Jolene’s birth story (part 1)

I woke up on the morning of Friday the 13th with a secret. I knew you were coming. It was four in the morning so I rolled over, with great effort, and fell back asleep. The contractions started small, like the best things. I got out of bed and worked on the curtains for your bedroom all morning- but it became difficult to concentrate. By evening I though I could have a restful night- watch a movie, eat some meatballs (my favorite). But I couldn’t eat. And even Water for Elephants made me feel disoriented and light headed (to say nothing of the opening sequence of Contagion). Yaya stayed up with me all night as they got intense. She read Harry Potter out loud (book 3) and I bounced on the birthing ball and traced the same race track around the living room. Cosmo (doggie) was pretty freaked  out, but I felt serene and so peaceful. We called Anna at 6am and told her to meet us at the hospital.

I will never forget the car ride  driving through the frosted fields (so unlike the stark white fog and sunlight of this morning) with the bright half moon low in the sky and the dark silhouette of the mountains hugging the horizon. When we got to the hospital we covered the birthing room with beautiful fabrics and soft lights. We peeled citrus fruit and as the scent filled the air, Anna and I danced in circles to James Brown, singing “Get down! get on down!” to you.

IMG_0171But I was growing tired and after a brief nap, I woke up to find the contractions gone. I was so ready to meet you, to see your shining eyes after so many months. You were so close but felt so far away.

I went home with Bompi and Yaya, demanding we stop for frozen waffles so that we could make breakfast for dinner. We all four ate at the kitchen counter. I went to bed but was awakened again at one by contractions. The night early morning stretched on forever. I grew so scared of the pain, despite its fleeting quality. The recovery between surges. The anticipation.

I remember going for a walk the next morning with Yaya. It was zero degrees out. I was miserable.


There was snow on the ground- enough to crunch and the wind was fierce. Anna spent the day at our house and we all labored together. We stoked the fire and danced to Aretha Franklin. I remember sitting in our room, feeling the sunlight on my belly as it streamed through the bedroom window. I truly began to believe that I would always be in labor and you would never come. I felt so sad and so tired. We called the midwife again and decided to come back to the hospital…


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