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Teetering on the Brink

1778 Views 26 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  georgia
. . . of insanity.

I am now at 40 +3 and in a quandry. Things are not moving in a way that I am entirely comfortable with and I'm not sure if I should take matters into my own hands or not. I will freely admit that I'm not the most patient person in the world and that I am so done being pregnant that my mind could just be leaping in an interventive direction just because of that.

Here's the scoop: I have some serious swelling going on. Not just the ankles and lower calves, but my hands also. I had some upper extremity swelling with DD (13 years ago), but I don't remember it being this bad. The skin on my left wrist has cracked and oozed due to the edema. I can't wear my regular rings, size 4 1/2, and am up to about a 5 1/2 or 6 ring size. To make matters worse, I woke up *in the night* with a headache. I do have a herniated cervical disk and that could easily be the cause, but it hasn't bothered me throughout this whole pregnancy. My BP is up only slightly and nowhere near danger zone, but still just a bit higher than it has been. The worst part is that baby isn't moving as much the last few days. He's still wiggling a bit, but he's been much less active today and just one short bout of hiccups.

I've been having nightly prodromal labor for a couple of weeks now and it's getting steadily stronger. I thought this morning might be it, but as usual it went away as soon as I got up to make breakfast. I've been taking EPO twice daily for two or three weeks to help my cervix ripen (LEEP procedure 2 years ago), but I can't feel my cervix well enough to tell anything other than general position (high and midline). Baby palpates as LOA and FHTs seem to confirm this. He's a bouncy dropper--drops down into the pelvis for a few minutes or more, then comes back up and settles a little to the left. I think he probably won't engage until labor gets going for good.

So bearing all these things in mind, I am considering starting a very gentle herbal induction with Black & Blue Cohosh and Goldenseal. I have been telling DH "Baby will come when he wants" and have been firmly on the patient path, until today.

Suggestions? Comments? Advice?
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Ugh, Kate, I'm so sorry. I'd be concerned too, but I know what the state of maternity care is there and it's not a cut-and-dried case of what plan of action is best once you start getting sick.
I'm pretty wary of the herbal inductions myself, so I can't offer any advice there.

How is your diet? Water consumption? Activity and stress levels? Amount of oxytocin-releasing events?

You might email pamamidwife, she has some experience with advanced swelling and might be able to offer more insight.
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Just checked FHR--low 120s, compared to the high 130s to 150 that it has been all along. Baby moved during the finding process, so he wasn't asleep. At least not sound asleep. Also checked urine to find tr protein. :-(

I drink easily 3 liters of water per day, sometimes more, plus RRL tea--just made my third mug for today. My diet is awesome, if I do say so myself. Can't help it here, without processed foods available, everything is fresh and cooked to order. For breakfast I had three eggs scrambled with cheese, toasted sourdough bread with butter and jam, Turkish tea, OJ, and water. Lunch was homemade cream of mushroom soup--two bowls. DD and I walked to the pastane (dessert place) and had a snack this afternoon--cheesecake for me, ice cream for her. The walk is about a mile each way. DH and DTD yesterday, no time this morning. We did some nipple stim yesterday that brought on some pretty good contractions, but DH decided he'd rather finish the deed than get caught with my water breaking and have to stop. LOL

All this is probably TMI, but it helps me to process it to type it all out. DH wants me to start with the herbs, he's concerned, and with the protein and lower FHR, I think I'm going to start. Just a low dose (5 drops each) of black and blue in my RRL tea, a Goldenseal cap, my usual bedtime supplements, including 1300 mg EPO, and I'll insert a couple vaginally. See what happens.
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I'm very interested as how this goes with you. I have never used anything other than water and walking to move labor along, but I'd heard of cohosh used before. I hope it goes well for you. I had a lot of swelling with my last 2 pregnancies (maybe elevating your feet would help?) and it was miserable.
I've never used anything but sex myself. Listen to your gut is the only thing I can add, which you are probably already doing :p
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I am curious to hear how it works for you as well? I just hit 42 weeks, and am really tired of the prodromal labor. Mine starts when I wake up and ends about midnight each day. I posted the "Overdue" thread looking for advice on what to do now.
Like to hear you post and let us know a success story. I have tried the EPO, accupressure, nipple stim, sex, and walking. So far it has just gotten me sore and cranky!
Be aware that blue/black cohosh can raise BP while you are using them. Know that is why it is higher.

You can use hawthorn berries/flower, skullcap and valerian in the meantime to reduce your blood pressure, which should help the pre-e looking symptoms. The juice of 1 cucumber (very ripe) daily and fresh lemon-juice water will help the swelling (as will keeping your feet above the level of your heart and having someone massage the fluids out).

I think you are right to take a closer look. swelling in the hands isn't just normal pregnancy swelling.
Well, I don't know if this'll help at all, but I thought I'd tell you about my herbal induction with Ds#1.

I had prodromal labour for three days, contracting every 20 minutes for 3-5 hours at a time. I'd get a break for an hour or two and then start up again.

For many different reasons I won't get into ATM, on the morning of day 4 we started getting worried. My MW had me go in for an ultrasound to check baby's position ( she was worried his head was not ligned up safely) and when all was well there I started taking Black Cohosh.
I took I think three drops (maybe 5?) every hour on the hour from 10am to 5 or 6pm without there being any change. At that point my MW asked me to stop taking it, relax (I, um, won't tell you how she said to do that!), DTD with Dh and try to get a good nights sleep.
She explained to me that Black Cohosh works by tricking your body into uping it's production of Ocytocin (do I have that right??). Since it is released in larger quantities when you are in a deep sleep, I shouldn't (and she wouldn't) be surprised if I woke up at 4 am in labour.

I woke up at 4 needing to use the washroom. It took me almost 5 minutes to roll out of bed and walk 20 feet down the hall, as soon as I sat down I realised that what I thought was an upset stomach was a contraction that hadn't stopped yet. It took me another 3 minutes to get back to my bedroom to wake my Dh. I spent the next 35 minutes panting through my contractions while I waited for the MW to make the drive to my house. I gave up and started pushing just before she drove in the driveway, my water broke just as she walked in the door. My Ds was born after three more pushes, at 4:50am.

Sooo, it worked, lol...but in my experience it makes for very fast and intense labour. I highly doubt I would have slept through the first stage, woken up going through transition and been ready to push within 10 minutes of waking up if it hadn't been for the induction. Although I should also note that my first labour was 5 hours start to finish, and my third was 3, with a breech that was mal-positioned for the first 2 1/2 hours or so..quick is a relative term, lol
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Also EFAs in the form of fish oil capsules is very good for lowering blood pressure.
Good morning, and thanks for all the good advice and good wishes. I wish I had good news to report, but I don't. I had two cups of RRL late last night with five drops of black and blue cohosh in each cup, drank them about an hour or so apart. I also took the goldenseal capsule along with my nightly supplements (fish oil, alfalfa, and EPO) and an extra EPO, plus to EPO inserted vaginally as deep as I could get them. For my trouble, I got nothing more than the usual nightly prodromal labor, and possibly less than usual.

This morning, my hands are a bit worse, very sore, and I weighed in at two pounds more than I did on Monday. I haven't checked anything else out yet, but will after I have a glass of water or two. If I still have protein in my urine, then I will most likely increase the induction methods and call in the acupuncturist.

I wish I had the ability to use some of the other herbs that were mentioned, but we just don't have access to them here. Cucumbers are abundant, so I may fix myself a Turkish breakfast and enjoy the cukes.

Thanks again, ladies. I'll keep you updated.
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He's a bouncy dropper--drops down into the pelvis for a few minutes or more, then comes back up and settles a little to the left. I think he probably won't engage until labor gets going for good.
My DS did this and I also had prodomal labor. I ended up propping myself up in a deep squat as much as I could for a couple days and that seemed to apply more even pressure to the cervix to get things going.

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I had the same kind of thing with both kids - nightly labor, contractions 2-5 min apart. First time I did this for about 2 weeks then induced at home with herbs and AROM. Last time I went a week and started monkeying around with herbs and stuff and ended up in the hospital for an induction (which went very well - hypnobirth). I do have some concern that my weak adrenal glands are partially to blame for my sluggish labors. I heard of a woman who always seemed to need to be pushed into labor - finally she took Master Gland throughout her pregnancy and went into labor naturally. I'm hoping for similar success this time.

Follow your gut - if your alarm bells start going off, do get help. Blessings...
With the black and blue cohosh, do 1 dropper ful of blue and 15 min 1 dropper ful of the black. Then do that for 2 hours. With the EPO you can put a hole in the pill and use the oil directly massaged into your cervix (if you can reach or can get dh to do it for you). You can also make an enema with the black and blue cohosh in it. Now, I have used these before and its not worked for me. But thats the plan that the mws here give to their clients and I know they are usually successful. Sex and Castor oil is the only thing that has ever worked for me and I don't recommend castor oil.

For the swelling have you tried eating watermellon? Are you taking baths? If you could get the swelling down alittle at least you might not be as uncomfortable.
I hope you are holding your little one soon!
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Have you looked at all into the homeopathic protocol for the cohoshes? I would highly recommend doing a search here (prob. just the main B&B forum). The beauty of homeopathy is that it can only help (not going to hurt you if they don't work), and the protocol will only 'work' if conditions are amenable.
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Findings this morning were still trace protein in the urine and diastolic BP just a couple mm/Hg higher than last night. Didn't check FHR, trying to stay off the doppler as much as possible, but baby has been more active today.

After discussion with DH, here's our new plan: drink lots of nettle tea (I'm working on it, ugh) and water; eat cucumbers (watermelon isn't in season or I'd have that too); walk every day, even if I have to go to the shopping mall to do it (which we did today); and call the acupuncturist for Sunday afternoon. I'll keep taking the extra dose of EPO and using it vaginally, too, until I run out. DH has a business meeting tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon that can't be missed, so that's why we'll wait until Sunday (plus to give the acupuncturist some lead time). Of course, Murphy's Law states that I'll go into labor an hour before his meeting. Did I mention that my mother's maiden name is Murphy?

The best news that I forgot to tell earlier is that this baby has dropped and good. I have such a hard time peeing now that it's not funny. Hopefully that means that things are moving in the right direction.
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Hang in, Kate
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Homeopathic Apis may be a good choice to help with the swelling and hence any problems that may go along with it.

I really hope things start to go better for you!

Originally Posted by NatureMamaOR View Post
I think you are right to take a closer look. swelling in the hands isn't just normal pregnancy swelling.

This caught my eye... I wanted to add that swelling in the hands can be a normal reaction to pregnancy I have it myself.. and my blood pressure is on the low end of the spectrum and I never spill protein in my urine...

Just wanted to offer that out there. Its been weeks since I can wear my rings and my hands feel fat
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Any news? How are you Kate?! I am soooooo excited to hear how things are going!
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