of pottery since none of it was plastic or flimsy. It was here that I received my first concrete piece of evidence that the early stage of labor actually started…I passed my plug.
“JEREMY!” I definitely wanted him to see this.
“JEREMY!” I can’t believe I am taking our relationship to this level. This is entirely too gross for words. I am about to show the man enough mucus to drown a small animal and I expect him to kiss me afterwards. This is going to either bring us closer together or force him into another woman’s arms. A woman who doesn’t fart or burp or show him a wad of toilet paper covered in disgustingness. She probably still shaves her legs. She probably can still REACH her legs. Dang her.
“What?” He had no idea what was about to hit him.
“I passed the mucus plug.” It was out there. No going back now. Say goodbye Katie. “Wanna see it?”
“C’mon. You gotta see it. It’s huge.” I read the books…this was not ‘quarter-sized’…this sucker could have kept the Titanic from sinking. And Jeremy knew that he wasn’t gonna get to walk away now. I had him cornered.
“Fine.” He looked at what I held out and then looked back at my face. “Wow.” He said it completely void of emotion.
“yeah. I know.” I was actually surprised that he didn’t ask for a divorce right then and there. Or at least a separation. Or marriage counseling. Little did I know that this would actually be the first of many times in the next four days that I would ask my sweet boyfriend to do something that would bring us closer together. Something I would normally be completely embarrassed by. Something you would only do if you truly loved someone.