It was only five in the morning. CJ had only slept for five far too short hours. She remembered the night before, lying down and feeling, "Goodness, this is what a pear feels like just before it drops from the tree, RIPE." Nine months pregnant, waddling like a duck, with the sense that baby was taking over all of the real estate in her body, CJ still adored the feeling of being pregnant. It was uncomfortable lying down in any position. Sleep was more of a wish than a reality. Yet lying in bed, watching her soon to come babe move in tai chi elegant movements was her new favorite past time.
The alarm clock that had awakened CJ was a seriously sharp pain. Her entirely enormous abdomen was flexing, stretching, and then shrinking hard, harder, hardest. She groaned and managed to push up off the bed for a restroom break. It was quite amazing to her how little room her bladder had now.
Going back to bed CJ had ten wondrous moment of sleep until....the pain was back! This time it felt even stronger. For a few hours CJ rested, awakened to this sharp new experience, rested, and awakened.
Finally, she awkwardly waddled down a seemingly endless flight of stairs to inform her hubby that today was THE DAY! He was still asleep, and CJ hesitated for a nanosecond about awakening him. As the next pain gripped her she shook him awake. "Honey, we're going to have a baby today!"
Eyes sleepy her husband sat up in bed. His eyes grew large with realization, "Really?"
CJ called work and told them she wouldn't be in today. Then she began packing her hospital suitcase. She had not done that before, the baby wasn't due for another week, and first babies always came late, right?
She did not get very far with the packing. Soon the labor pains began their slashing pain every five minutes and then three. "Nyle, call the hospital and ask if we should come in." CJ had wanted to stay home until the very last possible minute. Her great great grandma had given birth on the hard ground of Wyoming and then walked on dreaming of a promised place for her children. CJ had that kind of strength inside her...until...the intensity of the pain soon had her hovering over the toilet, her meal from the previous night making an encore performance.
"Come on honey. I'll bring you your suitcase later. We need to get to the hospital." Nyle spoke the words with urgency. CJ knew that he did not wish to deliver their child himself.
CJ rejoiced that the hospital was literally five minutes away. This time it seemed as though Nyle's driving cut the trip in half. "Nyle, can you believe that it's here? The day when our babe will join our family?" Then her joy was followed by, "WOW! This hurts so much!"
Happy and rejoicing switched with her worst self in the span of three minutes, CJ was grateful to waddle towards the door of the hospital. Unfortunately, she had to stop to become ill into the bushes for a few moments.
An elderly gentleman was exiting the hospital door when he witnessed the scenario. CJ was retching helplessly, Nyle was holding her, keeping her hair out of her face. Suddenly, the old man was racing towards the hospital door as though his youth had been restored. He returned with a wheelchair, and his best wishes.
CJ wanted to be strong, valiant like her pioneer ancestresses. She managed for another hour. Then again in her cranky alter ego she panted, "Epidural...now!" Epidural given, things slowed down. Nyle and CJ spoke in reverent voices about the new life they had created in love.
Hours blew past. AND THEN...the need to push rushed through CJ. The nurse guided her as she breathed and pushed as though everything in life depended on this moment. She also realized that everything in her child's life depended on this moment. For three eternally long hours CJ pushed, to no avail. The babe would not move out past a certain point. The nurse explained that the baby had its head in the wrong position.
At long last the doctor arrived. An instrument was shown, and then used, and in moments life began with a whoosh and a cry for Ardis Kay Smith. There was a neo-natal team in the room. Complications had threatened the babe. Quickly they moved in to assure the wee one's life.
Before the team began to work on the babe, Nyle laughed with joy, CJ wept with the same emotion. Nyle clipped the cord that had sustained Ardis' life in the womb. For seconds it seemed their girl had laid on her Mother's stomach before she was whisked away.
Nyle follow closely after their girl. He would not risk the possibility that their precious child was labeled incorrectly. He relaxed a bit once her tiny tag declared her identity in proud print.
Much later, CJ and Nyle put their darling girl between them in their bed. They both looked on with wonder and amazement. They wondered, "Who is this child? What will she love? How will she face life? What will we do as parents to give her the opportunities that she deserves?" Soon they slept and dreamed of a brilliant future.