They were lasting 44-73 seconds each and coming every 5-7 minutes. I was taking deep breaths to get through them but having trouble laying still and I guess I was being loud enough that Eric woke up. I have to say when I read birth stories I always laugh at the woman not waking her husband right away, but I will admit that it's hard to know when to wake them. I didn't want to disturb him if this was nothing! He asked what was going on so I told him, and then I got up to pack up some last-minute hospital items. I wanted to be fully ready to go just in case they picked up or my water broke. But once I was up and moving around, the contractions faded off. This threw me off a bit and I got a little discouraged that it might not be anything.
After an hour of contractions, Eric called the midwives (Justine was on call) to see what we should do. He told her what I was feeling and she confirmed that typically real labor contractions will not go away if you get up and move around, so she suggested I take a bath or lay down to get some rest. I didn't really like this answer (I knew I would feel more comfortable at the hospital), but it was also 4:24 am and I knew that it would be more convenient for my birth team if we could wait a few hours before going to the hospital. I laid back down and sure enough, they picked up again!
We called Justine again to let her know the contractions had picked up and that I would feel more comfortable if we came to the hospital. I was super scared of not getting there in time or having to endure tough contractions in the car. She said that she was at the hospital and to come in.
Eric called Jessica, our babysitter, to come to the house to be with Rooney, who was sound asleep in her bed.
Eric called my sister, who lives 45 minutes away, to let her know what was going on and that I'd like her to be on her way. She was at Rooney's birth and I wanted her there for this one, too. For me it's reassuring to have people in the room who will provide emotional support and advocate for you on your behalf.
Once Jessica arrived and Eric got our car packed, we left for the hospital! I wanted to go in and peek at Rooney before we left, but her door made a noise when I opened it and she moved so I got scared and bailed. I did not want to wake her up!
I don't remember much of the drive to the hospital, except that it was dark and calm outside with little traffic. On the way, I texted our photographer that we were on our way to the hospital and that we would keep her updated. She replied that she was up and would hop in the shower and wait to hear from us.
We got to the hospital and checked in. They had my preregistration on file so we got into triage quickly. I was feeling contractions every 2-7 minutes but they were pretty bearable with just closing my eyes and taking deep breaths. The nurse checked me and I was between 4-5 cm. I said "So is this the real deal?" and she said "Yep! You're not leaving without a baby!" I was so relieved. I texted my coworkers to let them know I would not be coming to work!
(With Rooney I got to the hospital between 5-6 cm so I was a tiny bit discouraged to not be as far this time. I could tell my labor was moving more slowly this time so I was kind of nervous it was going to last all day. Later I realized that this was because my water had not broken like it had with Rooney, which makes things go quicker and feel a bit more intense.)
My sister arrived at the hospital, and soon after we were moved to a delivery room. I was a little bummed that we got a small room that is typically given to recovering c-section moms (at our hospital, for vaginal births you deliver and recover in the same room, so those rooms are bigger, but they were full).
Our friend Mandy arrived with her camera, and I was so relieved because it meant that my entire birth team was assembled!
I got my IV for group B strep (I hate this part, they always miss at least once and this time was no different) and got my hospital bracelets on. I heard Eric ask, "Is this supposed to say her name?" ...they had given me someone else's bracelet!
The nurses change shifts at 7:00 am, so I got a new team of people and let's just say I was really pleased with the changes. :-)