It smelled of worms when I walked outside. At 5:22 am. We'd agree to go, even if it was raining. Which is wasn't and then it was. May 1. May Day. It felt like spring. I started jogging. I met Michelle. It started raining harder. She took off her glasses, shoved them in her pocket. There was talk of half-marathon training, of our boys and our husbands, how lucky we are. There was talk of T-ball and school. There was a bit of strategic planning (we work together). There was puddle-jumping, some of it unsuccessful. There was a family of 5 white-tailed deer so close I wasn't sure they were going to move, until they suddenly started sprinting perpendicular to our path. There was the long gradual hill that I always forget is there, until it is. There was labored breathing and then the sweet relief of the path flattening out again.
Four years ago today, 40 weeks, 1 day pregnant with Kai, the first pangs of labor started. There was the recognition that this was probably "it," given the timing—and the second-guessing that it might not be, because that's how things go. There was rejoicing that I'd made it this far (which started when I hit 36 weeks), there was mild preparation and lots of playing with Jules. When the contractions settled into a predictable pattern, there was the bizarre decision to go to Q-Tees for one last Blizzard-but-not-Blizzard before the baby. There was piling in the car, Maria squeezed between Jules in his car seat and the empty one waiting for Kai. There were more contractions, accompanied by Jack Johnson and Us Weekly. There was a call to the doctor who suggested juice when I said I wasn't sure if they baby was moving. Which wasn't a good idea, given that I was further along than she thought. There was the ride to the hospital. The greeting of the doula. The monitor hook-ups. There were the contractions that got stronger and stronger until—when I determined that natural childbirth was indeed harder than running a marathon, about which I'd been curious (and Jules was delivered by emergency C-section)—I asked for the epidural (no shame!). There was the sweet relief that allowed me to relax and just marvel in the awesomeness of knowing that, within hours, we'd be four. A new beginning.