Prodromal labor. Before my third pregnancy I had no idea what this term meant or that such a thing even existed. You were pregnant, then you had contractions that eventually regulated in a few hours, then you had a baby - simple right? WRONG.
With Miss Moo, I had Braxton Hicks, but no real contractions until they were 5 minutes apart and I woke up trying to determine just why I was awake. With Miss Roo, I had random contractions for a few days before labor, but nothing that seemed abnormal. Once I was in labor with both, the contractions came or they didn’t (as with Roo) and then after a few hours I pushed out a baby.
And then there was Baby Boy. I began having some contractions with him at about 36 weeks. I didn’t really find this odd being my 3rd pregnancy. None of them were strong enough to worry me, they simply just were. At 38 weeks I had stronger contractions, but nothing regular. I was sure that I would meet my son soon and had my parents come back to town “just in case.”
At the 39 week mark I started having periods of contractions. Ten minutes apart for two hours and then nothing. Seven minutes apart for 5 hours then nothing. I would go 12 hours and feel no contractions and then begin to think things were starting when another 4-5 hour session would set in. Nothing really HURT, but they WERE uncomfortable - they weren’t false labor contractions.
At 40 weeks, I got nervous. I felt pressure ALL THE TIME. Contractions were pretty steady at 10-15 minutes apart, but they still didn’t really hurt. I didn’t think I was ever going to have this baby. I went for a fluid check and a non-stress test. I was told by the tech “Sadly, your fluid levels are fine.” Apparently, most moms she sees at 40w 3d WANT an induction.
At 41 weeks, I began to worry. I had fought so hard and worked towards my goal of a homebirth and it looked like it might not happen. My parents went home and I walked as much as I could. My midwife checked my cervix for the first time at 41 w 1 d : 4-5 cm and stretchy. That’s right, 4-5 cm. She gently stripped me and scheduled another NST in 3 days. I walked all weekend. We spent quality time together as a family.
I woke up Monday the 15th with contractions that hurt. I laid in bed as long as I could and go up to use the bathroom. I had been having contractions 5 minutes apart for almost an hour. This MIGHT be it. But as I sat on the toilet, my heart sank. 7 minutes, 10 minutes, nothing. I emailed my midwife to let her know what had happened. She told me to stay positive, have my NST, and come see her afterwards.
My NST went well again. We were both healthy and working just fine together. The OB that I had overseeing me checked my cervix - definitely 5 cm - and stripped me - this time not so gently. I headed to my midwife’s office. We had a candid discussion and she told me we needed to try some things to get my baby out. We both wanted me to have my home birth and once we crossed the 42 week mark, things were going to look grim. She suggested acupuncture and they scrambled to successfully get me an appointment that afternoon. She also suggested coming to my house that night to see if we could make anything happen.
I agreed to that plan and headed out the door a bit deflated and worried. I’m not a huge fan of needles. I was by myself because Drew was at home working and overseeing the girls. All I could hear was a huge clock in my head ticking away the time until I’d end up in a hospital again.