Friday, October 19, 2012

Waiting for Labor to Begin

Waking up in the middle of the night or early morning isn't uncommon for me these days. Actually I don't think it's really been that uncommon over the past two years - with going through almost 18 months of pregnancy now chances are I've more often than not been in either the early stages of pregnancy when your blood level is dramatically increasing and your up  in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or in the later part of pregnancy when it's either more of a challenge to get comfortable or you're also up using the bathroom because the baby has left no room for your bladder.

Well here I am again. Awake. At about 4 AM. 

Like usual, there seems to be a myriad of things on my mind. I don't know what it is about waking up in the still, dark morning that makes it seem to surface. Perhaps because during the normal waking hours of the day things, and people, and "to-do"s push aside the thoughts, but in the quiet morning there is nothing to reign these thoughts in and they just run free like a wild horse. 


I am currently 36 weeks pregnant. Within a week I will be considered "full term." This means I'm almost in what I'd call my due month, because (in spite of what many people might think) 40 weeks is an average of when babies are born, but it somehow has become the anticipated day. If your baby comes past that day he or she is "late" and if your baby comes before that day he or she is "early."  

I participate in a weekly volunteer service for my church and part of the qualification is that you cannot have children at home. All of the other women are empty-nesters and, needless to say, a different generation than me and many of them are even a different generation than my mother (some might call them old, but when they have the energy and spirit that they do "old" does not describe them). I love talking with these women and when you have belly the size of mine it's inevitable that conversation will turn to the topic of birth. I love to hear these women share their thoughts on birth. Several of them have shared that their babies came a month past their "due date." One of the women even commented that there's no way that would happen these days -especially in a time where we have to have everything planned and scheduled. 

I'm sure there are other more official medical resources for this, but even the March of Dimes website addresses induction and says that it may be recommended after 42 weeks or if there are other medical complications. However, that doesn't seem to be the standard that is actually kept in our society. 

After lots of research about birth and how it works, I came to truly believe in the natural process of birth. Mom's bodies vary (particularly different menstrual lengths), babies growth can vary, and when they are ready to be born should likewise also vary. With Luke I was very comfortable waiting for labor to begin on its own because you're most likely to achieve a successful vaginal birth if you do. I had accepted this variation and was inclined to wait until my body and baby were ready. 

And that's when we were thrown the curve ball no one was expecting. I was healthy and my baby was healthy. And then he was gone. 

What happened? Or minds and our hearts were in disbelief to discover our baby was suddenly no longer living. 

At that point I was induced. Luke was born and we discovered the knot in his umbilical chord. 


Still believing in the natural process of birth, I have found a practice of midwives who support natural birth to provide my prenatal care. So many of their guidelines you must follow to be a part of their practice align with what's important to me -particularly the importance of healthy eating during pregnancy. If you are healthy (which you should be because they only take low-risk moms) they have a strict no-induction policy before 42 weeks. 

So what do we do this time? The facts are still the same. Birth has the least amount of complications when you wait to go in to labor on your own. Birth is still a natural process that the female body is capable of. Nothing has changed . . . 

Except for my whole life and world, because my baby died. 

The head midwife worded it well when she said that you fell like the natural process of birth failed you. And in a sense it did. We did not come home with a baby. Of course, I believe the hand of God is in all things and that He did not fail us and that if Luke were to live on earth right now God would have made it so. 

Nevertheless our experience can lead us (particularly Trevor) to question the natural process of birth. Fortunately, because of our history, the midwives are willing to work with us concerning induction.


There have been some days in the past few weeks when the worry and wonder if my baby is still okay inside of me weighs on my mind. If I haven't felt him move am stricken with panic. Sometimes this is resolved by a sudden kick from within as reassurance and other times this is resolved by using the Fetal Doppler my friends sent me (I still need to write about that!). 

Yet these moments of fear have not yet pushed me to feeling like I need to be induced. Although I'm not sure what we'll do as we get further and further along. Play it day-by-day, I suppose. Things are still looking good. I'm healthy. This baby is healthy. And we're still working on preparing for his arrival. 

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out! 

1 comment:

  1. This is such an intense post. I really appreciate your thoughts on the matter. I think there are a lot of differences between each mother and their child and so ultimately what they decide to do is their own choice and every choice that leads to a healthy birth is a good one. I personally believe the human body is amazing and can do so many miraculous things on its own. However, I also believe that medicinal aids are a God-sent gift as well, to be used at our discretion. So, I vary in my desires to do specific things, depending on the circumstances. Ethan's labor and delivery was more or less natural, though I did have an epidural given near the end, because I felt it was the thing to do.

    I still have mixed feelings on inductions, especially since I was given Petocin in my first birth without being consulted. It'll be interesting to see what you do. If you're praying and researching and doing what you feel best, I'm sure it will be what's the best for you and your baby. Love you, Shelley!

    PS - I do want to hear more about this Fetal Doppler...