We shouldn't put too much stock in due dates. After all, only 5 percent of women give birth on the magic day determined by their doctor's calculation. "It's really around the Fourth of July," I'd say, so nobody would be disappointed if the baby didn't arrive by June 30th. But when July 1st rolled around, I was bummed to find myself as pregnant as ever.
My doctor said she'd only let me go an extra week before she'd induce -- the baby was already estimated to be over 8 pounds. "Do whatever you'd normally do," she advised. So I worked through July 3rd, threw a picnic on the 4th, and heaved my hugely pregnant self to the pool on the 5th. My husband and I had been invited to a wedding on the 6th -- a day before the scheduled induction. I decided that if I bothered to dress up and put on makeup on a 95-degree day, and drag myself to a park where not only childhood friends but an ex-boyfriend would see me 40 pounds bigger than ever, maybe I'd go into labor. And I did.
At noon, as the bride and groom were saying their vows, I felt the first contraction that, in retrospect, was "real." I squeezed Byron's hand. Another one came, maybe 15 minutes later, and I squeezed again. "I might be going into labor!" I whispered. Byron looked a little unsure -- in June, we'd had several false alarms.
During the reception I asked Byron to track when the contractions were coming. Fifteen minutes, twenty minutes. He suggested we go home. "We can't leave before the cake," I insisted. I wasn't in pain and was enjoying the diversion -- and the air conditioning. Once outside, though, we dialed the doctor. "I think I'm in labor," I told her. "I've been getting steady contractions for five hours, but they're still light." She suggested I go home, drink one glass of wine to relax, and call her again.
Next I called my mother, who lives five hours away, and told her that labor seemed to be starting. "Come tomorrow," I told her. "The baby will never arrive before morning." But as I hung up, I knew instinctively that Mom was already on her way.