The kids had gone off to school already, and Robin and I started talking about what to do today. Robin decided she wanted to get out of the house, and I was more than willing to go, too. It's amazing how claustrophobic you can get while sitting at home, staring at four walls, waiting for the baby to arrive. So, off to the mall we went.
Robin and I walked around the mall. Well, in all honesty, I walked around and Robin wobbled. After all, it's hard to walk normally with a baby's head crammed in your pelvis. But, I knew that walking around would help her pelvis open up, and hopefully, get the baby to drop some more. As it turned out, Robin was in early labor, and not being too obvious about it.
After walking around for quite awhile, we decided to go to yet another mall to buy a really cool baby hat. It suddenly occurred to me that Robin was more energetic than she had been for months. Today was definitely going to be different. And it was.
We decided to go out for lunch. I was secretly thinking that this was probably the last meal sans baby. Throughout the lunch, Robin had some pretty serious contractions. The time was getting near.
We got home at around 2 o'clock. The contractions continued and were getting a little closer together. Robin decided to call the midwife's apprentice, Emily. We had the lights turned off, and soft, relaxing music playing. Emily came over and decided that she'd like to have our midwife, Mary Ann here. Robin didn't agree, and thought that Mary Ann shouldn't miss a 7 o'clock appointment she had 70 miles away from us. Fortunately, Mary Ann decided to come immediately. It took about three hours for her to get here from Lexington. I'm glad she skipped her appointment.
By the time Mary Ann arrived, Robin was on all fours on the floor in front of the bed. I was getting pretty scared. Mary Ann and Emily did a very good job of keeping me calm.
I ended up playing the doula. I was applying counter-pressure to Robin's pelvis by standing behind her, and pushing down very hard. It seemed to be working, or so Robin was telling me. After a while, I was getting tired, so I let Emily push on Robin, while I got down on the floor with Robin. I stroked her arm, ran my fingers through her hair and quietly whispered, "You're doing a great job. I'm so proud of you." It was nice to be close to her like that. I really wanted to be more a part of what was going on emotionally, and being able to be face-to-face sure helped.
Emily and I continued to take turns applying pressure. Robin started to panic. Her two previous labors were 36 and 48 hours long. Here we were just four hours or so into it, and Robin was so uncomfortable and in pain, that I thought she was going to give up. I was really scared. After all of our planning, would we have to transport her to the hospital? I could live with a hospital birth, but in my mind, for the past nine months, I saw us having our baby at home, in our bed.
Mary Ann decided to check Robin. Robin was sure she was stuck at 3 cm and that labor was going to go on for another 30 hours. "I can't keep doing this for 30 hours," she cried. I was ready to cry, too, but I thought I'd better hide my disappointment. I really didn't want to give up - easy for me to say, I wasn't in labor. Well, as luck would have it, Robin was at 8 cm! It wasn't going to be 30 hours after all.
Now it was time for me to panic! Our mothers weren't there. Neither was the other apprentice nor Robin's sister. Neither were the kids, who had gone to McDonald's with my mother. And, Robin's doula, Eve, was not there. I got on the phone and called everybody. I must have had a lot of urgency in my voice, as everybody raced over.
Now that everybody was here, the calm quiet atmosphere that was so conducive was nothing more than labor history. We wanted to video tape the whole event, so we had to turn on the lights. I prayed that Robin was far enough along that all the commotion would be inconsequential. I guess it was. I worried anyway.