Mali was born on the day after Thanksgiving. I am grateful to her for that, for my getting to tuck into huge piles of mashed potatoes and gravy and yet still have plenty of time for Mali to meet and hang out with Seymour's parents before they left on Sunday. Too bad my auntie's plane left 10 hours before the blessed event.
We spent Friday toodling around. Seymour went to work as the day after Thanksgiving is consistently the busiest day of the year at his place of employment, and he is down one network manager. The rest of us had lunch with Seymour's folks at their hotel, then headed over to Ford Madox Ford park to chat with Ep and watch the kiddies gambol about with Merlin.
I was feeling pretty crappy, but decided that we needed to go grocery shopping afterwards anyhow. My first sign that things were Not Good (i.e., imminent) was that it was physically impossible for me to carry any groceries from the car to the house.
Seymour's folks came over soon afterwards for Thanksgiving leftovers. I had a couple of good contractions over two hours, nothing to worry about but enough to cancel my appetite. Still, I called the doula around 9:30 to let her know that I'd most likely be calling her at an even less convenient hour, quite soon.
Then I had three strong contractions, 20 minutes apart. Mali had her head or shoulder placed firmly on what I will call an anterior bundle of nerves--so while the contractions themselves were something I could breathe through, the nerve pain was agony. After the third spasm had me on my hands and knees panting like a dog, I decided to fuck the whole "wait until I'm definitely in labor" thing, and instead took up my doctor's recommendation to go to the hospital "at the first sign of anything."
At 10:30 P.M. Seymour and I bid my mom and the sleeping kids goodbye, called the doula to let her know we'd meet her at the hospital, and left to go to the nice place where they shoot painkilling drugs directly into one's veins. I spent the whole ride secretly crossing my fingers, fearing they'd send me back home.
Turns out I needn't have worried, as I was 7 cm dilated and in bonafide labor by the time we arrived 10 minutes later. The nurses were lovely and nice and hooked me up with the drugs straightaway--ahhhhh, Fenttaannyyll. It took the edge off and let me hang out and be mellow, though it still didn't do much about the nerve spasms that accompanied each contraction.
The doula, and then the doctor, arrived shortly afterwards. The doctor took one look up the ol' cooch, and announced that she was going to break my water. Then she said "okay, time to push!"
My reaction, as it has been every time: "What?"
I am apparently not one of those people who gets involuntary pushing urges. So the doctor said again, "Come on, push!"
My reply, through clenched teeth as another contraction/spasm cleaved my innards: "I don't WANT to!" But I tried anyhow. Seymour and Doula A held my legs and were very encouraging, but my heart wasn't in it. I think I started crying at this point like a complete fucking wuss.
However, they assured me that I could and would do this, so on the next contraction I mustered up my resources and pushed her through that nerve bundle and all the way into the world, yelling "get it out! get it out! the whole time. Success, but one in which my wimpiness forfeited all my honor and glory, and brought shame upon the empire. Sigh.
Fewer than 90 minutes had elapsed since we left the house.
Mali, in all her goo and wailing, was placed directly on my chest and got to stay there for a good long while. Happy, healthy, and a girl.
More details later.