When we got home that afternoon I started considering seriously that these contractions just could develop into the baby-producing kind. Jessie and I decided to leave the girls with my Mom and go on a date, since I felt pretty strongly that it would be our last breastfeeding-infant-free date for some time.
We had dinner at Panera Bread, throughout which my contractions remained strong and steady at every 8 to 10 minutes. They weren't exactly enjoyable, but I don't think any of our fellow diners had any inkling that I was less than 5 hours from delivery. After that we headed to the pier for a walk. I figured, if I might be in labor, I want to give it a good sporting chance. The pier is a great place for walking, its also a great place to measure the size of your bladder. I swear it shrinks two sizes every time I set foot there. Fortunately there are public restrooms galore all along the boardwalk - its a pregnant woman's paradise.
Once we started walking, my contractions quickly intensified and started coming at every 4 minutes or less. Still, the evening was very pleasant, and the contractions hadn't exactly reached an intolerable level in their intensity yet, so we pressed on. Eventually I had to stop for the restroom, and was stuck in there long enough to make Jessie nervous and to catch the latest installment of a riveting teen drama (Kevin, if you're out there, be assured that Kaitlyn will drop J.D. in a heartbeat if you ever actually, like, commit yourself). After that I figured we'd better get back to the car as soon as possible and get on with my labor in a setting more conducive to childbirth.
We reached home base by 10 pm, just in time to kiss the girls goodnight. I tried lying down to see if my contractions let up, but they were coming at every 2 minutes at that point, no matter what I did. Even though I always feel guilty calling the midwives if I'm not having contractions of the white knuckle variety, I realized that contractions of that frequency should not be discounted, no matter what they feel like, so we called the midwives. Barb, who lives closest, arrived at 11:15pm and took my stats and helped Jessie get the birth tub warmed up. Patrice and Amanda had both arrived by 11:45. I was still having unpleasant contractions every two minutes or less, but I came out of our bedroom to greet Patrice and Amanda and stopped to check my email on the way back to our bedroom (Patrice later told me that she thought to herself at that point that maybe I had called too early since I was obviously in no great distress and she couldn't even tell I was having contractions). I then retreated to the bathroom and decided to go through transition right there on the toilet.
No sooner had I sat down, than my contractions turned the corner and I yelled through the next five or so (apparently not very loudly, because the midwives still had no idea that I was in transition already). It seems that no matter how laid back the rest of your labor is, transition will always hit you like a train and entirely overwhelm you. I suddenly realized that the sensation I was feeling was a definite need to push.
Jessie ran out and summoned in the midwives. I had just enough time to climb into the tub and get in my favorite "pushing pose" (on my knees with my arms and chin on the edge of the tub in front of me) before I started pushing with my next contraction. I asked Patrice, rather stupidly, "do you think you should check me? I haven't been in labor long enough to be pushing yet." She just laughed at me and told me she could already feel the head. I then realized my mom wasn't in the room, so Amanda went out and had to wake her up to bring her into the birth room. You can hardly blame my mom for thinking she had the luxury to fall asleep, since the last labor of mine that she attended was 3 days long. Once I really got started pushing, everything progressed very quickly. Two pushes was all it took to birth the head, then I had to wait for another contraction before I had my baby in my arms.
I held her to my chest and she was covered with a towel immediately, before we even knew she was a she. She didn't cry at all, but had good color and was moving. We had a couple precious minutes of snuggling and looking at her before we decided to peek and find out what we would be naming this baby. I was immediately struck by how small she was. I expected this to be my biggest baby since Eliza had been bigger than Theia. I was sure baby #3 would weigh at least 8 pounds. Ingrid weighed a whole pound less than Eliza at 6# 13oz. I still can't believe how tiny she is.