Friday the 13th. I'm 38 weeks and 1 day pregnant and my boyfriend, my oldest son and my roommates leave for the county fair, leaving me at home with the 4 small ones. I cook, I clean, I bathe them all and get the 3 smallest kids in bed. I flop on the couch in the garage just *exhausted* until my boyfriend arrives around 10pm. I can barely keep my eyes open as we trudge up the stairs to bed. I collapse into bed, trying to stay awake and spend some time with him but I end up falling asleep in the middle of Weeds. I have a really strange dream and wake up a little confused around 12:30, when the first contraction hits me like a ton of bricks. I'd had some bloody show for a few days but I thought it was from the "stretch and sweep" my doctor had done on Wednesday. I get up to go to the bathroom and see quite a bit of blood and clear fluid, and after being dropped to my knees on the way out of the bathroom by another contraction, I know it's go time. I climb back into bed, trying to let my body rest as long as possible, and also trying to stay quiet so Troy can rest after his long day in the sun and not be totally useless later when I know I'll really need him. Every few minutes, I sit up on the edge of the bed and try to remember every coping technique I'd ever learned to make it through the next contraction. After about an hour or so, I'm crying and shaking through them and I think "I should probably wake him up. We should go." but they were coming so close and lasting so long I couldn't put together a single coherent sentence enough to even talk to him. Suddenly I feel his warm hand on my back, exactly where it hurts the most, and I instantly feel a million times better. He stays with me that way for a while, dozing between them as I am trying to, when I have a sudden mood shift and I feel a sense of urgency that we *must* go to the hospital right that second. I start shaking uncontrollably and feel hot flashes as I try to dial the doctor's office. In my head, I'm freaking out. I'm in transition. If we don't hurry, I could give birth on the side of the highway. I've had a few births where I hit transition and had a baby in my arms 15 minutes later. I'm like "Let's go NOW." We get our bags together and I put on some pajama pants. We wake our roommates to let them know we're leaving and we get in the car. The wretched, wretched car. Oh god, that car ride was *the* longest ride of my life. The contractions feel like they're right on top of each other. In reality, it was a 7 minute ride, tops. In my head, it was hours and I feel such sudden, intense pressure I'm afraid the baby's gonna fall out in the hospital parking lot. Troy, bless his clueless heart, has to be informed that I am NOT walking anywhere and I need a wheelchair. He parks me in front of the ER check in desk and goes to park the car. The nice ladies behind the desk start asking me questions and a contraction hits and I start shrieking and crying and they look at each other like "Oh shit." Thankfully, he's back quickly and we're on our way up to labor and delivery. We get checked in and the nurses ask me if I want an epidural. I answer wearily "Can I have it now?" They get started on the paperwork, the IV, and getting in touch with the anesthesiologist. I'm examined and determined to be 5 centimeters. Shit! I thought for sure I was ready to start pushing in no time. I feel discouraged and even more ready for some pain meds. Thankfully he's only a few doors down from my room and he comes to visit me within a short time. While I'm curled over my belly sitting on the edge of the bed, I hold onto Troy for dear life trying not to move during the epidural because I know if I do I could be seriously hurt or paralyzed. Yeah, how's that for motivation? I have a few contractions that almost kill me, and then blessed sweet relief. I feel a million times better. I lay back and relax, and my poor tired man runs home to swap cars so our roommate will have the right car to do the job that is scheduled for 8am. He's not gone long, and lays down to rest for a bit after he gets back. After about an hour I meet the doctor who will deliver my baby, because my regular doctor of course picked this weekend to go on vacation. I hate this doctor immediately and hate her even more when she checks me and says I'm only at 8cm. In my head I'm going "WTF is taking so long? With my last 3 babies I went from 5-10cm in less than an hour!" The doctor offers to break my water, and I agree, anxious to get things going. After 45 minutes, she checks again and I've still got a cervical lip and she discovers the baby is asynclitic. Oh wonderful. No wonder it was going so slow! So we wait some more, and I'm feeling a little sheepish that I was so panicky to leave the house. After a while I start to feel a lot of pressure and suggest to the nurse it might be time to see how pushing goes. The doctor comes back and says there's still a bit of a cervical lip but she can push it out of the way and see if that works. And it does, after a few pushes the baby starts to move down, albeit slowly. She rotates a bit, then suddenly her heart tones start dropping. They give me some oxygen, and move me from side to side. The doctor puts in a scalp electrode and tries to move the cord that is being compressed alongside her head. (This is known as an occult cord prolapse.) I keep pushing, the baby keeps rotating, moving from ROT to ROA then finally to LOA and her head is almost out. Her heart tones improve and as her head emerges I feel her kicking on her way out. As she's born, her arms flail out as if to say "Here I am!" and she pinks up and starts crying. I feel a little shaky as I take my first look at her, knowing what kind of bullet we just dodged. I look up at Troy, not sure if he realizes what just happened and how scary it was. I peer at her little face, immediately recognizing her daddy's nose and her mommy's mouth and chin. She has gorgeous squishy cheeks, beautiful long fingers and a head full of dark hair. Her APGARs are 8 and 9, and she weighs in at 7 lbs. 12 oz. and 20 in. long. And she's fine. I breathe a sigh of relief, put her skin against mine, and realize that all is right in the world.