What a whirlwind! I was supposed to go to my last day of work on Friday but didn't make it and missed my own baby shower at work.
I got home Thursday, cleaned, cooked, and in the middle of all of that starting getting lots of cramping and what felt like very mild contractions...but I didn't believe it was anything. It kept up so I called the midwife on-call and described what I was feeling just in case, but said it was probably nothing. She told me to see if I could find a pattern to my contractions, and to call her back in 90 min., so I started timing them and they were VERY regularly 10 min. apart. So in an hour and a half I called her back and told her, and she said to put my son to bed, go to bed, rest up, and to call back when they were 5-7 min apart.
I went to bed still in complete denial, assuming it was prodromal labor and that it would fizzle out. I couldn't fall to sleep until 11:30 and got an hour of sleep in and then I was up all night, waking up to time my contractions and falling back to sleep in between. They never grew closer together than 10 min apart though, so I finally got up for good around 4:30 am, trying to manage my son who uncharacteristically also woke up then, and suddenly I was down on my hands and knees breathing through contractions, and they were 4-5 min. apart. I was STILL in denial that this was actually it, but I plopped my son in front of a DVD, called my mom to come get him, called up the new midwife on call (my favorite one!) and in order to beat the rush-hour DC traffic, she decided it might be a good idea for her to head over, even though she asked me first and I actually told her I was OK as I was and didn't think I needed anyone right away (ha!)
Within 30 min. after she arrived, the birth assistant arrived and 15 min. later I said I was getting in the bathtub, as my contractions were suddenly one after the other and they were getting difficult. I still figured I had a while (active labor with DS was 15 hours) so a hot tub sounded great. DH was downstairs this whole time, getting food ready for everyone and wrangling our cat so he wouldn't be traumatized by my birth like last time. Within 5 min. of getting in the tub, I felt a pop and an internal shift and I said "I think my water just broke!" The midwife was in the other room documenting everything and the birth assistant checked the water and said everything was clear. At this point the pain was pretty unbearable and that is when I started complaining and vocalizing. However, as soon as it got unbearable, I felt the urge to push, and suddenly the midwife was in the bathroom and wanted me out of the tub immediately, as she could already see the head! DH was still downstairs and the midwife called for him and minutes later he was still not upstairs! I got in the bed on all fours and started pushing, and suddenly DH was there and he tells me he almost fainted, he had no clue things were progressing that quickly. Within 10 min. I pushed out our baby girl, who came out with a hand up on her forehead (ouch!). We named her Elena Lucia, born 10 days early at 8:17 am on 3/22. She weighed exactly the same weight as my son who was 6 days early; 5 lbs., 14 oz. Elena was also born on the 22nd, which is my birthdate and my son's as well...my son was also born on the last day of work before a break, as was Elena. Craziness.
Aside from a LOT of clotting that needed manual remove (holy pain...) and ultimately some medication to control, the experience was amazing and I've never felt more cared for by anyone as I did by the pair of women who helped bring my daughter into the world. They helped bathed me postpartum, made sure everything was functioning properly, etc. I haven't been downstairs since the birth and have staying in bed, nursing my baby and snuggling with her and trying to sleep and rest.
I can't wait to read your birth stores! You can do it ladies!