On Tuesday, May 22, the day before Emerie's due date, I felt no different at work. In fact I kept telling everyone that she was going to be a week late (because everyone says first babies are late) and that I would see them tomorrow. I got a few things done at work and left my sub plans in place "just in case." I went home and decided that I would try walking again in hopes that it would speed things along. I hadn't had any contractions (aside from Braxton Hicks) and I hadn't noticed a bloody show/mucous plug so I assumed that Emerie was staying put for awhile. I went for a long walk and came home and ate some dinner. Hubs was at a softball game so I decided I would just relax and watch TV. Around ten I went upstairs to get ready for bed and I felt something wet (warning: TMI ahead). I sat down to go to the bathroom and there it was, the mucous plug/bloody show. I got really excited because I knew that labor could be starting (although I also knew it could still be days away). Hubs came through the door and I shared the news with him. He was super excited and asked me when we should head to the hospital. I told him not to get ahead of himself, that it could still take days. So we got ready for bed and I laid down but I knew I was too excited/anxious to sleep. I started feeling some small contractions not long after I laid down so I decided to go downstairs and watch some TV and time them to see if they were coming regularly. They were not too painful, I couldn't sleep through them but I could lay there and breathe through them. They started coming around 7-9 minutes apart. As the night went on they started to get more painful and I started to have to walk and breathe through them. I took a shower thinking the water might help and I figured it would be the last shower I would have before meeting our sweet girl. One of my contractions was so painful in the shower that I told hubs as soon as I got out that he needed to get up and get ready! He got everything together and in the car and sat down to eat a bowl of cereal. I was nervous about going to the hospital because I didn't want to be sent home with false labor! But I hurried hubs along because the contractions were painful and every two to three minutes. We only live 5 minutes or so from the hospital but it seemed like the longest ride ever! We checked in at triage in the ER because it was 6 a.m. and Labor and Delivery didn't open until 8. I was wheeled upstairs to L&D, weighed, and given a gown to put on. They checked me and I was one centimeter dilated. Blah. I had been one centimeter for weeks. The doctor said she would check again in two hours and that would determine whether or not I was in active labor. They checked the baby's heart rate and clocked my contractions at 2-3 minutes apart. The pain was becoming unbearable and the nurse let me get in the jacuzzi to labor for awhile. That was the only small relief I felt, and even then it felt like someone was stabbing me over and over in the stomach with a knife. After two hours of suffering, the doctor checked me again and I had progressed to 4 centimeters! She told me I was definitely staying and I felt so relieved. I labored away for awhile, trying to cope with the pain but it became so intense that I finally asked the nurse if it was too soon for an epidural. She said that it wasn't and that I could have it any time I wanted. I decided to go ahead and get it, I was miserable and I needed some relief. Man am I glad that I got that epidural. What a lifesaver. I went from anxious, stressed, in major pain, to relaxed, happy, and excited for the birth of our sweet girl. The epidural didn't feel the way I thought it would. I could still feel my legs and wiggle my toes. I just assumed the epidural would make me feel paralyzed but it didn't. It just provided sweet relief! So we settled in for what would turn out to be a very long day! More to come!