I taught what I had expected to be my second to last day of school. I was looking to one more day with students, then one day of cleaning up my classroom while the rest of the school was on a field trip.
After school rehearsals with 7th graders are draining under normal circumstances. There needs to be another word to convey the sheer exhaustion I felt after holding a 90-minute after school rehearsal while 39 ½ weeks pregnant. After the students left, I put my head down on a table and took a nap in order to summon the energy just to drive home.
My bags were already packed and by the door (and had been for several weeks.) Within each suitcase was an assortment of items, divided into plastic bags. Labeled, and neatly arranged. Both cars had an emergency bag with trash bags and old towels with which to cover the seats (if necessary.) The car seat was installed. The baby’s room was ready. My sub plans were in a hazy state, but my sub was applying to become a middle school band teacher so I figured that I would give him a general outline and let him work out the rest of his plans.
I made dinner—penang chicken with jasmine rice, I think. I laid down on the couch as I had done many times before: TV tuned to some inane show, laptop open on the coffee table. I was watching “Catastrophe” on Amazon while chatting with friends. A colleague (who had herself only just returned from maternity leave) sent me a message to ask how I was doing. I told her I was tired, but based on my appointment a few days before I thought I would go past my due date—nothing had been moving.
20 minutes later, I felt a pop.
At some point along the way to preparing to birth a child I had been told that only about 10-15% of women had that “gush” you see in the movies when a woman’s water breaks. Lucky mean, apparently I was in for a Hollywood ending
I squeezed my knees together for dear life and rolled my way off our brand new couch. Like a penguin, I waddled my way down the hallway to check. I called out to my husband “Hon… my water just broke.” I heard the surprise in his voice when he responded and I knew that we were both feeling a mix of shock and excitement, mixed with a smidge of fear and apprehension. Nothing really prepares you for this moment.
I took my time getting ready to go to the hospital. I knew that things were not likely to move fast. I took a shower and braided my hair while H packed the car. We stopped to take a photo because I wanted to mark this occasion—our transition from being a couple to becoming a family of three.
As we got into the car, I called my OB’s office to let them know I was on my way to the hospital. Was I sure that my water broke? “Well, I’m sitting on three towels to absorb the fluid and every time I move more gushes out…” I answered a series of questions that I was prepared for at the time and now, in retrospect, can no longer remember.
We pulled up to the hospital as planned. We parked in the designated area. H grabbed a wheelchair, which I tossed some towels onto before shifting into the seat. I was capable of walking, but I didn’t want to leave a trail that some poor orderly or custodian would have to clean up. We went up to the Labor & Delivery floor. He moved the car while I checked in. We waited for a while, then I was brought into my private room to change, get into bed, and get my first dose of antibiotics.
Everything went as planned. Until it didn’t.