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Monday, February 1, 2016

Pregnancy #3 - False Labor, Back Pain & Prayers

This pregnancy has been a surprise blessing my life. However, surprise blessings do not always come with ease, and this has also been the most sick/uncomfortable pregnancy for me. The first and into the second trimester were full of nausea. I had about six weeks of no nausea, before it returned in the third trimester like a mean old trick. I found that Vitamin B6, frequent gluten-free snacks, lots of protein (especially in the morning), and eating cereal before bedtime helped. I was more active this time, with exercise 2-3 times a week until about half way through the third trimester, when moving and unpacking took over my exercise times. I gained 5 pounds less than I did when pregnant with Jonah, which means almost 20 pounds less than with Karis, which I attributed to better exercise and eating habits, but found out had other reasons as well.

Same shirt, each pregnancy.
Pregnancy produce sitting on the counter.

Overall, I felt like I looked more healthy this time, because I did not seem to gain as much weight, but looking healthy did not mean I felt healthy. I also had far more general aches and pains this time, with pain in my hip flexors, shooting down the front of my thighs, and in my back, down the sciatic nerve frequently in my rear end and the back of my leg. Some people would attribute all that to being a mom of two little ones, chasing them and such, but honestly, I tried to nap if I felt tired when they napped in the afternoons, which was at least half the time. If the mornings were very hard for me, and exhaustion took over (also - first AND third trimester this time - super tired some days, like 2 naps were needed just to open my eyeballs), I would sometimes put on a movie for them and cuddle/lay back in the chair and doze for the length of the movie.  I did not have that option when I was pregnant the first time and taught 1st grade, and I never even felt that I needed it the last time when I just had one toddler to chase.  I don't know exactly why this pregnancy took so much out of me, but it kept reinforcing and bringing me peace that this would be the last one.

I am not at all comparing this pregnancy to the super women who have high-risk pregnancies, lots of problems, are put on bed rest, and lots of medications.  I understand that I had no where near that difficult a trial to go through, and I am thankful for that.  I am comparing this one only to my first two pregnancies, which were far easier for me physically. I considered very seriously not writing all this out, because I do not want it to be perceived that I was ungrateful or angry about this pregnancy. I know that babies are a gift from God, and I am so thankful that I was allowed to have three healthy pregnancies and three healthy babies. I know my three babies are far more than some women ever get to have, even after begging, praying, and spending a fortune on trying to just have one. I am so thankful for this baby. The story of my pregnancy leads into the story of her birth making far more sense.

I had several Braxton Hicks contractions daily - not painful, but tightening sensations all over the belly, beginning around week 30 this time. Then at 36 weeks and 5 days, near the beginning of Christmas break for my husband (a pastor and a high school ISS teacher), we had a big storm weather warning with a warm front coming through, and my body went into the early stages of labor.  I woke up at 4am with fairly steady contractions, that built up to about 10-12 minutes apart for a few hours. This made me extremely nauseated (which labor has not done before to my body), and I ate a banana and began to get out the newborn baby clothes to wash them.  I sorted newborn laundry, and packed my hospital bags, while breathing through some contractions. I decided to take a shower to see if labor would stop.  In the shower it got worse, and I threw up.  After the shower I felt exhausted and laid down for about 15 minutes before deciding to get up and dry my hair. Contractions took about a 20 minute break, then resumed again, this time fairly regularly 9 minutes apart. At my previous doctor's appointment, I had asked him, in relation to contractions, when should I come to the hospital. Based on the fact that my previous birth had happened so quickly, he said, "As soon as you think it's the real deal, I don't care how far apart they are, you need to get here in case it goes even faster." So, on this sort of "High-alert" thinking, I told John we should head in for the hospital. Our kids had already gone to spend the night with a grandparent the night before, because of the Christmas break, so we didn't even have to worry about them. We are so thankful to have family close by. It has made a HUGE difference in the amount of help we get with our kids, and the amount of alone time John and I get to spend together.  We stopped for coffee, and headed to the hospital, now with contractions about 8 minutes apart, lasting about a minute or slightly more.

The hospital of my choice for this town is Crestwood, because I had a great experience there the last time with recovery/postpartum from baby #2, and it is very commonly known for being natural-labor friendly. We signed in, and immediately, a few of the nurses recognized us and so happily began referring to us as "The Jet-Pep Baby People." It was like a comedic reunion and made me smile.  My nurse checked me though and said I was only at a high one/low 2 maybe.  Not much dilation, so we walked laps around the hallways. Labor sped up as the weather got worse outside. It was stormy and pouring rain with this huge warm front outside, and contractions sped all the way up to 4 minutes apart, lasting longer than a minute.

We thought for sure we were coming home with a baby 3 weeks earlier than expected. However, when the nurse checked me again, I was exactly the same, no progress. Disappointed, but entirely scared to go home with contractions 4 minutes apart, we stayed another hour or so. Then, as the sky lightened, clouds passed, and the weather improved, my contractions got further apart, and then completely quit. We had been shocked that morning, and a little worried about being over 3 weeks away from the due date. Worry had turned into peaceful excitement though, as we thought that we were going to meet the baby, and have everyone's Christmas break time to get to know her before people all had to go back to work. Now, we felt deflated as we were going home with nothing to show for our long hours at the hospital. I crash slept for the next 3-4 hours just to be able to function. My stomach hurt the rest of that day and into the next.

The day after being in the hospital with false labor.
Walking around Costco gave me a few contractions while I was there.
That day began all the false labor. The next few weeks included many days of weather related contractions, nausea, and exhaustion. I would have a day or two where I felt good again, and then a sudden onset of several hours of this false labor.  It was unpredictable, but left me exhausted and frustrated. I began to try to really change my mindset, and focus on this being the last pregnancy, and enjoy the baby movements, and cuddling the other two kids while there were only two of them.  That, along with deep breaths, helped most of the time.  Then, at around week 39, extreme bouts of back pain began. Back pain that varied from deep tissue that felt good being massaged, and seemed to be a contraction only in my back, to some weird back pains that were more like electrical spasms as if someone had snuck up behind me and stuck me with a taser.  Each time, it lasted for several hours.  One day it was from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed.  I had a hard time enjoying pregnancy from that day forward.  I felt very emotional, and struggled with the fear that I would go in and request to be induced because I just could not take the pain anymore. I asked several people to pray about it, because I was so frustrated with the pain. As my due date came and went, the back pains increased, and I began to pray for true labor to start.

I went and got my nose pierced because it's something I've always wanted to do.
I was feeling like a large whale, and I felt like a tiny sparkle would make me feel slightly 'cooler.'
I am so glad I did! I love it!
I got out my Scripture encouragement cards, and began listening to my labor playlist.  The verses that I clung to most were:

Psalm 27:14

Galatians 6:9

Psalm 29:11

Proverbs 3:5

Hebrews 11:1

John 14:27

1 Peter 5:7

James 1:2-4

and the Lauren Daigle CD songs "Trust In You," "My Revival," and "Loyal," which all focus on use trusting God in all circumstances based on His good character.  The song "It's Not Over Yet" by King and Country, and "Good Good Father" by Christ Tomlin were also extremely helpful in dealing with the back pain. I got out my adult coloring books and sat at the table and colored, and cried, and read my scripture cards, and listened to music.
40 Weeks, 1 Day
I did hair and make-up to go to Kroger with the kids. 

Going over-due meant daddy could play in the snow with the kids on our snow day.
On Sunday, I specifically prayed harder for the back pain to end and real labor to start. I prayed for strength to not waiver on my desire to go natural. I prayed that the back pain was not related to the baby's health, and that she was just fine in the womb. I prayed that one day I would understand why this was so painful. I prayed that God would use all my pain to glorify Him, and that I would not become angry and short-tempered at home with my family for as long as it lasted. John came home from church and found me in tears and prayed for me and the baby also. God answered all those prayers and more the very next day at my doctor's appointment, which led to the birth, so is in the next post. :)


  1. Love your blog and reading about the adventures of your family. Your nose stud is very cute and lights up your lovely, eyes and hair. Looks like its always been there.You have the perfect nose for a little piercing. I've always wanted one, but worried what others might think. Turning 35 soon and think I might be too old...

    Looking for guidance about your sojourn having it finally done. Wonder if you might drop me an e-mail to ask some questions. TIA