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Catherine's Pregnancy Journal

Week 40
~ Prodromal Labor

On Saturday, June 16, I started having contractions somewhat frequently. I'd had them throughout the pregnancy but they were just here and there. By Saturday night I was having one every so often, but I knew they weren't strong enough or close enough to think anything of them.

Sunday morning I woke unusually early. I think it was around 6am, and I felt kind of funny, can't describe it . . . just odd. I'd had contractions in the night, and I didn't sleep very well. I decided to head to the bathroom and then try to go back to sleep. While using the restroom, I lost my mucous plug, well . . . part of it! It was slightly blood tinged. I wasn't really having any contractions so I decided to wait a bit before calling Allison to let her know. She had previously asked me to let her know if I lost my plug. I was too excited to go back to sleep so I started on Scott's Father's Day present. Jonathan woke up and helped me! We made buckwheat pancakes with syrup and cut strawberries for Jonathan's very wonderful "dada".

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I woke Scott up around 8am and let him know the exciting news. I called Allison and then called Amy to tell them about my morning and then went back to sleep. I was really exhausted. I started having more contractions while I slept, and more throughout the day. We were supposed to celebrate Father's Day at Scott's brother's house, but with the contractions and the excitement that labor might be starting soon and wanting to get plenty of rest, we decided to stay home. Later in the morning I lost more of my plug. This time it was dark colored, almost brownish. As far as we knew, baby was still posterior so I spent most of the day leaning over the birth ball, crawling on my hands and knees and doing pelvic rocks.

By nighttime my contractions were getting painful and I kept thinking, "this is it! this is it!" and I lost more of my mucous plug close to bedtime. My contractions were painful enough to wake me up during the night, but then morning came and the contractions fizzled out.

Throughout the day on Monday the contractions were between 10 minutes apart and one hour apart. They'd pick up and fizzle out, pick up and fizzle out. I was a little frustrated, but trying my best to be patient. I spotted brown all day long too, so I knew that my cervix was doing *something* during all of this! My contractions were increasing in strength, and some of them were pretty painful. I decided to call the chiropractor the next day to see if I could get in for an appointment on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

Nothing new on Tuesday morning. Still had contractions in the night only to wake to them fizzling out. Well, I guess new if you consider me being in a foul mood. I had reached a new low. I was getting kind of depressed. We tried *everything* to encourage baby to turn to anterior . . . pelvic rocks, crawling on the floor, using the birth ball, hip squeezes forever and baby was still snuggly posterior. I went to the chiropractor, which was the only fun part of my day. Scott and I were praying and praying that everything that seemed so dismal would turn around, and soon. We were hoping for the best. We felt like that is all we could do. I felt like I just wanted to cry and cry and cry.

Tuesday night the contractions became semi-regular between 6-9 minutes apart. I wanted to spend every moment I could in the shower, and practically did! I'm sure our water bill this month will show it. Haha! That was a big night though. I surrendered my desire to turn baby. I realized I just couldn't do it. I'd tried and tried and tried. I still kept a good posture and leaned over the birth ball, but I realized I had been obsessing over it. I surrendered it to God and trusted that He had a perfect plan for baby and the birth. I felt more at peace . . . as much as one could be having contractions 10 minutes apart for that long!

Thursday morning my contractions kept going strong and regular after I woke up. I called Amy very very early to tell her, and then shortly after my contractions fizzled out again. I was in disbelief!!! I was so ready! Or so I thought. I was convinced that Thursday would be the day.

Thursday night contractions picked back up. Scott went ahead and filled up the birthing tub, but I didn't get in. The contractions were around 5-6 minutes apart for a couple hours or so during the late evening so we called Allison (our midwife). She and her assistant, Jasmine, came over. Baby was anterior!! I was so thrilled!!!!! My contractions started to slow down and by late night the contractions were back at 10 minutes apart. I was so frustrated. If I didn't believe so firmly in God's perfect plan, my body's ability and baby coming when s/he is ready I think I would've been gulping down the castor oil. But I held firmly to my faith in God and the wonder of birth. I also kept thinking that if I did try something and I ended up with a c-section for some reason that I'd never stop kicking myself for not trusting . . . if that even makes sense.

Allison and Jasmine stayed the night, and Friday morning Allison checked baby's position. Baby's head was not in a good position, so she adjusted baby a bit. The good news was that she said that I was already 4 cm or so dilated from all this prodromal labor!! I had contractions all day, still about 10 minutes apart. Thank God for my husband who stayed home so I could nap off and on. There were times when I wanted to yell or whine (and sometimes did) about how awful the "go nowhere" contractions were . . . and other times when I felt so glad to be laboring at home, letting my body work as it should, and knowing that baby would come when s/he was ready.

We went to the mall to buy a maternity belt Friday night. Allison had said that my stomach muscles were very spread apart and that it is affecting the baby's position (my tummy looked like a horizontal egg, and so baby was much more tilted outward than s/he should be. My belly was pendulous. She thought the maternity belt might help bring baby into a more productive position. My stomach muscles were so spread because after my c-section with Jonathan, I was not aware and was not told that I needed to do special exercises to help my stomach muscles go back in place. The obgyn had spread them to get Jonathan out. Allison has said that I can do the exercises after this baby's birth to help them go back into place. Unfortunately the mall didn't have the kind of maternity belt we were looking for. I have to say that I have a new respect for smooth roads! During contractions on the way home I felt like we were hitting every possible groove and bump along the way.

Saturday morning I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. Every morning I'd wake up and face pretty much the same thing. Ack! Contractions were about 10 minutes apart still. I called Allison practically crying in the morning because I just felt so mentally weak and "all out" of whatever it would take to get through everything. I felt so thankful to have the opportunity to give birth at home, and I still strongly felt that homebirth was the best thing for us, and I knew once it was over I would be so glad I did (regardless of the outcome) . . . but at that point in the morning, I just felt so tired and frazzled. Allison was wonderful on the phone. She said that she wanted to come over to check on us and pray for baby and me while she's here. She offered to schedule an ultrasound if I wanted to, but let me know it would just be for my benefit (she wasn't worried) as she said that while my labor was long, it was also normal. It made me feel better that she offered. I decided to hold off. She had me listen to baby's heartbeat with her doppler (she left a lot of her stuff here since it would be soon) and I was actually able to find it! (it was hard to find!) Baby's heartbeat was just fine and that was reassuring.

I was (and am!) so thankful for Scott because he helped me with my faith that God was right there with us, protecting us and guiding us. During hard times I am so quick to doubt and lose faith, and Scott helped my focus stay where it should. All of this was humbling. I can relate more to why some women find induction so appealing. I'm not saying that I wanted to, but that I can more understand their feelings because I had many moments where I felt so frustrated, tired and worried and wondering how long I'd go on with the prodromal labor. Scott was an incredible support throughout everything. He gave me foot rubs and back rubs and helped me stay motivated. I am so thankful to have such a loving husband who also feels so strongly about natural birth.

Allison came over Saturday afternoon. She prayed for us, with Scott and Jonathan right next to me. We all had our hands on my belly. I will always remember that moment. She stayed and talked to me for a bit, and gave me more reassurance. I felt so much better after she left. Support and encouragement from someone who cares go a long way.

Later in the afternoon, Scott's brother's family and his cousin Drue came over to visit. Drue was in town from Atlanta visiting on business. Drue was in town during Jonathan's birth, and we thought for sure Drue would get to see the new baby before he left on Sunday. Sometime after they left that afternoon, I realized that I was trying to control when labor started. I had wanted it to start so badly, that I wasn't just "letting it happen". I prayed about it and let God know that I'd surrendered the labor too. I felt a peace and contentment that labor would just start when it should. I still felt tired, but less frustrated and felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

birth story  |  week 39
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Pregnancy Week By Week Guide ~ week 40

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