Hi. Want to hear what happened yesterday?
First thing in the morning, Tasha the midwife came over to our house to perform a task midwives like to call "going insane in the membrane."
Basically it is all about breaking the water. It is mostly painless. When it works correctly, a scene from a sitcom breaks out. The pregnant woman begins to moan loudly, the wacky neighbour drops in with a sample batch of his fresh gazpacho and offers to boil water, and the father-to-be pops into the next room to catch the last few innings of the big game on his portable radio.
It totally didn't work that way for us. Possibly this is because Kate's baby ate a small hole in the amniotic sac on Thursday night, and the waters had been mildly trickling ever since.
Anyway. Yesterday morning after Tasha the midwife went insane in the membrane, Kate had a few lighthearted contractions, sans moaning, and then she happily went on sipping her Grande Non-Fat Decaf Ristretto One-Pump Classic Iced Latte. "What's next?" she asked.
"Well," said Tasha the midwife, "next we take you to a hospital and pump you full of crazy wicked strong drugs that will teach your uterus a frickin' lesson."
"OK," said Kate. "That sounds terrific." So we packed up a cooler bag full of delicious cookies and sparklingly fresh juices, we hopped in the car, and we headed for Labour Town. We were sure we would want to have a picnic once we got there. Nothing lightens the mood like a picnic.
Note: Labour Town is in Room Six on the seventh floor of a very nice hospital where the Canadian health care system is not in crisis and there are video games installed on all the nursing station computers, and no one is ever too busy to play them.
In Room Six, Tasha the midwife held up a glass syringe, which was roughly the size of a tallboy beer can, with a four-inch spike attached. "OK," she roared, her voice rattling the cabinets of ether, "who wants an induction? Anybody here feel lucky?"
"Er," said Kate," how about I just do my own labour instead?"
"OK," said Tasha the midwife. "We midwives are all about patient-centred care. Whatever floats your boat, man."
So Tasha the midwife put the needle back in the broom closet, and Kate did her own labour.
She totally did it to the extreme. First, she had a pain in her belly. Then it stopped for a moment. Then it came back. Then we went for a walk through the nice hospital, stopping to nod hello to the gamer nurses.
Then the pain came back huge, and Kate had to lean over and hang on to the railing in the hallway. She closed her eyes and breathed slowly. When the pain went away this time, we went back to Room Six.
It was 4:00 in the afternoon. "OK," said Tasha the midwife to Kate, "you are now in active labour."
Note: Active labour means that every five minutes your uterus pretends you are a prisoner of conscience and it is the commandante in charge of breaking your spirit.
When you are in active labour you try lying in a bed, but that does not make the pain go away. So then you try sitting on a large rubber ball, but that does not make the pain go away. So then you try sitting on a large rubber ball in the shower, but that does not make the pain go away either.
Every 15 minutes or so, Tasha the midwife pointed her tricorder at Kate's belly and reported happily that the baby's heart rate was reassuring and Kate was making great progress.
Note: "Great progress" is what midwives call it when your womb is clamping down so hard and so painfully that there is a reasonable probablilty that a baby (approx. diameter: huge) will shortly be delivered through your privates (approx. diameter: hugely smaller than a baby).
Kate was making extra great progress. She made loud growling noises. Then, at 5:30 in the afternoon, our new daughter's head emerged. Then her shoulders, her tiny little bum, her knees, her shins, her ankles, her toes.
She screamed. We wept. Our baby was here, is here, is here with her Mum and her Dad and her big sister Clare. We are so happy you're here. We're so happy you're healthy. Welcome, you brave and amazing little girl.
Clare is looking forward to teaching you about butterflies.
* * *
Now. Here are a few pictures. There will be more as soon as the chemists are done processing the film.
Lucy on Friday, July 22:
Lucy on Monday, July 25:
Lucy with her strong, strong mother, also July 25: