This morning Julia woke up at 3:30. Karissa and I both tried to get her to go back to sleep, first in our bed, then in her bed, then in our bed again. She had me fooled a few times with her quiet breathing and then she'd bust out with some observation, Sesame Street quotation or the question, "Is it wake-up time?" When I finally got up with her at 5:30, I was in a rotten mood. I opened the freezer to find the ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls I'd been saving for the weekend, thinking if I could just have these with my (very weak) morning coffee, the day might be saved. Not so much. The rolls were too chewy and not sweet enough. Not that it stopped me from eating four or five of them, in the hopes they would improve. And of course, they didn't. I ended up crawling back to bed at around 7:00, once Karissa was up and coherent, and slept fitfully until around 8:45.
I had to get up because we had to leave the house an hour later. We were dropping Julia off at a friend's, and going to the Labor and Delivery tour of Kaiser Oakland. The tour guide was late, but gave a spirited overview of the intake procedures at the hospital to us and the three other couples on the tour, one of whom I was fairly sure spoke very little English. She paused for questions a handful of times as we went up to triage, L & D, and the recovery rooms. Karissa and I were the only ones with any questions at all, the others just stood around in stunned silence, staring at the tour guide, staring at us, staring at Karissa in particular as she asked about parking and other important logistics. I must admit, though I participated more than most, I myself was a bit stunned. I never wanted to have a baby in the hospital; I had fully intended to have the second one at home until right after New Year's when we took a hard look at our finances and decided there was no way we could afford another home birth. A part of me was comforted by the MDs and nurses everywhere, all of the technology and equipment, even though I needed none of them last time, but most of me doesn't understand how it's all going to work.
My last labor was four hours, and I went from breaking water to active labor in 20 minutes. Labor was so sudden and so difficult, that I couldn't imagine moving two feet, much less getting into a car, parking, walking into a hospital, taking the elevator to the fourth floor, going to triage for an evaluation, moving again to a (beyond dreary and sterile) delivery room. I couldn't imagine having an IV put in or having monitors attached to my body. It would have made an already terrifying and excruciating experience so much worse. But now, that's what I'm doing, and I still can't imagine it. So I'm going to do the only thing I can do, which is to put it out of my mind for now, and pray that when the time comes, things will go smoothly. Thanks to Karissa, we have "plans for various scenarios in place." I thank God that my wife is so detail oriented. Someone has to remember all of the steps for getting into the building and getting up to the right room just in case I'm out of my mind at the time. Don't get me wrong, I understand this is what most women in this country do. This is normal. I guess I'm not, but then, that's not really news to me.
Later in the afternoon I had my first (and sadly, probably my last) prenatal massage. It was wonderfully relaxing, though I spent a little too much energy trying not to fall asleep, and the ONE place I asked her to work on, she didn't touch. What kind of "master therapist" who gives prenatal massages doesn't know where the sacroiliac joint is? She rubbed away on the small of my back, and I was too polite (and frankly, too sleepy) to say, um, could you go a little lower?
We've passed a quiet afternoon since we've been home, and we're both praying we can get Julia to bed early given the epic mostly sleepless day she's had (she fell asleep for about an hour in the car). I'm not sure Karissa or I will last very long after she's out.
I have a lot to think about (or try not to think about) in the next four weeks, but my biggest hope is that the weeks will fly by, my body will have become a "master laborer" in the three plus years since I did this the last time, and I'll be able to hold my baby boy in my arms without much pain and suffering to get him there. At least I'll have mastered the sleep deprivation that goes along with new parenthood, or as I've learned, parenthood in general.