It's hard to say exactly when my labor started. Some might say I had a short labor, some might think it was long, it just depends on what you consider active labor. I had been having contractions for days leading up to Aubrey's birthday. They would come hard and strong and then subside and go away. Thursday morning was no different. I had contractions throughout the night. No big deal. I'm not one to just sit around so Owen and I were at the library that morning for our weekly story time. I had contractions during story time but thought nothing of it. They were strong (I don't like to use the word painful because pain is really hard to measure and it's all a matter of perspective anyway). After story time we went to Portrait Innovations for Owen's two year photo shoot. The contractions were harder at this point and it was difficult to get up and down from the floor where I was trying to entertain Owen so as to get that perfect shot. A few times I had to pause and sit down to catch my breath and it crossed my mind that perhaps this was real labor. I then sat down with the photographer to pick out my portraits. He was a little concerned when, at times, I just pointed to the picture I liked rather than actually talking to him. I began to notice that others were looking at me as he kindly said, "Do you need to go? Are you going to have a baby?" Once the contraction passed I smiled and said, "No, no, no. I'm fine." Before long numerous people were coming over and asking, "So, when are you due?" Everyone in the studio was wishing me good luck. After I picked out my favorite pose Owen and I ran to McDonald's for lunch while our pictures were being printed. It was a busy lunch hour and I wasn't able to eat. At this point I thought maybe I should call my friend Diana to see if she was free to watch Owen just in case I ended up going to the hospital. It was about this time that I thought perhaps I should start to time the contractions. They were anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes apart. I was supposed to call my doctor when they were 10 minutes apart but I had decided weeks ago that I was not going to the hospital that quick. I wanted to labor on my own as much as possible. I loaded Owen back into the car and at this point I was having a difficult time standing during the contractions. I had one in the parking lot and had to just lean over some random car. But when I wasn't having them, I felt absolutely fine. We went back to the studio, picked up our pictures, got back in the car and started to head towards home. Did you know that it's uncomfortable to push the gas pedal during a contraction? It is.
We got home and I tried to put Owen down for a nap. Wouldn't you know that of all days Owen was not cooperating and kept getting out of bed. I was convinced that if I could lay down the contractions would slow down, but I couldn't lay down because my toddler would not obey. After some consistent discipline, the little stinker got in bed, stayed in bed, and fell asleep. So about 4 hours after my contractions started, I was able to actually focus on them and time them. To my surprise they were less than five minutes apart, most between 2 and 3 minutes. This lasted for 2 more hours. I decided to text Ben who was in class at the time. He asked if he could stay for one more class. He probably could have, but at this point I was a little nervous about being in labor home alone with a toddler. So Ben came home to pick me up and we headed to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at 4:15 p.m. I was afraid I would be sent home but when they checked me I was almost dilated to six and 90% effaced. Praise the Lord! The nurse asked me to rate my pain on a scale from 1 to 10, a question I hate. I told her it was a 2 - the same answer I gave the entire time I was in labor with Owen and with Aubrey. She said, "At this point you're probably at least on a pain scale of 5." It's just such an odd question, and in reality, what difference does it make? It's just so subjective.
The nurse was so cooperative. I informed her that I wanted to go all natural, no epidural, no pain medications, no I.V.'s, no internal fetal heart monitor, no catheter, no breaking my water, etc. She was wonderful. She was actually the same nurse I had with Owen, but I didn't think she was so wonderful then because I had no control with Owen. She hooked me up to everything imaginable - but Owen was a totally different story due to my condition. This time, she let me have the labor I dreamed of and allowed my body to get to work on it's own. Around 7:45 p.m. I asked the nurse to check me because I was pretty sure it was go time. Sure enough, I was dilated to a ten and was told I could push whenever I wanted to. My water broke a few minutes later and I started to push at 8:00 p.m. I was able to use a mirror this time too and I LOVED watching the delivery. She was in my arms at 8:16. I cannot explain what a tremendous feeling it is to have that baby on your chest after carrying her for so many months and laboring for so many hours. It is absolutely amazing! Ben and I were discussing the whole labor and delivery afterward and I realized that God was so good to me in that He gave me the EXACT labor and delivery I wanted. I am so blessed and so thankful.