Cass was anxious to have this baby after a long and uncomfortable third trimester. Moo had been born two weeks before her due date, so we never quite expected to get this far along. After complaining to the midwife of her aches and pains, the midwife had said to Cass, “You’ve never been this pregnant before, and these things are normal!” She also told us there wasn’t much you could do to kickstart labour unless the baby was ready to be born anyways.
Ever defiant, we tried everything in the book: long baths, primrose oil, spicy foods, even whole tins of pineapple. Most of our efforts went toward walking though, as labor with our first had begun after a long walk (and there’s nothing like perceived reality to put mind over matter). We went on several walks in the weeks prior to baby’s arrival – Barker’s Bush, Sudden Tract, Forks of the Credit Provincial Park – but the one that ultimately did the trick was our decided favourite: a bit of the Bruce Trail just outside Milton about an hour’s drive from Paris on the Guelph line.
Way back a million years ago before we had children, we had dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail, a 2200 mile route that runs from Georgia to Maine and takes 4-6 months to hike through. We even planned to do it for our honeymoon in 2012, but immigration set us back as we were unable to leave Canada while our permanent residence applications were processing. As a fallback we looked to the Bruce Trail, a shorter route at 550 miles but one that would still take several weeks to complete and would certainly challenge our nature survival skills. We were just starting to imagine the logistics of such a feat for the following spring when we got pregnant with Moo, and an optimistic “We can still do it!” soon turned into a “Yeah right.”
Still, we have dreams of doing longer walks and imagine what age our kids might need to be to come along with us. Another option we love the idea of is doing them piece by piece, slow and steady, until we’ve done the Bruce (or the Appalachian) in its entirety. This is perhaps why we found this walk so enchanting. We imagined ourselves not just out for a day trip, but actually living in the woods for a time with all we needed to survive carried on our backs.
Eager for such an experience we planned a drive out to Mount Nemo. We stopped at Goodness Me in Waterdown on the way and had a one dollar coffee, a chocolate cookie for Moo and a s’mores one for Mama. (It’s a good resting spot with one tiny table, perfect if a toddler needs a break from the car). But just before we got to Nemo, we found an access point alongside the road for the Bruce and opted for an unknown adventure instead.
Through the fields and forest Cass hauled her enormous belly, Mark took charge of Moo and off we went, up and down hills, batting away mosquitoes, admiring pink trilliums, crossing small streams on logs and stepping stones, and shouting every time we saw a blaze (Moo’s favorite game). The path was wide and open, quiet but well maintained. We only encountered one cyclist and a couple of guys hiking. The route we took was entirely safe. It warmed our hearts to see Moo run ahead of us enthusiastically, as we so often know her to be rather reserved.
We tested our echoes, rested on fallen logs, ate leftover cookies, climbed over and under stiles, and hoped with every step that our efforts would bring us a little closer to meeting our sweet baby Billie.
Well, our efforts paid off! That night contractions began slow but steady. We will share our birth story in its entirety in a subsequent post, so sit tight… Or if you’re tired of waiting, maybe go for a walk in the woods.