Wikipedia defines Pre-labor, also called "prodromal labor," as the early signs before labor starts. It is the body's preparation for real labor. It can include hours to days of consistant, highly uncomfortable contractions that do not organize enough to progress the body into active labor.
I define it as bordenline torture. With my first son, my prodromal labor lasted for 10 days and three trips to the labor and delivery ward, all of which I was sent home deflated and disheartened. Two nights ago, the contractions started again. Every 5 minutes, lasting about a minute each, and I just sighed. Like I said, I'm an old dog here.
The truth is I am just a terribly impatient woman, impulsive and rash even. You see when I'm not the one that is massively pregnant, I am the voice of reason. I've spent the last few weeks with my face buried in Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, empowering myself with her stories and words of wisdom. I am preparing as much as possible for a birth free of interventions. Unfortunatly, births free of pitocin and doctors and scheduling require patience. And really,I believe in it. I believe that God designed women for birth, that the rates of cesareans are absurdly unnecessary and compeletely linked to our inability to just wait for our body to be ready. I believe wholeheartedly that I was designed by my perfect creator to grow babies and bring them into the world, and that in most cases medical aid is unnecessary. I believe that my hour will come when it is the correct time. God and I have had a few heart to hearts throughout this pregnancy concerning this and I have put it into His capable hands.
That is, until the useless, false labor contractions started and I turned into an absolute mad-woman. Yesterday, before my darling soulmate of a husband reminded me that I am a God-loving woman and that perhaps I should take a moment to pray about my "I've gotta have this baby now" anxiety, I decided that I did, in fact, have to have this baby now. I googled "natural induction methods" and I decided to completely ignore the knowledge that if you're body isn't ready, the baby isn't coming.
I think I walked miles yesterday. My poor 4 year old said after an hour and a half at the mall that he would like to go get in the van and have a nap. If you knew Asher, you would know how very much it takes before the child admits even the slightest bit of tiredness. From then I just went on down the list, doing everything short of drinking dreaded castor oil. At about 11 last night, as I bounced on the birth ball and polished off the last of a fresh pineapple (it contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is believed to work like a prostaglandin, ripening and softening the cervix), I realized that I could not put my pregnancy, birth, health and child into God's hands and simultaneously tell Him how to handle them. And so I finally prayed, and asked that God would give me, if not active labor, some patience and perhaps some rest.
You will be proud to know that I walked by the eggplants at the grocery today without buying one, because even if the old wives tale says that eggplant parmesan will have you in labor by the next morning, I know that I have no idea how to cook it and it probably wouldn't work anyway. And although I am sitting on my birth ball whilst writing this blog entry, I am not doing so in desperation. I will practice patience. My hour will come.
In the meanwhile, I would like to share a few of the maternity photos my good friend Leslie took for us this last weekend. I am so pleased with them, although it was certainly odd to be on this side of the lens!