Wednesday morning, I finally woke up to find that I was having contractions about six minutes apart that actually hurt a little. By 5:15am, I had observed a few other signs that labor might actually be starting. I called my family and told them to hit the road (driving from Memphis) and Bryan and I showered and dressed as normal.
We spent the morning doing last minute chores around the house and hanging out with Lee. He wrapped his little birthday gift for Katie Wilkes, and it was so cute watching him open the sack, put the stuffed elephant inside, and stuff in a piece of tissue paper on top. Bryan's aunt came to pick up Lee at lunchtime, and he went to spend the night at her house. The first wave of emotions came over me as I watched he walked out to the street holding his little gift, calling out, "Bye, Mommy, see you later!"
After Lee left, Bryan and I went to Target.
I honestly didn't really feel like we were getting anywhere. All morning, the contractions had been continuing, which was a welcome change from the days before, but they weren't stronger, and they would even space out further if I was sitting down doing something. I didn't want to sit around the house all day, only to sit around the house all night. So we went and got a ton of little errands run in that one trip, and now I don't even have to think about them!! :)
When we got home, I finished some Christmas projects (I know, I know, but now I have a newborn, and when will I do these?). By the time my mom arrived at four'o'clock, my contractions had spaced out to twelve minutes apart and over a minute long if I was sitting down, but only six minutes apart and forty seconds long if I was up and about. And though the pain had not increased if I was walking around, they were pretty good when I was sitting down. In hindsight, I was probably entering into active labor, but I was distracted with the arrival of family members and last minute preparations for the hospital.
I didn't sit down for the next hour, and by the time my father, sister, and niece arrived, I had just had three contractions that were four minutes apart and about a minute long, and Bryan wanted to call the doctor. But I was not convinced, because I could still talk through them... usually. I definitely had to stop for each one and concentrate more and more on breathing through them. My appetite for pizza had also kicked in, so I was trying to get everyone to choose what they wanted and order already! I promised we would call as soon as I ate.
Plus, what if we were stuck at the hospital all night without a proper dinner?
When the pizza arrived, we each wolfed down a few pieces, and I talked to the doctor at 6:45. He seemed nonchalant, but told me to come on in to get checked out. Bryan packed the car, we got dressed to leave, and then I wanted to wait and say hello to our friends from small group who were stopping by to pick up the DVD for our study. They left around 7:15, and we told my mom and sister to wait and let us go get checked. No point in coming to sit around at the hospital if we were just going to be sent home, right?
As we drove, Bryan tried to maneuver the late traffic while calling his family to relay the same message. I was completely convinced we would not have progressed very far yet. We arrived at the hospital around 7:50, got into our room, and after completing the entire admitting process, I was finally checked around 8:15. I was 5-6 cm, so we promptly got on the phone to let everyone know we were not leaving, and it was possible that the baby may be born in the next two to three hours. Our nurse was very excited to hear we were planning a natural birth, and said she would go ahead and have the room ready for delivery when she heard about my birth experience with Lee.
By now, the contractions were pretty painful, though still about four minutes apart. Bryan ran to the car to get our bag, and I remember having one while I was in the room alone, and thinking that I hated having my contractions alone! But after four or five, we got into a groove, and I was thinking we would go for at least another hour this way, and I was really getting settled into this phase. The nurse came back in to do a few things around 8:40 or 8:45, and that's when my water broke...