The Monday of the week we had our firstborn, I looked my husband in the eye and said, “I’m going to see Ted Koppel speak on Tuesday. I’m having a job interview on Thursday. And we’re having our baby on Friday.”
She's trying to plan this...
I also desired to take a walk at our favorite location the day of our son’s birth.
While most people remember the day their child is born, I don’t think it’s uncommon to be moved and elated by memories of the entire week.
For me, I was able to attend a profound speech by a journalist I’ve admired since I was a kid. I was also able to make it to a very important interview in person to help secure some semblance of job stability for our family.
Sadly, like many women, I was nervous about getting hired as a pregnant person (see this article by The Cut and this article by The Muse.) Luckily, I obtained the position. And I currently miss many of my co-workers due to Covid-19.
A Note From the Past
As I sit here writing this blogpost weeks in advance (because it’s scheduled to air on my due date!), I have no idea what labor is going to be like the second time around.
Basically, I have no idea where I am at right now in “real time” as I write to you fine readers from the past.
Going into labor naturally is one of the final situations left in modern humanity where humans are not in control. The sense of mystery is strong. What makes the body do what it does? What makes a woman comfortable enough to get in the zone? I guess I’m recapping now to relieve some anxiety and revel in the past.
Ted Koppel’s Hot Peppers
Back to that week.
I sat with my husband in the sound booth as he ran sound for the very important Ted Koppel. Adam has conducted sound at a lot of events, but getting to put the lapel mic on Ted Koppel was definitely a proud moment. I could’ve cheered.
Mr. Koppel gave a profound speech to a packed house of over one thousand. He spoke about integrity in journalism, the complexities of blogging and social media, important thought leaders he had met over the years, and the state of education and media literacy in the nation.
After the speech was over, my husband noticed Ted ate nothing of what was provided for him in the green room. In fact, he learned Ted is very strict about his diet, especially when he is traveling. Knowing spicy things can put women into labor, he took home some of Ted Koppel’s uneaten hot peppers.
On Wed. and Thursday, I ate a lot of peppers.
I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to Thursday. Therefore, I had a digital portfolio ready to send via email in case the interview couldn’t happen for some reason.
I was working at a rural school that was closing down, and had little else for job prospects. Since I had student taught in this very position years earlier, I felt hopeful, but didn’t want to be too confident or experience a let down.
I looked huge. A day earlier, I had a woman in line at the grocery store ask me if I was having twins. Thanks.
The principal greeted me and took me to the elevator. I actually wanted to take the stairs because I thought it’d help the baby drop, but he was trying to be nice.
I sat in a glass room at a conference table with far more people around it than I had expected. Because of the view, I could see our house in the distance on the hill. I needed this job. More than that, I wanted this job.
Every position I had ever been hired for before this was very informal.
I was hot and sweaty. I remember giving a long answer at one point and then saying, “I hope that makes sense. I have a lot on my mind right now.”
Like… is that a contraction? How would I know?
I left the interview unsure why everyone had kept such a straight face the whole time. I had very little sense of whether I had gotten the position or not.
Either way, life was about to change. By the time I did hear the decision two weeks later, I wasn’t able to respond to the voicemail for at least two hours. Busy doing what? I don't know. And I had no idea how I was ever going to function again (let alone have a job - ha)!
Two weeks in can be brutal.
After a morning appointment, my husband and I went to see some flooding near our favorite walking location. We walked up the path and back while the river was raging. I noticed I had to stop at least every 15 minutes (because of what I now understand as contractions).
When we arrived home, we had a simple lunch on the deck. I remember not wanting to eat very much (which was very weird - yet another sign). I had thought my husband was going to go to work for the afternoon, but then he surprised me and said he had taken the day off.
Feeling odd, I went upstairs for a nap. (Little did I know, I wouldn’t really sleep for another two or three days.) By two o'clock, I sent a message to a guitar student to cancel our five o’clock lesson.
My husband started vacuuming and packing the car. I remember kneeling upstairs thinking… does he realize how annoying vacuuming is right now? Like… imagine the worst headache ever and someone is vacuuming...
By 6pm, I could barely make it to the car. Some neighbor kids were having a water fight. Other people were sitting on their porches.
I... was not functioning and trying to hide it. We drove 3 minutes to the hospital.
I was so happy and relieved to see our midwife. And our little guy was born at 9:50pm. I remember not being aware of time at all, but being disappointed when I realized it was dark out and he hadn’t come yet. When he finally arrived, I couldn’t stop thanking everyone. I was elated.
It was like skydiving. I wasn't sure how it happened even though I was along for the ride.