When you’ve been waiting for a baby, those last few days can be the worst. Especially since you don’t have an exact time or date when it will happen. Minutes can seem like hours and hours like an eternity. How can you cope?
I finally have made it to term! I am officially 40 weeks pregnant and am expecting to give birth to my 4th child any day now. Every contraction has me thinking, “Yes! This is it! I finally get to have my baby and not be pregnant anymore!” but then the contraction goes away and nothing happens again for hours. It’s driving me nuts!
My oldest was late. I remember sitting around, waiting to give birth and thinking “I’m just going to be pregnant forever.” What made it worse was that my husband’s grandmother came in from the states for 2 weeks to spend time with us and see her first great-grandchild, and the first week of it was just everyone waiting around. It was awful! Of course, eventually, Sophie came along at 41.5 weeks (2 days before a scheduled induction!) and we all couldn’t have been happier.
My son, on the other hand, came the day before his due date. I was working at the time, and I remember thinking, “If I can just get these few work projects done before he comes, I’ll be able to relax when I finally do go on leave.” I thought I might have to wait a little while longer, and was happily surprised when Shalom came right on time.
My current youngest was 2 weeks early. I had been having contractions, but I was working and I knew that I still had a couple weeks till she was due, so I just assumed they would stop and I could get back to work. I even had someone staying with me at the time, learning how I ran my daycare so that when I did go into labor, I’d have someone to pick-up where I left off. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way, cause she went to go visit her boyfriend for Chanuka, and I gave birth to Naomi the next day. I was pretty shocked!
This pregnancy has been kinda hard on me. I have been sick a lot, I worked full-time with 9 toddlers in a facility, and I still had 3 other kids at home to take care of. I made it through 8 months and took early leave. After all, I could give birth any time, right?
So, the first couple of weeks off, I was just resting, cleaning moderately, enjoying my kids; taking it easy. I was trying to avoid going into preterm labor, so I wasn’t going to push myself in any way. I was quite happy to wait.
Once I hit 39 weeks, I was like, “Ok, now I can go into labor any day and it will be fine.” I started preparing for birth. I packed a hospital bag, went through baby clothes, washing and sorting out what I would and would not need, getting a few things I was missing… generally prepping my home for a new baby. Every day, I would say to myself, “Today, I might have my baby!” Every contraction would have me thinking, “Maybe this is it!?” And here I am, still pregnant.
Now, I can see all you experienced mothers out there getting ready to jump up and shout, “40 weeks is full term, you aren’t overdue! Just be patient, it will happen!”
I know, and I am trying. I just really don’t want to have to be induced.
Here’s what I am doing to pass the time: (Please consult a physician before you try any of these things to induce labor)
- I spend time practicing belly dance: I love dancing, and I really enjoy belly dance, but since I have been working so much, I haven’t had much time for it. It’s one of those old hobbies of mine that slipped away from me when I got so enmeshed in the daycare. Every morning, I put on a ted-talk or a video by Leo Gura, (I really recommend you check him out if you have any interest in personal development, he’s AWESOME!) and dance while I listen. I know it probably isn’t normal to dance to lectures, but I enjoy starting my day out with something positive to think about and I don’t want to just sit around while I’m listening. The best part is that those undulations and hip bounces allow the baby to slowly make it’s way down toward the exit. You just have to be careful not to over-do it.
- I practice acupressure: This is something you can do to help get contractions going and stimulating different areas around the uterus (as well as the uterus itself) can be beneficial in any case. Obviously, this won’t really work if your body isn’t ready to go into labor, and I would definitely recommend getting the “ok” from your doctor before trying it out. That being said, if you are ready, just look up “acupressure points for inducing labor” on google, and you will find lots of information about that.
- Nipple stimulation: This is not a sex thing! The idea is to imitate the stimulation of a baby nursing in order to release oxytocin into the system. Oxytocin is the hormone that is released by the brain that starts labor. (it does a lot of other things too, but this is the pertinent effect for this post)
- I take walks: Before pregnancy, I used to run a lot. The problem is that when you are pregnant, your body produces a hormone called relaxin that helps the muscles and ligaments to relax in preparation for labor. Running while pregnant can be dangerous because the combination of the extra baby weight and the relaxed ligaments can cause you to overstretch or otherwise hurt yourself. Some pregnant women will still maintain their normal workout routines, but if you want to, you need to be monitored closely by a doctor to make sure you and your baby don’t get hurt. These past few days, I have been walking for my exercise. The swinging hip motion is supposed to help bring the baby down in preparation for birth.
- I take some time to mentally prepare: My last little one came so fast, I wasn’t really ready for her to be there. I remember sitting in the ambulance thinking, “Holy crap, I’m about to have a baby! In a few hours this kid’s actually going to be here!” When she was first born, the midwife handed her to me and it felt like suddenly being handed some kind of alien critter. This time around, (since I appear to have time for it :/) I shouldn’t be so shocked. I’ve been taking the time to think about the fact that any day now, I will be holding my new baby. I have starting thinking of myself as a “mother of 4”. Basically, I’ve been taking the time to process the changes that are coming so that they won’t be as harsh as the last time.
Other ways to induce labor:
- Sex: Sex can help to induce labor because the hormone oxytocin is also released during sex. Sperm also contains something (I can’t remember the word) that helps to soften the cervix to prepare for labor. I didn’t include this in my previous list because I was talking about what I am doing in order to pass the time and prepare my body. I would be having sex anyway…
- Caster Oil: This doesn’t really seem like a good option to me. Causing yourself diahrrea and potential vomiting for who knows how long before potentially begining labor? It just doesn’t sound smart. I mean, sure, your system might be clear before you start pushing, but you might also be worn out before you even get started.
- Evening Primrose Oil: This could be super effective or not. I have no idea. I just don’t know enough about it to be willing to use it either orally or vaginally. I will ask my mother-in-law (She’s a fantastic naturopath!) about it and update later.
- Stripping the Membranes: This is something your doctor might do if he thinks you need it. Basically, he will insert his fingers into your cervix and detach your water from the uterine wall. Its not something I’ve ever had to do, and I’d rather not.
- Pitocin: This is the one I have been trying to avoid. Pitocin is the synthetic version of Oxytocin. It is generally administered by your midwife in order to chemically induce labor. I generally try to avoid things like this, and from what I have heard, pitocin can cause more painful contractions than natural labor contractions. If there is no choice and the baby becomes distressed, that will be one thing, but just for the sake of having an earlier labor… Hell no.
Ok, that’s enough for now. These are the induction methods I know about. There are probably others (some people swear by spicy food, but I eat spicy food all the time, so I don’t know how effective this is)
What methods have you tried? What have I missed? Let me know in the comments below!