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prelabor start and stop - what to do?

706 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  dunicakes
Hi, everyone!
So. I'm at 38 wks and have been having prelabor symptoms for about a week now. I start getting strong Braxton-Hicks contractions, loose bowel movementss, nausea, pressure in my groin and lower back...This lasts a few hours and then stops.The problem with this is that it keeps me up at night and, even more important, it's exhausting me emotionally. I keep feeling like "this is it" and "today is the day," only to then see it all stop. I think I have conflicted feelings about the birth because I'm worried how the baby's arrival will affect my 3yo dd. My daughter's been pretty tense and cranky around me lately (but not with her dad or others). Anyway, does anyone have any words or advice? Probably, "just be patient and wait - it will come" would be good advice, but i's hard not to get frustrated by this situation.

(Oh, and I was at the midwife's today -- the baby's engaged and my cervix is 2cm dilated and effaced, so I am inn fact "ready to go" in some physiological sense. The midwife even suggested I could try to induce myself with a breast pump, but I've heard that this makes for more violent contractions...)
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I'm so sorry you're in this situation...but you're in good company, I have 2 clients doing the same thing right now!!! Are you walking lots? You can try putting your foot up on a chair and doing lunges too, that might help baby move more into the pelvis.
Thanks, gentlehandsdoula! I know this must not be so uncommon -- I just kind of feel foolish at not being able to "let go" and just let it happen. I think that my prolonged state of suspense is also making my daughter feel more on edge, which, in turn, makes me feel more inhibited (on her account) about going into labor. It's a vicious cycle... I just don't want to "ruin" my birthing experience by doing something rash to speed up the onset of labor and then having things not end up the way I would want them to. (It also doesn't help my feelings about the whole thing that my brother's wife was just induced last week, after which she ended up having c-section and a completely miserable experience.)
i did the same thing with both my girls and really didn't have any issues about giving birth..
i think sometimes it just is the way your body needs to do it. i will say, as frustrating as it would be, i was grateful it happened because dd1 took only 3.5 hours the last time it started up and finally kicked over, and dd2 was under 10 hours and would have been alot quicker but she was posterior. since your due date is still a couple weeks away, i'd say - and do this through gritted teeth
- to try to see it as a good thing as much as you can. your body is working hard and when it kicks over to active labor it might happen quick..

i did end up taking a little castor oil with both girls but that was post due date and with my m/w's just helped kick things over when my body was finally ready. i really don't think it would have worked any earlier to be honest.

hang in are doing what a lot of women do and yes, it's frustrating..
i'm sorry you have to go through this...but it won't be much longer...
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I am 39 + 2 and have been dealing with pre-labor since 36 weeks. And you are absolutely right: it is emotionally exhausting. I've had contractions intense enough to keep me awake all night and each time it feels more and more real and I think "it must be it this time!" but it ultimately fizzles. Very frustrating. I've been let down so many times, that now I'm a little worried that I won't recognize the real thing and end up accidentally having baby at home!

At least we know it has to be soon, right?
Yes, nmbutts! We do at least know that it will have to be soon! Well, if a lot of people have this experience, I will try to stop "beating myself up" because I feel like it's my feelings that are somehow interfering with the onset of labor. Maybe you're right, and that's just the way my body wants to do it this time around -- for whatever reason. Maybe my feelings have nothing to do with it. I'll try to be patient and grateful that I'm effacing a dilating ahead of time with litle discomfort. I just need to stop having the expectation that "this is it" every time it starts up...
Well, in an important way, every time these bouts of labor of occur, it really IS 'it'! It really is another installment of 'labor by installments' really is bringing you closer to holding that baby.

And I think you're probably right that it's your own feelings that are impacting your daughter. She is not thinking about the new LO, and the impact it will have on her, the same way you are--she's just going on how the present moment feels to her. Of course, HER present moments are all very much influenced at her age by YOUR present moments. Not to blame you--more to point out how you can help your daughter while helping yourself and baby: that is, relax! Take good care of yourself in all the little ways.

Hey, you're about to have a baby, soon your whole schedule will be topsy turvy anyway--just go with the way it is now. This means, rest/nap whenever you're tired; eat/drink according to need rather than on a particular schedule, get a nice soak, a massage, a bit of stretching or walking, sex, whatever helps you feel relaxed and cozy again. Every day! Enjoy these final days/weeks of having an only child--enjoy your DD, love her up, she will be so happy instead of cranky. Thank your body and baby for doing this by installments instead of all at once, be happy about it!

I would not, however, use the breastpump or any other method of trying to bring things on at this point. Not sure why your mw would suggest that, this early on. The risk you run is (at least) bringing on hard contractions that lock the baby into a suboptimal position just when baby is clearly making it's way into the most favorable one s/he can manage given his/her head shape and size, and your pelvis shape and size. There is *nothing* at all wrong with labor by installments, and often *everything* right about it. Labor with a malpositioned baby is nothing to mess with--you're talking at least a more difficult and lengthy labor, at worst a csec--whether because you finally become too exhausted to go on laboring, or the baby actually experiences some distress.

If you are getting too tired to cope well now, of course, that is not good. But some women find that a bedtime dose of benadryl or a glass of wine/beer helps them sleep more soundly, more relaxed instead of being so sensitive to each contraction and baby movement. You don't have to consider doing this every night--but maybe now and then when you're really tired. One good night's sleep can make all the difference!

Meantime, remember that while some babies are perfectly ready to be born at 38-39 wks, some are not....look into the research now coming out on 'late preterm babies'. Because so many docs have adopted the attitude that induction for convenience, large baby size or whatever other lame reason, there is now a very large pool of late term induced babies to study; many of these babies have issues relating to being slightly preterm, not quite ready for life on the outside. The results are pretty strongly saying, 'no induction prior to term without medical reason'. I don't have any links to share, but I'm sure others here do (cuz I've seen them posted). And if you do search this and find that I'm telling you the truth, show the links to your mw--she needs to know, too, IMO.
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I was also going to suggest trying a glass of wine before bed, maybe with a warm bath. Getting a bit of extra sleep would likely make you feel much much better!
Thanks, Ms.Black and Bluegoat! I'm trying to pursue the "patience" course at this point, and to be grateful for "labor in installments." As far as my daughter's crankiness is concerned, it has something to do also with the fact I'm still nursing her and I've started feeling more and more physically uncomfortable while nursing, so I've been trying to put a limit on it... That's the thing that interferes a bit with my "loving her up" in a way she would like right now. But I'm trying my best to be loving and fun and make time fo her in oher ways... I have been consulting the book Advenures in Tandem Nursing on this topic.
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