Read about the night before and our birth preparations here.
I woke up after a half hour of sleep at midnight. My stomach was churning. Why oh why did I drink that big glass of strawberry milk?! I went to that bathroom and was in there for a while, took some Tums, and laid back down. I was in my bed for a couple minutes before I decided that these cramps were just too painful and got back up. I went to the bathroom again and (sorry for the candor) my body basically emptied out. It was then I had the first thought of "I wonder if I am in labor?"
After being in the bathroom for about 15 minutes, I decided to watch the clock to see how "far apart" my cramps were. Sometimes there were 30 seconds and sometimes 2 minutes. Over the next few minutes, I had my only moment of panic during the entire labor. I thought "IF I am in labor, and this is just the beginning, I don't know if I can make it through." And even though it was more painful than any cramp I had experienced before, I kind of put aside the idea of labor because everything I studied and learned was that at the begining, your contractions are 5-10 minutes apart. There was just no way that with virtually NO pre-labor, and not being at all dialated just two days before, that at the very beginning was I experiencing contractions that were 30 sec-2 minutes apart! I decided to get back up and try to lay down again. Just in case this was the beginning, I wanted to try and rest while I could. But I couldn't, it was simply too uncomfortable. After only 2 minutes of lying down, I again got up and went into the living room/dining room area and spent the next hour and a half pacing back and forth. It felt good to move and walk so I just kept doing it.
Finally at about 2 a.m., I decided that I should wake up Geoff. *tap tap* "Honey I think I might be in labor." To this day I am still shocked he didn't wake up before that point because he is such a light sleeper and would wake up and the drop of a hat. He sat up and asked me how I felt and what is going on. After I explained the past two hours to him, he went to the bathroom and while he was gone something happened. My labor greatly intensified. In retrospect I wonder if it was the sound of his voice or seeing him that kicked my labor into high gear.
When he got back I told him, "yeah I'm sure I am in labor now". Suddenly, I couldn't talk during my contractions or do anything. I sat "indian style" on the bed and just breathed. Geoffrey got our rosaries as we had made plans at the beginning of labor to say a rosary for a safe and happy birth, but I just couldn't do it. I sat there and labored for a while. Then I remembered that I had gotten Geoff a gift for this occassion! I bought him a St. Joseph medal and had it engraved with "thank you for loving me" (every night in bed we say, "thank you for loving me today"). When I had a second, I told him where it was and he got it and brought it to the bed. He opened up the card and began to read the long, very long, note I wrote to him. It took him a considerable amount of time being that he was kind enough to stop to be with me during the contractions. Things were very intense at this point. I remember if I moved at all during a contraction the pain became unbearible, so I just sat very still and concentrated and then it wasn't so bad. The most annoying thing was that my legs started to bother me, as in getting tingly and numb during my contractions. So Geoff was my saving grace and would rub my legs for me. I can't tell you how much this helped.
After laboring for a bit, I said that I really think we should call Alicia (our most amazing and charitable midwife-turned doula). Geoff was a little unsure being that labor had just begun and it was around 3 a.m. He suggested we move to the living room and time the contractions to see exactly where we were. I got my cumfy sweats and my favorite hoodie on and moved to the LR where I again sat "indian style" on the couch and we timed. He was very suprised that they were lasting about a minute with only 30-90 seconds in between. Isn't that supposed to happen near the end?? I was starting to get a little worried I think because everything we had learned said to go to the hospital when contractions were 4 minutes apart. Well I don't think I ever had one of those. I said that we need to call Alicia and then start getting everything together to go to the hospital.
We had been anticipating a 30 hour labor that started out mild and easy. We also talked long and hard about laboring at home and delivering in the hospital. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be in the hospital for any amount of time, let alone get there and find that I am only dialated 2cm. With this in mind, I could tell Geoffrey was not quite on board with the idea, and I greatly appreciate that because in the thick of it, he was looking out for what I wanted. But I could tell that things were moving much quicker than anticipated so he went off to find our notebook with Alicia's phone number. It was no where to be found.
After what seemed like 20 minutes (I'm sure it was probably more like 5) he found it along with all of our Bradley Method stuff. Geoff called Alicia. The conversation went something like this: Geoff- "Hi Alicia sorry to wake you, we're pretty sure Dacia is in labor." Alicia- "Okay great tell me more." Geoff- "Well contractions are lasting about a minute and are coming every 60-90 secs but she has only been in labor a couple hours so we are wondering if we should go to the hospital." Alicia- "Um, yes definitely go to the hospital NOW. I will meet you there."
I'm sure she was surprised and probably concerned that we weren't already there but OKAY! Lets get to the hospital and get this baby here! Geoff started to gather everything while I sat and labored. At first when I felt a contraction coming on I would call for him and he would come running. It was so much easier with him by my side. But I finally realized at this rate we were taking too long so I told him just to go get everything and I would be okay for a few minutes. He grabbed our hospital bag, which thankfully was packed and was going for a few other things we wanted to bring (pillows, snacks, juice, etc). At one point I remember saying "Geoff we need to leave now or we aren't going to make it." Getting into the car on that very VERY foggy March morning, we made the one mile journey to the hospital.