5:25 a.m. Nathan calls Kristen and tells her that labor has begun. She is just returning from another birth. She tells Nathan she's going to lie down for a bit and to call as soon as labor progresses and she'll be right over. Meanwhile, I'm kicking toys into the closet and picking up crayons between contractions. Why is this house such a mess?! In the bathroom, out of the bathroom. On the toilet. Off the toilet.
5:30 a.m. Theo is up, and Nathan springs him from his crib.
"Your baby brother is coming!"
Theo pads into the living room and sees me: "Hungry, Mama!" He sits down, watches me pace, and waits for breakfast. Two big, fat contractions hit.
5:42 a.m. Nathan calls Kristen. "You need to come now."
5:45 a.m. We need to get Theo some food, ASAP. The two guys go to the corner store in their PJs. Kristen is here before they leave the house. She smiles and heads right for the kitchen. She somehow finds a clean pot and starts boiling water. Wait. Boiling water? That's so Little House on the Prairie.
6:00 a.m. Boys are back. Kristen and Nathan exchange smiles. "We're having a baby now!" Kristen says excitedly. Nathan gives Theo a bagel to eat on the sofa. I make a run for the toilet and yell: "Put on the Curious George DVD." Kristen and Nathan join me in the bathroom. Even though the bedroom's all set, I just feel like I want to have the baby in the bathroom. I don't want to be lying down. Nathan asks how far apart the contractions are. I have no clue. Kristen says it doesn't matter. This baby is coming.
6:15 a.m. Kristen kneels in front of me and strokes my left thigh. Contraction. She hands me water.
6:20 a.m. Theo wants more breakfast. Nathan gives him cantaloupe. "Mama make noise," he says. "The baby's coming. Mama's helping the baby come." Theo makes his way into the bathroom to check this out himself but stands close to the door next to Nathan. I'm on the toilet. I?m sweating and swearing and holding onto the wall.
"Hi, sweet pea." Then he heads back to Monkey George.
6:32 a.m. I get loud. Real loud. Kristen leans over me and says, "Let me just shut the window." I should have told the neighbors. I shuffle over to the sink where Nathan is standing. I hate this bathroom. It's so small. Theo is back. When did he get here? I bury my head in Nathan's chest and yell, "Get this baby out!" Theo lets out a sharp, scared cry. Nathan scoops him in his arms. He quiets, continues to eat his melon, and watches.
"Do you want to feel the head?" Kristen asks me.
I reach but only get a handful of blood.
More yelling and swearing. The blood on my hands leaves a print on the wall. I keep standing.