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
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 though...now 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!