I knew we needed to complete the set (the two boys my husband wanted, the heir and the spare in his family tree), yet our first son, Scott, had just started sleeping through the night at twenty months, and he was still nursing. But my husband, Peter, worried about his 47-year-old sperm count, wined and dined me on our July anniversary and convinced me to "try" for a second child.
Twelve days later, I got pregnant.
A week after, I got sick as a dog and stayed that way for ages. Luckily, Scott stopped nursing, but kept napping. I'd hand him a shovel at the tot lot and flake out on my towel on the grass, the terrible mother. I stopped working and became a great big baby factory.
The ultrasound was a tense moment. Please, God, a girl. Please? "See that thing wagging?" said the technician.
Peter laughed, I cried. But I got over it and sat around ballooning and playing cars with Scott until April. My Bradley classes emphasized a high-protein diet, walking in labor, and a strategy for pain where you go completely limp, no matter where you are. They also recommended staying home as long as possible. But I still planned on my epidural.
Then on my due date, I got the flu with a “hork-up-your-lungs” cough. My sister diagnosed it long distance as pneumonia. But Baby stayed put and I avoided the OB's office for nearly two weeks. Finally, on April 24 after Peter was in bed, the pains started. They weren't frequent, and with my Bradley training, I wasn't scared like I'd been the first time. I plugged along all that night and the next day with six or seven pains an hour, napping some, even eating.
Around 6 PM, I took a walk. Back home, I started shaking. Shaking? An internal bell rang and I realized it was transition. We headed to the hospital. After my light labor, I figured they'd measure me at two centimeters and send me home.
"Eight to nine centimeters," said the nurse, hustling to call the doctor.
The pain started to ramp up. "Epidural. Now," I said.
"No time, honey." The female doctor, who I'd never seen, teamed up with the nurse and my best friend, Lenore: girls with a big job.
Baby had the cord around his neck which was a little harrowing. But I only pushed about twenty minutes before he appeared, looking wise. During Northern Exposure. I yelled, "Thank God! I never have to be pregnant again!" This child was different: under eight pounds, pear-shaped, and calm. Scott had been over nine pounds, long, and irritable. And they had to pop my bag of waters twice. A double sac! My sister proclaimed him an avatar of Vishnu. Most amazing of all were his blue eyes. My husband and I have brown eyes, but we both had blue-eyed dads. Finally, without the drugs, I could change diapers myself that night and go home early the next day.
We named him David, our little Buddha, and such a gift!