I peek through the crack in my eyelids, trying to make out the numbers on the alarm clock. Two forty-five in the morning. Figures.
A solid jab with my elbow into Isaac's side wakes him. “Huh? What? - Oh! Are you in labor?”
“No, but I'm pretty sure my water just broke.” This is not at all the idea of how I expected Christmas Day to begin. I know it can happen anytime, but on Christmas?
Isaac immediately leaps out of bed and starts putting on his jeans. I slowly move myself to a sitting position. For once, I am grateful for his foresight. He had suggested that I sleep with a beach towel underneath me – just in case.
“We should call the hospital,” I remind him.
“Oh – right. So they can be ready.” He stops halfway through buttoning his shirt and pulls the cell phone off the charger. “What's the number?”
“It's on that post-it note,” I say, pointing to the mirror.
I waddle across the room, clutching the towel between my legs. I smirk in amusement as I hear Isaac spelling our name – taking Anwamehtar may have been a step up for me from Smith, but certainly not an easy step.
Suddenly the first contraction hits. It starts as a slight firmness, but with each second it grows stronger. Isaac asks a question, but I cannot concentrate on his words. I focus on my breathing, just as I had practiced. Amazingly it works – and gradually the contraction subsides. Jonah kicks in protest. I gently rub my belly. “I know, baby. You're going to have to go through some more of those, though.”
“Honey, the nurse wants to know what time your water broke,” Isaac repeats.
The next contraction comes five minutes later, but thanks to Isaac's insightful planning, we have already made it to the car. A fresh towel lies on the seat below me, with a spare on top of the duffel bag on the backseat. I pause in the middle of putting my seatbelt on, and focus my breathing to wait out the contraction. Ignoring Isaac's panic proves difficult, however. “You're not going to have the baby on the way, are you?”
I slowly let out my breath as the contraction subsides, and calmly reply. “No, honey, it's going to take a lot more than two contractions to get this baby out.”
Ten minutes later, I begin to wonder if those Braxton Hicks contractions that had started at eight in the evening may have been the real thing. “Honey, I think we need to pull over.”
“What?!” Isaac looks at me, panic evident in his eyes. “I thought you said we had more time!”
“I thought we did. But I feel like I have to push and I'd rather not do it in the car.” I try to remain calm and remember everything they taught us in the class, although I had hardly anticipated delivering on the side of the road.
Isaac dutifully pulls over, though hesitation reflects on his face. “We're only five minutes from the hospital. Are you sure - ”
I open the door, grabbing the extra towel as I turn to step out. Laying it on the ground, I brace myself on the door frame as the contraction begins. An irresistable urge to push grips me, and I bear down, squatting over the towel.
Isaac races around the car, quickly dialing 9-1-1 on the cell phone. “My wife's having a baby on the side of the road!” He rattles off the cross-streets as I stop to breathe.
“Honey, you're going to have to catch this baby,” I state matter-of-factly.
He hesitates for a second, then courage fills his eyes. “Okay. What do I do?”
“Just catch.” The next contraction begins, and I bear down. “NOW!”
I grit my teeth and push with all my might. Isaac's hands shake, but he holds them beneath me as I push our baby headfirst out into the world.
* * * * * * *
“It's Christmas Day,” Isaac states. He gazes with pride at the bundle in my arms.
“I know. I'm feeling a bit like Mary right now.” Jonah squints his eyes in the glare of the streetlight. We hear the distant siren of the ambulance.
“Well, it makes a unique story, eh?” He kisses me gently, and I close my eyes, thanking God for His goodness.
A unique story, indeed!
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