Prodromal Labor

I started writing this post right before the birth of my third child, 9 months ago. I hate it took me 9 months to finish it but my heart needed to be dealt with before I did. Thank you for wanting to read about my life and personal accounts. Everything I write about has molded me in some way. This experience certainly did...

The Lord has taken me on a journey over the past month. One I didn't see coming. One I wouldn't have chosen for myself but that is why He is God and I am not. If you read my post, In Limbo, you will remember that He had already begun whispering "trust me" to my heart. I truly know better than to believe He would leave it at that - a whisper, a nudging. He wants to bring me to a place of total abandon. As a mom, He often uses my children to bring about this dependence on Him. If you are a Christian parent, you would probably agree with me in this. We need Him, especially in the raising of our children. I mean, how else would we know how to parent without knowing how He parents us?! (But that's for another post.)

I, without a doubt, know that the end of my pregnancy with Travis and even labor & delivery was just another act of God speaking trust into my heart. It has been one of the hardest months of my life. It was painful, not just physically, but emotionally. Prodromal labor sucks, to put it lightly. Have you ever heard of it? No, I hadn't either until I was almost through the worst of it. I've heard someone describe it as "feeling like a watched pot waiting to boil." I will explain...

My labor lasted exactly one month. You heard me. ONE MONTH. On the afternoon of April 27th, I was sitting on the porch with my family. I had some appointments that morning but nothing too strenuous. I felt a strong contraction, then a couple minutes later another, then another, then another. I thought to myself that these were different, stronger and more frequent than the Braxton-Hicks contractions I've had throughout this pregnancy.

I told my husband that I felt different and that it scared me because it was a little earlier than I would have liked if this was the real deal. I was about 3 weeks from my due date but I had been measuring 3 weeks ahead consistently throughout the last half of the pregnancy. Still, I remembered well what had happened with our first child being born 3 weeks early. You can read her story here.

So I drank water and drank water and sat and sat some more thinking these contractions are getting stronger and are consistently 3-5 minutes apart. After a couple of hours I was thinking we needed to head to the hospital....then they stopped altogether. I had a few more random ones throughout the evening. But how weird was that? I remembered back to our 2nd baby's labor and how I never felt contractions that strong or consistent until I was 6cm and in labor & delivery! I was confused. And disappointed.

Over the next several weeks I had several of these "episodes" of strong time-able contractions (you know, the ones they say to pay attention to because they are likely the real deal). I called my doctor several times and at every appointment (which were now weekly) I explained to her what was happening and how frustrating it was. She's awesome and understood, even sharing her own similar stories from her 3 pregnancies. I told her I lived 40 minutes from the hospital and my husband works 90 minutes away. This added to the stress for me. She told me not to sit around and wait for the contractions to be consistently 2 minutes apart because I might not make it to the hospital. Geez, as if I wasn't stressed enough!? And guess what, they already had been 2 minutes apart. For hours at a time.

I guess it was one evening about 10 days before my due date I was having some good consistent contractions that were getting stronger and closer together. I hated to bother my mom if it was another fake out but she and my sister gladly came over to stay with the girls while we headed to the hospital. On the way over they were getting more and more uncomfortable, and even painful. I remember my husband was trying to make me laugh. Nothing was amusing at that moment.

Once I was in triage, I went from 4 to 6 cm. I was admitted. Yay! Finally! I texted all of my close friends (though it was close to midnight). Sorry ladies!

I am choosing not to disclose some things that happened over the course of the night for the sake of grace. I will say this though, you have to be your own advocate. And your child's advocate. Doctors and nurses do not know everything and are by no means perfect. If something isn't right, then speak up. And if they don't listen, speak louder.

Overnight I noticed my contractions had slowed down considerably. I was more sore than anything the next morning. And mad. And disappointed when the doctor finally came in to see me at around 7am and said that I was not dilated at all. He got a second opinion. But no explanation as to why I was 6cm last night and now not dilated at all!? The consensus was that the nurses the night before didn't check me correctly. Great. Seriously?

The doctor discussed induction but said he wouldn't recommend it because it could result in an unnecessary c-section. I was grateful for him for this but I don't remember ever being so disappointed in my life. They sent me home and I cried the rest of the day.

I had an appointment the next morning. I talked to my favorite doctor and she agreed I was no longer dilated. But why? Nobody could give me an adequate answer.

5 more days went by and we arrived at one day past my due date. The contractions were strong and close together again. My mom, kids and I walked laps around the hospital hoping my water would just break or something. I mean, what is the hold up here?!

I called Adam to let him know what was going on and he finished up some work and came to the hospital. We walked some more at the hospital, then at Walmart and at Lowes. We ate supper and though I didn't want to be disappointed again or look stupid, we went on to the hospital to be checked out.

While at the hospital in triage that night we witnessed something horrible going on with another patient that had us scared out of our minds. I laid there hooked up to monitors exhausted from weeks of contractions and worry and couldn't do anything else but cry and pray. Maybe God placed us there that night so that we could pray for this patient. I don't know the reason but our time in the hospital was cut short again because I was not progressing.

That night we stayed at our good friends' house near the hospital and I have never felt the type of pain I felt all night that night. I can't even describe it. It was constant cramping the entire night, likely from multiple examinations that evening. Of course I couldn't sleep. I could only cry and moan. Yes, moan. Like a woman in labor. True labor. It was absolutely awful.

What is going on? Will I be pregnant forever?

I did have a revelation that night in the hospital thanks to a kind nurse. When I described to her how I had been contracting for weeks and about my night in the hospital 2 weeks ago she said, "Oh, prodromal labor. I'm sorry, honey, it's rough stuff." I was like, wait a minute, this has a name?! Maybe I'm not crazy. So, I go to googling and found out I was not alone! Hallelujah!

The most empathetic resource I found was from Birth Boot Camp....

"Prodromal labor is usually defined as a labor that starts and stops, sometimes for days on end. Prodromal labor feels like real labor, it acts like real labor and in many ways it is real labor. Sadly, it eventually stops and doesn’t result in a baby like active labor does.
Though not often talked about and poorly understood, prodromal labor is an important subject. Likely the cause of many early trips to the hospital, emotional and physical exhaustion on the part of the mother, and dashed hopes of natural birth, prodromal labor is something that needs to be talked about more and understood better."
Agreed. And amen.

So after all of this, I go back to the doctor 4 days past my due date and we decide to induce. He did not push us into this and I had decided not to even talk about induction with this pregnancy. But I was ready to see this nightmare end.

And meet my son.

And after reading about prodromal labor it sounded like once actual labor started that it would progress very quickly because of all the preparatory contractions I've been experiencing. So, 6 days past my due date, I went in for an induction. I was still praying to go into labor naturally but it just didn't happen.

Continue to Travis' Birth Story (the main event)!!

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