We pick up from where we left off here.
While your father was out meeting with clients in Shanghai, marveling at this new international experience, I was running around a bit like a madwoman. The Wednesday before you were born was an extremely busy day. I had a major fundraiser I was co-chairing in Boston and come Thursday morning, after its incredible success, was grateful that it was finally behind me. Ahead of me? A relaxing weekend down to New Jersey for my baby shower. A nice Mother’s Day with my mom and mother-in-law.
I should have known something was up when it was 4am on Thursday night/Friday morning and I still hadn’t yet been to sleep. Not only had I not yet slept since the previous night, but I think I was organizing my socks.
Our house was a mess. I had promised your Dad that I would clean up the house before I left for New Jersey so that we’d both come home to a clean(ish) house. In truth, I had only planned to do some half-assed cleaning: take out the trash, make sure dishes were rinsed off of the most offending bits but left in the sink, pile laundry into the hamper. But starting around 5pm Thursday night, I found myself overcome with a nesting urge like I’d never felt before.
Dishes were not washed, but actually dried and put away. I did all the laundry: there wasn’t a dirty sock to be found in the house. I cleaned the bathroom. The kitchen. I swept. I mopped. I was pairing earrings and organizing jeans versus leggings and filing every piece of paper on my desk. I wiped down the fronts of cabinets, the dishwasher and the fridge. I waddled my way around the house like some portly house elf, scrubbing and cleaning like my life depended on it.
Only once did I actually pause and ask myself: “What the hell am I doing?!”
Finally, at about 6am, I packed for the weekend, as I had an 8:30am train to catch from Boston to Philadelphia. I packed my shower dress (already debuted that Wednesday at the fundraiser), a pair of maternity jeans, and some of my maternity tops. I realized that I needed to work on the train ride to Philly, so I packed my laptop. I remembered my phone charger at the last minute.
At 7am, I heard a short “beep beep!” outside. It was my taxi to the commuter rail station. (At almost eight months pregnant, I wasn’t about to hustle my fat pregnant ass from our house to the train station to make a very specific train.) The taxi got me there in just seven minutes, a walk that would have been close to a half hour of me huffing and puffing my way up the slight, but definitely tiring, incline to the station. I fought the urge to sleep on the train, trying to get my brain awake enough to get to work on a number of tasks for work.
The train ride to Philly was uneventful, save for this obnoxious lady who was the walking definition of “first world problems” that plopped down next to me somewhere in New York. I worked, my belly cramped in the tiny space of my seat with the tray table down and my laptop resting on top of it. I finally arrived in Philly: it was much hotter than Boston, in the mid-80s. I was grateful to see my Mom, who met me at 30th Street Station. My sister and niece arrived later that evening. Meanwhile, your Dad made his way from Shanghai to Tokyo to Osaka and after some Benny Hill-style hijinks at Osaka station.
Exhausted, after 36 hours with no sleep, I collapsed into bed around 11pm the night before my baby shower.
Our birth class instructor had mentioned that nesting can be a sign that labor might start soon.
Of course I just laughed it off, since I had been nesting for months already. I mean, what was a little nesting spurt before my baby shower?
I came home, exhausted and so overwhelmed with all of the love and good wishes for our soon-to-be family of three. I took a good long nap. That night, my mom, my sister and my niece and I all stayed up pouring through boxes of old family photos. I kept texting Daddy such amazing pictures of your Obachan and Ojichan from when they were first married and new parents themselves in the 1970s with my sister, and silly pictures of us all from the 80s and 90s. We all had some great laughs at the hairstyles, the cars, and reliving old memories from our childhood.
Your Dad and I talked briefly: it was near midnight Eastern Time and almost noon in Osaka. “Tell everyone I say hello,” we told each other.
I said good afternoon. Your Dad said goodnight.
Finally, at about 1am, long after everyone else had gone to bed, I finally went to sleep in the room I grew up in for 18 years, the walls still the same red heart stenciled on white background wallpaper, the same red carpet. I looked up at the glow-in-the-dark stars that covered the ceiling, placed there many years ago. My eyes, through muscle memory alone, darted to the constellations I had hidden throughout the otherwise random array of the night sky on my ceiling.
I remember how wonderful I felt, to be celebrated by friends and family that afternoon, and to spend so much time reminiscing about family that evening. I chuckled at the photos I had saved on my phone. I rubbed my belly as I felt you kick and swish, flexing your fingers and toes.
I couldn’t wait to see your Dad in less than two days.
It would be the last night I would go to sleep as someone other than your mom.
I woke up at about 8:15am. My mom was asleep in the next room, my sister and niece asleep downstairs. I had a strong urge to pee, but that was nothing new at this point – your head sat firmly atop my bladder and I was genuinely surprised I hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night to pee already.
I remember how gorgeous the morning was: I could see a clear, almost painfully blue sky through the blinds in the room. It was sunny. I smiled at the loveliness of the day. I thought about where I would go that afternoon with my mom and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day.
Sleepy-eyed but surprisingly alert (the last few weeks, getting out of bed in the morning had been a challenge; not just for my size but because of almost crushing exhaustion in the mornings), I waddled from the bathroom back to my bedroom. Just as I walked in front of the foot of my bed, I felt the rush…
This warm, sudden rush of water.
“Did I just pee myself?!” I thought in horror and embarrassment. I knew incontinence was a late pregnancy issue for some women, but I was pretty sure I had just had completely emptied my bladder just minutes before.
That’s when it hit me, like someone had just smacked me in the face.
“Oh shit-” I actually clapped my hands to my mouth. I felt the color drain from my face as the realization slowly washed over me in nauseating waves.
My water had just broken.