That evening, Jane and I were sprawled side by side on her couch. "It's so frustrating to not know when it's going to happen," she said. "I tried everything. Exercising, eating spicy food..." That left one. Earlier, she'd told me that the third and most doctor-guaranteed way to induce labor was sex. But, understandably, she and Simon decided against this method to spare themselves the trauma.
"Here, feel this," Jane said. I placed my hand on her stomach. A second later, I felt pressure on my hand, like knuckles rubbing against the length of my palm.
"Okay, that's just freaky," I said, keeping my hand pressed firmly against the thin wall between my flesh and the baby's. "It's like you're growing this thing and it's going to come alive and burst forth from you, like an alien."
"Yeah, it's pretty crazy," Jane agreed. We sat there like that for a while, my hand on her stomach, every few minutes saying something like, "Wow," or "Do you think that's a knee or an elbow?"
To her doctor's surprise, Jane made it through the weekend, despite the miles of power walking, extra red pepper flakes on her food, and telepathic urging. It was as if the child wanted to prove a point -- I'm calling the shots this time, lady, and your job is to sit back and make the milk. But Monday night, seven days after Jane's doctor said "any minute now," the child finally decided it was time to say hey. All that power walking and fiery food probably contributed to the quick and easy labor of less than an hour.
With so few surprises in life, Jane and Simon decided to leave the baby's gender a mystery while in the womb. Now it's Tuesday, and everyone in the family is speed dialing their phones to spread my clan's happy news to friends and family near and far: "It's a girl! And her name is Olivia." Welcome, Olivia.