Now, remember that we heat with wood, and that there’s a huge storm predicted to hit within 48 hours. Our garage doors, the only source of entry for our firewood, were frozen in over a foot of ice. So, as Jacob continued to nap, Rob and I went out to spread salt, chip ice and haul in as much wood as our basement would hold to tide us through the storm. By that time the continued Braxton Hicks contractions were really tearing me to pieces, so I opted to let Rob haul in the wood, while I continued to (lightly) chip away a drainage channel to allow the melting ice to run away from the door and prevent a re-freezing effect. I was so very nervous about being stuck at home and full of too much energy to sit back and watch Rob try to chip the ice.
As I chipped away, the contractions became stronger and more frequent. By 6pm I began to wonder whether they might actually be turning into something “real.” So, logically, I did what any woman in early labor would do. I drove to Home Depot and then the mall to get my hair cut. Yes, this is logical. We’d just thrown the remainder of our rock salt on the driveway, which was still covered in ice. If we waited any longer, all the stores would sell out as they had for every smaller storm this season. If I didn’t get my hair cut and the contractions were real, it could prove to be many weeks before I’d be able to get out again. Jacob chose that moment to wake up, so I decided rather than cook, we’d first stop for dinner at the mall. There was a method to my madness, by the way. The mall and Home Depot are about five minutes from the hospital. I live 40 minutes away. If we were in the vicinity, we could at least stop by, pick up my pre-registered TENS unit for pain relief, return home, finish packing and head out when the time was right.
7:30pm: We arrive at the mall. We eat at Ruby Tuesday’s where I can sit and “relax.” Rob and Jacob eat, but I only order a small bowl of soup and crackers. I’m starving but don’t want to eat since I’m somewhat certain this is it. Contractions remain “uncomfortable,” but now at regular eight minute intervals. They only last about 25 seconds.
9pm: Haircuts. Rob gets his trim while I hold a squirming Jacob as still as possible for his own cut. This is easier said than done. The contractions are worse now. They’re only about 30 seconds in duration, but are coming every five minutes. The walk from the restaurant to the hair salon was nearly impossible. We still have to run back to the other end of the mall by 9:30 to make it out the same door we entered and avoid a cold walk around the mall after dark. I manage to sit through my trim. Our stylist decided to discuss the problems she’s having with her husband and somehow both Jacob’s and my hair kept getting shorter and shorter. Guess this is okay because it’ll surely be weeks before I get back for another trim.
9:30pm: We sprint through the mall. Actually, Rob and Jacob run ahead to keep the store from locking its doors. I waddle my way down, stopping a couple times to wait out a contraction. I’m still not convinced it’s real, only because I’m afraid to be that hopeful. I can’t decide whether to call Mom and ask that she come up now. She’s scheduled to work in the morning and will need a few hours to arrange coverage. I’m also worried that there is a smaller storm coming tonight and I don’t want to call her in the midst of it and ask that she drive two hours frantically. However, if it turns out to be false labor she may not be able to arrange time off a second time for the real thing.