For the past couple of weeks, the symptoms were mostly sporadic. Then, on Christmas Day, I woke up with the whole shebang. Every single one, all at the same time: backaches, pelvic pressure, vaginal pressure, perineal pressure, diarrhea, nausea, and plenty of contractions.
And again on Boxing Day (that's a holiday here in England, the day after Christmas). And again yesterday. And again today.
If you remember what it was like having a baby, you may recall the dubious joy of experiencing one or all of these symptoms.
It's joyful because, yay, your body is doing something. It's dubious because, ugh, it's all so uncomfortable and/or gross. In fact, I told my husband, "The moment active labor hits, I'm taking a shower before we even go to the hospital." I just want to be extra freshened-up for the dozen or so people who will become intimate with the inner workings of my body over that 24-48 hour period. :P
There are two major signs I'm hoping to see soon. The show seems more likely than spontaneous rupture of the membranes, but I am constantly looking for either one.
Today, hubby felt it incumbent upon himself to remind me he was 3 weeks late.
Thanks. That is exactly what every woman wants to hear, particularly when they already have that thought in the back of their mind - that even as we are analyzing every single damn thing happening with our body, we also know it can go on for weeks.
My son was so easy. I woke up two days before his due date around 5:30 a.m. with painless, rhythmic little back flutters that worked their way around to the abs. Labor. Seven hours later, I finally called the doctor. She sent me to the hospital. Three hours after I arrived at the hospital, there he was, born at 3:05 p.m. that day. Pretty sweet, right? To just wake up in labor one day and have it progress so fast for a first-time baby is pretty nice, especially when genetics are not in your favor.
Oh yes, my mother spent 24 hours in active labor with me (#1) and my sister (#2). Fortunately for her, our brother (#3) was an easier birth.
My aunt, mom's sister, spent 24 hours in active labor with my cousin (her #1 and only).
My sister spent 24 hours in active labor with her #2 (her first was a C-section due to being breech, while her subsequent 3 were VBACs). I was there for #2's birth and, boy, was it excruciating to watch. She also had a long active labor with #3. But #4 was an easier birth.
So you see the pattern there, yes? When it came to my son, I got really lucky, and I know it!
Of course, every pregnancy is different. Maybe all of this discomfort means my body is really revving up, and I'll just suddenly want to push one day... and there she will be.
Or maybe giving birth the second time around will be awful. It could happen.
Maybe she'll be a bit earlier than her brother was... or maybe she'll be so late, I just want to scream.
Either way, I'm not taking it sitting down. I'm up and about, but I'm not working too hard on anything. I give myself about 60 minutes of sitting up at the computer and sitting in the most optimal position to open the pelvis, or walking around, doing housework and random yoga. I make sure to move slowly and carefully, squat properly, and so on.
But I also take 30-60 minutes to lie down on my side, elevate the feet, and read or even nap a bit. I'm eating light, because one of the symptoms is such that it's supposed to be "cleaning" the body out in preparation for labor...
With regard to that particular symptom (oh, the lovely d-word), it started Christmas night. At first, I thought it was something I ate. I thought I had too much sugar that day - two cinnamon rolls for breakfast, followed by a very healthy lunch (I was exhausted and PMSy, but still managed to make a lovely little holiday feast), and then maybe too many Christmas cookies.
So I spent all of the 26th drinking plenty of water (I already drink more than enough water anyway), and eating things that should have been a bit more... binding. Nope. Same symptom for the past 4 days. So now I'm eating light meals just in case.
At this point, I'm treading that fine line between "WHEN WHEN WHEN?!" and getting accustomed to all of these early/latent labor symptoms. I've stopped analyzing every little thing. Yes, I still look at the toilet paper expectantly after I use the bathroom, but I've stopped being so anxious about it.
No, I am not attempting to induce labor by natural means. None of that raspberry leaf tea or evening primrose stuff for me. Sex happens when it happens, but not in a "Let's do this every day" way. Honestly, I could live without it right now, and I would have also gladly lived without it for the past 9 months... and that's saying something!
Nor will I ask the OB to "strip the membranes" at my appointment next Wednesday. Because while I am eager for the baby to come, I think I've passed the tipping point of desperation and am just accepting that my body is doing what it's doing. It could happen tonight. It could happen tomorrow. It could happen on my due date in 13 days. Or, horror of horrors, it could happen 3 or 4 weeks from now (though the thought makes me want to cry).
Trying to temper anxious analysis with logic is difficult, particularly with symptom on top of symptom, but it's getting easier.
Thank goodness for a husband who does the dishes and listens to me gripe, for a son who snuggles me and is also independent enough to do his own thing, for funny TV shows and movies, and for books with chapters that are just the right length to settle me down into a nice little nap when I need it.
Copyright (c) 2012 Wendy L. Callahan