Robert was due on January 6, 2010, but we were not exactly surprised when he didn't arrive that day. After all, the due date was just a guess based on the 20 week ultrasound, given that M and I had no idea whatsoever when we had conceived him. The weather was very snowy that week, and by the sixth, bad snowstorms were predicted for the whole Midwest, but especially
. My mom was frantic at the idea that Robert would come and she wouldn't be able to get down here, so we told her to go ahead and come down, but we didn't know when Robert would be arriving. She flew down on the seventh and checked into a hotel where she would end up staying for the next three weeks. It was a very nice hotel, and one of the clerks there was also in the New Hope program and wound up giving birth the same week that I did. Illinois
A week passed, with very little action on the Robert front. I would have very occasional contractions, and we did all sorts of things to try and encourage them. Ham and pineapple pizza, spicy Thai food from Sweet Basil, walking around and shopping for hours. I got to do a lot of couponing with my mom, which was fun, even if nothing came of it. I started to get more worried as the days passed, knowing that if we went past Martin Luther King weekend on the 15th, my dad probably wouldn't be able to come and see the baby. We were very lucky, though, because what was supposed to be a two week trial for him unexpectedly folded into a one-day stipulated trial, leaving him with entire days of his docket clear. It took the pressure off, both for me and for my mom.
M was already back at school, which had gone back into session on the fourth. It was nice having someone at home with me, especially someone with a car so I wasn't always stuck at home. M always kept his phone with him and checked in frequently. I think he was more nervous than I was during these days. Sometimes I would get up and sleep in the recliner because every time I would shift position at night, (frequently, between pelvic discomfort and bathroom needs!) he would wake up and wonder if I was in labor. Poor guy needed some sleep! We bought a few last baby items, cleaned and organized some more things around the house, and waited. And waited.
On Wednesday, January 13, I caught a case of food poisoning, possibly from some really terrible oatmeal cookies I'd made that morning. I was sick as a dog with abdominal cramps and vomiting by that night. I was really worried for awhile, thinking that this was labor, and that labor felt like wanting to throw up all the time. I was both relieved and disappointed when I felt fine a few hours later. M was great, even though he felt poorly as well, he rubbed my feet and played a relaxation track on the iPod, and even sat in the bedroom in the dark with his computer while I slept off the worst of it, just keeping an eye on things.
By Thursday morning I was better from the food poisoning, and starting to have contractions. This was very exciting, of course. My appointment with Sister Kay, the midwife, on that Monday had me at 3cm dilated and mostly effaced, so I knew it could be anytime now. I was sure that just a little more encouragement would have labor going in earnest. My mom and I went for a little walk up and down the block, and I did some chores and did some dancing and bounced on my labor ball all afternoon. By evening, my contractions were short but at a steady six minutes apart for several hours. I was excited enough to call Sister Kay in the middle of the night and ask what I should do. She quizzed me on how I was feeling, then told me that I should call her again at three minutes apart, because it was too early for me to go to the hospital yet. Sister Kay was an enthusiastic supporter of our plans for a natural birth, and part of ensuring that would happen was making sure we didn't go to the hospital too early.
It turns out she was right to have us wait, too. The contractions began slowing down in the small hours of Friday morning, and I got a few hours of sleep, thinking that labor was just in a resting phase and would start up again fresh when I'd slept. Friday morning, the contractions were ten minutes apart, and continued slowing down until I stopped timing them. Through Friday afternoon and much of Saturday as well, I still had contractions, but frustrating ones. They would happen when I needed to use the bathroom, when I changed activities, when I laid down, but they wouldn't settle into a pattern. I couldn't sleep well without them waking me up, but it wasn't as though we were making progress, either. I was frustrated and cranky, and it was all Mike and Mom could do to deal with me. Mike and I started talking seriously about what we would do if we needed an induction. My 42 week appointment would be on Monday, and we both knew it would be more and more difficult to wait him out if he didn’t come on his own.