Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Uncertainty of It All

I got a call last night from my client who is due August 7. She is very in tune with her body. Yesterday she noticed a slight backache off and on. Then in the evening, her Braxton-Hicks contractions persisted long past the time when they typically quiet down. Resting didn't help. Bathing didn't help. Could this be it, she wanted to know.

Ah, well. If only I knew!

I empathized with her. I said how frustrating it can be to not know when labor is starting. I explained that if six hours later her contractions were becoming painful, lasting longer, coming more often, then she would be in labor. But if in six hours she was sleeping soundly while her uterus rested, or quietly continued its rehearsal, she would not be in labor.

Somewhere (and oh how I wish I remember where), I once read that the AVERAGE labor starts and stops three times before it culminates in THE labor that delivers the baby. I know the two nights before my younger son was born I had contractions from dinnertime until midnight. But then I'd fall asleep and wake up to a calm belly.

Just as nobody can tell a woman what kind of labor she will have, nobody can guess when or how it will start.

Depending on your point of view, that is the beautiful mystery or the confounding aggrevation of natural labor.

update: my client just called to say she'd lost her mucus plug. So those contractions yesterday were doing something!


Blogger Mrs. Coulter said...

I had non-productive contractions for three weeks(!) before my daughter was born. We actually went to the hospital when I thought my water had broken (actually Lyra had just kicked my bladder, apparently). I was walking around 3cm dilated the whole time.

Finally, four days before her due date, we went to the hospital when I passed a small blood clot, but my contractions were still irregular and not very close together. Lyra was born about three hours after we arrived...thank goodness we decided to go when we did.

3:21 PM  
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6:28 PM  

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