A year ago today, I watched as morning dawned again. A cold front had come in and the clean sunlight and bright leaves of the day before were replaced with an overcast sky and frigid air. My contractions continued as they had the night before. They felt lazy and whiney rather than demanding. We ate quietly, sleepily, planning the day ahead cautiously. My labor felt like a heavy blanket over the day, keeping us still and reserved.
I retreated to the bedroom again, to privacy, hoping to keep my mind from distracting my body. I remember the quiet conversations between my partner and my friend as they sat at the dining room table. I smiled to myself, thinking it felt like Thanksgiving, to hear them together, to feel their love.
The midwife came with suggestions of things I could take to make my body contract. I declined. She left. The acupuncturist, who cared for me as I tried to conceive this baby and during my pregnancy, came and sat with me, turning needles into tender spots. Contractions came and went without promise of rhythm or regularity. Prodromal labor, it's called.
Evening brought low spirits, a hushed, unspoken anxiety. 2 nights without sleep already and I was still unable to lie down. The midwife came and went again, taking with her, my resolve to let my body and my baby lead my labor. I resigned myself to the regiment of herbs to make my womb contract. I sent everyone off to bed again and sat in the night.
In the very early hours of the morning, my partner woke. Having exhausted the "safe" use of herbs without much success, I was losing confidenence. "Let's do this" she told me, taking me by the hand. We lit candles, put on music, and went through all of my midwifery textbooks for things we could do to help my body welcome labor. She held me and we danced in the dark. She wrote down every song that played in a little book, so she would remember the soundtrack of our baby's birth. I had never known I could love someone so deeply. What a great preparation for parenthood, I remember thinking, to fall in love all over again.