It was March 13. My husband and I drove up to the birth center at 7:30 p.m.
It was dark. I stopped on the sidewalk to have an overwhelming contraction in the moonlight.
We walked through the door and were greeted by warm lights and the gentle, assuring voice of our nurse. As she put sheets on the bed and prepared our room, we walked back and forth in the welcome area and through the kitchen. It was so calming there, so quiet - just us two and the nurse in plain clothes.
No IVs. No scrubs. No beeping monitors. No wires. No hospital gown. No glaring lights and barren white walls. No scurrying about. No - it was not at all like that.
I labored. I sang. I leaned against the bureau with each contraction, moaning with music in my voice.
The nurse asked if I wanted to get in the tub. I said, yes. I glided into the tub - the water comforting me. My contractions intensified. My water broke. I was on my hands and knees, afraid yet empowered. I pushed...
And then there she was. Beautiful. Perfect. Calm and Sweet. My husband and I smiled at each other. We couldn't stop looking at her, our baby.
It was 8:30 p.m. Almost exactly one hour from the time we arrived.
We checked out at 1 something in the morning, stopping to pick up our older daughter at my in-laws' house (we had dropped her off on the way to the birth center earlier that evening). By 2:30 a.m., we were all home. We tucked in our then-2-year-old and got into bed - our bed - and fell blissfully asleep.
Quietly, gently...we became a family of four.
***If I can help it, I will never, ever deliver a baby in a hospital again. Ever. Did I mention that the birth center was a thousand times better? It was. It really, really was.
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