Its bare moments before 0530, and we've enjoyed a quiet night in the hospital. Melissa is typing away at her laptop, and I at mine, the lights are out, and I've opened the blinds to reveal the brightening outlines of the Timpanogos mountains. It feels like one of those sort of moments; the ones that happen right before a flurry of activity, the kind of moments that reveal themselves if you look for them. The mountains are quiet, and the room is as well, our city out the window still sleeps. I only hear Melissa's breathing, the whir of the computer running the baby-monitoring equipment, and the gentle click clack of two laptop keyboards.
I wonder at this place we're in--we've been here before; this same hospital the commonality between all our children, so unlike my own family, where all my seven siblings were born in different places, different doctors, different towns. Their birthplaces provide a sort of Blair road map; Texas, Idaho, Ohio, Georgia, so for me to have four children all born in the same city, in the same hospital, and even in rooms along the same hallway of the same hospital, is somewhat of a miracle.
The nurse has come in, she has been a sport all night; taken us under her wing and provided for both every necessity and every whim, even trying to make me comfortable by encouraging me to raid the pantry normally reserved for the mothers-to-be. Yes, she knew how to set me at ease.
And she's left again, we're back to silence; the easy kind now--the patient waiting kind that parents who have been here before feel in their bones. That gathering of will for the journey which Melissa has already begun, walking through the shadow of the valley of death, drawing back the curtains of the veil of eternity to being a soul into being. It is a sacred and holy time, and I feel the kindness of a loving God, one who knows our travails and pains, knows the sacrifice of a mother to her child as she brings her into the world.
"They're really close together now" she's just said, and the metallic whir of her lowering her bed accompanies the statement. I ask how big they are, code for how painful, and she responds with "the same as before". Our nurse hasn't checked again for effacement or dilation, I suspect hoping instead for progress and time; the doctor will be in by my estimation at 0700. And Melissa's just sighed, as if feeling my thoughts here, and agreed. She is trying this pregnancy without any pain meds.
The morning sky is a bright gray now, the gloaming ever brightening, the whites of the snowfields on Timpanogos picking up the brightness and highlighting the gullies and ridges of the mountain. Modern legend says that this mountain formed when a Native American princess, laid down after her true love had died; her grief was so strong that the gods put her profile into the mountain, if one only looks to the north part of the mountain, her profile is revealed there, and her long sweeping tresses.
And now the sky is lightening again, and Melissa feeling the effects of the pitocin. I ask her how she is feeling, and she replies "Really tired, and the contractions growing stronger." So I leave this entry, the time ripening, the sky brightening through the open blinds, and us waiting, expectant, hopeful, and full of prayer.
These are the moments of clocks and measurements, of dialogue and record keeping--blood pressure, contraction length, heart rates. Our nurse has come in one final time, making final adjustments to the microphones elasically attached to Melissa's belly. Her name is Shannon, and as she leaves we feel as if we've made a friend. Is everyone's experience like this? It has been for us these four visits in the past 6 years.
Duty calls me now, Melissa needs my aid. The sky has brightened considerably, and her contracttions are going big. I do not know if the doctor will be in at 0700 or 0800; Melissa is now on max drip for pitocin, and the day has just begun.