They've been coming for a few hours now. I, sitting at the kitchen counter with watch and paper, marking the pains that aren't really pains yet but four minute intervals means it's time to go. I touch this rock beneath my shirt, this life that roils beneath my skin, feeling the morphing and shifting, the alien boil - like the top crust of a chicken pot pie below the oven broiler.
I will meet her soon - this daughter I've dreamed of since I held my first doll. And I'm terrified that she will not be beautiful. It wouldn't be fair, would it? For God to give me three beautiful children? What if the boys ate up all the beauty I had left to give and she is sand - not sunshine? This is where my heart is. Selfish. Stupid. Sweet baby, it doesn't matter how much you hurt me, just please, please, please be pretty!
I am calm, so he is calm. With no gasp of pain there is no need to rush and since the car needs oil I sit in the gas station parking lot while he tops it up - best friend seething in the back seat as I catch my breath through a new contraction.
And he climbs back in, fresh purchased Red Bull can flashing in August sunlight. "I hate the smell of Red Bull!" I announce as if he doesn't already know.
"Hmmmm," and he cracks open the can.
I am nauseous with the smell - like rot - like a dead squirrel. I open the window.
Her anger boils from the backseat. "As if you just opened that in front of your wife who is in labour!"
And he just laughs because he's sure it really doesn't bother me all that much and he pulls back onto the street while I ignore him and she tries really hard to hate him.