Let’s talk about false labor. Why? Because I was almost a victim of it this week! Yes, me, a second-time mom who totally knows the drill was nearly fooled by a very weird set of circumstances. Let’s set the scene, shall we? It’s Saturday morning, two days before I will be 37 weeks (full-term). I wake up feeling like shit (excuse my language). I thought maybe I was just hungry since dad let me sleep in for an extra hour but even after eating, I didn’t feel any better. It was a nauseous, uncomfortable, crampy type pain. Yes, the same type of discomfort that I had the morning I went into labor with Lily. I also had loose stools. The same loose stools that I had the morning I went into labor with Lily. So, I go upstairs and pull up my pajama top to see if it looks like the little dude has descended/dropped and he sure had. Overnight, I went from a bump that my boobs could rest on to a bump angled downward making my pant line a lot snugger.
I mention all of these things to Andy and just tell him “I’m feeling weird.” I have to be honest though, at this point I absolutely did not think I was in labor or that labor was imminent. I hadn’t had this particular set of circumstances but I have had many days full of contractions, nausea, and cramps. Even with all the signs, I thought it was a fluke and it would go away. After all, I haven’t lost my mucus plug and my contractions didn’t seem any more intense or frequent than usual. So, we plan to take Lily to her play class. I feel better when we’re there but as I take her into the bathroom to wash her hands afterward, overwhelming nausea washed over me. It was a no joke, I might puke any second feeling. When we walked out the door I had to sit down in the cold air to make myself calm down. Andy wanted to go to a farmer’s market a half hour away so I tried to take that time in the car to take some breaths, chug some water and relax. When we got home I jumped on the couch and tried to chill. I felt almost completely normal after an hour or so. So normal, in fact, that we decided to take Lily out to dinner.
I was in the car texting with my birth photographer, Lauren, on the way to dinner and I started to feel nauseous again. I broke into a little sweat and felt like I needed fresh air. I rolled down the window and took my coat off and tried to calm down. By the time we sat down at the table I was getting nervous. I let my birth photographer know I was feeling weird (she needs to be in the loop!) and I let my doula know what was going on. My doula called me and we were both feeling a little suspicious. I went to the bathroom and didn’t feel any better after. I sat down at the table and told Andy that this really might be it. I had 3 contractions in less than 20 minutes. I looked over at Lily and just started to cry. I’m not ready for this, I thought. The bags weren’t packed, the bassinet wasn’t set up, there was still laundry to do, pump parts to sanitize, feeding and changing stations to be organized. Most of all, I just didn’t feel ready to leave my baby girl. I have expressed this to people before but I just know the moment I leave our house for the hospital I am just going to lose it. I can already feel it whenever I think about leaving her at home knowing she will never be my only baby again. I’m sure it’s probably normal, but I am just so in love and attached to her that I fear what’s to come. We have this beautiful, special bond that I can’t imagine another child being a part of. She taught me how to be a mom and was patient with me when I had no clue what the hell I was doing. Knowing that I will often be too tired or too busy in the next few months to give her my all absolutely breaks my heart. As sad as it is, I think about the pain of leaving her more than I think about the joy of welcoming this little boy. I know it’s not fair to him and I’m sure I will love him just as much the moment I see him but all I could think about
Well, as you can probably guess, it was nothing. Well, maybe not nothing but it didn’t progress. My doula let me know that these little false labor episodes can happen to a lot of women, especially second-time moms. They can come and go but one thing is for sure, it’s letting us know this baby is almost ready. Unfortunately, we don’t know if that means he’ll be ready in 2 days or 2 weeks! Early on in this pregnancy, I thought he would come early but the further along we got and the more my doctor convinced me that if Lily was 3 days late, it would be unlikely for her brother to be early, the more I started thinking he’ll probably be pretty close to his due date. One thing is for sure, Saturday’s events definitely made me second guess whether he would be hanging on until his due date! But, mamas, as we all know these babies have their own plan that we are would be silly to try to predict. All I know is, the panic of thinking I was in labor definitely put me in the zone to get it together! It’s amazing how much you can get done when gifted with a little (a lot) of fear.
The moral of the story is: this can happen to anyone. Don’t be upset, embarrassed or alarmed if you feel things and aren’t sure what they are. Listen to your body and if you have a doula, let her know what’s going on. If you don’t have a doula, call your healthcare provider and they can guide you. Rely on these experts to tell you whether it’s time to head into your birth center or hospital or time to get your midwife to head over to your home. They do this ALL the time and they would rather tell you everything is fine than have you give birth on the highway. These “scares” happen to first-time moms because they don’t know what to expect and to experienced
Have you ever experienced “false labor”? What happened? Did you go to the hospital or call your doctor or did you just let it ride?