Read Part 1 Here
I'm not sure why I was so sure that first contraction was going to be the start of "real" labor, but I just knew. As that first contraction ripped through me, I sat up in bed and knew we needed to start timing these. Imagine my surprise when the next one came just 2 minutes later. At that point, I got out of bed and got my exercise ball and begin to rock on it. We had taken Hypnobirthing classes to cope with labor and the plan was to labor at home for as long as possible to avoid interventions and let my body do what it needed to do. I got my iPod and started listening to the Hypnobirthing tracks in order to "zone out" and get as relaxed as possible.
So I'm rocking on my ball next to the bed with my headphones on and handling/breathing through each contraction as they came - still exactly 2 minutes apart. I was really surprised by how painful they were and how they were immediately so close together. I figured when labor started, it would ramp up a little bit slower, but this was definitely intense.
During this time, I really didn't know and wasn't paying attention to what Jake was doing. I knew that he had gotten out of bed but I didn't really want or need him to help me, as I preferred to labor by myself with the Hypnobirthing tracks to relax me. Later I learned that he was frantically running around the house, packing the car, showering, shaving, etc. It was actually probably pretty comical to watch this. I do remember him making me put a towel down on the carpet underneath my exercise ball in case my water broke HA!
My contractions were still consistently coming every 2 minutes apart and lasting about a minute in duration. I do remember Jake asking me if we should head to the hospital soon and I kept saying no. I guess the way I was handling them was changing and he was getting freaked out because they were more intense. He wanted to call the midwives to check on everything but I kept telling him not to and that we were staying home longer.
I had no idea what time it was or how long the contractions had been coming and Jake soon informed me that it was 6:00am and that my contractions had been coming for 5 hours. He decided (without telling me) to call the midwives to see if we should head into the hospital soon. The midwife, Jennifer, wanted to talk to me (I guess to gauge how much pain I was in) and I managed to speak to her for about 2 seconds during a contraction. Honestly, at that point, the pain was pretty ridiculous and the only thing I wanted to do was rock on my ball and remain quiet.
Jennifer told me that we should head into the hospital within the next 30 minutes. I was not a fan of this idea, so I got off the phone and told Jake "oh, she said we have at least an hour until we should start to head in". Yes, I totally lied. Jake suggested I jump into the shower quickly to see if that would help with the pain and he knew I would want a last shower since we didn't know how long it would be until I got another one. I had heard that some people loved laboring in the shower, but for me, it was awful. I couldn't relax standing up and I had to keep gripping the shower walls during a contraction. It was the quickest shower of my life and I couldn't wait to get out.
I took my time getting dressed and generally just dilly dallied around to avoid getting in the car for as long as I could. Jake started to see through my plan and pretty much forced me into the car. I knew the car ride would NOT be fun to deal with contractions, plus I still felt we were heading into the hospital too early. They send you home unless you are 4 centimeters dilated and I was convinced that there was no way I was 4cm. Yes, after laboring for 6 hours at home with contractions coming every 2 minutes, I still thought that I hadn't made any progress. It was about 7:00am by the time we left for the hospital.
As I suspected, the car ride sucked. It was horrible to sit in the car and every bump in the road was agony. We pulled into the parking garage and I decided I still did not want to go into the hospital. There is a neighborhood behind our hospital and I suggested to Jake that we go walk through the streets there before going in. He looked at me like I had 5 heads and basically dragged me into the hospital. The walk up to the L&D unit was pretty miserable as well and I had to keep stopping and breathing through each contraction. Apparently, I was making quite a bit of noise during each one but I was glad it was still pretty early in the morning and there wasn't many people around.
After dealing with the most unfriendly triage receptionist EVER (she actually asked me to fill out the forms, as I'm literally bending over in pain during a contraction - do I look like I can fill out forms?? I threw the clipboard to Jake and walked away to deal with my pain. And I may have called her crazy loudly), we got to triage and the nurse came into check me. I informed her that we were probably going to be going home as I was convinced I wasn't far enough along. She took one look at me and said "honey, I don't even really need to check you. I can tell by looking at you that you are staying".
Of course, she was right. I was at 5cm and completely effaced and they started making arrangements to get us in a room. Whoa - this was really happening!