Then I sent a message to the friend we were supposed to meet up with later in the day to say I didn’t think we’d make it for our All Fired Up playdate. (Pro tip: when you’re ready for baby to come, make plans! They love to ruin plans.)
Around 8:30am, my husband jokingly said if the baby was going to come could she let it be known before his 9 o’clock meeting and since the contractions were actually bringing me to my knees and I was the only one home with a toddler I figured it was probably a good time to let him know what was up. Things were still erratic though and I was afraid to call him home so soon. He decided to come home, but while he was on his way I pooped aaaaannnd I didn’t have another contraction again until after he got home. (Do you know how horrible this was going to be for me if he went back to work the next day and had to be like, “Nope. No baby… just a poop.”?)
It was a cool and cloudy day, but the three of us bundled up for a walk to try to keep things moving. A few contractions came and went, but nothing major and the walk was otherwise uneventful. Big Sister did NOT want to come back inside, but I’m sure we bribed her with the promise of Frozen. (My husband later confessed that Love Is An Open Door was on repeat in his head during Little Sister's birth.)
Contractions continued to be inconsistent for most of the morning (about 10-12 minutes apart with a few that were 7ish), but I managed to take a nap. (Early labor naps are beautiful. If you can, I highly recommend getting the rest while you can.)
Eventually things started to pick up. Contractions were getting longer in length and I could tell she was moving down because I had to pee after every one, but they still didn’t feel like I remembered them feeling the first time. Instead of feeling contractions in my belly I kept feeling them in my pubic bone and back. We suspected she might be posterior so my doula recommended some position changes for me to encourage baby girl to make the turn. (PSA: Get yourself a doula!)
About a half hour later I thought I moved her into a better position, but then things slowed down again. (Labor is a marathon, folks.) I ate a tunafish sandwich (wtf, why?!) and tried to nap again, but within the hour things picked up even more. Though they were still irregular, some contractions were coming as soon as every 2 minutes and some as long as 12, I started to feel nauseated and was shaking a bit. We called my wonderful, amazing sister-in-law who came to take Big Sister for some extra-special girl time. I was frustrated, but still coping with contractions well enough that I figured I wasn’t dilated much. I joked (kinda) that I was ready to just go to the hospital and get my epidural and watch Netflix for a while.
After Big Sister left, I wanted to go upstairs to lie in bed and try the side-lying hip release. While I was in early labor with Big Sister a nurse used this move with me and after she did I went into full blown active labor within minutes. I guess my babies just love that move because shortly after we did both sides I was full on shaking through contractions and they FINALLY became stronger and more regular. (Of course now I’m upstairs and have to get back downstairs in order to go anywhere.) I still didn’t feel like I was that far along, but my husband insisted it was time to call the hospital. (Smart man.) I found the number to call and I think the conversation went something like this:
Me: I’m in labor.
Nurse: Yup. Sounds like you should come in. We’ll get a room ready for you.
**Me In My Head: Oh whatever it's not even close to time**
I sent a text to my doula to let her know we were heading in, but since I was still convinced that I was only 2cm the actual text said, “I’m a wimp and can’t hang at home anymore.” (Timestamp 3:51pm.)
So now things are happening, but -- like I said -- I’m upstairs. Crap. I have another contraction and my whole lower body is shaking (because shaking feels good during those contractions… just let them happen, mamas!) and my husband it running around trying to gather all our things to get ready to go. I start to head downstairs, but then realize I didn’t take a picture the same way I did before we left for the hospital with Big Sister so of course I had to go back up the stairs, undress, and take the exact same picture that I took two years before *eye roll* and THEN head back downstairs again. (I’m basically crawling downstairs through contractions btw… it’s all very glamorous at this point.)
I had another contraction right before getting into the car and then again about halfway there. (We only lived 5 minutes door to door from St. Mary’s Hospital.) Since a contraction had just passed, I convinced my husband to just park in the parking garage across the street from the hospital rather than using the valet. (Again… I wasn’t even convinced I was supposed to be there yet.) We parked and started walking and there are probably four contractions and six people asking if I need a wheelchair between the car and the elevator. I stubbornly refused… still convinced I was only 2cm.
We got up to Labor & Delivery and I sent my husband ahead to let them know we were here and I was coming. (Very slowly… shuffling down the hallway. I stopped against the wall for a contraction and heard a mother groaning/yelling in the room next to me and I was like, “I hear ya girlfriend. I hear ya.” *Hunger Games sign*)
When I got to the nurses station I realized my nurse was one of my prenatal yoga students! She was great about getting us checked in and respecting my birth preferences, which I had sent ahead of time. (Text to doula to let her know we were in room 5… Timestamp 4:26pm)
Generally speaking, the fewer internal checks providers perform the better. It lowers the risk of infection and it can be incredibly uncomfortable. But I wanted to know how long of a night this was going to be (since I was only 2cm) so I asked my nurse to check. Aaaaannd I was 6cm and completely effaced. Oh. OK I got this.
I love my husband. He is an excellent partner in all things and has always made me feel supported in birth, but when my doula arrived I finally had someone who knew how to hands-on support me and make labor more manageable. I swear the techniques she used made my contractions practically painless. She encouraged and reminded me to keep drinking water and to empty my bladder. And even though hands and knees had been the most comfortable position for me throughout the day, she had me try other ways to help bring baby down.
Soon (much sooner than I even thought possible) I was starting to feel the urge to push. Like... was freaking out a little bit because I thought this baby was going to try to come through only 6cm not the 10 its supposed to. A nurse asked if my water broke and I said no. To which my doula was like, “Uhhhh not so sure about that.” Sure enough there were fluids in the portable toilet I was laboring on (The thing is basically like a birth stool and can really help you relax your pelvic floor muscles the way you would while using the bathroom normally) though it was more of a trickle than the gush that happened with my first. A contraction or two later and there was the gush I had been waiting for.
The urge to bear down was unstoppable so it’s a good thing no one tried to tell me not to. The nurses called Dr. Tate (the same doctor who attended Big Sister’s birth too) and we got to the beginning of the end.