Friday, November 20, 2015

Prodromal Labor

I've learned a new concept over the last 48 hours. Prodromal labor. Haven't heard of it? I hadn't either. Honestly, it's a fancy way of saying false labor. Maybe it helps those of us experiencing it feel a little better than just being told what we're experiencing is false. Instead, I can intelligently state, "It's prodromal labor." It sounds so much more sophisticated, doesn’t it? Bottom line, it's the same thing…contractions which lead nowhere despite making a mama think the time is near. For all of my pregnancies, I've been ok with going full term. I didn't make it with Miss S, and then with Mr. C, I went 3 days past. (I still plan to post his birth story at some point). I shouldn’t complain because my pregnancies have only been speckled with mildly annoying but tolerable symptoms (heart burn, occasional back pain, inner thigh pain this pregnancy, painful joints intermittently) which is nothing compared to a lot of pregnant mamas.

When I was leaving work on Wednesday, one of my coworkers stated she thought I wouldn't make it past this week, which I think put my mindset in the laboring mode. That evening I started having contractions. They felt more significant/frequent/regular than any Braxton Hicks that I've had, and they lasted on and off during the night. I didn't sleep well and woke up multiple times aware of my tightening abdomen. That morning I was having contractions, so I let work know I wouldn't be in. My contractions then decided to stop around 9 am after 15 hours. They weren’t contractions than made me stop what I was doing, but they felt legitimate and stronger than Braxton Hicks. I had them on and off the rest of the day but without any consistency. I made dinner, and since my parents are in town, Karl and I decided to head to the mall to walk (since it was 32 degrees plus wind chill here). Around 8 pm, my contractions decided to start coming regularly with mild intensity at about 3 to 5 minute intervals for an hour. In our Bradley class, we were taught that once a mama is at 1 minute long contractions every 3 minutes for an hour, that's a good time to head to the hospital. We headed home, and the contractions became less frequent with only 6 in the next hour. They continued though until I fell asleep. I set my alarm to get up for work since they had slowed down so much. When I woke up this morning, I had the strongest and longest contraction yet. I decided that I didn’t want to have a baby at work and was thinking positively, so I told work I wouldn’t be there and would update them on baby news later. Now, it’s almost 10 pm. Besides an occasional contraction probably hourly and with them more frequent when I went for a walk, I’m not feeling anything.

I think most pregnant women will agree. Once you think you are in labor, then switching the mindset to the fact that labor may not be anytime soon can be really challenging. My mood has been off this evening. While I can blame it partially on hormones, I know it’s more because 1. I’m not in labor 2. It could be another week or 2 before I’m in labor 3. I didn’t work the last 2 days (which makes me feel guilty, especially since the days didn’t result in a baby)… 4. I feel like this being my 3rd I should innately know if I’m really in labor or not (plus I’m a registered nurse, which adds more fuel to the little voice in my head telling me that I should know if it’s true labor or prodromal false labor.) That being said, I really wonder if any woman ever gets to the point of “knowing” she’s in labor without having her water break or her having had more than at least a handful of babies. And, while I’m a nurse, I’m not an OB nurse, so I’m really only slightly more knowledgeable than the average pregnant mama out there on all things labor-wise.

For anyone else who might be experiencing prodromal labor, you aren’t alone! I read a number of posts from women having contractions daily for weeks (bless your hearts!) and with them sounding significantly more painful than my own. I found a few sites helpful in maintaining perspective and another that just made me laugh, which is always helpful: these posts from The Bump, this particular comment from an MD about prodromal labor, and this humor from another mama blogger.

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