i'm in labor! my water broke early this morning, just after 2 o'clock. i called my midwife to let her know and fell back asleep until a little after 8. i had a few minor contractions throughout the night, but nothing regular or strong. this same pattern continued throughout the morning and early afternoon despite walking, bouncing, and using the breast pump to stimulate oxytocin release.
after 12 hours of nothing, i called the midwife again. she told me to head to the hospital. shortly after arriving, she checked my cervix again. i was still 4 centimeters dilated, but my effacement was complete at 100%. she suggested starting a low and slow pitocin drip to see if it would help jump start contractions. i have been contracting regularly since then, but nothing too painful.
i'm still determined to do this without an epidural. my midwife was very reassuring and said that she's seen it done many times. apparently, the fact that i had made a fair amount of progress unassisted bodes well for getting through the pitocin unmedicated.
that's where we are now. i'm hooked up to a portable monitor so i can change position at will, and i have my birthing ball ready to go. we're well past the point of no return! we're having this baby tonight one way or another. please keep us in your thoughts. the next time i make a post i'll be a mother.
no baby yet, but i'm still feeling awfully strange. i woke up this morning and felt suddenly very nauseous. i've had no real contractions to report today. i have, however, had my (TMI ALERT) bloody show and a fair amount of menstrual-ish cramping. my head feels both clear and hazy at once, and my mood is exceedingly calm.
i'm still trying to take it easy. we did run a few errands this morning and it felt good to be up and walking. i sat in our apartment ALL DAY yesterday and drove myself a bit batty doing so. my mom is here now, so i feel a lot more comfortable venturing out. travis works tonight and tomorrow night and it would be just my luck for things to get started while he is out of the apartment. we'll see what happens.
for now i'm content to watch television and continue my carb-tastic eating habits. thank you so much for all of your sweet comments on yesterday's post. i'm so excited to see how things progress over the next few hours, days, or however long it ends up being!
i woke up at 6 o'clock this morning feeling a bit strange. travis and i got some breakfast and, after talking to my mom, decided to call my midwife's office to see if we could move our 2:45 appointment up. i spoke to a very nice nurse at the office who told me to come in as soon as possible for a labor check. we were at the office 20 minutes later. the midwife came in to do another internal. it looks like my instincts were right. i am currently sitting tight at 80% effaced and 4 centimeters dilated. little sylvie is holding tight at 0 station.
i have been having some painful contractions since yesterday afternoon, but nothing strong or at regular intervals. my midwife gave me two options. 1. if i was uncomfortable enough she could break my water and get things started. 2. i could go home and wait it out for what could be another day or another week.
i chose door #2. at only 36 weeks and 2 days there is no need to do anything other than let nature take its course. i'm at home now resting up, carb loading, staying hydrated, and finishing up my last pre-baby illustration commission. my plan is to continue to take it easy and try to nap later in case sylvie decides tonight's the night. between you and me, i think we'll make the move into active labor sometime in the next 24-48 hours. i'm feeling too funny today to think that i'll go another week.
stay tuned! i'll post again if things pick up later.
i had my first labor dream last night and it was RIDICULOUS. it all started out at tomorrow's midwife appointment. she did another internal and sent me immediately over to the hospital without telling me anything else. later on in the dream i asked her how effaced i was. her answer was "250%". HA. she also baked a GIANT jam-filled cupcake for sylvie's birth-day. consequently travis and i spent much of my dream labor arguing about whether or not the cupcake was done in the middle:
travis: but it's gooey in the middle!
me: it's filled with JAM, travis. JAM.
and so on and so forth.
in all of the cupcake craziness, i forgot to call my own mother! sorry, mom! i promise that won't happen in real life. i called her at 4:05 pm and told her to get on the 6:00 pm flight. HA again. i never got to the actual birth. my alarm went off when i was 2 centimeters dilated and 300% effaced. what?! i told you it was ridiculous.
as far as my impending non-dream labor goes, things seem to be progressing. according to askdrsears.com, i currently have 6 of the 8 "signs that labor is near". those signs are as follows:
1. the baby has dropped. check. she is engaged and rubbing my cervix with every step i take.
2. frequent urination. check. i got up to use the restroom a whopping 5 TIMES in 7 hours last night.
3. low backache. check. this one comes and goes, but today i had a hefty contraction accompanied by a backache.
4. stronger braxton hicks contractions. check. i am getting them constantly and they have definitely gotten longer, stronger, and begun to hurt a little bit. i had one today that lasted for over 2 minutes!
5. diarrhea. CHECK. TMI ALERT: i have had it every single day for the last week. i have also had a fair amount of diarrhea-like cramps not accompanied by the actual act. the hormone that causes this to happen can also cause nausea. i have been nauseous intermittently and actually threw up the other night.
6. TMI! TMI! TMI! increased vaginal discharge. check. enough said.
now for the signs i haven't yet experienced:
7. the bloody show. not all women experience this sign, so i'm not sure how reliable it is.
8. the infamous water breaking. again, not all women have this before the onset of labor. in fact, the number of women who do hovers somewhere in the 10-15% range.
so my question for all of the mamas out there is this: WHAT SIGNS DID YOU HAVE RIGHT BEFORE THE ONSET OF LABOR? i know it is different for every woman. i'm just curious to see if anyone's experiences line up with mine.
our weekly midwife appointment is tomorrow afternoon and i can't wait to see if i've made any progress *ahem* down there. i'll report back.
my sister-in-law, melissa just left and my husband should be landing any minute now. it was great to have her here this weekend. we had a wonderful time taking it easy, watching movies, and eating delicious food. i am so thankful she could come up to keep me company. i know that travis is, too. her visit allowed him the freedom to focus on his family and not have to stress about me every second. i wish i could have been there with him and for him. i think we both underestimated how hard it would be to be separated right now.
i could conceivably go into labor at any time. i have a funny feeling that she will be here within 2 weeks. my intuition has been pretty spot on throughout the entire pregnancy. from the day we found out about our baby i was SO SURE that she was a girl. by the time we got to that 19 week ultrasound, there was no doubt in my mind. i just knew. before our last midwife appointment i told travis that i had a funny feeling that i would already be a little dilated or effaced or both. i made sure he knew that he was to go to texas for the funeral no matter what the internal showed (barring, of course, any sign that labor would be imminent). sure enough, my first internal showed 1 centimeter dilation and 80% effacement. i have been sure for a while now that she would go early. everyone told me that first babies never go early and it was probably just wishful thinking. only time will tell, but i don't think she'll make it 30 more days in there.
one thing is for sure, there is nothing like partial dilation, near complete effacement, and baby head engagement to get one's butt in gear! in the half day we had together between the midwife appointment and travis' flight, we got the bassinet put together, packed the hospital bag, chose a pediatrician, and wrote out our birth plan. yesterday melissa got the travel system unpacked and installed the car seat. i'm going to drive it by the fire station tomorrow to make sure we did everything correctly. there's not much left to do. i have a few things to buy for the hospital bag, such as travel sized toiletries. i'd like to try to sneak in for a hair trim sometime this week, too. other than that, all that is left is to wait.
dilation, effacement and engagement aside, i've had a few of the classic early labor signs. most of those are a little TMI to share. let's just say that the toilet and i have become well acquainted over the last few days. other than the gross stuff, i've had A LOT of pressure (and dull pain) in my pelvis, a new strange lower back pain, and a good deal of menstrual-like cramping. i have also been nauseous off and on for the last week or so. i know that none of these are super reliable signs, but i have the feeling that things are beginning to ramp up.
please note that i am NOT actively trying to speed things along. quite the opposite, in fact. she will be considered full term in 9 short days. i sincerely hope she stays put until then. after she hits that milestone i will happily start walking, bouncing and eating spicy foods. until then i'm spending most of my time crocheting, staying hydrated, and sitting. poor auggie doggie hasn't gotten much of a walk since travis left. i'm too scared to accidentally trigger something!
i just received the text message i've been waiting for. travis had landed and i will see him soon. i've missed him so much this weekend. i don't know if i've ever been more excited to see my husband.
tomorrow (technically today) is my first mother's day. i know travis has some surprises up his sleeve, and i'm excited to find out what they are! i would give my left arm right about now for a cold beer and some sushi, but that ain't happenin' anytime soon. i'll settle for a glass of pomegranate juice and a foot rub, please.
on a different note, it hit me today that i'm only a few weeks away from my third and final trimester. i'm really starting to feel the urge to nest and get little sylvie's nursery nook ready for her arrival. speaking of her arrival, is it strange that i'm really excited to labor and give birth? like, REALLY excited. i have never felt better about or more secure in my body. nor have i ever felt unsure of its ability to birth this child, my precious daughter. i feel STRONG and ready. i've felt like this from the beginning and keep thinking i'll change my tune as august 31st approaches, but everyday i remain steadfast in my decision to attempt a natural birth. this is what my body was made to do. not only do i think i can do it, i think i can ROCK it!
i'm so excited to meet my sylvie.
of all the internet memes out there, chuck norris jokes have long been some of my favorites. today i found this shirt:
i think it is a primo candidate for something to wear while i'm in labor. most books i've read on pregnancy/childbirth say it's good to develop a labor mantra for yourself early on. i'm supposed to repeat this mantra to myself anytime i feel anxious about labor pains, childbirth, etc.
PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY.
in all honesty, i'm kind of looking forward to labor. it may be too early to determine my feelings on the subject either way, but right now it doesn't scare me. it's a beautiful part of what my body is designed to do. yes, it will hurt. it will be excruciating, possibly very long, and definitely very emotional. BUT the end result is well worth all of that. it's one day of pain for a lifetime of joy.
all that said, i am considering natural childbirth. call me crazy (and you may be right), but the idea of being 100% physically, mentally, and emotionally present for the experience is way less terrifying to me than have a giant needle shoved into my spine. i have done a lot of research into this, as well as read and watched (gotta love youtube) many first-hand accounts of natural childbirth. to me (and this is nothing if not a very personal choice), the pros far outweigh the cons.
the benefits of a natural birth that are most important to me are:
1. no epidural means that i would be able to move freely, use the restroom, walk around, and change positions at will.
2. i would be able to respond to my body's signals and reflexes, and give it exactly what it needs. if lying on my back becomes uncomfortable for me, it is most likely uncomfortable for the baby, too. pain during labor serves a purpose to help me seek out the best positions for both of us.
3. women who do not get an epidural can push harder and faster, thereby decreasing the amount of stress pushing puts on both you and the baby. i can push when i need to push, not when the doctor tells me a should. i would also be able to actually feel the progress my baby is making, and i believe this will offer the best incentive to push through the pain.
4. the pain of a natural birth causes the mother's body to secrete endorphins into the placenta and umbilical cord. research shows that these endorphins serve to help the baby adjust to outside life and make their journey more comfortable.
5. most mothers report that recovery after a natural birth is faster. most can walk, eat, and shower right away.
6. research as shown that naturally birthed babies are more alert and show a more immediate interest in pre-breast feeding behaviors, and usually nurse for longer and with more success the first time.
these are just 6 of the many reasons why i am considering this path. i believe that each woman has the right to labor in any way she chooses, so long as it is not detrimental to the baby. that said, if something did go wrong, i would absolutely do what needed to be done, even if it involves pain medication. it's all about bringing the baby into this world in the safest way possible.
also note that just because i say "natural childbirth" does not mean i plan to have this baby at home, in a bathtub. i would only consider this route under the close supervision of my doctor, in a hospital or a birthing center. any advice from mothers who have been there is welcome, but please no "you're crazy" comments. this is nobody's decision but my own. thank you.