For all our joking about this baby coming early, we didn't really believe it would happen. As I kept telling people - babies in my family don't come early!
On the Saturday I had my lovely high tea pre-baby celebration with my friends, which was a great day out. Sunday was a quiet day in with my boys. Then on Monday I decided that I would take Eli to daycare and pop into the office for awhile. Part of my reasoning for this is that I had a midwife appointment at 9am, and trying to juggle cars and children etc with Shane was too complicated any other way around.
Eli and I went to the midwife, and our regular midwife Myra was off sick. A lady named Fiona from the labour ward was covering for her. She did my usual quick check up - weight, blood pressure, foetal heartbeat etc. We made some quick small talk and off I went. Did a few hours of work, joking to Mark that I mainly went in so I could have my favourite Mexican food for lunch, which had become a routine every work day during this pregnancy. Mad Mex, naked burritto, rice, beans, chicken, tomato, medium salsa, sour cream, cheese, guacamole. Mmmmm! I got tired after lunch and decided to call it a day. Instead I popped over to Westfield and had a massage and pedicure from some lovely Chinese ladies, before picking up Eli and heading home.
My pantry was very untidy, and I decided to ask Shane to pull everything out for me so I could do a clean out and restack it. I joked that just our luck, as soon as everything was pulled out I would probably go into labour and leave the house chaos. Hahahaha. So Shane pulled everything out of the pantry and put it on the bench and floor.
That evening I took Eli to our bed to put him to sleep. All of a sudden I started to feel period-like cramping. It was painful - more so than any Braxton Hicks - and I thought that it was a good sign of things to come in the upcoming weeks. But then awhile later the first contraction came. It wasn't a huge one, and not too long, but certainly took me by surprise. I also felt a "show" and a subsequent trip to the toilet confirmed it. I stayed snuggled in bed with Eli, and at one point a contraction came quite painfully to the point that I freaked out a tiny bit in my head. At that moment Eli sleepily reached over and started stroking my cheek with his hand. It was so adorable and I relaxed immediately. Contractions continued intermittently. I came out and said to Shane "I'm not ready yet! It's too soon I'm not ready!" and he reminded me that I don't have much choice in the matter.
I was anxious about the state of the house because "what if we have to call somebody at 3am to watch Eli!" so Shane stayed up late cleaning up. I was up and down much of the night.
Tuesday I had intermittent contractions all day, same on Tuesday night and Wednesday. At times they were very painful and close together, at other times I'd have a long break. Typically at night they would increase and come 5-7 minutes apart for a few hours between 10pm and 2am, before finally giving me some respite to sleep. Because of this I was quite tired by Wednesday night from two nights of poor sleep. Although, the intense house cleaning I did on Wednesday probably didn't help much either! Tuesday night we were so worried about how fast things might speed up that I called Reggio Emilio and asked if Eli could attend on Wednesday. It was meant to be his first week dropping to two days only (previously three) but fortunately they had a kid off sick on the Wed so let him attend.
However, it wasn't until Wednesday night that things finally sped up. And sadly, not fast enough! I had contractions every 5 minutes on average, and roughly 45 seconds in duration. And fairly painful By morning I was exhausted, I called the hospital and they suggested I come in. We took Eli with us and I was surprised that they didn't object to him joining us in the triage room! The midwife confirmed that I was 3cm dilated, and put me on the monitor to check contractions and foetal movement. A med student came in and asked if he could ask us some questions, we agreed and it was quite diverting chatting to him as we went. He was from a hospital that doesn't have a maternity ward so was taking the opportunity to learn!
We were shortly sent on our way, with the midwife confident we would have the baby within 24 hours. I got Shane to drop me at home before he dropped Eli at Reggio and went to work. I lasted about an hour at home before I called Shane to come home because I didn't want to be alone. Spent the whole day in the living room contracting. Sometimes they'd come 3 minutes, sometimes stretch out to 7 minutes. In between I was always in constant pain, so it was literally a day of labouring and nothing else. Shane joked at one point that this was the first time he and I had been home alone together since Eli was born! Not the most quality time however. We called Jeanie and arranged for her to collect Eli from daycare and bring him home around 5pm. In the meantime I tossed up when to go back to the hospital - I didn't want to go too soon, but at the same time I was really stressed about Eli coming home and seeing me.
To be continued....