Saturday, July 7 The first contraction is strong enough to wake? me. Eyes still shut, I roll onto my side??maybe I dreamed it. But when I feel? the second one, a wave of recognition sweeps over me. Not yet, little man, I? whisper, its not quite time. I flick on the bedside light, reach for my? borrowed copy of What to Expect When Youre Expecting, and turn? to the section on false labour. Satisfied thats what Im experiencing, I turn? off the light and again close my eyes. I ignore the cramps for what seems like? a long time??theyre mild and irregular, nothing to worry about. But I fumble? for my watch just in case then suddenly remember the loads of dirty washing in? the laundry and the gritty floorboards in my lounge room. It is 4.15 am when I? start cleaning. Only after Ive swept and mopped the floor and? put on a load of washing do I return to bed. When I wake at six the? contractions are still mild and fifteen minutes apart. Im up by seven, and by? eight Paul is shifting furniture and cleaning walls. We havent finished? Daniels room yet, we thought wed have more time. I phone Mum, Marg and my? sister Cyndie. Mum will try and change her flight. Marg will bring the birthing? pool over some time after 1.30 unless I need her before. Daniel, it seems, is? on his way. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon I? alternate between trying to help Paul with the nursery and lying on the bed? with Gabe rubbing my back and tummy. When Marg arrives at 3.30 I still feel? fine, but half an hour later the contractions are coming hard and fast. Marg? and Paul assemble and fill the birthing pool while I labour on the lounge. My? body tells me what to do and I find myself on all fours rocking back and forth? and breathing heavily as each contraction peaks.?? When I slide into the pool at 5.30 the relief? is immediate. Gabe emerges from his bedroom wearing only his Speedos and jumps? in beside me. After donning his goggles, he starts duck diving and performing? all manner of underwater antics. When will Daniel be coming, he wants to know,? and when will our secondmidwife Mo? arrive? Soon, Marg tells him as a pretty big contraction hits and I move to all? fours and start rocking again. I can hear myself panting and moaning while Gabe? makes a whirlpool around me then pretends to be a dolphin. After another? fifteen minutes of this type of assistance, we persuade him to leave the pool? for some Vegemite toast??things are getting serious and I need to concentrate. By 6.15 the contractions are coming one on top? of the other and they hurt a lot. Paul is beside me holding my hand. Marg is? telling me Im doing great. Gabe is eating toast, playing with silly putty and? drawing pictures of Daniels birth as it unfolds. He doesnt look the least bit? perturbed until I let out a noise that sounds, I imagine, like the bellow of a? dying cow or similar. Im now in the zone, disappearing inside my head to? escape the pain. Ive read of other women doing this, but until this moment? never believed it was really possible. Marg calls Gabe to her side and I see his? bottom lip quivering. But she puts her arm around him and tells him its okay.? This is good pain, she explains, because its bringing Daniel to us. Between? cow bellows I manage a smile and a wink. Gabe smiles back and joins Paul on the? other side of the pool.