I know it's been a while since I've updated. Things have been busy. That happens with a big, busy family.
I started contracting yesterday pretty regularly. I was timing them and they were between 5 and 25 minutes apart - never going more than 30 minutes for 5 hours or so. I knew I wanted to get checked but didn't want to go all the way to Valley just to come home again and I didn't want them to "send" me to the hospital because I had progressed to far. So I went to the family practice clinic I take the girls to. They have a walk in clinic and I explained to the receptionist what I wanted. They seemed a little confused as to what I was looking for at first but when I explained this was my 4th baby and I was contracting they agreed to check if I was dilating. Turns out I was dilated to 3.5cm!!! Yay! 4 is considered active labor so I was thrilled. I came home very excited! I called Doug and let him know that it would be soon and that he might not be going into work today. I called Charlene and let her know that she might want to be on standby - hopefully we were getting ready to have a baby! We had dinner and sat and watched some TV and the contractions were consistently about 8 minutes apart and lasted just over a minute for about 2 hours. When we went to bed we put some chucks pads under the sheets in case my water broke and got some sleep - fully expecting to get up in the middle of the night and call the midwife to come down. It was hard for me to get to sleep and I spent most of the night tossing and turning, more than normal. But I wasn't really having contractions or I was sleeping through the ones I was having and there was nothing more happening. It was frustrating to wake up at 5:30 and have it feel like any other day.
I am grateful for not being in the hospital though. Had I followed the advice of the on-call doctor at the walk in center I would have gone to the hospital last night once Doug got home. Once there I would have been put on the monitor for my contractions and had my cervix checked about every 30 minutes or so. The general guideline for hospitals is that you are expected to dilate 1cm every hour once you are in active labor. Sometimes they let you go a little longer. It depends on the doctor on call (one British study found that the more anxious personality the doctor had the more likely you were to have a c-section). So basically had I not progressed to completely dilated and ready to go over night they would have diagnosed me with "Failure to Progress" and started trying to augment my labor and the cascade of interventions that causes. All of which increase my risk for an unnecessary c-section. Thankfully that was not something we even had to have be part of our day.
My contractions have started up again this morning. I've had about 6 since I got up an hour and a half ago. I decided not to time them just yet, as it's not doing anything other than frustrating me. Doug is leaving for work in about an hour and I have a massage at 9. Maybe things will get going today and we'll have her tonight. Hopefully she doesn't decide to be stubborn! It looks like she does things on her own time, just like her Papa! I'll keep everyone posted.