The night I went into labour, I was watching a cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movie in bed. I wish I could say I was reading Jane Eyre or Middlemarch, but, at six days overdue, I couldn’t focus on anything substantial. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, I noticed that the pains in my back were cyclical; an hour later, after timing contractions nine minutes apart, I called downstairs to my husband. (In hindsight, we should have had a fun code word or something, but I just said, “Blaine, this kid’s finally going to make an appearance. Get the hospital bag.”)
Nineteen hours later, after going to the hospital, having my water broken, bouncing on a birthing ball for what seemed like an eternity and getting an epidural that only really took on one side of my body, we were still waiting to meet our baby. I’d been pushing for a while when shift change happened, and a very outgoing, funny doctor came into the room and introduced herself.
“What do you do for a living?” she asked, after being briefed on the situation.
“I’m the managing editor at Today’s Parent magazine,” I said, without even trying to mask my frustration that I was chit-chatting instead of giving birth (did I mention that I hadn’t slept in almost two full days?).
“So that means you like deadlines and bossing people around?”
My husband nodded enthusiastically. I rolled my eyes.
She looked at her watch. It was 8:05 p.m. “OK,” she said, “I want this kid out by nine o’clock.” Fifty-five minutes and we’d meet our new addition.
I thought about it for a second, just as another contraction came on. “I accept that challenge,” I said.
At 8:55 p.m., when the doctor came back, she looked under the sheet and said, “Wow, you took me seriously! But the baby’s a little stuck under your pubic bone, so we’re going to use the tiniest bit of suction. Cool?”
“Yes, yes!” I said. Three minutes later, the doctor held up this beautiful, wriggly, loud child and said, “It’s a girl.” Cue the waterworks. (Blaine cried harder than me and our new baby, Sophie, combined.)
As the doctor sewed things back together – a few stitches were well worth this little girl in my arms – she said, “You must be really good at your job. But you’re about to have all your deadlines and schedules thrown out the window.”
And the adventure began.
A version of this article appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Today’s Parent Pregnancy with the headline, “A matter of time”, p. 62.