When I was pregnant with Austin, I never actually "went" into labour. I was induced, so although I knew what labour felt like, I had no idea what it would feel like when I suddenly realized I was in labour. And because I started having false contractions around week 36 of my pregnancy, I often joked to Ryan that I wouldn't know when I really went into labour.
And in a way, that was the case.
At 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 10, I woke up with an incredible urge to go to the bathroom. Nothing new really, since I did that three to four times a night anyway. I got up, did what I had to do and went back to bed. About 15 minutes later, just as I was dozing off again, I had to go again. I got up, did what I had to do and went back to bed. About 15 minutes later, it happened again and that's when I realized that something was different and that there was this odd pain in my belly. I realized suddenly, in my half-awakeness, that I was in labour.
So, I got up and lay on the couch. I figured labour takes hours to progress -- afterall, it took eight hours with Austin and that was with an induction -- so there was no need to wake Ryan. I lay there for almost an hour; timing my contractions at 8 to 10 minutes apart and even dosing off between contractions. Then they started to get stronger and at 3 a.m., I woke Ryan up, told him I was in labour and that although the contractions were still far apart, I needed him to talk me through it. Maybe that should've been a sign, but again, having never 'gone into labour', we didn't know.
The next half hour is a bit of a blurb to me. It seems to me within minutes of waking Ryan up, the contractions started coming faster and harder -- but I stopped timing them at this point because I figured that was his job.
By 3:30 a.m. though, we realized I needed to go to the hospital. Ryan called our friends who were on emergency-middle-of-the-night-Austin-duty and they said they'd be right over. It took half an hour, but afterall, we did wake them up in the dead of the night and ask them to stumble to their car and drive to our house.
But in that half an hour, I continued to progress, until all of a sudden, I said to Ryan, "I feel like I really need to push". Keep in mind here, we're still at home, and I'm lying on the couch in my pjs in my living room. Ryan answered that statement with a clear and definite "no you don't". But as the minutes ticked on, he did ask me if he should call an ambulance.
Thankfully, our friends arrived a moment later, and just after 4 a.m., we drove to the hospital with me telling Ryan he'd better drive fast.
Believe it or not, when we got there, I didn't want to be dropped off at the front door, instead I wanted to go to the parking garage with Ryan (which for the record, is only steps from the front door -- especially at that hour when you can get a good spot).
At 4:20 a.m., we walked into the labour and delivery assessment room; having to stop twice on the way up because the contractions were too strong to walk through. When the nurse asked how she could help us, I responded "I'm in labour, my water broke on the way here and I feel like I really need to push."
She looked at me politely and said "is this your first?" I responded, "no, my second." Suddenly, she looked around the room (which was full); asked a woman to get out of one of the beds and told me to get in. Within seconds, she realized I knew what I was talking about as she took a quick check and said "oh, there's the head".
She walked out and came back a minute later with another nurse and the two of them wheeled me down the hall to a delivery room. The next few minutes are a bit of a blurb, but I do remember being wheeled into a room where a doctor and four nurses were quickly trying to set up and being told to wait just another minute before pushing.
The next thing I knew, a baby was put on my chest and someone told me it was a girl. A few minutes later, the assessment room nurse poked her head into the delivery room, looked at all of us and said "congratulations, seven minutes door to door".
That's right, Alexandra Margaret Evans was born at 4:27 a.m.!
As the whole labour process progressed, it never once occurred to me that I would deliver that quickly. Once it was all over and Alexandra was lying safely in my arms, it slowly occurred to both Ryan and me -- had the hospital been farther away, she could very likely have been born on the side of the road.