I got an instant message yesterday at 16:59, about when I was getting ready to leave work: "I think my water just broke." I headed off to the bus while Gloria called the midwife for advice. The next time I heard from her it was almost six. Her breathing sounded pretty labored (no pun intended), and she said that she was going to try to finish preparing food for the pigs while for while we'd be at the hospital. My mom and dad were on their way over.
I heard from my dad a few times on the endless bus ride home. Each time, he sounded a little more haggard, asking where I was and how much longer I thought I'd be. When he picked me up at the bus depot (later than scheduled, but earlier than many other recent Fridays), he said that he and mom thought that it was time to go to the hospital, but that the midwife had suggested waiting longer.
When I got home and timed some contractions -- they were practically one on top of the other -- I called the midwife and we all left for the hospital. Gloria was in some serious labor now, exerting the kind of effort I hope to reserve for situations like, "lifting fallen I-beam off of my leg." I tried to be helpful, but that mostly meant that I shut up and let her know as we got close to the hospital.
Lehigh Valley Hospital's parking lot is really difficult to navigate, and that's probably not helped by darkness or a laboring woman in the back seat. Still, we made it to the main entrance at about 20:50. Gloria got valet service -- literally. One of the valets pushed her wheelchair most of the way up to the maternity ward. We got into a labor room a few minutes later, and Martha was born less than half an hour later.
Everyone seemed pretty impressed and amazed at the four-and-a-half hour labor, especially since Gloria was a first-timer. Once most of the post-birth stuff was done, we headed upstairs to the mother-and-baby unit and got settled into our room. The rooms in this unit are nice. They're somewhere between a hospital room and a hotel room, favoring the hospital room. There's a super-adjustable bed, a few chairs of varying quality, and a little anteroom where they keep the linens, hazmat bins, and most of the other medical stuff.
We got down into this room around ten, and we've been here ever since. We're due to check out tomorrow morning, after about 36 hours. The stay seems pretty long, but I'm not sure things would be any better at home. People take Marty away now and then to run a test, which gives us a little time to zonk out, and a lot of our other needs are taken care of, too.
The Pauls came by this morning and picked up our keys so that they could feed the pigs. Once they got into the house, they picked up Gloria's keys and gave a set to my parents, who picked up a couple things we needed and brought them over. I wanted the camera and power cables for my MacBook, and I wanted a new t-shirt to put on. (I've posted a few photos, and will post more later.) Mostly, though, we wanted some non-hospital food. We'd had hospital breakfast, and it was adequate, but it was a step below Wawa. My parents brought some Quiznos, and it was really good. They hung out for a good while and visited. They got to hold their new granddaughter, and got a bunch of pictures.
Some of the doctors we've seen have been sort of distant or worrying, but others were friendly and reassuring. Either way, it hasn't had a big affect. Almost all of our time here has just been the three of us hanging out. All of Martha's tests have been fine, more or less, and we're looking to getting home tomorrow to start figuring out how our lives will work from there on out.