Week’s-Long Prodromal Labor: William’s Birth Story

We always planned on a larger family with kids close in age. Once we knew what one baby was like, we wavered on the idea of a big family (I like to sleep…), but I stuck to the “band-aid approach” of age-gapping. That is- get it all done in one swoop: the diapers, the potty training, the sleep deprivation. Once I’m out of it, I don’t want to go back!
So after about four months of trying, I was thrilled to announce:
Except October…
Through charting, I determined a late September due date. Later in the pregnancy once we had an ultrasound, it was determined that my due date was really in mid-October. With each of my pregnancies, there have been very early miscarriages where I will test positive but then continue with a late cycle, only to have a pregnancy stick for the very next cycle. It’s a weird trend, but I went into the doctors telling them I was pregnant this time before the test even showed positive. They drew blood, and I was right! Woohoo!
My pregnancy was the polar opposite of my first, so we both assumed it must be a girl since we already knew what a boy pregnancy was like. Of course, we were wrong. If anything, my pregnancy symptoms have been a sign of each baby’s temperament. So with my very rough first pregnancy, my only problem this time around was how many dinners I could down in one night. It was great. At least until the last few weeks.

Going Into Labor (I thought)

One afternoon, around 36 weeks, my contractions started. They started coming 5 minutes apart and I could time them for over an hour. I never experienced contractions before and couldn’t believe that I was correctly identifying them and meeting the hospital brochure’s criteria of when to head in! They weren’t unbearable, but they were certainly noticeable. I called Alan to come home and we headed to the hospital with David in tow! My mom planned to meet us there to take him to the zoo.
After getting situated in the triage room to be monitored, they explained that I was progressing- it was happening! I went from 3cm to 5 cm in a few hours and was staying semi-comfortable. A few hours later they came to re-check and I was still at 5. Repeat a few more hours. I was stuck. The nice attending resident explained that they could admit me, but it might just be an overnight stay and I’d go home in the morning. Alan read it as “go home, you’re not having a baby”, but I was just in triage and experiencing contractions! I wasn’t that easily swayed! …Until I was.
We went home after some debate and the understanding that although I was at 5 cm, it was against the hospital policy to offer any pitocin or drugs to help labor kick back in since I was still a little too early along. Bummer.
False Alarm

Prodromal Labor

Prodromal labor is a type of labor that happens prior to the onset of full active labor. It is often considered a type of “false-labor,” but this is a misnomer, because doctors and midwives will explain that the contractions are real but they start and stop. -Wellness Mama

The very next evening, my contractions started again. Without dragging this story out as long as my labor, I can tell you that every single evening for 2.5 weeks, I thought it was go-time. I had time-able, real, 5-minute-apart contractions. I was an emotional wreck that would break down crying about not knowing my own body. I was convinced that I would never have a baby and be in a perpetual state of labor. My husband put the kabash on false-alarms and REFUSED to go to the hospital when I wanted to (which was every evening). Meanwhile, I was threatening divorce if I had a baby in the kitchen and missed my epidural. My back hurt and body was sore and tired. It was miserable. And a mental bender (PG version of what I really want to say, there).

Labor, Again

One evening, while trying to do normal things during my time-able prodromal labor contractions, I walked up the stairs to bring David to bed. I came down the stairs to where Alan was watching TV and decided to get on all fours to see if that would give me some relief. It didn’t. Upon seeing me on all fours, Alan probably had the thought “Oh shit, I can’t let her miss her epidural.” I couldn’t easily answer his questions and had to verbally moan and breathe through my contractions. We called my mom to come and babysit as soon as Alan admitted that we should probably go to hospital. (Do I sound resentful, here?) Within the time it took for my mom to arrive, I was on the floor, unable to talk, and about 3 minutes apart in my contractions. I’d already started severely shivering- a symptom I show in active labor.
I don’t remember much of the car ride besides the likelihood of swearing at my poor husband who was probably terrified of having me miss my epidural, and I’m sure he sped at a dangerous speed. We flew into the hospital valet parking where they put me into a wheelchair, walked right past triage, and into the birth suite where they immediately provided me with some sort of pain-killer-drug so I could speak the words “EPIDURAL”. (That’s the trick to skipping triage, if you wanted to know) Luckily, I got my treasured epidural- and from the man who bought my childhood home! It was a small-world-moment worth mentioning. I also threatened him that I knew where he lived in case he messed up.
After arriving at the hospital at 9 PM, I was at 10 cm and being told to hold off on pushing by 11 PM. William made his appearance after 4 pushes just past midnight.
David cared way more about his Cheerios than his brother
The doctors and nurses were calling it a dream-delivery, from how fast and easy everything went. I, however, found it a little too close for comfort.
8 pounds 4 ounces of squishy baby boy

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