monday morning. 7:00 am. i'm lying in bed and i feel griffin walk into the room and around the bed. i open my eyes and he kisses me good-bye. he's on his way to work. i'm aware of a very light tightening of my uterus. i'm excited and uncomfortable. i get up and make oatmeal for breakfast for olivia, my 2 1/2 year old, and then we bake a batch of buttermilk muffins using soymilk instead. and they taste good and the contractions sometimes feel very heavy. i want to go shopping so i manage to finally get olivia dressed and ready and myself dressed and ready and off we go with the big red grocery cart. olivia rides inside and i feel so good pushing it thinking, ah yes, my body is getting ready, my baby is getting ready and i'm going about my day. and we walk to our co-op on an unusually hot day and shop shop shop. i'm a little squirrel gathering food food food. after we've paid for our groceries and we're standing outside the exit door and i'm getting ready to push the very full cart home with a toddler in tow we see our good friends rose and remy. how are you doing, they ask? and i happily say i'm having very light contractions. and you're outside, remy asks? and i laugh. where am i supposed to be? and they are on their way to work their shift so we say good-bye. i push the cart away with olivia walking beside me and i feel a little lonely, because it would be nice to have another someone, another grown-up, sharing the day with olivia and i.

well. we go home. olivia and i unpack all the groceries and sort through the mail. we look at all the catalogs. then griffin comes home and we eat spaghetti and feed the animals and walk the dog and wash the dishes and brush our teeth and snuggle all together in bed to read stories. and. and. i feel odd. really spacey. really trippy. and achy. that once every month ache. now its 11 pm and everyone falls asleep. except me. and louise the bulldog. and xena the cat. the contractions are more intense now. so intense that i can't sleep. and it is so hot. too hot in the bedroom. it's a damn heatwave! in may! on the night i'm having a baby! i take pillows into the living room and sit upright on the couch in the dark. the contractions don't feel as painful sitting so straight and still. the outside noises are loud. partying noises. everyone is hanging out in the heat. talking. laughing. and i cannot fall asleep. so i put on my drum music and dance because i want to help my body open up. and i feel a little scared. and i feel very excited. and i dance around the living room and my cat attacks my legs while i dance and my dog leaves to sleep with the two in the bedroom and i rest on the couch and i dance again and walk around the room and rest on the couch and dance and walk and then it's 4 am and i'm groaning and hanging on the radiator with xena attacking my legs and i can't take it anymore and how could i have thought i would want to have another baby? this is crazy. i don't want to give birth. and griffin has got to wake up now. i don't know what to do. griffin open the living room couch please. xena stop attacking my legs. and there is too much of a space between contractions. they aren't coming fast enough and long enough. i want to get this over with. by now it's around 6 am and griffin is talking about getting ready for work and i feel like are you crazy? call miriam my midwife. what should i do? how long will this go on for? try taking a bath she says. so griffin goes into the bathroom to get the bath ready and he takes such a long time because i find out later he starts cleaning the bath mat while i'm hanging on the end of the couch bed. and then i'm rocking on my hands and knees thinking this is definitely not a painless birth and this goes on and on and on and finally the bath is ready and i'm in the hot water and it feels sooooooooo good. and i just hang out there. and suddenly i feel like bearing down. this is it. this is the pushing feeling i missed with olivia and why it was so hard to get her out. and where's miriam? griffin call miriam. and she's on the phone and i am yelling. my throat is so open and big with sound. and griffin says miriam is on her way. and then there's olivia. and i remind her how i said i would be making a lot of noise and then the phone rings and griffin goes to answer it and then my uterus is contracting and bearing down and i can feel the baby sliding down through me and i am yelling grrrrrriffin over and over and over and where the hell is he and he finally gets there and i say, hold me under my arms, hold me under my arms, and he does and there's my baby's head and i slide back down deeper into the water and i'm worried because there is no other contraction and only the head is out. and griffin says i don't know what to do. and i say, you DO know what to do. you DO know what to do. he says, i guess i have to get in the tub. i guess i have to take my pants off. so griffin takes his pants off and gets in the water and finally there is another contraction and griffin is trying to guide the shoulder out but it's stuck he says. we wait for another contraction and when it comes he guides the shoulder somehow, all the while muttering, i can't get the shoulder through. but he does, because there is finally another being with us, breathing and slurping and wheezing and slippery and wiggling. my baby. our baby. and i lean back against the tub and we bring the baby up to my breast and louise bulldog jumps up on the tub to say hello, and then i feel olivia beside me, to the right of me, next to the tub. and i say, here's the baby olivia. and i look to see if we have a little girl or a little boy . . and olivia you have a sister, oh you have a sister. and we wait in the warm tub water and olivia tells me that she and louise stood by the whole time and watched and xena sat on the dryer and watched. and finally i hear miriam call hello through the front door griffin left open for her, and she comes and sits by me, laughs, and says, if i miss a birth it's always the second one.

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