Friday, July 2, 2010

When Labor Becomes Birth, I’ll Alter My Plans

 056Though I have not been keeping an official record, prodromal labor continues.  Over the past couple weeks, contractions are generally 10 or less minutes apart and about a minute long (some more, some less—again, not keeping an official record) about 3-5 days of the week.  On the other days, ctx are more spaced out and may not be as strong.  As a general rule, they’re about a minute long no matter what.
From Monday to Wednesday of last week, ctx were 10 min or less apart, day and night.  Then I had a great break for Thursday (when I had arranged w/a friend to clean house).  Ctx were present, but not as close or strong.  I had another day or two of “the usual” ctx pattern after that.
This past Monday, ctx were spaced 10 minutes all day until around 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., where they were 2 minutes apart (1 min long).  The next morning, they had tapered down in intensity and spacing.
Then, yesterday morning around 4 a.m., I began having ctx 2 minutes apart, one min. long, and very crampy.  (Crampy ctx are not usual for me in this pregnancy like they were last time.)  I was dreaming I was in labor and kept wondering why the contraction never ended.  When I came out of the haze of half-sleep, I realized it was because there was only about a minute break between ctx.  It just seemed like one ongoing contraction from my sleepy perspective.
Casey’s alarm went off a little after 5 a.m. and I told him what was going on.  We decided he would stay home in case it turned into anything.  At his prodding, I put my laptop down (was checking e-mail for 1/2 hour) and we took a nap after he read me a Psalm and prayed with me.  Contractions continued 2 min apart and a minute long, and very strongly crampy.  Baby was moving around a lot, too.  Even so, we got some good rest until the girls awoke.  Case went downstairs with them to give me a little more time to rest (because of heartburn the night before, I’d had about a 3-hour window of sleep before contractions awoke me in the morning).
Some time in that nap, the contractions really tapered off in intensity.  By 9 a.m., they were back to my usual contractions—not as crampy.  By 10, they were also not as close together.  So Case headed off to work around 10:30, as my friends arrived to take the girls for a few hours (we’d arranged this last week) so I could get some organizing done around the house.  In comparison to the early-morning contractions, I hardly noticed the ones I had the rest of the day.  This is the pot-of-water in full effect.  These contractions weren’t weak, they just weren’t as demanding as the others had been.
Late that afternoon, my midwives arrived for the home visit.  They re-checked my blood, as last week, we discovered that I was anemic (crit level of 32.  Twenty-five is when a transfusion is called for).  No wonder I’ve been so tired!  Since Saturday, when MW 2 called me, I’ve been taking 150 mg of iron 3x a day along with 500 mg vitamin C.  I also upped the red raspberry leaf ratio in my pregnancy tea (doubled it) to help strengthen my uterus.  I’m also taking black-strap molasses (ick) and chloroxygen (for better iron absorbtion).  The only difficulty that has come of this is that it is best for me to take the iron on an empty stomach, but I can’t do an empty stomach for very long before getting nauseated, so I’ll try to wait an hour before eating or taking Tums (which is the only way I can keep from throwing up from the heartburn I get at night).  We’ll know in a couple days what my iron levels are, and then we’ll discuss if it would be wise to give me a shot of Pitocin immediately after delivery.
Around 3 a.m. this morning, contractions again presented strong enough that I had to sleep between them.  Crampiness wasn’t immediate, but rather built up.  Something I noticed with the few contractions I actually timed is that only about half of the contraction is crampy (maybe till the peak—about 1 minute), and the rest is just the usual rock-hard belly contracting.  So, they’re longer (2 min long) but only half is really strong.  And this morning, ctx are between 4 and 7 min. apart, so they don’t seem as bad because of the break in between.
True to the frog-in-the-pot-of-water perspective, this time, I told Case to go ahead into work—I’d call if things picked up or changed.  I am also planning to continue with today’s commitments: a friend from church is having the girls and I as well as another woman and her children over for lunch.  They live about 1/2 hour away.  I figure if I get too uncomfortable, we’ll head home, and if things get really crazy, I’ll call Case and ask him and the midwives to meet us there.  I’m not going to cancel my plans every day for the next week or more until contractions turn into birth.  It truly messes with the mind to sit around waiting to see if contractions will continue/intensify/close in.  Not going to do it.

*Update: the next day, I posted this on my other blog.

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