We have had an exhausting start to March, I apologize for the blog silence but I hope it can make up for it with a few more than normal posts over the next few weeks!
At the beginning of the month we moved into our new home and, with the help of friends and a special visit from Drew’s parents, we are even reasonably unpacked and settled. I absolutely adore this little home, safe and cozy and quiet (save for the whirring of the washing machine which is music to my ears!) and full of possibilities. Drew has some job prospects in this area that could keep us here for the next few years (!) and it has been so fun to dream and plan about how we can use our space, not just for our little family, but also to welcome in friends and neighbors. I spent some time this week planning out a balcony veggie garden (does anything edible thrive in partial shade?) and Drew has dreams of gorgeous wall to wall bookshelves. We’ve even arranged a sort of baby play-corner of the living room which is pretty bizarre, planning space for crawling and toddling people who are still jabbing me with elbows and knees.
Speaking of the little tumblers: as of yesterday we reached 34 weeks and the end of bed rest. It was a milestone of development that meant our little kiddos would do quite well if I went into labor, something we’ve been gunning for since that night in the hospital a few weeks ago. Drew and I took advantage of the sunshine and warm weather (and a coupon for fro-yo) and celebrated being a giant step closer to the end! As we expected/hoped, the walk triggered contractions that progressed all afternoon and evening.
It was exciting for a while, knowing we would be ‘safe’ to deliver, watching the contractions get closer and more intense (that was less fun), but we tired to keep our hopes at bay. Drew hung up some decorations in our little nursery corner and helped me through the rougher contractions and then the Mattson family brought over a delicious dinner (and their wonderful company!). By then things had spaced out from 3-4 minutes to 4-5 but would hit with an intensity that seemed even stronger than the bouts of pre-labor I’ve experienced over the last few weeks. I tried every trick we’ve been taught to stop labor and none of them seemed to make much of a difference. Finally, around 9 after not feeling baby girl move much for some time, I called our midwives and asked what we should do. She was encouraging, suggested I drink some juice to see if the sugar would get the kids moving and told me to call back if things continued to progress.
And of course, they didn’t.
(I’m just now noticing a pattern here…contractions, sunshine, fro-yo…and stalled labor. We’ve got to find a new date place.)
At this point, I just feel so defeated and generally baffled about the signs my body is giving me. My OB and the midwives continue to insist that these are just Braxton Hicks, despite their regularity, intensity and length. All of the rules we’ve learned about when to go to the hospital, all the signs of labor… all are proving to be merely ‘practice contractions’. As much as I have loved learning about pregnancy from this natural perspective, trusting my body to do what it was made to do, I can’t help but feel like my body is just playing cruel tricks. After days and days of exhausting contractions, I’ve only dilated another half centimeter and it could be up to 4 more weeks of this nonsense before induction day.
It feels rather like being told I’ll have to run a marathon someday soon, but as soon as I’m told to start the race I find I can only run in place, tiring myself out without any progress and then anxiously waiting for the next gun to go off, not knowing if I’ll be able to head for the finish line or not. I have found some solace in ditching the idea of Braxton hicks for ‘prodromal labor‘. Here’s a short explanation:
“Prodromal labor can be a slow, often inconsistent climb toward the hour of birth. In these labors, women may have start and stop contractions for days or even weeks. Laboring for a full day and then contractions petering out…even for a full day or more. Sometimes the contractions are strong, consistently close together and can at times be difficult, even in the pre and early labor stages…. What is certain is that *ALL* the work, all the contractions count toward the final moments in labor and birth of the baby.”
I take great comfort in the idea that this work is training and preparing my body for the marathon ahead, even if I haven’t started on the course yet. Still, the thought of long days and nights experiencing what I think would amount to early labor for most women…over and over and over again for the next few weeks, goodness it just makes me want to cry. And then stop before anyone writes me off as a hormonal pregnant woman. And then punch that person because how rude!
So now we wait. And take a wonderful sleeping pill that will hopefully allow rest tonight in longer-than-30-minute bursts. And I’ll check some more things off my before-baby list. My OB joked today that if nothing else, this is preparing me for the sleeplessness of life with newborns, and that I may even find it a luxury how much sleep I’ll get in-between nighttime nursing sessions!
I do have one request for you, dear friends far and near. I do feel so loved to know that you are thinking of us and these little ones, but I have been a bit overwhelmed the last few days with questions about if the babies are here or when they will arrive. Chalk it up to those hormones I guess, but each thoughtful email, text and fb message has only reminded me of the long days and contractions ahead. I promise to update the blog or post to FB as soon as something exciting happens! In the meantime, if you’d like to pray for my sanity (and poor Drew’s!), or catch up over email/fb/phone (your life is undoubtedly more interesting than mine!), or come keep me company, or take Drew out for a strong drink, I would be so thankful!
I forgot to take any good pictures of our new home in the daylight hours, but I will do that soon and post later this week. Maybe you all can give some decorating/organizing tips and suggestions. 🙂
Until then, here’s a fun little recap of just how far we’ve come (and to remind myself that 4 weeks isn’t so long in the grand scheme of what has already been done!)
I predict that by the time we’re really in labor I’ll be using a walker and full out grimacing from the effort it takes to press the ‘capture’ button on my phone.
Good thing it’s just cute newborn photos after that!