Last weekend, my son and his family celebrated Mother’s Day in France. It triggered a memory of his coming into the world. Here is a recount of the hours before my son was born at home. It was a planned home-birth. What will women do? They will do whatever is needed! (Unedited excerpt of my memoir.) Sylvaine Francine © 2019
Time passes, the contractions come on more frequently. I begin to feel their intensity.
“The contractions are regular. Time to go home and get ready,” Samantha recommends, “I will follow you in three hours or so and meet you at your house. First baby, plenty time. No worries. Call me when you get home. I’ll wait for your call before I leave.”
Will shuts the heavy truck door and sits behind the wheel. We drive back in the quietness of the night. It is dark now and the cool air hits me on my shoulder and face. I roll up my window and turn toward him. I sense his nervousness. Within fifteen minutes, he is falling asleep.
The contractions come and go. The road turns and curves. When Will gets nervous, he checks out.
“Will… Wake up…”
“Not exactly what I would call awake. You’re dozing off. Pull over.” He parks on the side of the road, I slide out of the truck to the ground, go around it and opens his door.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m driving. Move over…”
“You are?” He looks at me in disbelief.
“Sure thing… I’m going to drive. Move over. We got to go home. I’ll be a nervous wreck if you keep driving and falling asleep. Doesn’t work for me! You move to my side where you can sleep and I drive.”
“Damned it! Yes…” He slides on the opposite side of the bench, and I wait for a contraction to end before I haul myself up.
Hands firmly on the steering wheel, my fingers tighten up a bit. Eyes on the road, I begin our ride back, clocked with contractions. They peak and soften. Damn it, why can’t he stay awake? Can’t believe I have to drive all the way to South Carolina. A quick look toward him and I am glad I took over. Nothing could wake him up right now.
Foot on the accelerator, I push down on the short straight stretches of road, and release to brake before each turn. Breathe, I tell myself, and please, please, no contractions during the turns. We are not quite coasting down the Blue Ridge Mountains. This mild sense of emergency brings up a slight anxiety. I tell myself, don’t slow down too much, keep cruising, we don’t want to have this baby on the side of the road. Earlier today, the vegetation drenched in the afternoon light, has turned dark after sunset. Nothing exquisite anymore. The gloominess of shadows and trees silhouettes feels a bit claustrophobic. The road keeps on snaking down and around. The roadside has lost its appeal.