Last Wednesday, in my tennis practice, I overheard that one of my girls had her birthday that day. I noted that, if things got moving, my daughter might get to share her birthday. The girls on my tennis team were shocked that, if we were that close to potentially giving birth, I was there at tennis practice. I explained that we just live a couple minutes from the school and 15-20 minutes from the hospital, so we weren't that worried. I told my wife about this that evening, and we had a laugh about the whole thing--ah, the naivete of youth, we said. They think that births are like on TV, where everything happens in the atmosphere of an emergency. Silly kids!
Or should I say, silly us!
Sometime after 9, we had a certain physical sign, and based on our first daughter's birth, we figured we had several hours to go but that we were in the home stretch at this point. We decided that I would go to sleep to grab a few hours' rest to be ready to go. A half hour later, Lauren woke me and said that it was time to go. Now.
Lauren was pretty seriously in pain. She said she might take the epidural this time, and that I'd better not say anything! After giving birth naturally the first time, I said she didn't have anything to prove, but when that what she was going through this time was pretty similar to what she'd gone through at the hospital last time. We got our stuff together and headed out the door around 10:50. Soon after we left the house, Lauren asked if I'd brought our first
daughter's bag; I started to slow down to turn around and go back and
she told me not to even think about going back. The 20 minute drive took us about 15, with Lauren pretty miserable the whole way.
I left her to check in while I parked the car and brought our daughter in, and when I got back they were ready to take her down to a delivery room in a wheel chair, but she couldn't sit down. Not happening! They took her away, still trying to use the wheel chair, and a nurse led me and our daughter down to obstetrics. When we got there, though, Lauren was nowhere to be found! Were we missing the event? Finally, they wheeled her in on a bed, screaming like crazy. "Get her out of here! I don't want her to see this!" she said of our daughter. I took her out and had the good fortune that our nanny had just arrived to take her. Apparently, our daughter in the waiting room kept saying "Mommy hurt!"
I went back into the room, held Lauren's hand, and within moments, could see the top of our second daughter's head poking out. At our first birth, it probably took us 45 minutes to an hour from this point to the moment when we had our baby. This time? Try 45 seconds to a minute until we had our baby!
Needless to say, there was no time in any of this for an epidural, so another natural birth it was. There was hardly any time for anything! Maybe my high school girls knew more than we thought, and more than we did! And though I don't want to minimize the difficulty of the experience, between the time that it happened (official time of birth, 11:21) and how quickly it all progressed, we were remarkably well rested, at least compared to the first time (that time, Lauren was up at 2 am, I was up at 3, we were in to the hospital at 4:30, didn't give birth until after 9).
The reality is that we were very, very lucky through this whole thing. If there had been a train across the set of tracks we had to cross, we might very well have popped out a baby in the front seat of our car. I didn't have enough time or information to be properly scared by the whole thing, but Lauren, with more privileged access to how the situation was progressing, was. Everything went well in the end, but we feel very fortunate, all in all.
The end result was a healthy little baby, a little lighter and a little longer than her sister, checking in at 9 lbs 7.3 oz and 21 inches. Whereas our first looked more like me, our second looks more like Lauren, which we suppose is only fair. With no complications, Mama and child came home on Friday afternoon, and we've all been doing fine. All three of her grandparents are out visiting for the weekend and helping out.