When our daughter, Melaina, had her first child we were in Japan. Almost a month before her due date, we received a message that labour had begun and she was heading for the hospital. It was a Wednesday morning and I was on my way out the door to a ladies meeting at our church. When I got there and shared the news, the ladies gathered around me and prayed for Melaina and her unborn son. I was so blessed when they also prayed peace over me, a first time grandmother so far from home and family.
That was the beginning of a marathon of latent (unproductive) labour that went on for eleven days! Contractions increased in intensity and regularity then slowed again. Melaina made several frustrating trips to the hospital and each time she was told to go home and wait. Drew finally arrived two weeks before his due date on May 1, 2008.
Almost two years later, here we are again! Baby number 2 is due on April 28. Throughout the pregnancy, Melaina’s doctors have assured her that it was very unlikely that she’d go through another marathon like the last one but it’s beginning to look as if they might be wrong. She started experiencing cramping and occasional contractions a couple of weeks ago. When she saw her obstetrician last Tuesday, she was told that nothing serious was happening yet but early yesterday afternoon she got in touch to let us know that she was having contractions again and that they were becoming more regular.
Should we pack? Was it time to go to Calgary? If we get there in time, I get to be in the delivery room with her this time! I really don’t want to miss that but at the same time, we don’t want to sit around Calgary for two or three weeks nor do I really want to live out of a suitcase here at home while we wait. What to do? Well, I did what I usually do when I’m not sure what to do. I started making lists! A list of things to pack and a list of things to do before we leave. Water the plants, put the garbage out, turn down the heat. Things like that.
By later in the evening, things had settled down again and we all decided to go to bed and hope for a good night’s sleep. Phone anytime, I told her. We can be out of the house inside an hour and in Calgary within five. The phone didn’t ring and this morning we learned that Melaina had had a pretty good night. Contractions were continuing but they were very mild and well spaced.
By mid afternoon, however, things were heating up again. Our son-in-law came home from work a bit earlier than usual anticipating that he might be taking her to the hospital and this time, I started packing. By supper time, contractions were strong and 4 to 5 minutes apart. Surely we’d be on the road soon and baby would arrive tonight! Or maybe not. That was 4 hours ago and nothing much has happened yet. In fact, it seems that contractions are slowing down again.
Melaina has another appointment with her obstetrician tomorrow morning. In the meantime, we wait… and we wait… and perhaps we wait some more. Melaina’s at an awkward point in her pregnancy; late enough that they won’t give her anything to stop labour but early enough that they won’t give her anything to hasten it along. And so we wait. How long we wait, nobody knows.