We went on our annual Memorial Day hike at Devil's Den. It ended up being a little longer than planned and I started having quite a few contractions towards the end of it, but later that day they eased up and went away.
* Park - to let the kids get wiggles out. But my contractions were getting more intense. This is where I started to worry because this might mean the baby was really coming sooner than I thought. At this point I called James and told him to look into flight info - just to see what the options would be if he needed to come in the next day or two.
* Sam's - I got more business supplies and stocked up on a bunch of staples before the instant savings ran out (you know toilet paper, cheese, etc...). It was a rough trip. I was in pain. I had planned on getting gas that we needed, but I wanted to get home to take it easy and slow things down. I think I cried on the way home (you know being alone, in pain, and having no clue what I should do). I did manage to stop by the business to drop off the supplies we'd gotten that day, but no gas.
When we got home Hannah got dinner ready while I laid on the couch. She put the tablecloth on, set the table, and got everyone cereal. I laughed out loud when I heard her say, "Now, you have to have a healthy bowl of cereal before you can have a yummy bowl."
Meanwhile, I was on the couch having intense contractions. They were still 3-5 minutes apart then sporadic jumps of 15 minutes apart, so I knew I was still a ways from the real thing, but I was really worried about waking up in the middle of the night in labor with no one there to watch the kids. I called James and he was looking at flights home for the next day. I decided to ask a friend to come watch the kids at our house while I went to the hospital to get checked....just in case. I got kids bathed and ready for bed then I took a bath to see if that would slow the contractions down. It helped ease the pain, but they didn't seem to slow down. Apparently James had called someone in our Relief Society from church to ask them to check on me. She called my phone, but I didn't hear so she came to our house. The doorbell is broken and she must have knocked on the door, but the washing machine was running (with baby clothes/blankets) and I had running water for the kids bath so we never heard it.
After I got out of the tub and was grabbing some things for the hospital bag (trying to remember what in the heck I might possibly need) and TJ was running around with his bath towel as a cape. He informed me he needed to poop and didn't quite make it to the toilet....instead he had some major diarrhea on the carpet. Lovely. Apparently the entire carton of blackberries he snuck after lunch had caught up to him. I got that cleaned up as quickly as possible, got kids ready for bed, and put a movie on. Meredith, the saintly friend who came to watch kids, arrived and I grabbed some stuff for the hospital and headed out the door. I was trying so hard to keep composed through the contractions, but had a major one as I walked out the door and ducked down behind the counter on my hands and knees to make it through without yelping out in pain.
I had 3 major contractions on the way to the hospital and there are pretty narrow roads all the way there. I was able to breathe and drive through two of them, but one was very intense I couldn't keep driving. Luckily I made it to the CVS parking lot to pull off through most of it. There is a gas station across from the parking lot and I thought about getting gas, but decided the hospital was more important. At this point I was beginning to think this was the real deal and I was in trouble! I've never had an epidural before and hadn't really planned on one with this delivery (I've had been thinking about what I could buy with the $600 + if I didn't get one), but in the car I decided I was going to go in and get one right away since I was going to be doing this alone.
Once I got to the hospital I had to stop and sit through a couple of contractions before actually getting through the front doors.
7:30 ish PM
I made it to triage. At this point I was having intense contractions about 2 minutes apart. They watched me trying to walk through the contractions and hold my composure while they verified all my info and didn't bother hooking me up to machines. They knew this was my 4th and just watching me they figured I was probably in real labor so they went ahead and checked me....I was dilated to 8 cm. She said something to me along the lines of, "You didn't want an epidural do you?" I had to laugh at the irony of me finally deciding to have one and then not really having much chance to get one.
You're supposed to have cell phones turned off, but I asked if I could call my husband to let him know. I talked to him for a minute while they walked me back to a delivery room. He was just about to get on a plane in Denver and would make it back to Fayetteville in about 6 hours. He had notified our friends that I was in labor and one asked if she could come to the hospital with me. I never would have asked anyone to come, I would rather have been alone and I probably would have said no way to most people, but she's one of the few I would be okay having her there.
As we got into the room I asked if I could text my friend that was watching my other 3 kids to let her know I was having the baby and she would end up spending the night. The nurse just looked at me and said, "we're not doing anything by the book here so you do whatever you need to." I really liked that nurse, by the way. It took me about 10 minutes to finally text Meredith with contractions and getting hooked up to IVs, etc......at least I think I actually hit the send button at some point. The nurses all got a kick out of the fact that I had gotten my kids ready for bed before driving myself to the hospital. They kept bringing that up.
Kelly, the saintly friend that came to the hospital, arrived at some point and it was nice to have someone to help distract me. My contractions kept getting more intense. I wanted to wait so James could be there, but knew it wouldn't last 5 hours, so I asked the Dr to break my water. In past deliveries it has still been several hours until much happened, but this time things went quickly.
I had a few contractions and I remember grabbing Kelly's hand, saying I couldn't do this, someone telling me I could, and someone rubbing the intense pain in my back.
** As I re-read this I realized it should have been obvious that I was in labor, but it wasn't. I was partially in denial, because I wasn't ready to have the baby, but I really didn't think he would come for a while longer.