Birth Stories: The Waiting Game

“Any day now,” my ob-gyn said two weeks before my due date of January 23, 2013. I was 4 centimeters dilated and 80 percent effaced, meaning I was going to meet my daughter soon. That day, I hugged my co-workers goodbye, organized the baby’s armoire for the 15th time, had my husband fuel up the car, and waited. My due date came and went -- nothing.

I continued the countdown for a few more days, crossing the 28th off the calendar, and went in for another checkup. My doctor looked perplexed. “I’m rarely wrong,” she said, eyeing my bump. “You shouldn’t go beyond a week and a half,” she added. “We may have to induce.” She gave me a few dates to choose from for an induction, but I was intent on going into labor naturally. I didn’t think my late delivery would go much longer. So I took my belly home and researched ways I could hurry things along: long walks, spicy food, pineapple juice. Check, check, check, but still nothing.

A few days later I came across another suggestion: eggplant parmigiana! I read about a restaurant in Georgia that has served this dish to more than 300 expectant mothers who reportedly gave birth within 48 hours. I was skeptical but decided to take a chance, if only to enjoy a nice lunch before my days of eating out were put on pause. Three hours later I felt a few twinges that slowly escalated into full-blown contractions. Coincidence?

I was in labor. Here we go, I thought. I called my husband at work, and he quickly reminded me of the old 5-1-1 rule (contractions should be 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each for 1 hour). I sat on my couch and thought about all those women who had regaled me with stories about how they did the laundry or went to the movies while they were laboring. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

Around 10 p.m., the contractions were coming quickly -- 5-1-1 was in full effect -- so I met my ob-gyn at the hospital. But a quick check of my cervix revealed I wasn’t sufficiently dilated. My choices were simple: Go all the way home and labor some more, or stay in the hospital and be induced. I later discovered my doctor had scheduled me for an induction at 6 a.m. the next day, which meant there was a hospital bed waiting for me.

I still thought my baby would arrive before daybreak, so I decided to stay the night. It must have been quite cozy inside my belly because she didn’t budge on that cold winter’s night. The next morning I was induced and Eva made her fashionably late entrance into the world at 7:24 p.m. on February 1, 2013. We forgave her lack of punctuality as soon as we saw her beautiful little face.