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.]

Why, yes, you may

Okay, I need to tell some of the people on the planet a few things. Close your ears if these don’t apply, cuz there ain’t no ranting like a wicked pregnant rant.

If we come to an intersection at the same time and I indicate you can go first, you’d damned better thank me, jerk, because chances are if I have to wave you through you know you don’t have the right of way. If you’re walking across the street against the light or half a block from the crosswalk and I let you go, you’d damned better thank me because I’m driving a ton of steel and you’re squishy. And if I’m crossing in the crosswalk, with the light, hugely pregnant and holding my kid’s hand, you’d damned better stop and wait for us, because I will hunt you down and maim you for being such a subhuman stool specimen turning dangerously close to us.

Waitstaff, if I ask for water twice and you forget both times to bring it, don’t be surprised if I forget to tip. If I ask for something for my kid even once and you forget to bring it, don’t be surprised if I brandish a weapon.

Parents, if your child is at the playground and you spend the whole time reading the newspaper, I will call child protective services and say the kid asked me to take him home because you lock him in the closet. I’m sick of parenting your kids for you.

Yes, you may ask:
How are you doing?
Can I bring you anything?
Could you look any more gorgeous?!
May I send you cash or a check?

No, you may not ask:
Are you ever going to have that baby? (No. I’m going to keep it in there and live off it in case I’m stuck at Donner Pass.)
Is that damned thing *still* in there? (No. Had it a week ago. Just fat. Thanks for asking.)
Could you get any bigger? (Probably. Could you get any more stupid or rude?)
What, are you waiting for your due date to come around again next year? (Yes. That’s exactly it. Nothing says fun like 17 months pregnant.)

And for these you will be stricken from the mailing list:
When are they going to induce? (Never. What part of natural don’t you get?)
How dilated are you? (Doesn’t matter. That’s not an indication of anything. Also none of your business. Also, I don’t know. Want me to run to the loo to check just for you?)
How long will they *let* you go? (Hi, have we met? Nobody is letting me do anything; I am an intelligent, consenting adult doing what my body needs without intervention, chemicals, or coercion.)
Will you have surgery? (For what? I don’t have cancer. I have a baby who’s not done cooking.)
How much weight have you gained? (Including the guilty conscience from killing you and woodchipping the body? Not sure. I don’t look at the numbers.)

Kind of like a parking ticket

Doc: Everything seems fine. Any concerns?
Me: No, but talk to me in a couple of weeks and I’ll be ready to complain.
Doc: Done. Want me to check to see how dilated you are?
Me: Any reason other than curiosity? Cuz I’m good skipping it.
Doc: No reason. Some people just want to know.
Me: Well, they’re welcome to take my exam for me.
Doc: Thank goodness you said that. I have a quota to fill, see. I’m like the meter maid of cervixes.
Me: Your degree-granting institution must be so proud.
Doc: They would have been, but you just knocked me out of the running for a set of steak knives.
Me: Sounds like a great prize for a surgeon. If it’s any consolation, I’m sure someone in early labor will submit willingly.
Doc: Heck, yeah. But I get my most hits on the 41-weekers who are desperate for some progress.
Me: Suckers.
Doc: Indeed. See ya next week.

Back in the day

My mother tells very amusing anecdotes about my childhood, especially the bits about my precocious use of language. My favorite are the loud questions in the frozen food section of a South Dakota grocery store: “Mommy, does Jesus have a penis?” Intense thumb sucking while affirmative answer is processed. “Mommy, does Santa Claus have a penis?” That settles it. Had to cover any potential special cases to the general rule. You know.

One of her favorite stories is from just after Brother and my first briefing about reproductive biology, wherein I holler from the backyard, “Mommy, Brother is kicking me in the uterus. Make him stop!”

Well, now that someone actually is kicking me in the uterus, frequently, at totally unexpected moments, that shrill complaint seems…well…hilarious. Thinking of calling her today with this pronouncement:

Mooooooooom, someone is kicking me in my uterus. But it’s kind of cute, so don’t make it stop!

Holy cow

Please don’t tell anyone who is more than 5 months pregnant, nor my two dear, sweet friends who carried and delivered twins that I said this, but great galloping ghosts, I don’t remember having a 5 month old fetus feeling so damned BIG. I swear I’m more uncomfortable now than I was at 8 months last time. As I said, though, don’t tell anyone whose uterus is, or has been, bigger than a cantaloupe. A really, really, big cantaloupe.

While we’re on that, why do they measure pregnancy milestones in fruit and vegetables? For heaven’s sake, telling me something is as long as a banana or a carrot is just plain stupid. Come with me to the store, you lameass lazy writers, and show me which banana. Do you mean that baby carrot or one of the eight thousand other sizes carrots come in? Why not tell me that my 9 inch fetus is about the length of 9 consecutive big lines on a ruler? Idiots.

The Brits understand. When I sought websites in proper English, hoping they might in terms other than produce, I found their measurements are way more reassuring. 360g?! Holy crow, that’s enormous, right?. 360 of anything is big. No wonder I feel like I swallowed a soccer ball. And 27cm? That’s…ah, hell, I wish we had converted to metric so I’d have some damned idea how long that is, but it sounds just huge.

But then, the Brits said this: “You’re probably feeling quite comfortable these days. This, in fact, may be the most enjoyable time in your pregnancy. ” Ah, man, f— you! Is this going to be the f— you trimester? Cuz I thought that was the 19 weeks of incessantly barfing and exhaustion. No? This is the f— you trimester? I’m not sure. I kind of remember the next one being the exact opposite of a picnic, but what do I know? I had forgotten about feeling that I could never, ever eat again after one almond.

Maybe it’s the eyebrows little Fetalanine just grew, or something, but I am just not large enough to accommodate any more growth.

Or explain jokes about phenylalanine. If you don’t get them, ask the Brits. They explain everything so well.