Five things Prodromal labour has taught me with baby #4.



Let’s get this out of the way:

No baby yet, sorry guys.

I will tell you when she arrives.

Pinky swear!

I have so much time to ponder things at present (mostly “When is this fucking birth happening?”) and I am trying to stay positive with no sleep and heartburn and vomiting and feet so swollen I can’t flex my ankles. So I got to pondering what I am learning from this experience.

Number one: Subsequent babies are not always early, they very often aren’t. It’s a dirty lie. #3 was 6 days after her due date. Every mother of more than 3 kids that I have asked has had them go full term.

Number two: Baby is in there for a reason. She isn’t done yet. I am SO done but she isn’t. My “overdue” baby from 3 years ago was so small and thin people thought she was premature. She needed all her time. nearly everyone I know who has their babies early than due date through interventional means has a bub who needs to stay in hospital. Avoiding this is important to me.

Number three: Due dates are weird woo-woo crap. Have you ever looked into how they are calculated? it is based on a guy in the 1700’s and an arbitrary formula which fails to take into account actual women and their actual fertility cycles, I think they still thought that childbed fever was caused by milk funneling down into the uterus from the breast at the time this theory was invented. Such was their understanding of women’s bodies and how they worked. But by all means use this as the basis of telling me when my baby should be expelled from my body. There is another theory that actually nods towards the idea that women have variations in their fertility cycle but it doesn’t go far enough and is still delightfully arbitrary. Actual evidence points towards there being a due date range as 80% of babies are born in the two weeks prior or after the due date.

Number four: Sleep is mostly optional. Apparently. I have been awake with contractions every night now for two weeks, normally from around 12.30 to 3am.

Number five: Labour is a retrospective diagnosis, you might not “just know”. Disclaimer here, prodromal labour feels just like you are amping up to have a baby except you don’t. It fizzles to nothing only to spark up the next day or later in the same day if you are super lucky. This can go on for weeks. The contractions aren’t painless Braxton Hicks (although they pop up in the mix too) and they are often 5 minutes apart and a minute or so in length. So it is tiring and you can’t use the “proper” guidelines to tell you when to go into hospital. I have had prodromal labour with the last three pregnancies, I have had my “false alarm” trip to hospital with each. The contractions are real, they didn’t get much worse painwise with my second baby, the timing is spot on….I have read that the Bradley technique teaches that labour is a retrospective diagnosis applied after the baby has been delivered. So I would dispute the “you just know” I thought I have “just known” at least twice this pregnancy!

So there are the things I have learned from the last two weeks of pregnancy with baby number four.

Oh, one last thing, although I can’t move around easily, flex my ankles, shave my legs, remember how to feed my family I have discovered that I can still swear very well. At least there is that!

I would love to hear what lessons late pregnancy has taught you!

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