The Waiting Game.
Gwyn held my hand firmly as she prepared for the next wave of contractions. I could feel her grip increase every time she sunk her face into the sofa and grimaced in pain. I felt helpless being unable to take any of the pain off her. All I could do was to be by her side and measure her contractions whenever they started. By now, she was feeling contractions twelve minutes apart and for around sixty seconds each time. These were early signs of labor and we realised that the wait had just begun.
It was now 1pm. Kristin had just arrived at our door step.
"How is everyone doing?" she greeted us with a smile.
Kristin must have seen these situations happen too often. She looked calm and collected. On the other hand, I was entirely green and quietly panicking under my skin about what was to come next.
We explained the situation to her. The contractions were now consistent. We got into a routine of timing them like clockwork. The intervals between each set of contractions remained roughly the same at twelve minutes apart for a long while, although from Gwyn's expression, the pain seemed to increase more and more each time.
"Let's have a look." said Kristin as we made our way to the bedroom.
She requested for an old towel to be spread on our mattress and then asked Gwyn to lie down. I stood by at the side and watched on attentively. Reaching into her black nurse bag, she grabbed a pair of medical gloves and promptly put them on.
"This may hurt a little." she warned before proceeding with the inspection.
Almost immediately, Gwyn yelled and her body crouched together instinctively. I stood still, rooted to the ground and was in shock. It was clear that she was in great pain and yet there was nothing I could do. Again, I felt helpless and could only offer words of encouragement. I have always considered Gwyn's threshold for pain to be quite high. For her to react the way she did, it must have been intolerable.
"You are about 2cm dilated." stated Kristin.
"What?!? Only 2cm?" was our initial response. We were somewhat expecting a lot more because of the amount of pain Gwyn was in.
"Do you want to stay home first or do you prefer to go to the delivery unit now?" she asked.
We had devised a birth plan and the idea was to stay home for as long as we can before going to the delivery unit. We wanted to stay relaxed during the build up and home was the perfect environment to do so.
Guessing that it could take a while before dilating fully, we decided to stay put. There was ample time for Gwyn to take a shower and Mum to prepare curry chicken for dinner. Kristin went home to rest and prepare for the night ahead. I started packing the hospital bag.
Over the next few hours, the contractions would continue steadily with the intervals between each set gradually reducing. At about 5pm, we sat around the dining table for an early dinner.
"Eat more." Mum told Gwyn. "You'll need the energy."