I'm wrestling with myself right now, because I feel like I really should be taking a nap while the baby is sleeping, or doing one of the three (three!) speeches I promised I'd do before I went on leave and ergo still need to finish even though I'm now on leave, and I'm not so much in the mood to blog, but I really want to write this down before I forget. You think you won't forget any of it, but when I look back at the posts I wrote about having Iyyar and Avtalyon and Marika, there are always things that make me think, "Oh right, that did happen." So, here we are. There's a lot to tell, so I'll do it in parts.
I was due on Thursday the 23rd, and the Thursday before that I went from "not even close" to "any day/hour/minute now." It wasn't so much the contractions that made me feel that way, although I was having a few every hour and they hurt; it was more a feeling of intense downward pressure that made me wonder if the baby was going to fall out any second. I checked out of work that Thursday night thinking I'd have the baby within the next day or two; the emails kept flying thick and fast from people who had apparently not registered until that week that I was going to, you know, have a baby, and ergo go on maternity leave. Monday night a particularly nasty one arrived, complaining that I had gone to have baby without doing speech X, and I called my boss in tears for the first time since I started this job in 2004. She was very sympathetic and told me not to worry about it. Then I called Alisha and went to the bus station and met her there and ate a hamburger. Which helped. Note: getting portabello mushrooms on burger is expensive, but oh so good.
Tuesday, Wednesday were the same. Wednesday night at about 9 I realized we were out of almost everything in the fridge, and decided to go to the makolet but didn't feel like carrying that much stuff back myself. Peeked into Barak's room and saw that he was wide awake and reading a comic book. "Barak, do you want to come to the makolet with me?" Barak, naturally, catapulted out of bed, got himself dressed, found an empty backpack and presented himself for duty in the living room in about a heartbeat and a half, with that super-helpful, super-polite, extra-delightful demeanor he gets when he's getting away with something in the middle of the night. We went to the makolet--I can't remember now what we talked about--and bought two bags of milk, cottage cheese, bread, cucumbers, peppers, and whatever else. Oh, and two pints of Ben and Jerry's, which was on sale. And seven bars of chocolate. That was not in the plan. I wanted to buy one, as nose-blowing rewards for Iyyar (part of whose OT homework was thorough noseblowing) and bought two because Barak asked for some also; then it was on sale seven bars for NIS 20 or whatever so... yeah. Chocolate and ice cream. And ravioli, for me.
Got home, plopped on the couch and watched Barak put it all away. Then he went to bed and I looked for the ravioli and it had completely disappeared, because he had put it into the cupboard, not the fridge or the freezer where I'd been looking (silly me). Ate ravioli. Went to bed.
Woke up the next morning to a mildly upset stomach and a miniscule amount of bleeding, which has heralded imminent labor in the past. It didn't feel that imminent though, so I went about my day, in the company of Barak, who was taking an Authorized Personal Day (TM). We took Marika to gan, doing "one-two-three whoo!" most of the way. Taught Barak how to open the combination lock to get into the next campus. Taught him to use my Kindle and got him started reading White Fang. Cleaned up kitchen, talked to gan psychologist about Iyyar (she said she would try, and has since succeeded, to postpone his vaadat hasama--we aren't sure yet what he will need for next year school-wise and don't want to make decisions yet). Mid-conversation, saw Barak at door of my office brandishing his top right front tooth, which had fallen out while I'd been on the phone. A little while later, found Barak on the office couch crying because the puppy had left his Imma and left his person and he was all alone. Reassured him that the ending would be OK.
IM'd Alisha to say I thought it would be today. She pointed out that I'd been saying that for a while. I said I really thought it would be today and then a little later asked her if she could come over that night. She said yes. Mr. Bigfoot brought boys home from gan, then went to mincha and afternoon seder. I considered and then decided to actually make dinner: sauteed some vegetables, added some black beans, made rice in the rice cooker. Called Mr. Bigfoot at about five and told him that I was going to need him home within the next half hour or so. He came home, Alisha came over, I worked on getting everyone in bed before I left and the contractions were real and regular at this point. At around 7:30 or 8 I had everything together and my bags by the door and went to email Grandma E to say I was leaving for L & D, when I saw that I had a voicemail from my father-in-law.
The quick back story: my in-laws generally do not travel. My MIL has not been to Israel since the 80s, despite the fact that her daughter has lived here since 2003. My FIL was last here in 2008 and has not seen any of our kids since then. They were planning on coming this week for their grandson's bar mitzvah and decided a couple of weeks ago not to come after all (this is pretty common with them--they'll plan a trip for a long time and then cancel right before) and my SIL was really upset. So here I was with 11-minute-apart contractions that were getting too strong to sit through, and a voice mail from my FIL saying, "Well I've decided I'd like to come after all but my computer seems to have a virus and you've been really helpful in the past so I was wondering if you'd help me book a ticket."
Now I knew at this point that either I was going to have to book the ticket then and there or he wouldn't come; I was planning on going to the beit hachlama after the baby was born, which meant not getting home till the following Wednesday at the earliest, and he'd have to be on a plane the day after that to make the bar mitzva. I looked at the clock. I picked up the phone. "Hi, it's me. I just got your voice mail. I'd love to buy your ticket but we have to do it right now and actually buy it right now, not just talk about it, because I'm on my way to the hospital to have the baby."
An hour and a half later, I had found an acceptable itinerary and he wanted to check with Bubbe before buying it. I'll call you back in a few minutes. I said, OK, but I might not be here. Hung up the phone, thought about it for about half a minute and handed Alisha my credit card. "Can you please book it when he calls back?" She gave me a look that was part sympathy, part you-are-crazy, and said sure. Grabbed my bags, walked out the door, called the cab, and Mr. Bigfoot and I headed up through the main building and to the front door and to Hadassah Ein Kerem.