Hooray! I went into labor on my own! We were planning to induce tomorrow morning, which I wasn't thrilled about (I mean, it was my decision, but definitely not ideal) so I'm very glad that things got moving on their own.
I saw the doctor this morning, and she stripped my membranes in the hopes of getting things going. Apparently that can spark contractions by releasing a certain hormone, but it's not a sure thing. Since the doctor said one downside to induction is being bedridden for hours and hours, so I went straight to the library and got a couple more Jodi Picoult novels, and had a bite of lunch at Panera before meeting up with Matt for an invite-only rough cut screening of the Blue Like Jazz movie. (It was great, so when the real thing comes out next spring, I definitely recommend it!)
I got home around 3:00 and started feeling some stronger contractions, but nothing more than several points in the past week where I thought things were picking up and then they didn't. Matt brought Kate home around 4:00 before heading off to a class he's taking on Tuesday nights, and Kate and I got ready to go to Granna and Opa's house, where we would get to see our sister-in-law and meet our nephew for the first time! As Matt and I made the exchange, I told him I was feeling some stronger contractions, but no reason to think it was the real thing yet. It must have been within ten minutes that I started to change my tune, though, because by the time I got to my in-laws', I told them, "you might be taking me to the hospital!" (Matt's class isn't too far from the hospital, so it wouldn't make sense for him to come down and pick me up.)
I kept track of my contractions from the time I arrived at their house, and aside from one ten-minute interval, most were four, three, even two minutes apart, and getting stronger! I debated about whether we should go to the hospital, since I feel like we went too soon with Kate (at only five minutes apart) but figured better safe than sorry, since second babies can come fast and the doctor had said to come at three minutes. So, my father-in-law drove me to the hospital and Matt met us here.
That was about 6:00, I was five centimeters dilated, 90% effaced, and my contractions got stronger and stronger. By 8:00, though, I had my epidural and I'm happy as a clam now!
Don't know if she'll come quickly enough to make the 11.1.11 birthday, but we'll keep you posted! Thanks for your prayers, well-wishes, and Facebook messages!