18 April 2014

My Body is Weird: A wordy post about pregnancy and labor

     I cannot not even begin to count the number of times I cried begging and pleading with God to be pregnant.  So I feel a little frustrated with myself after finding myself bawling in the shower two days ago begging God to please get this baby out of me, that I cannot do it anymore---oh and after my last two midwife appointments.  Yep, at only 37 weeks.  Go ahead and judge me, I would. 
     This pregnancy has been so different from my first (although maybe very similar in a way.)  With Levi, I had a cervical check on a Tuesday at 40 weeks to be told I was already 5 cm dilated.  My midwife said she would see me that night.  I had never even felt a contraction at this point.  On Thursday, the clinic nurse called me to ask “Where are you?”  Nothing had happened.  Friday night I had a few hours of regular, but not the least bit painful contractions.   My midwife wanted me to come in.  I was 7 cm…no pain.  If you do not know much about pregnancy and labor, this is weird.  Then my contractions almost came to a complete stop.  I eventually gave in, and let her break my waters.  Then it got REAL, and Levi was in my arms four hours later, one hour of transition and three hours of pushing.  (So in the end, I did not get off too easy ;))
     This time around, I started having Braxton Hicks contractions at 30 weeks---completely common especially when it is not your first pregnancy.  At 34 weeks, I found myself having regular, crampy, wrap around contractions at a very predictable every 10 minutes.  They don’t want that, that early.  But they tapered off.  I had this happen two other times in that same week.  My midwife checked me to find me at 3 cm dilated, and put me on modified bed rest until 37 weeks.  Since that point, I have had Braxton Hicks almost constantly, but also bouts of much stronger contractions.  Technically likely still considered Braxton Hicks because they taper off,  but I distinguish Braxton Hicks as a tightening of my belly vs. more real contractions as wrapping around back to front, more uncomfortable, and taking breath away.  At 36 weeks, I was sure I was going into labor.  My contractions built all day in strength and frequency.  I had a few that night that nearly brought me to my knees.  Then it all went away.  (Which is good, baby needs to cook longer.)  But after an entire weekend of similar contractions, it was hard (although good) to hear I was still sitting at 3 cm.  Part of the stress has been this “I made it to 7 cm feeling a couple hours of painless contractions with Levi---what could be happening with tons of contractions, and some painful ones?’”  Not a ton apparently.  
     On Saturday night (and 37 weeks), I had pretty strong contractions spaced 4-5 minutes apart for four hours---then tapered off.  Wednesday the same thing but a little stronger and a little more regular---which we decided to go visit the hospital to ease my mind.  I was 4.5 cm…but of course the contractions slowed down because that is apparently what my body does.  Pretty sure I am at about 5 cm now because I continued to contract and cramp through the night.  I feel like I can feel the difference between when a contraction is making more happen vs. not doing as much.  Really the past few weeks varies between days loaded with contractions (6-10 an hour) where I feel like “how much more can I take” versus a few contractions (1-4 an hour), “I got this, I could make it to 42 weeks if needed.”  Some nights I cramp all night, every night I feel like my hips are splitting in two, and I get very little sleep.  I have a couple other painful unmentionables that accompany all these other silly things. 
     I know this is all within the realm of normal (perhaps not common), but it is far from the textbook labors that we are all told how labor goes.  It could be called “false” labor and I have read about the term “prodromal labor”, where your labor is long and spread out over days or weeks.  That is this.  This sure does not fit into our cultures model of “managed labor” which is possibly why you do not hear about it as much.  I am sure a lot of women who go through this end up getting induced?   So anyone else have a similar labor?  What was it like when you actually went into active labor? Was it super fast?  Did you get induced in any way?  How far along were you when baby came?  
     I am trying to not let my emotions play into what actions I allow my midwife to perform.  She offered to sweep my membranes at the hospital, but said she very rarely would offer that at this point (37 weeks)---but since my body is so progressed already and because I apparently labor weird (my words), she offered.  Although tempted, I said no.   If I was at 39-40 weeks she would even offer to break my waters at this point in dilation.  As much as I want this baby out, I prefer no interventions.  But I decided if I got to a point where I was 6cm at 38 weeks, or 7 cm at 39 weeks, I will let her do something.  Tomorrow marks week 38.  I am not writing to whine, really.  Mostly I am writing to just help myself process, see if anyone shares in my experience, and to share that not all labors are text book---that does not mean anything is wrong with your body. ;)
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  1. Very similar experience here! Four hour labor the fist time, after weeks of off and on. Same the second, ending in a 2.5 hour labor. I didn't think I was in labor and just made it to the hospital. Just wanted to share so you know you aren't alone! My thought are with you--it's so hard to be patient! I hope you have a wonderful labor!

  2. Hi Lonna, Thanks for the comment. What made you decide to go to the hospital the second time?

  3. The pain got unmanageable. I was contracting every 2 min for over an hour, but I thought it was just more false labor. But them I was trying to put my 2 year old to bed (oh, what timing) and he was very upset because he could tell I was in pain. I left the room and would have to squat or kneel to get through them, so we thought it best to go. 40 min later (20 at the hospital) and he was here!

  4. My water broke first with my first one, so I was waiting for that to happen! That was going to be my cue. But I'm glad I didn't wait, because my water broke right when I felt like I had to push. I pushed one time and he was born. It's so hard when you are like us, with all that pre labor, I was looking for signs that it was real all the time. But pain was my best indicator. Good luck!

  5. Leitia, I always said my last 3 labors were a month long. Hannah and Moses were both super fast and easy when it finally came time. Noah, not somuch hence why I told Danny "I'm never doing this again." Good luck! You're a great mommy :-)