"Turn left, here," she said.
"It's not a turn! THAT WAS THE EXIT I JUST PASSED!" I yelled back.
"Turn around and head North on 67," she insisted.
I snarled back at her, "ya. ya. ya. Meanwhile, I'm gonna miss it, Siri."
I took the next left and with a zoom and a swish I parked the car and ran to the window, "Labor & delivery?!" It had been a year since I was here last.
"Fourth floor, buzz the door!" he said.
Whoosh. Upstairs. Compose yourself. Breathe. Beeeeeep. "Come on in" Click, the doors unlock.
There she is. Moaning through these wheelchair bound contractions, holding her blanket over her legs, husband by her side, doula at her back, nurses gathered 'round.
She is beautiful. A hard-working, patient warrior.
We wheeled down the hall to the birthing sweet with the tub.
Drip, drip, splash. Water begins to pour and you can see relief and joy in her eyes. The tub is full and she gets in and hunkers down.
Work, mama. Work laying back, rest your head against the tub. Work leaning forward as your friend behind you eases the pain down your spine with her loving hands. Work into your husband's grip. He holds you up as you roar and clench his shirt tight within your fists. Work as the sweat drips down your back. Work as the monitors beep and squawk and the nurses watch and pass the flashlights and scrounge around for mirrors and find gloves. Work as your doula searches for music to calm nerves and strengthen your soul.
Silent night, holy night. All is calm. All is bright.
Work as the lights are dimmed and the oil is diffused and the smoke rises and baby comes down. Work as you cry out to God. Work as He answers.
It is so much work, this thing you do, mama. And it is intrinsic and it is exertion and finally, it is all accomplished.
Baby is here and you're not sure how, but it all happened just like you knew it could, and believed it should, and prayed it would.
And you see her and you weep. And so do we all.
Congratulations, Mama. You did it.