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Sunday, July 8, 2001

We slept, me comfortably, Sharon intermittently, and quietly.  At 5 we get up and get ready.  We’re not quite going through the motions, but things are pretty business-like, given that an actual baby is coming.  At 6:30 we’re admitted, at 7:00 we’re hooked up, measured at two cm. (is that it?), and slowly on our way. This day is like some avant garde narrative; short the conventions, you’re not sure how or when it’s going to end.  So everything’s attended by an is-it-now? suspense that looks faintly silly in retrospect.  At 7:30 I rush back to get the girls.  They’re not ready. No telling what we might miss.  Well, not much.  We leave the boys with Connie.  “I love you, Matt,” says Sarah.  “I’m upset!” says Matt.  We get back to the hospital at 9.  Mum looks somehow, oh, exactly the same.  Dr. Nance comes, pre-his church, to check at 9:30.  “See you after church.” So we settle in for the long occupation.  We play… games and read, fitfully. These contractions are quick—two, two-and-a-half minutes apart, and we see Sharon, if we look over, setting her teeth and going through it.  We go for a Payson drive, come back to the same.  At 1:15 the doctor returns to break that water.  The kids, who’ve been noticing the passage of time, are suddenly, briefly wide-eyed and silent.  They might not have been sure they wanted to see that.  Just wait.

Sharon’s pain increases.  We go to the cafeteria.  Then more games, and Drew and Sarah start visiting the lounge and looking into the nursery.  Caitlin mostly sticks it out.  At 3:00 Sharon gets a shot of Nubane, and feels blissful for awhile.  These good girls are feeling a bit restless.  I’m sent home at 3:30 for some food.  I’m back at 4:30 to find that we’re at six cm., and that things seem to be moving.  The girls chomp, watch an old (’91) home movie I’ve brought, and which goes over really well. The pain is getting bad, and in fact it proves to be positively breathtaking.  The trooper calls for an epidural—too late! “I’m too old…  I can’t do it…”  She does it.

Doctor Nance returns at 5:30, the stirrups go up and we come to the moment, or to the moments.  The everlasting pattern repeats.  One push, and a crown.  The girls are standing on the couch, stunned, shrinking a little bit.  I pan quickly across them with my eyes and see Sarah at the end, moved to tears.  I feel a stab myself—looking at them, I’m seeing this for the first time again. After I rush to Sarah and turn around we all see a second push and a whole squinty, pugilist’s head.  A third push and our new baby sister comes into the world.  What I’d hoped for!  Ah.

The doctor cuts the chord and gets a spurt of blood in the face.  It hits the ceiling.  We all enjoy that.  Except him.  The matter of fact scurrying and cleaning begins, not quite masking the fiercely biological nature of the whole transaction, or the awesome immanence of the thing.  5:44, 20”, 8 lbs and 9 ounces.  Claire Duncan

She didn’t cry, and they can’t quite make her.  Sharon has her, and she looks fresh and delighted.  Heroic!  The girls get just a bit clamoury.  It had been ten hours for them, and twelve for Sharon!  This is the longest ever. The baby goes to the nursery, Mum prepares to go to her room, and we walk out onto the rain-shiny street and drive home.  The girls are cheerful and kindly—this is a good thing to have done.

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Posted on July 13, 2012. Category: Everyday · Cluster: ·