The big lie of prodromal labor

[Update almost 18 months later: a lot of you are coming here after searching for ways to progress prodromal labor. The secret is to WALK. A lot. Even if the neighbors have to hear you bellowing in your loud, low, open voice. And sleep when you can. I couldn’t. Read on…]

Oh, man.

Here’s the thing about having contractions every three minutes for 24 hours…if they go from lasting 30 seconds to lasting 45 seconds and then don’t progress any further, some person of questionable character will call it false labor. Not stalled or taking its time labor. False. (Technically, nobody I have talked to called it this, but the books and these here insipid interwebs aren’t afraid to…)

Let me tell you, oh reader, there is nothing fake about it. I still can’t talk or walk through these so-called false contractions. And I’ve still been awake for 24 hours dealing with what we in the natural labor game like to call strong rushes every 3 minutes. But the extra special good part? No progress. Doesn’t count. Still have all of active labor and transition and second-stage and third-stage yet to go. Maybe in a few days, they say. A few more days of strong contractions every 3 minutes.

Remember how we all joked that this baby couldn’t POSSIBLY as much work as Peanut?

Hmmm. The Office of Mandatory Looking on the Bright Side would like to remind me that this extended, healthy labor might, in some lights, be better than lolling around feeling way too pregnant because it is at least something different than being convinced the baby will never come out. Fortunately that Office is closed today.

[update, months later…intense contractions 3 minutes apart for 24 hours were a gift. They only lasted 30-45 seconds so they taught me to cope with the longer contractions. I labored 24 hours at home before I hit minute-long contractions. Those took 4 hours to come every five minutes (the typical “go to the hospital” frequency), which is when we found I was 7 cm. Tub, walking, tub, walking…7 hours to 8cm. 5 hours in transition to 10 cm. Posterior at the last minute, pulled a muscle in my back. 5 hours second stage. 1 hour stitching. Just shy of 48 hours total. That is totally not false labor. And, after the 41 hours of first stage, I can tell you the prodromal felt the same as the transition contractions…just shorter.]

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27 thoughts on “The big lie of prodromal labor

  1. Could you look any more gorgeous?

    Seriously, how exciting! You’ll get to meet the new person you pretty much created from scratch, soon!

    Sorry about the pain and frustration, though. Hope it starts moving faster until the little one just slips on out.

  2. My midwife once told me there’s no such thing as “no progress.” It’s all progress. It just doesn’t happen to all be dilation.

    Don’t know if that thought is helpful or annoying (I remember it being annoying when I first heard it– I wanted the measurable kind of progress, thank you very much), but you’re welcome to it if you want it.

    Hoping you get either some rest or a baby in the very near future. Maybe somehow even both.

  3. what goes in, must come out.
    GET OUT! LEAVE!!! small human, time to pay the piper. at the gates of dawn. don’t take your time. there’s pie waiting for you on the other side!!!
    maybe if you start early with the bribes, it will take pity on you and swim out NOW.

  4. There’s always drugs ;-)

    Yes, I know. I’m lucky that there are two computer screens and several hundreds of miles seperating us.

    You can do it! And I’m amazed that you can even type something.

  5. Ak. I am so feeling your pain. I just remembered that I had a lesser version of that with my first, and I had completely blocked it out… the worst part was that I was so sleep deprived by the time she finally came out that I was unable to make sense of what that mewling, messy thing on my belly even was.

    Drink some wine. Take a bath. Throw scrunched up wads of toilet paper at your husband… whatever it takes to get you through. And if I had a magic wand or a teleportation device, I’d actually be able to help you out.

  6. You can type between contractions?? You are my hero! I had contractions every 5-10 minutes for 2 solid weeks before my youngest son was born. I was in and out of the hospital so many times that when I was finally, truely in labor my doctor didn’t bother to show – she thought I was “crying wolf”. Good luck getting your newest little person out!!!

  7. Ugh. I was in labor for 33 hours with the second baby. I hope that you can get some rest and/or the baby out soon. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear your good news!!

  8. Yay your new baby is coming!

    I have to say that I had two c-sections. The first pregnancy was high risk and I had to, the second I ran the risk of bursting my incision. I don’t want to seem like a wimp but I don’t think I could do it naturally. Really I don’t. I was so scared when I was pregnant to have to push, that I felt relieved when I was told I would have to have a CS, and relieved again when I was told I had to have another. However I am in awwe of all who do it naturaly.

  9. Wow, big moments ahead. I hope you are able to rest a bit, and/or that things are happening (more than just strong rushes).

    The craziest bit of labour advice that I found helped a little bit (other than knowing that you can do it) was to keep your groans and moans (and yelps or whatever) in as deep a voice as possible, with your jaw open and relaxed. Open and relaxed sounds like a cruel joke, but the deep voice thing somehow channels the pain less painfully than high-pitched screeching does, if that makes any sense. At least for me it was one tiny thing I could focus on that helped.

    Sending the strongest of labour vibes your way!!

  10. Although they (actually YOU) told me to never laugh at a pregnant lady esp. When she is going thru “fake” labors, ;-) I am sitting here LOL at what you wrote. How could you manage to be so hilarious when you are going thru so much pain, every 3 minutes? Must be False, eh? LOL. (Ducking the prego help books you are throwing at me). I esp. Love the Depart. Of Looking On The B Side. And glad it’s closed today! Good luck w everything m’lady!

  11. Hazelnut, you naughty imp! Quit torturing your mama so! Don’t you know that it’s going to be your lifelong job as soon as you’re born? No need to rush into things, kiddo…

    Wish I was there to give you a big hug or offer my body up for punching bag purposes. You must be frustrated as hell.

  12. Hi all,
    Hazelnut was born on the 23rd and is a boy!!! That’s all I know, but just wanted to spread the news, since his family is a little busy. :)

  13. Congratulations! Welcome to the world, the real world and the bloggy world, Hazelnut!!!

    I hope everybody is doing great over at the Naptime house! And yes, wish you lots of peaceful naptime to come too!

  14. Welcome to the world Hazelnut!! I owe you a lollipop!

    Nappers, you are an amazing woman and you are looking fabulous! Congrats momma:)

  15. Missing you, dear Nap, and sending you warmest wishes for a happy first week with Peanut *and* Lil Pea. Hope you’re getting some rest. And hope all are doing well!!!!

    More congratulations than there are stars up in the sky…

  16. Hi, all!

    thank you so much for all of this…whew.

    I’m just getting these comments six days later, but let me say thank you. Even though Hazelnut heeded NONE of your urging, I felt your support.

    Details in the following post, but I have to respond to all the lovin’ with a GIANT thanks, and to Macondo with: of all the tricks I had in my notebook for the whole process, this is the one I clung to the whole time. It SOOOOOO worked and I’m glad I found it in, if I remember, the Ina Mae Gaskin book Spiritual Midwifery.

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