I was having cramp-like contractions late in the day on Monday, but they went away when I went to bed that night. Tuesday the same contractions started again early in the day. By late afternoon they were getting more intense, and radiating throughout my back. By about 4:00 I thought, this might just be it, and started to get the rest of my bag packed. I called Chris to see what time he'd be home shortly before 5:00. By the time he got home at about 6:30, I was on the couch having contractions every 3-5 minutes or so. They were still coming through my back as well, so Chris and Mom alternated putting pressure on my back to relieve the pain. Chris called the doctor and let them know what was going on, and they said we could head to the hospital at any time. I still didn't really believe this was it, so I was unsure if we should go or not. Shortly after 7:00, Mom thought we should go, and the contractions felt like they were one on top of the other at this point, so Chris started to get the car loaded up. We headed to the hospital around 8:00, Mom and I in the back seat as the contractions were just getting more intense and still putting a lot of pressure on my back. I don't know how I would have made it the 25 minute drive without her!
I was into my delivery room by about 8:30, and was 5 cm dilated. I got on my side so that Chris and Mom could keep massaging my back. I had a slight fever, so they needed to put in an IV for fluids. This was one of the worst parts of the labor, believe it or not. They couldn't get a good vein for the IV, and had to try both wrists and bring in a second nurse to finally get it in, all in between (or during) contractions that were coming every few minutes. (I have a pretty nasty bruise now on the arm that it didn't work on). By 9:00 I was 8 cm, but my water still hadn't broken. I asked the doctor to hold off, as I knew the contractions would just get more intense if she did, and they were pretty strong as it was and I was still making good progress. I was put onto my back for a while, which slowed down the progress I was making. Sometime before midnight the nurse had me get back on my side and my water broke shortly after. At that point, I knew I needed to push. I started pushing shortly after midnight, and 1 hour and 10 minutes later, James entered into the world.
He came into the world screaming and very alert, with a head full of dark brown hair and the biggest hands and feet I've ever seen! He scored 9's on both of his APGAR tests. I knew I had a big strong baby boy in there, and I was right!
You can see more pictures of James' arrival here: