Prodromal labor or active labor? Either way, we’re still parking here.
January 15, 2015
10:30 pm: Started to feel small, mild cramps every so often. They were definitely happening in intervals with breaks in between, so I though it was probably the beginning of contractions. I mentioned to Johnny that I felt a little crampy, but didn’t say that I thought it could be labor… I didn’t want to alarm him if it wasn’t really it.
January 16, 2015
1 am: Woke up to slightly stronger cramps that were obviously mild contractions. They weren’t very painful, but definitely noticeable enough for me to be way too excited to sleep, so I laid in bed and timed them.
6ish am: Johnny realized that I was awake. I told him about the contractions but asked him to please try to go back to sleep, since it could be a long day. He tried but was also too excited to sleep, so we both ended up getting up.
7ish am: Texted our doctor and told him that light contractions had started. He told us to go to the hospital to get checked and although we knew that it was still very early labor, we obviously listened to him and got ready to go. Meanwhile, contractions were becoming slightly more painful. I ate a very small breakfast because I thought I was being smart and didn’t want to get an upset stomach if I were too full. In hindsight: not smart.
8 am: Got to the hospital and got checked… still at 1 centimeter and contractions were not consistent. The nurse mentioned that it was probably ‘prodromal labor’ which is basically when you feel painful contractions, but they are not actually dilating you at all… the worst of both worlds. This was the first time that I had ever heard of prodromal labor, and it still blows my mind that it’s really a thing. We walked laps for 1 hour to try to get things going and also bought us tickets to the Eric Church concert when they went on sale at 10 am because…priorities.
12:30 pm: After several hours of walking laps with no progress, my doctor suggested morphine to see if it would help my body to rest and either stop the prodromal labor or kick it into real labor. As much as I was ok with an epidural eventually, I wanted to avoid IV drugs. Plus, I didn’t feel like I was in enough pain to warrant morphine (hindsight: glad I made that decision. Those contractions were nothing compared to real contractions, and definitely did not need morphine at that time). So, we left… and went straight to Shake Shack for burgers and milkshakes because my “smart” small breakfast was actually a very dumb idea and I was hangry. I wasn’t happy about being sent home because my contractions were still coming (although inconsistently) and were fairly painful, and I had already decided that I was in labor so it wasn’t an option to not really be in labor… because that’s how these things work, right? 😉
We went home and relaxed for the rest of the day, and the contractions actually stopped for the evening. I researched (aka: Googled) everything I could about prodromal labor and found out it’s actually common, and some people even have it for weeks before actual labor?! Nononono.
The contractions started up again the next morning (Saturday, January 17th) but were still not consistent. We spent the day at a nearby wetland park walking, walking some more, and answering strangers’ “when is the baby coming?” questions with the answer of “NOW would be great”.
A gator at the wetlands. Since this gator couldn’t help put me into real labor, I did not care about him at all, so this photo was taken by Johnny while I was busy walking more laps.
January 18, 2016
Sunday was also spent doing more walking and trying labor-inducing techniques, including ‘curb walking’: walking with one foot up on the curb and one on the street. It’s about as fun as it sounds and probably did nothing at all.
‘Curb walking’ sounds like something related to prostitution. I assure you, it’s far from it
Sunday night: Contractions got very painful. I couldn’t sleep, and spent my time laying on the couch trying to rest, but getting up and leaning against the wall during contractions every few minutes. The timing was still inconsistent at anywhere from 2 to 7 minutes apart, but they were all painful and I could not relax.
January 19, 2016
2 am: I figured I must be at least 4 cm dilated, probably more like 9, so we went back to the hospital. Surprise… still at 1 cm.
Morning: After spending all night walking and trying to use sheer will-power to get my contractions to become real labor, I was finally convinced to take the morphine (“Yes it will affect the baby, but we’ve got a long time until he’s born, it will be long worn off by then.”) and got a small dose via IV. It hit me like a wall; I tried to talk but couldn’t get the right words to form, began laughing and crying at the same time, and then immediately fell asleep for 2 hours. I’m not a very fun opiate user, apparently. I woke up feeling rested and still having inconsistent contractions, so we made the decision to try Cervidil later that day, and piton the next morning if it was necessary. I was allowed to eat and drink for one last meal, and since I learned my lesson the first time, I ate… a lot. No ragrets.
Pedicure by Mom because there was obviously no way this baby could be born when my toes weren’t painted.
5 pm: Started Cervidil, which is a small insert that helps efface the cervix. Something your body does naturally before you can have a baby, Cervidil just helps it along. The contractions got worse and worse, and my great strategy of dealing with them was to writhe in bed. I don’t recommend it. My goal was to get to at least 4 cm before getting an epidural, but it hadn’t occurred to me that centimeters 1-3 could also be very painful, so I had no pain-management techniques to try. Already noted for next time.
11 pm: As the nurse was standing next to me, trying to convince me that yes I was in actual labor and no an epidural would not make it stall out, my water broke. I was told that the contractions would get a lot worse, and so I decided that it was a good time for an epidural. In the time that it took for me to get the necessary additional 2 bags of IV fluid, the contractions did, in fact, get much worse.
11:30 pm: Dilated to a 3/4. Epidural aka HEAVEN. The anesthesiologist said “How was that one?” and I said, “That one what?” He was talking about a contraction that I couldn’t feel at all and, at that moment, I loved him even more than my unborn child. And then I thanked Baby Jesus for epidurals and proceeded to sleep all night long.
Last pictures as a family of 2