The birth of my first child was an incredible blessing, so I expected the birth of my second to be similar: easy, tolerable, and a quick recovery. Yet boy, oh boy, was I not prepared for my prodromal labor birth story!
In March I found out we were expecting again. With my first not being quite 10 months old we were in total shock, but nonetheless insanely excited!
My pregnancy was completely different to my first, I had nausea, bad constipation, and that was just the beginning of painful events. Weirdly enough, both were girls, yet 100% different pregnancies. So, I guess the old midwife’s tales aren’t true?!
Everything looked well and baby was growing nicely. Apart from my marginal cord insertion during pregnancy, everything looked bright and cheerful. That is before the storm rolled in.
How the Prodromal Labor Birth Story Started
36 weeks came and I experienced my first pre-term labor scare. I suddenly noticed my usual abdominal pain sink down into my lady parts and come regularly throughout the day. By the evening they were so intense I could only hang out in the bathtub. In fear, I started counting them… 12 minutes apart for hours… and then after 4 intense hours of contractions they stopped as suddenly as they came.
I was exhausted, but excited… my body was preparing itself for labor and it seemed like this babe might come with an early 37 weeks! Less being pregnant for me, wohoo!
And that’s how the prodromal labor birth story nightmare started.
For the next 3 weeks, I would experience what is classified as “prodromal labor” every second evening. Giving me one day of a break and putting me into intense labor cramps the next. And for the next few weeks I would do everything in my power to get labor started and have this over with.
What is prodromal labor?
For quick clarification, prodromal labor is a part of early labor, however, it never progresses into active labor, starting and stopping anywhere from days to weeks before actual labor starts. While the contractions may be consistent and as painful as real labor, no cervical change happens in the women’s body.
It’s a nightmare for anybody experiencing this and every woman has my deepest sympathy.
The Never-Ending Nightmare
With 37 weeks and 5 days the contractions didn’t ease up after 4 hours, but rather continue all night at 7 minutes apart and into the morning. I was elated, maybe this was early labor, and it will be the real deal soon?
My midwife came that morning to check in on me… and delivered the worst news a laboring woman can hear: “your cervix is still completely hard and closed honey, you still have a long way to go before delivering this babe.”
My heart sank…. days and nights of intense contractions that kept me up throughout the night and no progress? I felt like crying and screaming at the same time.
And you guessed it, a few hours later those contractions also vanished into thin air, like a ghost, leaving behind no trace that they even existed.
And the saga continued… night after night of intense pain, when one day the contractions started around 4pm instead of 7… could it be?
I timed them religiously…. 5 minutes apart, then 3, then 2. It must be!
Like a person awakening from a terrible dream with the hope of a new morning I grabbed my bags and we headed to the hospital. Another check. Another “you are only 1 cm dilated and not in true labor yet… you’ve still got a long way to go honey.” and another sleepless and tearful night for this exhausted pregnant woman.
Now the reason why I was so anxious was because my first came over a week before her due date, so I naturally expected this one to come at a similar time, if not even earlier. Not even a membrane sweep helped get labor started, and only delivered even more painful hours of intense contractions.
Christmas came and went, New Year’s came and went, and I was more miserable than ever. Every evening I would anxiously wait for the contractions to start, only to end 4 hours later at night. And every morning I would wake up angry at the world for me not being in labor yet.
About 3 days before my due date, I realized I had lost my mucus plug, however, my midwife assured me it can still be a week or two before I deliver as the mucus plug is not an indication of immediate labor.
On the day before my due date, I was hopeless, spending my entire day bouncing on my energy ball, eating pineapple, going for walks in the snow, and praying that labor starts.
At 3:00pm I noticed an obvious bloody show and was so excited as it meant labor was a few hours to a few days away. Little did I know only half an hour later my contractions would start. And they started, STRONG.
Within 2 contractions I knew it was the real deal and phoned my husband to come NOW. They were 4 minutes apart and stronger than ever. We rushed to bring my daughter to her grandma’s and came to the hospital, hopeful, yet scared to get sent home again.
However, the most glorious news “you are 4 cm honey, looks like baby is coming tonight”.
The Most Glorious Day in History
Because of all the prodromal labor in the weeks prior and this being my second birth, my body knew exactly what to do. It contracted and opened perfectly, and very quickly.
Within 4 hours I was nearing my time to push, and within 15 minutes I went from 7 cm and not fully effaced to fully dilated and so ready to push!
And at 7:59pm on January 2nd, 2021, just a few hours before my due date… our sweet little daughter was born with just 2 pushes and a whole lot of previous patience.
For All The Moms Going Through Prodromal Labor
I know it feels like this will never end and you are completely exhausted. But just hang in there, take it day by day, contraction by contraction.
There has never been a baby that hasn’t come out yet, so your baby will come, and all in its due time! That’s what I told myself those painful weeks, that someday baby will be here, there is still hope in this world!
And hey, it has been proven that women who experience prodromal labor have faster and more effective labors, so yay for us!
A little tip: while you are waiting, keep busy! Spending all your time wondering when baby might come is not going to make them come any faster, and only drive you more insane. Take it from a woman with experience.
So, make sure you are ready for your postpartum journey, have your hospital bag packed, and be faithful that your baby will come someday, even if it feels like an eternity at the moment.
Until next time and all the best,