Just got off the phone with Sarah. Very excited. Still no baby, but here’s a transcript of the call—which I pray no one overheard:

Me: Hello?
Sarah: You sitting down?
Me: Yeah. What’s up?
Sarah: I passed my mucus plug.
Me: (excited) Really? Your mucus plug? What did it feel like?
Sarah: I didn’t notice. I went to sit on the pot, and there it was, in my underwear. I think it was the acupuncture.
Me: Wow. What did it look like?
Sarah: Did you ever eat those Gummi Life Savers when you were a kid?
Me: No.
Sarah: Well, it looked just like one of those.
Me: I can’t picture it. Will you …
Sarah: Yes, I’ll save it for you.
Me: Cool. Thanks.
Sarah: You’re a freak.
Me: I know.
Sarah: Later.
Me: Later.

For the uninitiated—and those who have not ralphed on their keyboards—the mucus plug is a little nubbin that blocks the opening of the cervix to prevent bacteria from invading the uterus during pregnancy. The woman expels it shortly before labor so the baby can pass through on its way out of Dodge.

The fact that Sarah lost her mucus plug means that her cervix is dilating, which indicates labor is coming soon. “Soon” could mean anywhere from hours to weeks, depending on the cervix in question. I don’t know Sarah’s cervix all that well, so it’s hard to predict.

[Note: It’s six hours later, and I just saw the mucus plug in person, stuck to a pair of stretched-out undies on our bathroom floor. If I didn’t know what I was looking at, I would’ve sworn that it was one of those perfectly round sausage chunks on a Tombstone pizza. Only bloody. OK, commence ralphing again.]

* * *

My parents’ Birth Deadline lurks—five days and counting—and tensions are running high. Last night, Sarah was so sick of the Birth Watch that she made me go with her to check out a murder scene that happened to be a few blocks away.

The story: Joan Lefkow, a U.S. District judge, had come home a few hours earlier to find the bodies of her husband and mother in her basement, and ran out of the house screaming. Lefkow’s daughter, it was said, came home to get gym clothes in the middle of the day, never realizing the bodies were most likely a floor below her. Creepy.

When we got to the Lefkow House, it was surrounded by cops and reporters and various other looky-loos. The grounds were cordoned off by police tape, so we couldn’t get very close, but apparently, imagining the chalk outlines was preferable to watching more Law & Order with my folks.

This murder comes on the heels of another macabre event. After 30 years of eluding police, BTK, the serial killer who served as the de facto boogeyman of my childhood in Wichita, was caught last week. Just hearing the letters “BTK” made me feel like I was nine again, too petrified to get out of bed for a drink of water in the middle of the night, because I was certain the guy was in the bathroom, waiting for me.

But the horror of murders and serial killers was short-lived in my current home, which is currently protected by a pregnancy-coated shell. Instead of nightmares, we are all dreaming about the baby. Freud would have a field day with my dreams—I’d rather not go into them here. Then my mom had this one the other night.

“You took us into the room where Sarah and the baby were, and he seemed pretty large for a newborn. He began babbling what we thought was nonsense, but it started to make sense, and then he said, “Hey, meet me at the corner of Madison and 52nd.’ Astonished, I stared at the kid and said, “Have you lived before?’ And he said, “Oh, yeah, this is my 3rd or 4th time around.'”

Sarah, of course, is not dreaming about anything, because she’s not sleeping. Last night, she lay in bed, annoyed to be awake, and saw the shadow of something odd through our window curtains: What appeared to be two lions were sitting on our windowsill, licking each other. Sarah freaked. Just as she was about to scream, she realized they were the feral cats who’d been living in our alley for years. The streetlight behind them made them look enormous. “When I realized it was those damn cats, I was so grumpy I almost jumped out of bed with a shotgun.”

FYI: We don’t own a shotgun, and Sarah would never hurt an animal. She couldn’t get out of bed, anyway.