Days later, we were all doing our best to keep the expecting parents preoccupied. Erin was calm, as she'd been throughout the whole pregnancy, and moved through the house quiet and serene. She was accepting of the fact that it wasn't up to her to decide when it would happen, that despite how many walks she went on, how many special herbal salads she ate and how many times she and Jon got busy (twice a day -- yeah, I said it), she wanted a natural birth and the baby would have to make the first move.
The waiting had become excruciating, but it was nice just to be together. We played games, wandered through Ikea, and drank lots of coffee. We ate potato soup outside in a backyard still just cement and weeds, the power lines crisscrossing through the hazy Los Angeles sky. We walked every day up and down the tree-lined path by the house. We did everything we could think of to do. Jon said he had been waking up each morning thinking, today. It will happen today. And then he stopped thinking this all together and no longer believed it would happen at all. He started to think the universe was lying to him, that it was all a hoax.
The doctors knew otherwise, and were less willing to wait. Despite much protest by Erin, the powers that be finally decided that if, by Wednesday, May 19 at 6:00pm, active labor had not begun, they would induce. Upon this news, Erin seemed defeated and reluctantly set about making her peace with the thought of a new plan, the thought of Pitocin. We arrived at the hospital at the appointed time and walked through the lobby. I remember it in dramatic slow motion, but it actually felt strangely normal. It was as though we were arriving for a routine check-up, when really, a life was about to start.
They assigned us a room and administered an IV. As the nurse inserted the needle and taped the tubes to her wrist, Erin lie there on her side, her spaceship of a hospital bed in a pool of heavy yellow light. She squeezed her eyes shut with a twinge of pain, and as a few big tears fell down her cheeks, said, "I'm ready to go home now." The nurse-midwife explained that the Pitocin would come next, and left the room. Then, miraculously (or, due to stress), the contractions jumpstarted on their own. It was as though the baby had been waiting as long as she could, and finally responded to the threat. Wait, she seemed to say, I'll do it myself.
After this, Erin perked up. Jon, with a tenderness I had never seen, dried her tears with a tissue and off they went for a walk through the hospital hallways, IV in tow.
*Note: Image not my sister.