Yes, I’m still pregnant. I’ve tried every induction method to date (minus rupturing the bag of waters), and obviously none have worked. I even tried the castor oil and my worst fear came true, for yet the umpteenth time this pregnancy, I barfed . . . 2 hours after having castor oil. It never even made it to my bowels to work as a laxative to get things moving in that direction.
Either I am carrying the world’s most stubborn baby or my uterus just refuses to contract in such a way as to get things rolling. Or, it’s a combination of both.
I’m baffling everyone with my ever so slow progression of labor. No, it’s not unusual for a first baby to be 2 weeks overdue, that’s not the crazy part. What’s crazy is that I had serious signs of early labor at 37 weeks, and then I was dilated to 4cm since 38 weeks with the baby’s skull very descended and engaged ready to go in addition to at least 50% effacement. All in all, it appeared as though I would most likely deliver EARLY and definitely not too overdue.
And yet, every exam revealed more dilation and effacement with the baby’s movement and vitals still normal and healthy. Although I don’t get checked again until tomorrow, I’m pretty sure I’m somewhere between 7 and 8cm dilated. I’m not even kidding. No, I’m not in pain, although sometimes I’m a little uncomfortable when walking or sitting.
Have I had painful contractions? Not really. I’ve had lots of contractions, sometimes even 5-10 minutes apart for hours on end, but they’re typically painless. I’ve had a handful that feel like mild menstrual cramps, but they’re seldom regular and they haven’t kicked into active labor.
On Saturday, I hit my wall. I’ll call this transition. Most people define “transition” as that period when a mom is dilated to around 7-8 cm and the physical pain is intense. This is usually the timeframe when she’s grumpy, angry, desperate, yelling expletives, cursing her husband for getting her in this situation, asking for pain meds, and just hitting the wall. Usually, it only lasts 20-30 minutes, then it’s time to push out the baby.
No, I have not hit any major physical pain areas of labor just yet (although 8 months of heartburn have plagued me to extreme frustration and irritation). The most bewildering thing to me is that I have mentally prepared myself to deal with the pain of the birth process. I know it will suck, I know it may be the worst pain I ever endure, and I know it may surpass even the worst menstrual cramps I’ve ever had (and I’ve had some so severe that I wished I would die). I am ready to embrace physical pain. What I was never prepared for was the pregnancy that would never end. . . one that isn’t exactly covered in the textbooks . . . one that defies all labor induction methods. . . one that just baffles everyone.
Steve says my biggest hurdle isn’t necessarily the physical pain of childbirth (pain sucks for everyone, let’s face it), but my biggest and most intolerable factor is that this is utterly trying my patience.
I’ve heard from so many people that I should have had this baby by now based on the way I’ve been dilating. Or that certain induction methods are fail-proof. Well, they all fail on me. Those that tell me that I’ll have a fast active labor because I’ve progressed so far, I just block that out. If it takes me this long (weeks) to dilate this far, then how do I know I won’t be pushing for 4 or 5 hours? I’m just going to mentally prepare myself for it, and if it’s all over in less than 2 hours, then hey, I won’t be disappointed.
When people tell me I’m not in labor or the baby will come when it’s time . . . well, that just pisses me off. Just because my labor doesn’t look like everyone else’s doesn’t mean it’s not labor. Sure, you can have Braxton-Hicks contractions for months on end, but that doesn’t mean they’re contractions that progress you toward active labor. My contractions may mostly be painless, but I’m definitely progressing. It’s just VERY VERY SLOW. Of course the baby will come when it’s time, but PLEASE don’t tell me I’m being impatient.
If I was impatient, I would have had a hospital birth. Had that happened, by now, they would have broken the bag of waters, given me pitocin which may have escalated into them offering me an epidural or wheeling me off to get a cesarean section. And, by now, I’d have had the baby. But no, I’m not willing to go that route. And, Steve and I don’t think there’s been anything negative or harmful to trying an eggplant recipe, warm baths, stout beer (yes folks, it’s okay to have a little alcohol at the end of pregnancy), rupturing of membranes, acupuncture, sacral massage, herbs, etc.
I took Sunday off from thinking about pregnancy and labor. Mostly because I wanted to be home to run to the toilet after taking the castor oil. I also didn’t want to go to church and be be reminded yet again by people that I was still pregnant. Like I’d forgotten the obvious.
Steve answered the phone and ran interference for me. We listened to a sermon on CD, cooked together, and just enjoyed a day at home alone together without being busy or without any routine associated with pregnancy or inducing labor. Yesterday was wonderful. And last night, I finally had a decent night of sleep for the first time in at least a week . . . thanks to a shoulder massage and lavender oil.
I’ve had 5 acupuncture treatments for labor induction to date. She’s only really charged me for the first one because she said, “It’s not your fault you have a stubborn baby!” The most she’s ever done on a pregnant mom (aside from me) into active labor is 3 treatments; yet the average amount of treatments is only 1. Yes, I’m defying the odds because I am an anomaly. So, every day, they set me up an appointment to come in the next morning for another treatment. Hey, it’s not harmful to the baby, and it’s relaxing. I’m not expecting anything to happen because nothing has happened thus far.
I’m just gonna keep taking each day as it happens, and at some point in time . . . hopefully THIS YEAR, this baby will be born, and we can start a new chapter as new parents.
Until then, know that I do appreciate the love, support, and concern from friends and family. I’m over my transitional period of being pissed off at the situation and the things people say to me. But, your best bet is to not ask me if we’ve had the baby yet . . . trust me, you will know. I’ll call many of you, and others will read about it on the blog.
At this point, we are continuing to pray for a healthy baby. If we hit 42 weeks, we will go in for a biophysical stress test at a hospital. Steve’s grandparents return approximately on Wednesday. So, we’re praying the baby is born before then so that I can labor and birth in privacy in this house. Unfortunately, we thought I was in early labor last Thursday, so they went away to visit a relative and to give us space and privacy. How were we to know that early labor would last so many days thereafter? We thank you for keeping us in your prayers. That’s the most wonderful thing you can do for us right now.
Read my summarized birth story in my letter to my son when he turned one.