I was thirty nine weeks pregnant, and we’d just been admitted to the hospital. It was 3AM on a Saturday morning. The streets were quiet, in that in-between time of shifting between late-night adventurers and the wee hours of the early morning. Our cab driver was finishing his shift, and had been shuttling people across town from party to party.

The hospital wasn’t too busy, at least in the triage room. The nurses were patient, getting us admitted.

Then my doctor came rushing in. She swept in, as though high on adrenaline, loud and eager and ready to roll. I imagine she had just finished a series of highly complicated births and hadn’t slept much in the past two days. (This is probably true, since I’d just seen her at our 39 week visit, and she told me she had a series of complicated deliveries coming up this weekend.)

The problem was, our energies were matching like oil meets water. We were friction against each other, and all of her heightened energy made my body want to clam up and tighten up.

I wasn’t ready. The contractions were too slow.

“We can get this show on the road!” she said. “Want me to get this puppy moving?”

No, my body cried,

No, I’m not ready!

And I was so tired. Labor can be exhausting, and I’d been up the entire night before, contractions spaced out every twenty to thirty minutes, sleeping fitfully overnight in between wake-up calls. I was tired, but I also wasn’t yet ready. It felt too soon.

Her rush was not my rush.

“Sarah, I’m going to have to send you home,” she said.

I nodded. Okay, send me home.

We went home from the hospital, checking out, rolling back into the taxi, driving up the long highway alongside Manhattan, staring out over the Hudson river. It would end up taking another day of contractions before we went back to the hospital.

And it was just right. It was right for us.

My husband, doula extraordinaire, coached me to shake it off. “Let’s let it go. Cry it out. Shake it out. This doesn’t have to be our experience.” I let my sobs tumble out and said, “I’m not ready, it’s not ready!”

I wasn’t ready yet.

The next day, the doctor had gotten some sleep, she was in a fresh, great mood, and we—well, I won’t say I was feeling fresh and ready, because I was feeling extremely exhausted and tired from the crescendo of contractions—but I was feeling like it was a new day.

Same people, new day. It’s amazing what a blink of time can do, and how quickly our perspectives can shift.

She wasn’t the right doctor for me on Saturday. But on Sunday, she was perfect. She saw me, and she said, “Oh Sarah, you look so tired. Let’s get you into the bath.” She helped me, guided me, coached me.

Every moment is a new chance. Feel it, cry it out, express it. Allow it.

And then release it.


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