February 20, 2010 3:55AM (I was so out of it, I didn't even know if it was morning or afternoon until I just checked the time of the first photograph taken – did my room have windows? I think so, but I don't recall day or night, or anything that was outside of the path to meeting my baby).

Contractions started February 18. Felt like period cramps. I thought "this is it" – when they tell you in prenatal class that you'll know when it's time, they weren't lying à every other little cramp or feeling seemed a joke compared to this more real, intense feeling. What did we do? Nothing. Just as they told us in class "don't rush into the hospital as soon as you get contractions or your water breaks, because you will have hours before you reach active labour. So, where does one go to walk and waste time in the numbing, frigid, freezing Canadian winter? Ikea of course. So off to Ikea we went à walking, walking, walking. And nothing. Contractions continued – still pretty far apart (10min or so), stronger than "uncomfortable" yet not as strong as "agonizing" or "excruciating" – I could still breathe which = probably "unpleasant". When you call the Help Desk, they ask "can you breathe?" "Uhh.. yes." "Ok, so don't come to the hospital until you can't breathe." HA. Should I even laugh at that? Probably not, but what can you do when you are delirious with "uncomfortableness" that is not quite the "agonizing" pain that you will experience INEVITABLY soon? Ya just laugh it out. You have to.

Woke up February 19 à Still at home à Still in labour:

Productive activity, esp. for the sake of economic gain. Uhhh, no.
Physical or mental work, esp. of a hard or fatiguing kind; toil. It would seem so, yes.
a job or task done or to be done. Clearly a yes – to be done.
The physical effort and periodic uterine contractions of childbirth. Uh huh, now were going places.
The interval from the onset of these contractions to childbirth. Right on. Here I am.
To perform labour; exert one's powers of body or mind; work; toil. Powers of body, mind, got it – exerting, exerting, exerting – and... Still nothing. Yet.

–verb (used without object)
To strive, as toward a goal; work hard for: i.e. to labour for peace. You could say I'm labouring for peace. Right?
To act, behave, or function at a disadvantage (usually fol. by under ): to labor under a misapprehension. At a disadvantage? No, don't think so.
To be in the actual process of giving birth. Apparently not yet because I am still able to breathe!
To roll or pitch heavily, as a ship. It could happen. 

–verb (used with object)14.

To develop or dwell on in excessive detailThis would mean I was in labour for the last nine months – excessive detail?!

To burden or tire. You ain't seen nothing yet.

Went to eat at Nonna's – can't remember what I had – do remember the sweet women at the table beside us telling me how awesome and fresh I looked for a pregnant woman – do remember thinking "ya right: I'm fat, puffy and have grey hair. Fresh? Liars. Or simply blind. I shouldn't assume the worst. Told cute women I was in labour. They were shocked at my "strength". Ha. Me = strong? No. Hungry? Maybe. 

Back @ home, pain intensified: much stronger than uncomfortable, definitely more than unpleasant but still able to breathe, so I suppose not excruciating enough to head to the hospital – but I went anyway because hell, contraction every 5min = NOT FUN. Still felt like a period, but... and this is a BIG but – NO PAIN KILLERS!!!! The only saving grace was the bathtub where I spent several hours off and on over the last 48 hours. 

Hospital: No rushing, no jumping out of the car and into a wheel chair yelling "she's in labour, she's in labour!" Park, Grab bag, walk calmly into the hospital and to the labour ward. Give in name, present health card, sit and WAIT. Waiting. Still waiting. Pain intensifying, but still breathing. Sitting. Standing. Gripping onto Stefano's shirt, arm, neck, anything. Still breathing. Still alive. Not crying. Yet.

Hello nice nurse, it hurts. "Let's take a look inside". Not dilated. Cervix is thin, but not open. You can stay here and walk, or go home and relax. Home it is.

Bathtub is my friend. Floating in pain. Immersed in water. Lightweight. Tired. Sleepy. Exhausted. Crying, a little. Thirsty. Cold. Out of tub into bed. Crying a little more. Shaking. Don't feel like dying. Still breathing. Back in bathtub. Hot. Nice. More pain. Wow. Not scared. Not even thinking.

Hospital, I'm back. Still not dilated. Still no water. Maybe take a walk. Come back in an hour. 

Walking around hospital. Fat ankles. Swollen feet. Pain. Seemingly excruciating, but I keep breathing. And walking. Stop during contractions to grip, grab, gouge the flesh from Stefano (what a brave man). Crying. Olympics on TV. Not watching it, but noticed while passing. Stefano stopped to look at TV, I yelled at him for abandoning me.

Back in check-in room. New nurse. Super nice and felt sorry for me. Said she'll admit me. Said she'd be back with a doctor first. Feeling hot. Feeling sweaty and pained. "Stef, I'm hot and sweaty. I feel soaked in sweat. It's hot." "Ya you're sweating a lot." Doctor enters: "that's not sweat dear, your water has broken" 

We're on our way now! So happy, forget the pain. Forget fear of future pain. Forget everything. Temporarily. Momentarily.

I have a room. My own room. Not going back home until the little prince arrives. Ready or not here we come. Not ready. Not coming. Hours pass. Pain continues. Not breathing, but told I am doing "very well". Crouched on knees. Feels good. Holding breath at every contraction, can't remember if in prenatal class this was good or not, but did it. Felt natural. Felt good... well not good, but better. Permanent nurse just for us. Blood pressure check, baby's heart rate check, dilation check.  Epidural? No check. Where is the anaesthesiologist? Doing Rounds. Blood pressure check, baby's heart rate check, dilation check, baby? No check, nowhere near delivery.
How many nurses and doctors came in to "take a look inside"? No clue. Felt like a million. Embarrassed? Not at all. Thought I would be? Yes. Didn't even think about it though. Only thought: Sebastian – be safe and find a way to us. Oh ya, and: where is the damn epidural?
Anaethesiologist arrives. Big needle in my back. Afraid before labour? Yes. Afraid during labour? No. Give me the drugs. Ah. Thank you.
Feeling great. Laughing. Telling jokes. Won't shut up. Stefano eating Big Mac from mom (thanks mom!). Me? Eating nothing. Pain helped me forget shyness of being naked, awkwardness of fingers here and there and everywhere, fear of labour, but fear of pooping on the table? Hell no. Aware of the possibility. Aware of normalcy and frequency. Still, not doing anything to increase probability. No eating. Definitely no Big Macs.
Nurse is cute. Wait... is Stefano flirting with nurse in front of very pregnant wife in labour? No, must be the epidural. Epidural made me epipsycho. Ok fine, I am occasionally psycho without epidural as well. Occasionally. 
I am in labour, actively – even if I feel inactively drugged and numb from epidural. There is still one very strong feeling that I am aware of... that I feel, even with epidural – this is the intense pressure and burning feeling in my butt every time I have a contraction. Not painful, just odd. Very normal. It happens. It makes me think of tearing. Perineum tearing (ouch) is when you tear between your vagina and anus (ouch again). Tears are the liquid production of a process of crying to clean and lubricate the eyes. Perineum tearing produces tears. Don't want tearing or tears.
Enter new nurse. My nurse called off the case for apparently not taking good care of me (although told she was called to another patient) – I think nurse/doctor didn't realize I could hear/comprehend what they were saying as they spoke so openly around me. New nurse and Doctor "take a look inside". Dilation not progressing. Double contractions. Baby might be stuck (translation is HUGE WITH BIG HEAD?! What?!?!?! Tearing?? To be clear this was only my thought) or might be pushing on umbilical cord (more likely). Monitor me and decide best delivery method. 
Monitor. Contraction = Heart rate drop = Alarm sounding = Nurses running into my room.
5 minutes of this – decision made: Caesarean Section Delivery. Boom. For real. I knew it. 
Nobaby exiting my vagina. New fear: C-Section. Surgery? Me? I've only ever had my wisdom teeth removed. It was fun! Until it was over and I was home, under-medicated and in pain. Oh shit – I'm in trouble.
Thought: Hope baby is ok. Hope baby is ok. Hope baby is ok.
Second thought: holy shit they are going to cut open my stomach!
3rd thought: Hmmm... I don't have to push a baby out of me for hours. Smile.
Fourth thought: I wonder if they'll see anything else in me when they cut me open? 
Fifth thought: Hope baby is ok.
6th: Hope epidural works!

Wheeled to Operating Room.
White. Bright Lights. Cold. Very Cold. Hello anaesthesiologist, you're back. Top me up? Ok. My toes? Yes, I can feel them. Top me up? Ok.
"Lisa are you ok? I'm going to be making small incisions through each layer to bring the baby out, ok? It takes time because we want it done properly and slowly. You won't feel anything. Are you ready?"
Ready? Uhh, I guess – but where is Stefano. 
Stefano enters.
Cutting begins. Feel pressure. Tugging feeling. No pain, but odd sensation. Stefano beside me: "want me to describe everything?" Me: "eh, no".
Feels like seconds and "waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh".
He is here – safe and sound, and crying. "He has beautiful lips."
Thought: show me my son!!!!!
"Stef if you don't take a photo of him right now and show me, I will KILL you (sniffle, sniffle).
I see him – on camera. He is beautiful and amazing and healthy and wonderful and awesome and lovely and everything I could ever, ever hope for and more.
He is gone – Stefano has taken him to meet his grandparents and great-grandparent.  His grandmother and great-grandmother arrived from Italy seconds before his arrival. His grandparents from Canada were waiting anxiously. He is welcomed into warm arms, teary eyes, and lovely hearts. He is welcomed. 
After delivering Sebastian, I am stitched (feel nothing) and brought to my room. Sebastian is delivered to me in my arms – the best little delivery anyone on the planet could ever have. The intensity of the feeling in this precise moment is beyond words and can only be fully appreciated once experienced. It felt like home. Like "ah, there you are my love, I've been waiting for you." It was the most familiar unfamiliar feeling I've ever had. How something so foreign to me and so new can feel so perfectly comfortable, expected, and natural is damn amazing. 
Welcome home stinky. We've been waiting for you.


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