Although I was three days past my due date, there was no real reason to think that the blessed arrival would be anytime soon. At my OB visit a few days earlier, I was not dilated or effaced at all, and the baby was still high in my belly.
But as they say, where there's a will there's a way.
At 7 a.m. on that beautiful Saturday morning, I announced to my father that his job was to watch the girls that day. My mother's job was to walk with me around our 1-mile subdivision until we could get some contractions going.
"Put your shoes on, Momma. I have only one goal today and that's to have a baby!
I don't think anybody really believed me. At first.
We must have walked three or four miles before I had to stop for a break. Discouraged that I hadn't felt so much as a twinge, I decided to have a light lunch before resuming the walking.
At some point, I decided that since walking wasn't doing diddly squat, I would bounce very lightly on the trampoline with the girls. My parents weren't too keen on this activity, and neither was my oldest who was about 3-1/2 at the time. "I don't think this is such a good idea, ShelPotter," she said worriedly. "What if the baby decides to just fall out on the jumperline?"
"Oh, if I could only be that lucky," I laughed, and jumped a little higher.
The parents tried to stop me and threatened repeatedly to call my husband (who was working that afternoon and would never have tolerated such reckless behavior from his 40+-week pregnant wife). I just laughed and bounced a little higher and harder.
The bouncing wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as I had imagined it would be, and with my hands supporting my ginormous belly, I finally threw all caution to the wind and jumped as high and as hard as I possibly could. The doctor had refused to induce me, and I had the possibility of a C-section looming ahead if I didn't go into labor spontaneously, so what did I have to lose?
After all that activity, fatigue overtook me in the middle of the afternoon, and I napped for about an hour before I was awakened abruptly by ... a twinge? Yes! It was the first very faint hint that my sweet baby was about to exit the womb.
"Put your shoes on, Momma. We've got more walking to do!"
And so the march around Jericho began again. Amused neighbors smiled every time we passed, and some even asked, "Any luck yet?" I wasn't ready to tell anyone that I was feeling occasional twinges. Not until I was certain they signaled something big.
Finally, around 7:30 that evening, my husband was called home to drive me to the hospital. Five and one-half hours later at 1:06 a.m. on June 1, our third child (and only son) was placed in our arms. That night was sacred for several reasons and will forever remain etched on my heart and mind. Even now, five years later, I can hardly reflect on it without tears of joy.
Happy fifth birthday, my sweet boy. You were the baby we almost didn't have, yet I can't imagine our family without you. You bring a whole new dynamic to the clan with your wild enthusiasm and your extravagant love.
We're just head over heels in love with you!