Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

39w 1d: Reports of My Early Labor Greatly Exaggerated


Happy Monday, internets. The Bean and I are lolling around the apartment, while the fire alarm I can’t knock down even with a broom beeps intermittently, in its death throes but far beyond my reach. Heavy snow outside, the wet kind people carry umbrellas against. I’m in the leggings that always fall down, because the others need washing and I can’t stand pants anymore. The Bean is in monster underpants, which is more than he usually has on these days.

Jackalope remains fashionably clad in an amniotic sac and my uterus.

Sugar has gone to work today, for the first time since Thursday. I made her stay home on Friday, because I was so sure I was going into labor. Oops.

In my defense, I had a rough day Thursday and woke up several times on Thursday night with what were clearly labor-type contractions, not the long, strange ones I’ve been having for ages. These were relatively short (1-2 minutes? I didn’t time them), repeating, and felt like the books say they do, starting in my back and wrapping around to the front. (I never felt anything like that when the Bean was born, only back and later back/hip/leg pain. Possibly there was some abdominal action that I just couldn’t discern because the other parts hurt so much.) Meanwhile, Jackalope seems to have suddenly figured out that the way out is down. Lots more pressure and cervical stabbing, accompanied by some relief at the thought that s/he’s not going to try to actually crawl through the fundus, as previous behavior has suggested.

Childcare connections were alerted. I wrote to our doula and my father. I felt justified in having told the food coop that I needed to start my maternity leave early. We all waited for the contractions to ramp up and find a rhythm.

Ah, waiting. The through-line to the whole TTC experience, from Two Week Waits to this. Well, one of the through-lines, if you count obsessive monitoring of mucous. Or maybe that’s more of a goopy set of bookends.

We are still waiting. No contractions to speak of since Friday. Did more walking this weekend than I have in a while (though essentially none by my usual standard), which might count as a burst of energy or maybe just cabin fever finally overpowering me. Meanwhile, apparently 38.5 weeks was some kind of towel-throwing moment as far as my abdominal skin’s resisting stretch marks. Oh, well. Guess I won’t be able to hawk my Think Method alongside the more traditional snake oils advertised in the parenting magazines after all.

I gather this experience — thinking one is in labor only to be sheepishly still pregnant several days later — is a common one. It is, however, the opposite of my experience with the Bean, when I was in labor for at least 24 hours (maybe more like 36) before my denial broke. File under “each pregnancy is different,” I guess. I thought I was supposed to be more savvy now that I’m what Penny Simkin calls an “experienced mother.”

File under: “things I would only tell the internet” my adventures in, erm, self-exploration last night. Although I feel confident that refusing cervix checks at the OB office has been the right decision, given that there’s nothing to do with any result (since the follow up to any finding in that setting is, “normal, could mean anything”), I admit I am curious. So in the tub last night, I made a good attempt at finding my own cervix, something I can usually manage when not pregnant. (I use the singular here because the medical consensus is that the other has wriggled up somewhere out of the way as my uterus has stretched, for which I am grateful.) No luck; I blame short arms/big belly syndrome, though possibly it’s also that it hasn’t shifted forward yet. What I did feel, however, was a head. Sort of through the, as it were, roof of my vagina, as if it had acquired a hard-top. Like I’d grown a bone there, which I suppose, in a sense, I have.

So. That’s something.

I don’t mind still being pregnant, for the record. Yes, I am uncomfortable and can’t sleep for beans, even with unisom, my constant companion. But I am happy to have made it to ACOG’s revised version of full term. I’ve had a 38 week baby, and find the new “early term” definition (37w – 38w6d) a sensible distinction; yes, he was healthy and basically fine, but I am hopeful that a slightly more cooked baby may have an easier time nursing and just generally adjusting to the world. (But please still be small enough that I can get you out, okay, Jackalope?)

11 thoughts on “39w 1d: Reports of My Early Labor Greatly Exaggerated

  1. Because it’s the first time I could be the first (and for who knows what reason, that’s titilating to us readers), I’ll come out of lurking and post. I’m secretly glad you’re still pregnant, too. I know how hard last time was, and so I’m scared about that for this time. But Jackalope will be such a great blessing and I’m sure it will all be different. As the pregnancy has been. And the labor ramp-up, too.
    And soon you’ll have two little punners to make cow/car jokes at you (perhaps my favorite Bean story still). Since, yes, their donor genes might lead to unaccountable bouts of sharing but they’ll not survive chez Bionique without sparkling wit to match their magnifique mothers’.

  2. This “early labor” stuff is crazy-making! It’s so fun knowing that this giant life change is going to happen soon, but no one can tell you exactly when, and even the things that should give you clues about just how immanent the event is (like having contractions) actually can’t tell you anything…
    And I’m sure your fears about labor don’t make the waiting any easier. Hang in there! In addition to the fact that each labor is different, it sounds like you’ve taking lots of good steps to make sure that things will be handled very differently this time around.

  3. Been thinking about you all weekend! I am excited to Jackaloupe’s debut, whenever it is!

  4. I get so excited every time I see a post from you in my feedly, because I am waiting for news of Jackalope’s arrival. But I’m actually very glad s/he is still in there. E. was 39w4d, and he was really, truly, fully cooked. I remember my mother saying that he didn’t look like a newborn- he was so alert and aware right from the beginning.

    Can’t wait to hear that all has gone well.

  5. What is that about second babies coming faster? HAH. I was in real labor with Tatoe for a WEEK. (But then he showed up in about 3 hours, so it was almost a break-even.) In any event, may this child show up soon, with an excellent epidural delivered in good time, and possibly even at a convenient hour for childcare (though children are rarely convenient).

  6. Looking for your cervix? Are you fucking kidding me? I am almost two months behind you, and I can barely wash myself. I had to pay money to get a bikini line going when we took Bunny to the water park last month. And yesterday I almost broke down in tears trying to clip my way-too-long toenails.

    So, yeah. Checking your own cervix makes you my hero. More than you already are.

    hashtag awestruck

  7. Hmm. You have me rethinking my “plans” for Jelly’s birth. I keep figuring he’ll show up right about on time since Juju was born at 40w1d, but maybeeee not. C and I are trying to decide if she should teach a summer session that begins 6 days after my due date. Perhaps it’s not the best idea…

    Like Pom I am hella impressed you can even attempt to find your cervices. Holy smokes. I can’t do that when I’m not pregnant.

    Best wishes for a happy everything. I feel certain that your experiences will be so different and so much more positive this time around.

  8. I also could not check my cervix during my LONG prodromal labor, but not for lack of trying. I can always check my cervix in regular life, and seeing how I check cervixes for a living, I became indignant when I could not find it in labor. However, by the end of my labor, my cervix had come forward enough that I could feel it, but it took sitting on the toilet and contorting a great deal. Good luck! Waiting eagerly for your triumphant kick ass birthing story.

  9. Thanks so much for keeping us posted. I’m a bit giddy that you’re still pregnant, for some reason. I just think that the more cooked Jackalope is, the easier that labor and delivery and new parenthood will be for you. I realize that it isn’t rational at all, but that’s my magical thinking and I”m sticking to it. Best of luck in the days ahead, dear one.

  10. I’ve been thinking about why I’ve been scared and I think it’s because *I’ve* felt that you’re happier now than you were just after Bean’s birth. But (a) this is not a lather-rinse-repeat cycle and so you could just as easily be elated after Jackalope’s birth. And more to the point (b) *I’ve*. Yeah, didja notice that pronoun there? Who felt? Yes, *I* felt you are happier now because *I* am happier now and so I can feel more happiness around you, too. And what that implies (aside from the fact that I apparently do way too much projection of my own emotions onto unwitting others – but hey, who here’s surprised to learn that?) is that since *I* am happier this time around you will be, too! Nice logic, no? At least in my world you will be, so if in your world you’re not too keen on you, feel free to come visit, stay awhile. The view is getting better and better from here, I’m happy to report.

  11. Bionic! Oh, there you are, all posting and everything. (Feedly. Grr, I re-hate you! WHY did you not feedly me these posts? OH WOE IS ME. From now on, I will be relying on old-fashioned manual methods.)

    (TAKE THAT, piece of software.)

    You seem – I hope I am right – calm and happy, (if decidedly uncomfortable) which is wonderful. Good, good. Totally fine and good to keep Sugar home, this is sensible. More of this sort of thing! Also, many many of the very best best wishes. xx

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