Five / by Susie Lubell

It was five years ago, last night, that I was rocked out of bed by what I thought was the mother of all contractions and which turned out to be, I would later learn, only a fairly mild one. My labor began with a few cramps at 5:00 pm that day and I went about padding around the house, sorting through things, packing my suitcase for the hospital, sending a few emails. I don't think I can meet you guys for lunch tomorrow because I might be in labor. That kind of stuff. I wish I had a picture of what I had put in the suitcase just for the visual hilarity of it all. Did I think I would have the time and energy for a round of gin? Light reading? Journal writing? I mean I should have just packed my laptop and done my taxes, right?

From that first sucker punch to the gut at midnight I spent the next sixteen hours in various places in my house, generally on all fours, with my husband basically sitting on my back with all of his weight (it sounds like porn, but trust me, it was not sexy). Our doula, a close friend and doula-in-training, called around 2:00 and my husband told her, I think we're fine. You don't need to come yet. Could be a lot longer. She lived an hour away. This was a miscalculation. By 4:00 I had contractions one minute apart lasting about a minute and I remember yelling HOSPITAL NOW and then I spent the worst seven minutes of my life in the car. And then had four more contractions just trying to get into my labor and delivery room. I was 9 centimeters.

Our doula came to the hospital and rallied me through pushing with her commentary. Jesus that's a lot of hair! And it was a lot of hair, and a lot of baby that followed. And that's how I came to be a mommy five years ago today. Five years ago today I pushed this tiny, helpless kid out into the world with all of my might. Today he blew me a kiss and rode off into the world on his new bike with a new bike bell from Grandma and all the confidence that comes with being five.