J’s birth – waiting for real labor

Go back to the beginning of J’s birth story.
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previous part of J’s birth story.

After two false starts, I was getting very impatient to finally go into labor for real.  To try to get my labor started, I scheduled an appointment with my acupuncturist.  I told him, “You got this baby in there – now help me get it out!”  (No, he didn’t REALLY get my baby in there.  But all my acupuncture treatments with him DID help me to get pregnant.)  He needled a bunch of places to trigger my labor to start … but nothing happened.  Later in the month I also had my first full-body massage (at my home!) with a woman who was a doula herself and experienced in pregnancy massage.  She massaged points that stimulate labor, but again, nothing happened.  (Although I did like the massage!)

During September I also had a few more fluid gushes, always followed by some stronger contractions.  But like my first two false starts, these contractions petered out, too.  My husband informed me that I could no longer tell him when I was having contractions unless it was time to go to the hospital as it got him too worked up.  🙂

At my 38 week OB visit, I was found to be dilated “a solid 4 cm.”  I was shocked to discover that a woman could be dilated that much and not be in labor.

During all this time, Baby Jellowanna (that was her in-utero nickname) kicked away inside of me like mad.  I never had to do “kick counts” because she was always so active!

I had a LOT of crampy contractions off and on all through September, and I slept horribly.  I usually spent part or all of my nights in the recliner in our living room, as I was so unbelievably huge that it was just more comfortable to sleep that way.  I often woke up 4-6 times a night to pee, and I was often kept awake by contractions.  I resorted to using an old midwive’s trick of drinking red wine at bedtime (even though I’m not fond of red wine), as it was the only thing that made me sleepy AND calmed my contractions.  The other reason I slept on the recliner was because I somehow pulled a muscle in my back and lying down was highly painful.  Thankfully, the pulled muscle healed about a week before I gave birth.

Surprisingly as the month wore on, I started to feel less miserable.  I began sleeping better, and I began waking up less at night, some nights even waking up only once to go to the bathroom.  I was even able to sleep in my own bed some nights, although I was driven from my bed in the morning by my incredibly achey hips.  My heartburn went away, and while my feet, ankles and lower legs hugely swelled up over 48 hours in early September, the swelling thankfully never went any higher.  Once my feet swelled up so badly, the only pair of shoes I was able to wear were my sandals.  My ankles were so swollen they could hardly bend, so I really waddled!

However, even as I started to feel a little better, I still had episodes of bad cramps/contractions.  It didn’t come as a surprise to me to be found to be 5 cm dilated at my 39 week OB visit.  What did surprise me was the realization that if I hadn’t KNOWN I was 5 cm dilated, I would have had no idea.  Outside of the normal discomforts and pains of being nine months pregnant, I felt … okay.

The Friday night before my due date, the three of us went out to eat at a nice Italian restaurant, and then JJ and I took Lyd to see her first movie in a theater – Ratatouille.  It was fun, and the movie theater was close to the hospital, which we thought was a wise idea.  I remember it was a beautiful night with an almost-full moon, and I enjoyed getting out of the house, even if I had to waddle all the way.

My husband and I also got out of the house on my due date; I proclaimed that if I couldn’t have a baby on my due date, I at least wanted to not have to cook dinner!  We managed to have a date and eat out at a nice restaurant close to home for which we had a gift certificate.  I remember the hostess being a little trepidatious and worried to have such a hugely pregnant woman in her restaurant; I think she was worried I would go into labor in her restaurant!  🙂  JJ and I found her amusing.

The next day was my 40 week checkup with my OB.  Thanks to some big bouts of contractions during the week, I suspected that I was dilated 6cm, and I was right.  My OB offered to break my water to get my labor started, but being the all-natural girl that I am, I declined.  I really wanted my labor to start on its own, even if it meant that I would go really fast.  (As it turned out, it was a very good thing that I chose not to have my water broken, and it might have even saved my baby’s life!)  We did, however, set a date for breaking my water if I didn’t go into labor on my own – October 3.  The baby had an eviction date!

During those last days before J was born, I noticed less and less movement from her.  I mentioned this to my OB at my 40 week checkup, and he sent me over to the hospital for a NST (non-stress test) to make sure the baby was doing okay.  It took a little while to get the “right” reading, but the baby did pass the test, which we reassured me, although I was still concerned that J wasn’t moving around nearly as much as before.

Two days later, the day Baby J was born, we began the day with no inkling that day would be The Day.  JJ, Lyd, and I spent much of the day at the mall doing various errands such as buying a new pair of tennis shoes for Lyd and buying a new dimmer lamp for the nursery.  We ate chinese food for lunch at Panda Express at the Food Court in the mall, and I remember I was ravenous.  We accomplished a lot of things, and we kept moving most of that day.  But when we arrived home, I realized that, once again, I hadn’t felt the baby move all day.  This really worries me, and I agonized over whether to call my OB on a Friday afternoon (and on his day off!), and ask to have another NST at the hospital.  I couldn’t decide what to do, and I spent a good half hour on the phone with my doula, talking the situation over with her, and I decided not to call my OB.

Little did I realize what the evening had in store for me…

Read the next part of J’s birth story: getting to the hospital