Yesterday I chatted with Erin on MSN Messenger a few times, and she told me she had lost her mucus plug and was starting to get sporadic contractions. At around 2 she told me it was difficult to wrangle her toddler while she was in labor, but when I asked if she wanted me there to help she said no.
So I made a dumb decision and thought it'd be nice to walk to Fred Meyer to pick up salad fixings for dinner. It's a 30-40 minute easy walk. I took my phone and we set out, and got there, and gathered our groceries, and as soon as we hit the checkout (at 4:40) my phone vibrated at me.
"It's Tom," the voice said. I was all "...hi!" but thought "Tom? Who's Tom?" The voice said "we're on the way to the hospital now, it's time!" OH! Time, not Tom. Duh. And at the worst possible time, too, heh.
We flew through the self-checkout and walked home as fast as we could. I ran the last block or two, got inside and changed out of my now sweaty clothes, grabbed my bag and was out of there.
I had to call my aunt to have her help me with directions at the hospital, as the original plan was for me to go to Erin's house and ride with them. I made a wrong turn and had to make a U-turn and go back the other way, but when I got to the parking structure I found a spot pretty quickly and then made my way over to the birthing center. It was just before 6pm.
I got up to the labor and delivery area and stopped by the nurses' station and asked them to take me to Erin. The nurse knocked on the door and opened it, and I heard a baby crying - I was TOO LATE! By maybe a minute. The doctor hadn't even sewn her little tear up or anything. I rushed in and grabbed the camera out of my bag and went to see Oliver.
It turns out Erin was at 9 centimeters when she got to the hospital at 5:30, and after half an hour she was done! Her mom barely got there in time; she'd arrived seven minutes before he was born.
I stayed for almost three hours. I looked at the placenta (I said "it's kind of pretty, in a weird way" to the nurse, and she laughed and said "that's the first time I've heard anyone say that!") and got to hold Oliver for a few minutes (he sneezed, which startled him - so cute) and was there for his first feed, and was there when his big brother Anthony came to the hospital to meet him for the first time. When Erin's brother and his family got there, I decided it was time to get back home; before I left we planned for me to come hang out at her house on Thursday after her mom left, so that I could help out with Anthony and help Erin get some rest.
It was a whirlwind evening! I was so happy to be able to see at least the tail end of the birth, and Oliver seems to already be a pretty laid-back little guy!
I put a few more pictures up at Flickr.