First, let's clear up this clairvoyant rumor and tell the not-so-exciting truth. The reason I could predict baby's birth date and time with such accuracy was not second sight, but insider trading. I had a midwife appointment on the 10th and I knew that she would strip my membranes (that's loosening the bag of waters from the wall of the uterus), a maneuver that has, in conjunction with other therapies, always brought on labor for me in less than 24 hours. (Confidential to TS: next time you play the lottery, try the numbers 09-11-08.)
And the birth. It was pretty uneventful for everyone but me and baby. I started with the contractions at 12:17, called the midwife at 1 am, spent the next few hours pacing and feeling increasingly miserable, and baby was born at 4:33 am. I did not need stitches, for which I'm still thanking the good Lord.
Sounds easy, no? No. I knew labor was coming the night before, and I was scared. I prepared for birth by reading the lives (or more accurately, the deaths) of the North American martyrs. Contractions, I reasoned, could hardly be as bad as having your thumb bitten off. And given that a week and a half later, I'm not in pain and still have my thumb, I think that assessment was correct.
I think it's a crying shame that hospitals will sterilize women right after they've given birth. No one wants to have a baby again right after she's just pushed a head through her pelvis or had major surgery. It's coercion of the worst kind.
But! To balance out all this toil, I present the sweetly cross-eyed reward:
Who wouldn't go through nine months of discomfort and four hours of agony for that precious boy?
6 hours ago