Early that evening, we decided to bring the girls to their aunt's house for an overnight. The contractions were still fairly mild and spaced out, but I didn't want to have to wake them up and drive them over in the middle of the night. We stayed and visited for a bit with my sister-in-law, and I suddenly started to have very strong, I-needed-to-stop- and-hold-on-to-something-contractions.
At that point, I knew for sure that I was having a baby that night, and we hurried home. On the car ride home, I called my midwife, and told her my contractions were about five minutes apart, and that we were going home to shower and get our bags, and that we would probably head to the hospital soon after. She listened to me, and then based on the relaxed tone of my voice, told me that there was no hurry. I told her that I knew how I was feeling, reminded her that this was my third baby, and said that I would call her when we were leaving.
By the time we got home from dropping off the girls, I was working through the contractions, but was still coping fine. While Hugh was in the shower, I started to need to vocalize through the contractions, although they were still manageable. The memory of what being in labor feels like had come rushing back to me. It's strange how you can forget exactly how contractions feel. The memory fades after you have your baby, but then when you feel them again, you remember exactly and can't believe that you ever forgot how it feels. I was breathing and quietly moaning through them, part of me excited that my baby was coming, and part of me dreading what I knew was coming as the contractions grew stronger. I focused on my breathing and relaxing into the contractions, knowing that would make them easier to cope with.
Hugh finished his shower, and seemed to take forever finding snacks and reading materials, although it was probably only a few minutes. I was starting to feel some urgency to get to the hospital. I called the midwife again, and told her we were going. Once again, she told me we could probably hang out at home longer. I know she was telling me this based on my voice during contractions, because I was able to converse in a way that seemed normal and calm, but I told her that I really wanted to go. She reluctantly said fine, and she would have the hospital contact her after my dilation was checked.
Thankfully, the immensely uncomfortable car ride was a short 5 minute drive to the hospital. Hugh and I were admitted into the bright, florescent intake area, where a nurse checked my dilation. She informed me that I was only 2cm, and said "We are not going to admit you right now. Why don't you go home, and come back when your contractions get stronger."
I was not open to this suggestion at all. I said, "No way. This is my 3rd baby, I know what labor feels like. I'm staying here." At this point, my contractions were so strong that I could barely walk in between them. I was needing to hold on and focus, and just ride them out. I knew my baby was coming soon. I was becoming impatient with people telling me that I wasn't in serious active labor, and there was no way I was going anywhere.
The nurse was pretty much demanding that I leave, and I was essentially saying, "You're crazy. I'm not going anywhere." when my water broke all over the floor. Resignedly, she sighed and said, "Okay, we'll get you a room." Because my water broke, they had to allow me to stay.
They shuffled us to a room, and left us there for about 10 minutes. Our nurse came in and introduced herself, and said she'd be back in a little while with the paperwork, told me to get on my gown and wait on the bed. She left, probably thinking she had a while.
Meanwhile, about 3 minutes pass while I'm laying on the bed. My contractions are insane, and I know I'm having this baby.
I tell Hugh, "Get the nurse! I'm having this baby." I don't think he believed me. He gently reminded me that I was only 2cm, and I had a long time to go. "Get the nurse!" I insisted. Again, he patiently reminded me that I was not ready to have a baby. At that point, I was losing control. "GET THE F*** NURSE! I AM EITHER HAVING THIS BABY OR TAKING A GIANT SH**!" I yelled at him (edited, although we all know, swearing happens in labor.) This got through to him. Hugh pushed the call button, and yelled, "She says she's having the baby!"
At this point, all the nurses and the midwife came running in, frantically grabbing carts and blankets and turning the lights on. Sure enough, I was 10 cm. My body had started involuntarily pushing, and with one giant intense heave, Quinn's head was out, and he was born all at once. He pretty much shot out, there was no pushing, or the typical back and forth slow progress of a baby making his way through the birth canal. It was crazy fast. The nurse barely caught him. The midwife didn't have her gloves on yet.
Literally, I was holding my son within 30 minutes after being checked and told to go home at 2cm. It was insane. The nurses and doctors were all laughing and relieved that they had made it to the room, and I was really glad that I had listened to my intuition.
The birth of my son really taught me to trust a mom's intuition during birth, and I bring that belief with me into my work as a doula.