Read the previous part of J’s birth story.
After my first false start, during the next week I worked hard to get organized since it seemed likely that a baby would soon arrive at our house. I sorted through Lyd’s clothes, put away the ones that were too small, and brought out the next size of clothes. I also finally got the baby clothes unpacked and into the drawers. I had saved everything from Lyd’s birth, so I was glad to be having another daughter. I didn’t need to buy any new clothes, although I did end up buying a few new things just because I couldn’t resist their cuteness.
Thanks to finally unpacking the baby clothes, I also packed my hospital bag packed this week. This was a change from Lyd’s birth, where I packed my hospital bag while in early labor.
Also unlike Lyd’s birth, by the middle of this week, my feet and ankles swelled up enormously. I could only fit my feet into one pair of sandals — that was it. I’d never dealt with edema of any kind before, so it was a whole new experience for me. I tried to stay off my feet as much as possible, but nothing really helped.
On Wednesday at my 37 week OB visit, I was found to be 2 cm dilated, 70% effaced. My OB said there was a 50% chance I wouldn’t make it to my next weeks’ visit. I was overjoyed! I asked him about my swelling feet and legs, and he pretty much shrugged and said it was part of the territory. I worried about it causing problems, but he said as long as it didn’t go past my knees, he wasn’t worried.
During that week I somehow pulled a muscle in my back, which made it impossible for me to sleep in bed. I ended up spending the rest of my pregnancy sleeping in our downstairs recliner.
This week also marked, in earnest, the start of many, many nights of being kept awake with contractions. They were never strong enough to make me say, “This is it!” but they were definitely enough to keep me awake many, many nights. I finally resorted to drinking a glass of red wine when I went to bed. I don’t like the taste of wine very much, and if I do drink wine, I prefer lighter, sweeter white wines rather than a heavy red. But, red wine was what was suggested to me by my doula and by The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears. So, red wine it was. And, it DID help! Of course, when I wasn’t being kept awake by contractions, I woke up needing to pee, which happened at least 4 times a night, and sometimes as much as 6 times a night. I didn’t get much sleep that last month of pregnancy!
Just as False Start #1 was on the Saturday night/Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend, False Start #2 was the following Saturday night/Sunday morning with almost the same events happening as the week before. I woke up around 3:30 to pee and found myself sitting in soaking wet clothes, and once again, I figured my water had broken. However, thanks to ALL the contractions I’d been having during the week, I didn’t freak out like I had the week before. I don’t think I even called my doula until it was truly morning. Unfortunately, when I went upstairs to the bedroom to get dry clothes, I woke up JJ, who then was unable to go back to sleep. I changed, went back downstairs, ate some yogurt, and tried to go back to sleep. And, amazingly, I did! I even played organ for church the next morning! However, word rapidly spread around the church that “Pastor’s wife think her water might have broken!” so I was on the receiving end of LOTS of advice. I worked out a signal with the ushers to let them know if I started having serious contractions, but thankfully nothing happened. I actually played pretty well!
After church I called my OB, and as he had to go into the office that afternoon to work on some charts, he agreed to see me (on a Sunday afternoon!) to do an ultrasound to check the level of amniotic fluid around the baby. When he checked me, he found plenty of amniotic fluid (his exact words were, “You’ve got enough water to fill the Hetch Hetchy [reservoir] in there!”). The baby was doing fine, and my water definitely had NOT broken, yet again. He also declared me to be 3-4 cm dilated, which was a huge shock to me. (Although it shouldn’t have been – I’d been having contractions ALL WEEK!)
I thought for sure that I was going to have that baby at any moment. Little did I know that I still had almost three weeks to go…
Read the next part of J’s birth story: waiting for real labor