I have totally neglected this blog lately. In truth, I’ve been working on lots of yummy recipes and posts about the upcoming planting season and snapping away with the camera with every intention of sharing… but I honestly don’t give a crap about much of anything else right now, other than getting this baby out of my body.
Today was supposed to be my due date.
I am very much still pregnant. And completely frustrated. Not so much because I’m still pregnant (well, yes, okay, that’s certainly part of it), but because I’ve actually been in labor for weeks.
That’s right. In labor. For weeks.
It’s called prodromal labor. And it’s a real thing. I’m here to raise awareness about this terrible affliction that curses pregnant women and sends them either running to the hospital or phoning their midwives and their mothers, falsely thinking that a birth is imminent.
There is no cure for prodromal labor. Some will tell you that a positive attitude and the belief that “your body is working” are the perfect antidotes to the mental and emotional damage that prodromal labor can cause. I will tell you that those people can suck it. Most of them have no idea of what you’re going through and cannot sympathize with the constant tease of a squirmy, sweet newborn dancing in your head like a dangling carrot.
Since I was almost 37 weeks, I’ve been one of the (un)lucky ones to experience night after night of prodromal labor. The last week, however, has been a particularly eventful mind-fuck. (I use that term with apologies to my parents, who I know read my blog entries. There is just really no other way to describe this crap.)
Exactly one week ago, late last Saturday night, I got very sick in the middle of the night. Now I’m no stranger to nausea and vomiting during my pregnancies, so this wouldn’t have been particularly noteworthy were it not for the fact that my n/v spells usually happen in the morning. I struggled to sleep for the rest of the night, as I was experiencing regular, timeable contractions that began in the middle of my lower back and radiated around my hips to my lower abdomen. There were absolute and discernible peaks and valleys and I had to employ some of my old Bradley Method relaxation techniques to really get through a few. By the morning, when my husband and daughter had woken up, I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept and was still contracting.
I headed for the shower, where the contractions suddenly kicked into overdrive. I was hunched over, grasping the wall with my back against the flow of the warm water to help relieve the pain. I was now moaning through each rush that came, so much so that Mr. T had come into the bathroom to check on me. I started to cry and told him that I thought this was it. Today would be the day we’d have our birth. He began tidying up the house and getting some last-minute birth supplies in place, anticipating that we would be calling the midwives soon. I told him that I didn’t want to do that just yet; that I’d rather get out of the house for a while and be distracted. So I got dressed and we headed to my parents’ house – who only live 15 minutes away – for a visit. Nearly as soon as I got into the car, the contractions stopped. They didn’t return for the rest of the day. Dammit.
Several more spells like this happened on and off throughout the week, usually at night. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, though, I had another big tease that had me thinking This Was It.
I awoke around 3:30 a.m. to some abdominal cramping and went to use the bathroom. The contractions came steadily – and heavily – shortly thereafter. I lay in bed timing them for the next hour and a half until I heard my daughter, B, on the baby monitor as she started talking to herself in her room. It was clear that she was awake for good (usually, fussy = “I can be put back to sleep” but chatty = “Come play with me! Let’s get this party started!”). So I went in to lay down with her in her bed and nurse her in the vain hope that it would both put her back to sleep and strengthen my contractions. Well, it accomplished the latter, but not the former.
We lay there in the glow of her mushroom-shaped nightlight, nursing and snuggling, for nearly an hour while I contracted more heavily than I had at any point thus far. I was rubbing her back and even found myself gripping the fabric of her pajamas when I reached a particularly difficult peak that I had to work through. It was actually a really beautiful moment, and it brought me to tears. I began to quietly cry as we nursed and as my rushes came on stronger and stronger, thinking that each one was bringing my son – her brother – closer and closer to us. We were doing it together, B and I, because of the bond created between us from nursing. It was quite powerful.
When I couldn’t take any more of the contractions from nursing her and felt like I had to change positions, we unlatched and got out of bed to go have breakfast. I easily put away two over-easy eggs and two slices of whole wheat toast like it was the first time I’d eaten in years. I was ravenous. I chased breakfast with a tall, cold glass of my homemade pregnancy tea (raspberry leaf, dandelion root, stinging nettles, lemon balm, and oatstraw) and my prenatal vitamins and alfalfa tablets. (The fact that I was so hungry was another possible sign of early labor. I was really starting to get excited.) I headed into the living room and squatted on the birth ball to bounce for a bit. I was still having contractions at this point, though they were getting noticeably weaker. I asked B if she wanted to nurse again, hoping it would bring them back, but she was much more interested in playing with her toys. Eventually, the rushes stopped coming altogether and I was once again completely and totally defeated. Dammit, again.
Yesterday, I phoned my husband at work early in the morning and begged him (and, admittedly unfairly, yelled at him) to come home. I had had enough of being up all night timing contractions that went nowhere, only to be exhausted all day long and be responsible for chasing after/entertaining/cooking for/feeding/cleaning up after/changing/dressing/nursing /negotiating with a toddler by myself on so little sleep and even littler patience. I was broken. I was out of steam. I was certain, CERTAIN, that this baby would come early and yet here I was, on the brink of my due date, with nary a mucus plug to show for all of this hard work I’d been doing.
I demanded that Mr. T take the rest of the day off and give me a break. To which, in his saintliness, he obliged.
Yes, I get that I’m totally lucky. And that I
probably definitely shouldn’t have yelled at him. But hey, hormones, amirite?
So here I am, a mere half an hour left in the day of my Estimated Due Date and I’m gonna go out on a limb here and wager that it ain’t gonna happen today. Hell, I’ll betcha it ain’t gonna happen tomorrow, either. I do, in fact, believe that I will be the first woman ever to suffer from permanent pregnancy.
That being said, I am eternally grateful to my patient and natural-minded midwives who are barely batting an eyelash at all of this “overdue” nonsense. If I was under the care of an OB/GYN or even a hospital-based CNM I would most certainly be having the “induction conversation” by now. So as frustrated as I am and as desperate as I am to evict my uterus’s current occupant, I have no desire to do so until he decides it’s time. I’m on his schedule, not the other way around.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m having some contractions that I’ll have to go time for the next four hours while I work myself up into a frenzy over whether or not this is actually It*.
(*It’s probably not.)