You will need to read part one and part two of my beautiful little lady's birth story in order for this to make sense. So I'd recommend you give those a read first, if you haven't already. But anyway, on with the story...
We arrived to a deserted maternity unit, and two midwives falling over themselves to help us. It was clearly a quiet night baby-wise. The midwife confirmed that my waters had broken and strapped me onto the monitors to check that baby and I were both doing okay. She decided against checking how dilated I was, because I wasn't contracting yet, so there seemed little point and as my waters had broken I was already at increased risk of infection. They left us on the monitors to sort out booking my induction for the following evening, and we spent a calm half an hour watching our baby's heartbeat on the monitor. It turned out that I was actually contracting, but nothing that I could yet feel; so after a phone call to the main hospital it was agreed that I could go home to wait for things to progress. I was sent home with a mountain of pamphlets to read on induction, and also all about how to monitor myself for signs of infection. I was also instructed to ring and head straight to the hospital as soon as anything got started, as third babies can often come quite quickly, and we had a reasonable drive to get there.
I was shattered now as it was nearly midnight, and all I wanted was my bed. So after sorting out bedding for my mum, and triple checking the hospital bags had everything in them that we needed; we headed to bed. As I was just getting comfy, I felt my first twinge of a contraction. It was still mild, and didn't last long, but was a contraction nonetheless. So I told Rich and said we really did need to get some sleep while we could. Within in minutes I could hear the tell tale heavy breathing of a sleeping husband. But having been exhausted a few minutes before I was suddenly wired and lay awake waiting to feel another contraction. I remember excitedly anticipating them, knowing that each one brought me another step closer to meeting my girly.
It was a strange feeling really. Because I just felt so calm. With my previous two births I was anxious and nervous, and a ball of excited energy too. I just remember feeling pretty 'on edge' the entire time I was in labour with both of them. But weirdly I didn't feel like that, not yet at least; I just felt pretty chilled, I felt hopeful, I felt ready.
I guess I dozed on and off until about 1:30am when the contractions became a little too painful to sleep through. So I turned on the nightlight, grabbed my book, and tried to distract myself from the pains, while letting Rich sleep for a little longer.
One thing that people will tell you repeatedly about second and then third babies, is that things often happen a lot faster. So far this didn't seem to have been the case for me though. While all my labours had started with my waters spontaneously breaking, with the older two my contractions had started basically straight away. This time that obviously hadn't been the case and I'd had a good three hours of waiting between my waters going and feeling anything like a contraction at all. However this slow burning labour was about to ramp up a bit.
By 2am, a meer half hour after I'd given up trying to sleep, I could no longer concentrate on my book distraction, as the pains were quickly increasing in intensity and duration, and were getting closer together. Just after 2am I started recording the cramps with my contraction tracker app. I told myself that I'd monitor my contractions for half an hour and then wake Rich.
2:08am duration 00:47.
2:14am duration 01:09.
2:20am duration 00:36.
2:23am duration 01:02.
2:28am duration 00:36
2:37am duration 00:45.
At this point I could see that they were, on the most part, getting closer together, but weren't settling into a pattern yet. I'd have a long one, followed by a shorter one, followed by a longer one again. And sometimes the gaps between would get longer, and then be shorter again. So I decided I'd give Rich until 3am and then wake him up.
I'm not quite sure why I was so resistant to wake Rich. I guess I just didn't want to wake him and get his hopes up unnecessarily. I wanted to be really really sure that this was it before I disturbed him. I just didn't want any fuss until I knew it was really time. And actually I was quite enjoying the quiet, loneliness of being 'in the zone' by myself. It felt like the whole world was quietly asleep, and it was just me and my baby girl doing this thing together.