Third Trimester

And…you’re not in labor

As my previous post mentioned, I’ve gone through WEEKS of prodomal labor. Contractions. Aching. Loss of mucous plug. Endless expecting of this sweet little baby to show up. Prior to that, I thought “I’ll be early. I’ve got a feeling.” Part of this was motivated by my back to work schedule– I felt the pressure of only having a month from her EDD until the day I had to go back to work, and it made me super nervous. Those nerves quickly became birth anxiety at 36 weeks when I started to run the gamut of “things to do to encourage labor”– evening primrose oil. Lots of sex. Walking. Third Trimester/Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. Acupuncture.

The culmination of my efforts seemed to materialize Sunday. I woke up with contractions. They hung out every 8 minutes, then 7 minutes, then 6 minutes apart. I went to acupuncture and baby went nutso in there, flipping around, acting like she wanted to be born. By two in the morning, my contractions were getting stronger and painful, every 3 minutes, and I thought, holy shit. I’m in labor.

I woke up my husband and told him it was go time. The bags were packed. I was convinced this was it. We arrive at triage and get sorted into a room at 4 in the morning to see that Princess Kate was in labor. I was like, wow, she was waiting on the royal baby to be born. They hook me up to the monitors. I was thinking, I’ll not go home! Time is here. My contractions phazed off then started back again– every 5 minutes, and the midwife came in and checked me.

“Well,” she said, “Your contractions aren’t strong enough. Let’s check your cervix.” My cervix, apparently, was also uncooperative. While totally effaced, it wasn’t as dilated as they told me two days prior. “it’s 3 1/2 centimeters on the outside,” she explained– ” but like 1 1/2 on the inside. And way back there. You’re not ready yet.”

Cue shock, awe, and total heartbreak. I was devestated.

When she left the room– after telling me I really needed to relax, unwind, and not be such a spaz about giving birth– I totally burst into tears. Great wracking sobs that made me realize that i’d done this to myself. I’d forced my body into faux labor by the sheer will of wanting to be in labor (the mind is POWERFUL THING, you know) but the reality was WANTING and HOPING for something doesn’t just “make it happen.”

She told me to go home, get some sleep, and relax. Drink some wine, she said. Take a bath. It’ll happen when it happens. It may be a few days, it may be 10 days— no matter what, sometime in that time window, this kid is gonna come out.

We left the hospital, me still crying, saying how i thought I was a failure and a messed up person and a terrible mother, and why couldn’t I just give brith like a normal person. My husband listened patiently to my incoherent babbling, hugging me and trying to console me as best he could. I was a wreck. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, starving, and overall just felt like crap.

I went home, took some unisom, laid down on the couch and promptly passed out. I woke up around noon still feeling low. My husband had talked with our doula, Rachel, to fill her in on the status of things and she said she wanted to come over with some essential oils. I texted her to fill her in on my emotional status at the moment— which had not improved, even with sleep.  I knew i needed to relax. I knew I needed to chill. I wrote all of the people that could possibly bother or distract me that I was taking a hiatus for 24 hours to decompress and chill. I wasn’t going to think about work, or construction, or labor, or anything. I wasn’t going to think at all. My doula got back to me and invited me to come to a house where some other doulas and a midwife were going to gather and do some calming exercises with me.  I agreed to go.

When I got there, I was enveloped in this calm and inviting environment. The ladies there coaxed me to a big birthing ball and started to rub my back and shoulders, cooing for me to be calm and relax. They took off my glasses and wrapped a black cloth around my head and rubbed my head and told me to not think, to shut it down, shut it out, to just chill. I took their advice. I gladly went into a state of total relaxation. I had essential oils rubbed on me and went to a bedroom where I was wrapped in a loving cocoon and focused on nothing but being pregnant and being in the moment and focusing on the good. It was awesome. I left feeling better than I had in weeks.

I came home, had a glass of wine (per the doula’s advice) and that added to my blissed out state. I felt super great. I fell asleep around 9 and slept pretty solidly (other than the endless getting up to pee) and have felt pretty good today. I went to acupuncture and zoned out. The difference between today and the past few weeks– I’ve not felt the endless pressure of “is it going to be now/soon/ever?” for the baby. I’ve turned my thinking into focusing on letting my body do it’s thing and not getting swayed one way or the other.

Today’s our due date. If I’d not been through yesterday I’d probably be in a crying mess. Now, i’m just trying to embrace things. I am embracing being pregnant– this is the end of a very long journey, and pretty soon I won’t be pregnant any more. And that’s bittersweet. Sure, at the end you want it to end, but there’s something awesome about it too. You’ve made it for  10 months. You’ve created a life and carried it and now you are nearing the end of this epic journey only to embark on something even more awesome. It’s not unlike having been a settler from long ago, traveling to the new world by boat, suffering through seasickness and times of just utter peril and fear– and you’re going to land on foreign soil and figure out how to cope, how to survive, how to make it work. I’m going to be carrying my baby in my arms instead of my belly soon, and that’s super exciting. I am choosing to focus on the joy. Because when you focus on how you just want to not be pregnant anymore, it kind of drags you down and you get consumed with it. She’s not coming early. I accept that. She’s coming late. Ok, that’s cool. Let’s take it one day at a time knowing it will be any day now, it will be soon, the finish line is in sight.

I just have to hold on and stay strong, think positively, and know that my baby girl will be with me soon.

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