My due date was set for February 14. I felt that likely my "real" due date fell somewhere between February 8 and February 14, but because I seem to go way overdue (11 days and 9 days) and after calculating things out, we set it for February 14. My midwife was leaving town on February 14, and we joked that I would go into labour the day she was leaving as she had missed Nathanael's birth, too. (My 2nd midwife ended up delivering him, and I had a great experience with her).
Around February 8, my Braxton Hicks contractions started picking up and becoming quite strong. I remember attending my husband's grandpa's 80th birthday party and being distracted by them. I was hoping the spicy Chinese food we ate for supper would trigger real labour :-).
We did not attend church the next day because I felt that I wouldn't be able to hide when I was having the B.H. contractions (and we have to drive out quite far to get to church). For the whole next week, I had strong Braxton Hicks contractions that would wake me up at night. It was reminiscent of my pregnancy and labour with Nathanael, and I knew this could go on for weeks yet, so I wasn't too concerned as they were definitely not "real" labour-like contractions.
On February 14th, I woke up around 4:30 a.m. with contractions, but unlike the strong Braxton Hicks contractions I had been experiencing for the past week, these ones hurt...like "real" contractions. They affected my back, front, and legs. They came in waves with definite peaks of intensity/pain. Those who have experienced labour know what I'm talking about. They started off coming about every 9 minutes, like clockwork. Then, every 6 minutes. They were getting more painful and closer together and lasting longer. Once they started coming every 5 minutes and lasting for a minute, I called my parents to come drive in. About 45 minutes after calling them the first time, I called again, asking them to hurry because now they were coming every 3 to 4 minutes and were getting much more painful (My parents still had a bit of a drive to get to our house and the intensity of the contractions had me a bit concerned that if things kept picking up, I could be entering transition soon.) My parents arrived, and I called the midwife to let her know I was in labour. I was convinced this was the real deal. We decided I would call the midwife again in 2 hours to check-in unless I could not handle it at home before then. At this point, I was breathing through them and not able to talk during the contractions. My whole body was even shaking through some of them (which was kind of freaking my sister out, I think). I was sure baby was on her way, likely to arrive that day, possibly even that afternoon. Through the contractions I would think about Brielle and remind myself that "God is my strength," which is the meaning of her name.
To be continued...