It’s another late-night post, thanks to contractions every 7-8 minutes keeping me awake. After contracting on and off since Saturday, I woke up to some pretty strong contractions this morning at 3am and they haven’t let up the entire day. Needless to say, I’m pretty worn out.
I believe what I am experiencing is what’s called prodomal labor. It’s basically the early stages of labor, in which the body does little bits of work at a time to soften the cervix and gently move the baby down into the correct position. These contractions can go on for days or even weeks before true labor hits. They are usually painful but not the “I’m going to die” kind of contractions. Not everyone experiences these contractions, but for those who do, the biggest complaints are lack of sleep and fatigue from constant contracting and cramping for days leading up to labor.
Prodomal labor differs from Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions in that BH contractions are mostly painless and don’t make any changes to your cervix whatsoever. Not everyone experiences BH’s either– but some experience them as early as 20 weeks along. I personally recall having a grand total of ONE lone BH contraction. It was nothing to write home about as it didn’t hurt at all– it was just my belly hardening for about 45 seconds. I was riding in the car with my hubby and sister and looked down and said, “Hey! Guess what? I’m having a contraction!” Compared to prodomal labor (in which I have cramping–often strong enough to make walking painful– as well as abdominal tightening, queasiness, and back pain), BH contractions seem like a walk in the park.
Finally, there is labor. I have yet to experience it but from what I hear there is no mistaking these powerful contractions that take your breath and often your ability to walk. Of course there is always the exception, the lucky one who reports “my tummy felt funny so I went into L&D and I was already dilated to 9 cm!” But most report strong contractions that are intense enough that it makes them want to cry.
I’m sitting here typing this up while eating tortilla chips in the midst of a contraction, so there’s no way I’m in labor. But I’m encouraged– although tired out–that my body is preparing for the big day!
Speaking of the big day, I had my appointment today with my lovely OB. Many were praying over this appointment and whether or not she might be willing to induce me early (next week at 37 weeks)– if this was you, thank you so much! Going into the appointment, I had a pretty good idea she would decline an induction this early. As it turned out, I was right. She explained the situation– she told me that due to legalities with Kaiser, the only way she could induce me before 39 weeks (aside from there being life-threatening conditions to either mother or baby) was to do an amniocentesis to prove that our baby had sufficient lung maturity. My heart sank, because there was no way I would agree to an amniocentesis, especially this late in the game. The risk of spontaneous abortion is low (1%) but even that 1% is far too great a risk in my opinion. Lung immaturity is something that can be remedied in a NICU in a matter of days, if not hours. Spontaneous abortion is a completely different matter, and one I’d like to stay as far as away from as possible. It rather baffled me that an institution would be willing to risk spontaneously aborting a baby for a test they deemed necessary to prove sufficient lung maturity. Perhaps I am ignorant, but it seemed to me that it all came down to money and wanting to avoid a potential NICU admission for lung immaturity.
Insurance policy rationales aside, we declined the amniocentesis. In retrospect, I’m glad the Lord allowed it to be such a black and white decision for us to make.
In any case, the new plan became to induce at 39 weeks. So unless I deliver earlier, we’ll be a little busy on March 9th!
As of today, I have 18 more days to get through. I remember writing a blog post a while back when I was 27 weeks along and I wrote “just 13 more weeks” — essentially encouraging myself that I could make it to the end! And the Lord gave me complete peace at my appointment today as my focus shifted from “I’m so disappointed my expectations to deliver next week have been obliterated” to “18 more days left until we meet our son!” As my OB reminded me, I’ve come 36 weeks so far, with over 16 of those weeks filled with almost daily pain. So she had faith in me that I could make it 18 more days. On days when I am bed-bound with pain it is all too easy to lose sight of these facts, but tonight I am rejoicing that there is an end date in sight.
In the meantime, I am thinking about these prodomal contractions and wondering if maybe I’ll have less than 18 days to go? Wouldn’t that be something if I ended up delivering at 37 weeks after all? Oh… the irony. 🙂
Another huge blessing that has been taking place– my family members and friends have been blessing my socks off by coming over and doing various tasks like cooking, cleaning, driving me places and bagging/loading/unloading my groceries, and best of all: visiting with me. Today my little sister Wendy visited and we had a great time! She drove me to the grocery store and also to my OB appointment. And she helped cleaned my floors! In spite of these many hardships I have faced over the past months, I have much to be grateful for. The baby’s not even here yet and many are giving up of their time and energy to bless me.