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Friday, September 21 – The day before your due date

Maya, girl, where you at?!

This morning was like most others in the final weeks of pregnancy. I was feeling slightly anxious because I was still pregnant.

Everyone had been asking me the same question for the past 3 weeks, as if I could just call you up and ask you when you were planning to make your grand appearance.

Mentally, I had been preparing myself for the the possibility that you might not come early the way your brother did, but it was hard to keep myself grounded when everyone was on my back about it.

My pregnancy with you was relatively smooth but the third trimester was a toss up each day. I never knew how I would feel when I woke up that morning. Most mornings I just took it easy, then I would work in the afternoons.

The last trimester was a race against the clock for this big work contract I had. It was actually my biggest contract to date, so it was super important that I try to get it done before you came. I spent my afternoons working on that project, usually a coffee shop or the library.

On Friday the 21st, I decided to go to a different library—one near Emory—because later that afternoon, I was meeting my neos at Emory’s gym to help them practice for a show the next day.

Once I finished up at the library (where I was fine and maybe had a few Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing major), I headed to McDonald’s and ate in the car before going to Emory.

While at step practice, I was standing up, looking in the mirror and suddenly felt a warm trickling. Fluid was coming out but I wasn’t making it come out. It happened twice in about a 30 second span.

So I walked to the bathroom to check it out but didn’t notice anything terribly off. So I went back to practice, then headed back home around 6:30pm.

At home, I played with Tre and put him to bed. Later, I had dinner while bouncing on the yoga ball I had been using for pre-labor exercises.

(My midwives had discovered that you were positioned ROT—right occiput transverse—in my uterus, which isn’t ideal. So I had been doing Spinning Babies exercises to try to get you into a more optimal position.)

Your dad’s prophyte came by by briefly to pick up something and they chatted about how we were waiting for you to come any day now.

The Bed

I was kind of restless that night. I had stuff to do but really didn’t feel like doing it. I had gone to Mike’s room and asked him to press on my lower back because it was hurting. He did for a little bit then offered his massage thingy (because he was tired 😒) but we couldn’t find the plug. 

Around 9 I went to bed. Mike came in and asked if I was going to sleep. I said “I’ll be laying there.” We laughed and said our goodnights just in case I fell asleep.

I turned on a Hypnobabies track and may have drifted off to sleep for an hour or two.

But I was awakened with strong contractions just after midnight. At first I didn’t even realize what they were. They somehow felt different from what I’d been having but I can’t quite describe how. Pretty quickly though I realized they were contractions and decided to time them because they kept coming, unlike the Braxton Hicks I’d had throughout the pregnancy.

They were actually semi painful and I had to be in a specific position—lying on my left side with pillows between my thighs—to get through them. (It would’ve been a great time to have a peanut ball.) I kept having to pee, but walking to the bathroom and sitting down to release was the worst.

In fact, Mike came to bed around 1 am and I was getting up to pee between contractions around the same time. I asked him to get some tissue from downstairs (because I had used it all 🤣).

He brought it up and we were both in the bathroom at the same time. I had a contraction while he was in the bathroom but made sure I stayed hidden in the little toilet room so he wouldn’t notice. Then we both laid down and I gave him a kiss.

(In talking afterwards, he asked if I was having contractions during this time bc he said I was acting weird during this whole exchange. I didn’t think I was though…)

Now you might be wondering: why didn’t you tell him you were having contractions? Your daddy is a worrier, and if I had told him I was having contractions, he wouldn’t have been able to sleep. And there was no need for him to be up. One of us should get some sleep.

The Couch

As the contractions continued, I was really trying my best to rest in between. To fall asleep. But then I realized I didn’t eat much that day and that if things were to really pop off I was gonna need more than some McDonald’s and a bowl of cereal in my system.

So around 1:30, maybe closer to 2, I got up to heat up some salmon and rice (the same meal I ate when I was in labor with Tre!) but boyyy things really got intense then. It was so hard to be on my feet and around 2 the contractions started getting even closer together. I could only eat a few forkfuls before I couldn’t eat anymore.

I laid down on the couch in the same position as I was in upstairs. I tried to cope with the contractions in other positions but nothing else worked. I was getting concerned because at this point, they were 3-5 minutes apart but they hadn’t been going for an hour yet. (The recommendation is contractions that are about 1 minute long and about 5 minutes apart for 1 hour.)

I waited until they had been going for about 45 minutes before calling the midwife. We had a ~10 minute conversation where she tried to get a feel for what was going on.

She asked how far along I was, how long I’d been having contractions, whether I’d tried to take a shower, and how long my previous labor was. Then she asked if I’d been having contractions while we were on the phone. I’d had two and was on the tail end of one as I was answering that question but I had a feeling my voice wouldn’t give away how real these contractions actually were.

Then she asked basically what I thought I should do.

In my head: LADY THAT’S WHAT I’M CALLING YOU FOR!!

Out loud: I don’t know but things happened so fast last time I should prob come get checked.

She agreed.

Now it’s around 3:10 am. As soon as we hung up, I called Mike. A 14-second call: Can you call Kristen and ask her to come over? We need to go to the birth center.

From that point things got super hectic. Contractions are now close AF. Mike came down and ask if he needed to call the midwife. I told him I already did.

He asked how far apart contractions were. I told him I needed to focus on getting last minute stuff and couldn’t talk right then.

I finished getting my wallet, hygiene items, etc. and hurried back to the couch before another contraction hit. I thought about going back to Tre’s room to give him a kiss, but I didn’t want to risk having a contraction while I was in there.

By the time the next contraction hit, I was back on the couch in my position.

By this time I had to pee SOOO bad but could hardly get to the bathroom and damn sure couldn’t release urine. It felt too open…like something was gonna fall out. I figured while in the car I might pee on myself or my water might break.

So I asked Mike to get a trash bag and towel and put them down in the passenger seat of his car. I remembered that piece of advice from birth stories is been listening to on the Birth Hour podcast. (And boy am I glad I did!)

He gets the car ready and by now the contractions are really intense. I have one SUPER long contraction and I start getting sweaty and nervous and panicky. I’m trying my hardest to relax and not to fight the contractions but it’s hard to stay on top of them because they’re coming one after the other. Plus they hurt.

The never ending contraction was very reminiscent of The Big Contraction when I had Tre—the one that was like oh we need to go get checked.

So I figured I was probably in transition and I was starting to get worried about time. I asked Mike how far away Kristen was. He called and she said 15 minutes. At that point, I literally did not think we were gonna make it. (It takes 35 minutes to get to the birth center from our house.)

A few minutes later, I asked him for a cold damp towel and I said: Let’s be in the car and ready to pull off as soon as they get here. I honestly didn’t even know if I could make it to the car. But I did and as we got in, your Auntie Kristen and Uncle Ant were pulling up.

The Car

I was semi-reclined on my left side with one pillow under my head and another between my legs, using the washcloth to cool myself down. The washcloth was soooo necessary. It helped me stay cool and calm bc I was feeling very panicky and claustrophobic in the car. We also let the windows down for air which helped.

And this time I did turn on a playlist—my gospel playlist—because I needed something to get me through this car ride.

Upon pulling out of the driveway, Mike was saying something to Kristen and Antwyne and in my head I’m like YO WE GOTTA GO. I also asked him to “please drive normal” and he said ok (which is hilarious considering how this car ride goes)…

So in my head I’m thinking it’s gonna be no problem being in the car. Then we start moving and I’m like Ohhhhhh*ExpletiveExpletiveExpletive*ThisIsNotGonnaWork. We weren’t even going over bumps but the road was making everything worse.

So we get to Panola and I beg him to PLEASE go extra slow over the railroad tracks. Then by the time we get to a stoplight about 100 feet down the road and I’m feeling pushy…as in urge-to-pushy!! So I’m like “Run the light” (it’s almost 4am and nobody’s out here) and he’s like what??? 

RUN THE LIGHT!  Luckily right before he was about to the light turned green.

About a half mile down the road later, I started making the noises I make when I’m feeling pushy. (You’ll remember those from Tre’s birth story.)

I was really trying not to vocalize because I knew it would only make Mike nervous but I literally couldn’t not help it. At this point, I really I just knew we weren’t gonna make it to the birth center. We weren’t even on the highway yet!

The rest of the ride was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life bruh. The highway part was much of a blur. I just remember trying to fight the urge to push the entire time. I was also trying to give myself progress updates and encouragement by paying attention to how far we had to go.

Somewhere along the way, I started to be able to feel your head (or my “bag”) pushing its way out. I wanted to check to see if I could feel it so I put my hand in my pants but all I could feel was liquid. So I really didn’t know if I had peed on myself, if my water had broken, or some combination of both. (Probably both.) Later Mike said he saw me feel and thought to himself oh shit.

This would be a good time to add that earlier during the pregnancy, we talked numerous times about getting to the birth center “on time”—as in, not pushing it too close. He begged me not to have you in the car, and I promised I wouldn’t. BUT I also listened to an episode of the Birth Hour podcast where a lady did have her baby in the car just in case…

I’ve never been so happy to see the 75/85 exit in my LIFE. Between contractions, I told Mike that the midwife said to call when we get there so they can let us in. And tell her I can feel the head!

So he called and gave the update. I remember him speeding off the Spring Street exit and me starting to say something. But I think at that point he was just like F it we’re almost there. I gotta get you outta here ASAP.

The Birth Center

We park at the first space in the birth center and he comes to the passenger side door to help me out. I honestly had no idea whether I was gonna be able to get out/walk inside. My pants were around my ankles and I was barefoot.

I managed to get out between contractions and scurried up to the door where the nurse Sandi was waiting with a wheelchair. I didn’t need the wheelchair though (no way in hell I was sitting back down). She told me to go straight to the first room on the right as opposed to heading to triage.

It was 4:13 am.

As soon as I walk in the room, I feel another contraction coming. So I ask if I can lie down on the bed. She pulls the covers back and gets the absorbent pads situated. I lie down immediately. I have a contraction and push a little bit but not a whole lot. (FINALLY I CAN PUSH FREELY!!)

It’s enough, though, for the nurse to see that my bag is still in tact. And that’s what she sees coming through. In my head I’m wondering whether they’ll break it, but they don’t say and I know they won’t.

The next contraction is a strong one and I push…hard. I see/hear Anjli, the midwife, come over and say “ok!” like she could see I was productively pushing. And all of a sudden the bag bursts in her face and your head is out! (Mike yelped but doesn’t remember LOL) then Anjli asks if I can push one more time. I say “a little push?” And she says yeah, so I take a deep breath and give a push.

Anjli says TA-DAH!—ironic because your going-home-outfit says ta-dah—and places a crying baby on my chest!

It is 4:15 am.

Everything at the birth center happened in a span of 2 minutes. I didn’t realize until I had you that precipitous birth is an official medical term, but it means a labor that ends in birth in less than 3 hours. This was that.

Shortly after she was born I said to Mike: I tried so hard not to give you a car baby. And we all laughed.

I have to thank god for immaculate timing because if there had been any type of traffic we wouldn’t have made it. Aside from that first red light, we had all green lights the whole way there.

I birthed my placenta and passed the test for tears (none!!); thank the Lord. For the rest of the time, we relaxed and took time to nurse. I took a long, glorious shower and threw away every item of clothing I had on when I arrived at the birth center . 

Everything was going well, so by 10 am that morning, we were discharged and heading back home so you could meet your brother.

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