It is just three days before my due date!
And I have been experiencing labor for three weeks.
That is not a typo.
I didn't know this was possible. This is my fifth pregnancy, and I know all about Braxton Hicks. But this has been an entirely different experience.
For the last three weeks, I have been waking almost every single night to intense, painful, irregular, inconsistent, no-baby-producing contractions for two to three hours.
Needless to say, I'm a bit tired. This might sound crazy, but in a way, I'm looking forward to this baby arriving so that I can get some sleep!
I've mentioned this to my doctor, but I probably made little of it because she didn't seem to be worried. After my exam this week, she let me know that I am 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. So these are some real contractions that are productive, but just haven't produced a baby quite yet.
Even knowing that, I have still felt like maybe I was somehow overreacting, misinterpreting, being dramatic, or being an irrational, over-sensitive, pregnant, crazy lady in the middle of each night!
The good news is, I'm not!
Today, hoping to discover that some other woman in history has experienced this, I google'd "contractions for weeks."
I immediately found a post about "prodromal labor." I then searched for prodromal labor and have read article after article about this phenomenon, including this one from Fit Pregnancy:
My favorite piece I've read has been here, as it has given me the most encouragement and compassion:
I have learned that these contractions ARE "real" contractions, something that my dilated cervix, effacement and other personal signs confirm. I have learned that I basically am in labor. Many mistakenly call this "false labor," but the contractions are real, only they just stop after a certain matter of time and start again later, often at the same time of day.
I'm so glad that my time is at two o'clock in the frickin' morning!
I have learned to save my strength and to treat myself as if I am in labor. Eventually, these contractions will become regular and I will enter into the active labor phase that will joyfully bring us our new blessing!
I have also learned that prodromal labor can cause the active labor phase to be faster, something I have been praying for. My shortest labor so far (other than my c-section) has been 26 hours long with Teresa.
With all four children's labors (Joshua - 8 hrs; Noah - 30 hours; Veronica - 38 hours; Teresa - 26 hours), I have spent 102 hours of my life in labor!
Now, if we added two hours of labor nightly for the last three weeks, that would mean that this baby already has me at an additional 42 hours of labor!!!
I have also now spent almost four years of my life pregnant! I could have earned a Bachelor's Degree in Pregnancy by now! :)
I have definitely been praying for a shorter labor this time, but with all of these contractions, I'm getting a little worried that labor is going to be very fast and I won't make it to the hospital in time. I suppose I need to be careful what I pray for!
In all seriousness, these three weeks have been a great practice of patience, humility and trusting in God's plan.
I have continually prayed that God may fill me with the Holy Spirit and grant me the grace to mother these five blessings with kindness, love, strength, humor, compassion, gentleness and patience.
I know that God bestows His grace often through trials.
I know that God is preparing my heart and my spirit for everything He asks of me.
If I can attempt to be patient during three weeks of extreme tiredness and painful contractions most nights, I'm pretty sure I will be able to be patient in many other hard times as well!
Hopefully, the next post I put up with have photos of our new baby!
Here are some photos of our four children at the beach last week: