We spent the rest of the afternoon at home, I paced the floor, baked a little (challenging the time clock of labor to beat out the forty minutes on the oven timer for banana bread), sat in the tub a little and mindlessly cleaned corners of an already immaculate house. My parents arrived, the kid was picked up from camp and still the contractions remained irregular. By about four o’clock M suggested that we check in with our doctor before we reached the after hours service. I described the contractions and the spacing that I’d felt over the past sixteen hours and they thought it best that I come into the hospital just for an evaluation. If we still had time to go they’d send us home, but better safe then sorry. No one wanted to experience child birth in the car…
So, we threw the bags, the kid, the grandparents, the cameras and ourselves into the car and grabbed a quick bite to eat near the hospital. By that time I was ravenous with hunger, and looked forward to a “last meal”. As soon as I sat down to eat it I noticed a distinct change in the pain. We hurried through the meal and I was glad that we were just a couple of minutes away from medical personnel. It felt near (little did I know how wrong that was!) and I was sure that this baby was going to be born that very evening.
Shortly thereafter we were checked in and evaluated and discovered the source of my discomfort and the product of the day’s work. At 6+ cm and with the bag of waters intact but (there’s no delicate way to describe this – “ready to fall out”) they thought it best not to send us back home and we agreed. We had hoped to labor at home as long as possible, and dash into the hospital at the last moment, but we came to a fairly reasonable agreement with the staff. If we would let them monitor the baby for 15 minutes they’d give us an hour of free reign – to walk anywhere we wished. After that hour we’d come back for 15 minutes and then get up and about again. We felt no pressure to get things moving, which was exactly how we wanted it. Less interventions, less need for medication – a goal we were shooting for this time around. We talked things over with E who was too excited to go back home, and we decided that this was a big enough event in her life and that she was welcome to wait it out. She and her grandpa found a small waiting room tucked in a corner, away from the hubbub and she turned in for the night. And the rest of us walked and rocked and waited and waited some more.