Friday, April 13, 2012

Seven days makes one weak

To all the first timer pregnant ladies out there...guess what you were never told? Labor can last weeks! Yes, you heard me right. Weeks. Why don't they tell us these things?!? I have been having contractions - real, live, super painful, and rhythmic - since Friday night of last week. The doctor told me, "it's not uncommon to have real labor contractions without being in active labor (active labor = the contractions change your cervix) for up to a few weeks". Oh, ok. How is it that no one has ever mentioned that little tidbit to me?? I have been in pain for a week. Every 6-12 minutes, depending on the day, I have a pain that is so sharp I think I'm going to never make it through. Then, after a minute or so, it goes away. These pains are doing nothing except to bring me to my absolute breaking point. It's pain for pains sake only.

Yesterday, after I was checked in Mankato for the 4th time, my doctor said "you are dialated  to a 2, it's time to go to Rochester." It was actually a huge relief when he said that. "I knew it!" is what I thought "I knew this was labor!" Since my mom was staying here to help me while I was on bedrest, she and I quickly went back home, called Bryan (at work due to a super important meeting) and began quickly and efficiently cleaning up and grabbing everything I needed for the hospital stay. Bryan met us at home and in 30 minutes, we were off. All during this time, I was just contracting away as per my new usual. I thought to myself "the next time I'm here (home) I'll have my baby!" I was excited! There was something about knowing the pain had a purpose that gave me a new sense of determination. After a LONG car ride (2 hours = 20 contractions), we finally pulled in around 5pm. The Mankato clinic had called the hospital to let them know I was coming, so they were ready for me. The quickly put me back on the monitor then checked me again. I was now dialated to a 3 and 90 percent effaced. I was making progress! (finally). But some bad news: Samuel was still breech. (we had been told by 3 people in Mankato that he was head-down). Bummer! But the doctor I had that night was able to do a breech delivery, so onward and upward! They put me in the Cadillac of birthing rooms. It was complete with a beautifully tiled, full walk-in shower, private bathroom, labor whirlpool and a very spacious floor plan. It made Mankato look like a "pay-by-the-hour" hotel. It was perfect! We got settled, then I climbed into the massive (and deep!) whirlpool. It was awesome! The warm water was a great pain reliever. Why on earth don't all hospital rooms have them?

After a while more of contracting, they came to check me again. Bad news: no change. Ok, well, I guess we'll just have to keep trying. This was around 10:30pm. I tried moving to the birthing ball. Bryan got some dinner and we just kept plugging away. Around 1:30am, the doctor came in and said, "You're not making much progress, so I have a suggestion". She told me how some women will be laboring for a long time without making progress and they just get worn out. (At this point, I had not gotten any more than 1-2 hours of sleep for about a week. I would try to sleep but the contractions would wake me. I was absolutely exhausted and almost delirious). She recommended a shot to help me sleep. She said this was a very routine shot they used in these situations. She told us how there were two main outcomes after the shot. 1. After the sleep (6 hours or so) the contractions would fizzle out and I would be able to return home and rest until "real" labor set back in, or 2. During the sleep, my body would keep working and when I awoke, I would be further dialated and ready to continue better rested.  I was at a loss of what to do. During this entire pregnancy, I have not taken a single dose of any drug; not tums, not Tylenol, not even caffeine. I fully intended on being completely natural during birth. So when she told me this, my heart kind of sank. I knew I needed rest, but I didn't want to hurt Samuel. (despite how they tell you the baby won't get the medicine you take. hmm... so we share a blood stream, but somehow, magically, he won't get the meds?? Suspicious...) Bryan and I prayed about what to do. I decided to try to sleep without taking anything. So we got me settled into bed, turned down the lights and played soft worship music. (Did I mention my suite had a build in sound system?) Bryan, who was also exhausted, finally got to lie down on his bed and rest as well. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get more then 10 minutes of rest in between each contraction.

At 3am, we decided to get the shots. (it was a hard moment for me. I felt like I was letting myself and Samuel down). Bryan said, "it's ok. You have to get sleep and God will take care of Samuel". So I got the shot, prayed for Samuel and settled back in. Both of my parents were at the hospital at this point. I called them into the room and we all prayed together. Then we all went to try to sleep. (The hospital also has a family room with pull out beds for guests). A few minutes after the shot, I started getting really drowsy. After 15 minutes, I couldn't keep my eyes open. (FINALLY! sleep!) I feel asleep and was able to rest for around 3 hours. It was really weird; I would feel that I was having a contraction, and know that I had to breathe through them, but I was also kind of sleeping at the same time. Strange. I got up around 7am and was shaking all over. I felt so cold. They (Bryan and the nurse) quickly got me under some heated blankets, got me some hot chocolate and then set me up in a warm shower. After I warmed up, we ordered breakfast and the doctors came to check me again. Guess what? no progress. Since I was not making any progress, they told me I was in latent labor. They said they would let me try a bit more and then consider sending me home.

Around this time, the contractions became much less frequent (thank you God!!!) They were still painful, but at least I got a break. Bryan and I ate breakfast, my parents decided to head home since we were most likely heading home ourselves, and then I tried to sleep again. After a  few hours, during which I sort of slept, sort of contracted, we got up and I realized "we were going home". (It was a weird mix of relief - maybe the contractions will stop - and panic - what if I have to keep this up?!) Both Bryan and I were feeling a lot of discouragement. We had both been through so much! But, we tried to remind ourselves that it was best for Samuel for him to grow bigger and stronger. They came in to check me one last time around noon - no change - then we ate lunch, I took a shower and got dressed and we left for home. The emotions of these past few days are many. Pure exhaustion, excitement, concern, feeling completely overwhelmed, pain, panic...etc. As we were leaving, they said "just come back or call if anything changes". You know doctor, I don't think so. I have "called or come in" so many times and look where it's gotten me. I suddenly wanted to call them all names and slap them. Thankfully, I did not.

As we walked to the car, I just lost it. "God, I can't keep this up!" I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Poor sweet Bryan tried to comfort me, but it there was just no hope for me. There I was, not in "labor" but in tons of pain, heading back home to face who-knows-how-long of this latent labor. Plus, (pity-party for me) we had to cancel my baby shower for Saturday and I've been looking forward to it for months. Just one more thing to add to the list of reasons why life is hard right now. Can I just give up? (At this point, the contractions were back to being very painful and about every 10 minutes. Let's just say the ride home was unpleasant.)

Since we got home, I've been trying to rest - to no avail - and contracting like a maniac. I'm so utterly discouraged and tired I can't even begin to tell you. I just keep thinking, "why is this happening?" "After ALL we have gone this?" ARGH! But guess what? I have absolutely no choice in the matter so I guess I'll just keep going until I die. (which, if the contractions keep feeling like this, may be sometime soon).

Thank you so much for all the prayers! Please keep praying for us. I need this to stop soon. For my physical body and my sanity.

God, help me!


  1. I am so sorry you are going through all this!!! I am praying like crazy and won't stop till that little baby boy is born and you finally hear his little voice!
    God be with you all!!! Know his peace that passes all understanding cuz there IS no understanding here except that God keeps on giving. So take and rest in in His arms!!

  2. RaeAnne, that totally sucks. I remember thinking the same thing "the book said the first part of labor lasted 20 hours at MOST." i could do anything for 20 hours, right? NO four days later, Soren was born. I HATE IT FOR YOU. I just wanted to encourage you, that i am the biggest hippie EVER, and after days and days of pain, i confidently chose an epidural, and you know what, God is good, and i felt the epidural was a complete and total blessing and provision from God. NO LIE, I told the anesthesiologist i thought he might be an angel! So no matter what you choose, you are the perfect mother for Samuel, your not letting anyone down but you own pre-pain expectations! Love you, my heart is right there with you.


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