Mr. Petty Was Sooooo Right

For the past three nights I have experienced a series of contractions, usually between the hours of 9:00 and midnight. Thursday night I had a whopping TEN CONTRACTIONS in one hour, which one might go so far as to call, false-labor. Being that I'm completely paranoid to be an inconvenience to anyone, especially my doctor re: false alarms, I just sat on the couch, watching  my boyfriend  Anderson Cooper 360 until the contractions passed, which they eventually did. Damnit

I've never waited to go into labor naturally and frankly, it sucks. With Archer I had an induction date at 11pm on a Sunday, which man was that a long Sunday... but at least I had some idea when the birth would take place. It was a relatively mellow experience until the Pitocin set in and then fuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccckkkkkk!!!! 

Do I recommend an induction? Absolutely not. Do I recommend waiting to go into labor naturally? Again, absolutely not. (Apparently, when it comes to childbirth, there is no easy way.)

This time around there will be no Pitocin. That's my plan and I'm sticking to it. I don't have Preeclampsia this time around. My blood pressure isn't a dangerously high 170/110, which it was this time last time. (Scary shit, right?) 

Still I'm not without some complications requiring medical intervention. 

I've been told that the second I feel like I'm going into labor I must rush to the hospital thanks to positive screenings for Group B Strep, which I also had when pregnant with Archer so I wasn't exactly surprised with the results. Group B Strep is a bacteria harmless to the mother but has the potential to do harm to a newborn as it passes through the birth canal, which is why antibiotics are to be administered four hours prior to birth to insure a healthy infant. You can read more about Group B here, here and here

My doctor is afraid that because my last labor was so short (I was in active labor for less than three hours) and because this is a second baby (second labors go much faster) I'm going to give birth in the car on the way to the hospital if I don't act fast when the contractions start, which puts me in a bit of a predicament -- when do I know if the contractions are for real, yo? And how long can I wait to be sure? What if it's TOO LATE OMG!?

I'm so confused. 

I wish it was like on television, where in the low-light of the bedroom I'd wake up like a shot, clutching my basketball-belly, brushing aside my perfect Betty Draper hair, turning to my sleeping husband, whispering, "honey, it's time." To which he would quite dramatically bolt out of bed in his striped flannel pajamas and escort me, in my monogrammed robe to the hospital.  

Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen. 

In the meantime, because I have no choice, I'm waiting. Trying to do what I can to keep my mind off everything -- meeting friends for coffee, watching bad romcoms, which I hear are supposed to naturally induce labor by way of their mind-numbing stupidity, and praying for some kind of clue (water breaking would be nice) that all these contractions are not for naught... That sitting on my ass waiting for Godot will eventually end with something excruciating and/or embarrassing. 

Water breaking in public? I'd absolutely take that. Gut-wrenching contractions? So long as they're not sporadic, I'll take them happily. Because labor, childbirth, sleepless nights with an infant? All of that's EASY PEASY compared to the great wait, which let's be clear, is most definitely without argument, the hardest part.



Issa | 12:57 PM

The waiting is the worse. I was six days overdue, which is hard for anyone, but worse for me (in my head) because my first two were early. You could post about how hard waiting is and plot how you'll torture this child with a Pinto and Meatloaf on a tape player at sixteen....I did that for weeks. Only lost me a few people, I'm sure.

I hope it's soon and you have no problems. Good luck. Can't wait to see pics of her.

Mandi | 12:59 PM

I never went through this with my son because that was an induced labor. But I am pregnant now, due in March, and kind of hoping to have preeclampsia again. Sick, right? I loved my induced labor and really hoping for another... But I'm sure in a few months I'll be sitting right where you are. If babies weren't so damn cute, I wouldn't even bother...

DoulaMomma | 1:07 PM

Sounds like they could be turning contractions - your baby *might* be posterior trying to get into a perfect position. One resource is:

wishing you patience and labor soon!

ZDub | 1:11 PM

Damn, you labored like a champ with Archer! With my second, I was in hardcore labor for 11 hours and then my water broke. My doula made me go to the hospital and I was 9 cm., but I pushed for TWO hours before Toasty came out.

My uterus obviously needs tutoring from your uterus.

You will totally know when it is the real deal. You will just know. Trust your body.

Sending good labor thoughts your way!


doulamomma-- good to know! Maybe that's it... They have all been lower abdominal contractions, which is why I knew it wasn't real labor (apparently real labor contractions are felt in the back and upper abdomen?) It makes sense that that would be what is happening because the pressure is all very low. Thanks for the link!

Zakary -- I'm sure the pitocin had something to do with my quick labor. My water was broken for me as well. And I pushed for 15 minutes before my doctor gave me a not so awesome epi... So, yeah. Lots of intervention last time.

Laura | 1:25 PM

My doctor is european and this is the advice he gave have to not be opposed to the consumation of wine at the end of pregnancy though.

He said when I started feeling contractions, to drink a little bit of red wine. If they stop, it is because the alcohol relaxes the uterus and it stops contracting. If the contractions don't stop, it's REAL labor. It totally worked for me. I thought he was nuts, but it really came in handy.

Anonymous | 1:32 PM

I doubt this works at this point, but I just kept drinking water when that would happen. You're almost there, though!

Anonymous | 1:37 PM

my son was born after about 2.5 hours of labor as well, but i wasn't induced. i also have the fear that the next one will make the 7pm news after being born in the car while stuck in l.a. traffic. i say as soon as you have a contraction that makes you think, "hmm these are starting to hurt" go to the hospital and quick. especially if you want an epidural. not to scare you but (that's the worst way to start a sentence, isn't it?) i waited at home for about 20 mins after my contractions moved from uncomfortable to painful and it was too late for pain meds by the time i got there. and a natural birth was not my plan.

Jenni | 1:38 PM

My water broke spontaniously an hour before my labor began, two days before I was due. Instead of gently waking my husband (it was 12:30am) I scared the crap out of him by standing at the foot of the bed and waking him from a dead sleep yelling, "My water broke! My water broke!" like some kind of spaz.

Good luck! I'm willing to put money on the fact you'll know when it's time for the big show

B | 1:38 PM

Like you my labors are very, very short. I tested pos for group b strep with my last baby and along with freaking the fuck out was told this: once your water breaks that is when baby begins to be at risk for infection so if your labors are short and your water breaks late in the game the duration of exposure is minimal, and if you can make it to get one dose of antibiotics in then great but don't stress. Which I totally did anyway because I had lots of false labor and was um *cough* 14 days overdue. Yes, TWO WEEKS. argh.

Good luck!

Anonymous | 1:39 PM

Wow, and I thought my labor was fast... About seven hours total, but the first five were contractions that got my to two centimeters and the rest happened in a quick and very painful 120 minutes. I'm also scared about the extra quickness the next time around but it's confusing to me because I was also induced so I'm like... would my body have that quick of a labor on its own or was that just the crazy result of Pitocin?

So yeah, I'm not help. I will be just as clueless as you are and will probably truck my butt to the hospital at the first hint of labor. The ol' better-safe-than-sorry-and-I-don't-care-what-you-think-about-me-as-I-freak-out theory.

EG | 2:00 PM

I like Laura's advice!

Also, just to add to your paranoia, I know someone whose water broke in Wal Mart. She threw all the bread off the shelving and sat down.

Do NOT go to Wal Mart when you're 9 months pregnant. Eh, don't go to Wal Mart ever.


Yeah. Never been to Wal Mart. Don't plan on ever going. But if I did and my water broke there, I don't think I'd feel bad. Target on the other hand...

Anonymous | 2:31 PM

ummm sorry but walmart is awesome and i am just upset that we don't have one here in queens. i miss it.

in other news- waiting is so hard!! i feel for ya sistah! makes me think less of tom petty and more of jack johnson "must i always be waiting, waiting on youuuu....."

DoulaMomma | 2:53 PM

I'm not European but think that's usually good advise (red wine, or white - whatever)! - along with a bath or shower.

Maremone | 2:54 PM

my husband would have preferred your idealistic birth as well. INstead he woke up to being covered in amniotic fluid. That's love

Anonymous | 3:15 PM

If you can stand it, try watching Harry Potter. Any one of them. It worked for me, TWICE. Then again, I'm a huge dork. :)

Anonymous | 4:17 PM

Everyone is too funny. I went pretty fast my first time so at my last appointment they were already talking about inducing me at 39 weeks. And I'm not due until January! My first was 9 days early and I had been in labor a few hours when we got to the hospital and surprise I was already 10 cm, everyone including me was very suprised. I had her about 2 hours after we got to the hospital.
SO hopefully this one will be 9 days early too, b/c I don't want to be induced!! I was lucky to go quick and natural with the first and hope to with the second as well.
Good luck!!!

Mrs. Cline | 4:19 PM

you're getting so close, and i can't WAIT to see a picture of your little love muffin. i myself can give no advice since the waiting in my life is to see the double line on the stick. time will tell, right?

good luck!

Anonymous | 4:22 PM

We really are the same person!! I was induced with Sage and everything happened very quickly after that. I did not test + for GBS last time but have this time and have been told the same thing, "when it's real, get in here FAST!". We live an hour from the hospital plus if it's in the middle of the night I'm going to have to wake up a friend and get her over here to stay with Sage while we go! How long will that take??

For me the contractions don't start at 9pm, it's 8:30 and low down just like you!

I thought of you in the middle of the night last night as Sage woke up 3 X. She never wakes up!! Which made me also question if 3 year olds can smell the onset of labour. Needless to say I have been checking your blog all day waiting to see if there was any word on baby "F" and would this mean that it's all imminent for me!

Good luck!

Anonymous | 4:30 PM

The waiting is so hard! Luckily my little guy came along 2 days after his due date (I'm a very impatient person).

I was desperate for something to happen, so we had a bit of rumpy pumpy before bedtime (well, my husband did the rumpy-pumpying, I lay there like a giant pink turtle) and I went into labour at 1am.

We hot-footed it to the hospital quite early, as I didn't want to have my bub in the car, and my husband was paranoid about my waters breaking in the car (he made me sit on a plastic sheet. True story)

Just want to say how much I love your blog - I've been reading forever.

JuJu | 4:36 PM

The worst part about waiting this last time was my mom constantly watching me, saying, "WELL?! ANYTHING YET? Tell the baby he's supposed to come out now! Nana wants to hold him!" like I was not going into labor on purpose simply to torture her. As if I had magical control over my uterus and could will it to contract. My parents flew in to stay with us two weeks before I was even due, and every morning, I got The Look and the "WELL?!" I had to keep reminding them that hello?! NOT EVEN DUE YET.

Rachael | 5:20 PM

I never thought I would say this to ANYONE, but I hope your labor doesn't go too fast. I mean, I hope you can get the medicine to keep the baby safe. And not have the baby in a cab. Seriously.

Anonymous | 6:01 PM

Maybe you shouldn't wait until your contractions are on a timed schedule. I have three children, and I never had regular contractions that were on any sort of schedule. With my first, I had contractions for two months and was on meds to keep the baby in because I started early labor two months early. They ended up breaking my water when the pessary fell out. I was at 6cm and had no contractions at that point. Second child-had two contractions, called the dr and said I was going to the hospital. She said no. I said yes and went. I was dilated at 9cm. They broke my water and I pushed. Third child was born a month early-had bloody show, had a couple of contractions five minutes later that came whenever, called the dr, went to the hospital, was dilated 6cm, they broke my water, and I was ready to push. You may not ever get the contractions that are coming regularly. I never did for any of mine. I think your doctor is right that the baby may be born in the car. You don't want to wait too long or that just might happen.

Anonymous | 7:04 PM

My first labor (total, not active) was 4 hours and my second labor was 3 hours. With #2, I was in the hossy for 29 minutes before I delivered. I wasn't GBS+, but before the test, the doc assured me that if I got to the hossy too late for anitibiotics, they could be given to the babe after birth and she'd still be fine. Good luck - best wishes for an easy labor. And L'Shana Tova.

Anonymous | 7:06 PM

Being on day #1 overdue, but day #10 on maternity leave, I am there with you. I started natural induction methods today - the most invasive of which was my OB stripping my membranes. Nothing is happening yet. And my tongue is tingly - partly from too much pineapple and partly from too much oregano & basil in the eggplant parmesan I made for supper. Now I'm off to have sex with the husband again - such a chore!

jeanie | 9:01 PM

I was a week over and dd was posterior position - great information from Doulamama. Good luck!!

sweetmelissa818 | 9:08 PM

I had high blood pressure with both of my girls and they were three and five weeks early. Just be thankful that you didn't have to sit in the hospital for five weeks before being flown (in a helicopter, while on magnesium sulfate) to the nearest major metropolitan area. It sucks. Of course, both of my girls were c-sections because they were breech, so I have absolutely no knowledge of the actual labor and birthing process, for which I'm thankful.

Anonymous | 9:21 PM

I totally know the feeling of "how will I know?" -- I had my daughter in June, and was also GBS+ -- I was concerned that I wouldn't know if my water had broken, b/c she was down so low with her head corked in the cooch such that I figured it would be a higher break (and trickle instead of gush). I also didn't know if I would really know when contractions started. BUT -- you'll know. I was having brunch, one day after my due date, feeling some irregular squeezy, blood-pressure cuff type feelings (but nothing that I could put a start or stop to, much less time...). Then, BAM, I could tell that things changed and they came with a deep achy pain. So, we started timing, and I went from 12 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart in one hour. I thought that for sure we were timing it wrong, but nope. That was it. Then, I had an epidural (lovely!), and it slowed things down -- but didn't end up needing any pit, and the water broke while I was lying there chillin' (the epidural, fabulous). And all in all, not so bad. But, you will know when they start, I think. And I say, when in doubt, cruise in to the hospital (or birthing center, or wherever), and let them check you out. That is their job, and you are in NO WAY inconveniencing them. Get 'em girl! You'll do great! Love, love, love your blog. It seriously inspires me every day. Cheers, Stephanie

kittenpie | 10:26 PM

I haven't really waited myself, either, since Pumpkinpie started on her own the night before I was scheduled for induction, and the Bun was planned. I was never in a hurry, though, since I've been busy both times!

I can only hope for you, though, that it's not too fast. You remember poor HBM, right? So I hope you have not a long labour (too tiring), but one that's not in too much of a hurry, either, so you can get your anitbiotics and hospital bed and everything together first!

Meanwhile, I have heard about all kinds of crazy things that are supposed to bring on labour, so if you get desperate, you might try spicy food, sex, or castor oil, apparently.

Anonymous | 6:46 AM

I feel your pain. I'm due on Saturday and I was in pre-labor (i hate to use false) for 6 days with regular contractions every 30-60 minutes (and it stopped yesterday). I went to the midwife yesterday to find out I'm dilated to 1 cm and the baby is in position to go. This is crazy. It is so hard to keep yourself occupied because the worse thing to do is sit in your living room and wait for the contractions to get more intense and closer together, ugh. Good luck I hope you have a speedy birth.


Anonymous | 7:04 AM

Oh I feel for you. I also think this is the hardest part. My friend Janet told me though, when I was pregnant and complaining, that my life was like a beach vacation compared to hers. She had a newborn and her boobs were bigger than Queen Latifa's before Queen got the reduction and she had blisters and shit, like that breast infection. So, you know, it's sucky on both sides. I'm so happy to be the daddy this time. Oh, that wasn't nice. :)

I'm rooting for you.

Emma | 7:25 AM

I don't mean to scare you - but my second was born at home b/c the labour was so fast we didn't make it to the hospital! By the time the contractions had been regular for 30 min (which was when I'd been told to go to the hospital) they were way too intense and push-compelling for me to walk down 4 flights of stairs at our apartment and then be in the car for 20 min. Ten minutes later after the ambulance had been called (after a small, uh, discussion with my husband about whether I really needed an ambulance) I felt his head and then three pushes later he was out. Total labour: 2 hours, with just 20 min of the really painful stuff. People think it must have been scary, but actually it was all very peaceful.

A few of my friends had second babies after me and they said it was only because of my experience that they made it to the hospital in time, otherwise they would have waited like me. But I'm guessing you'll know when it's for real - the contractions are way more intense. Also, you're not meant to be able to talk through real contractions, while you can for the preliminary ones. And if you feel the urge to stay glued to the toilet, get to the hospital ASAP!

Also, I was strepB positive and Lukan was fine, he had the antibiotics once we got to the hospital.

Can't wait to "meet" the little one - I'm checking obsessively to see whether she's arrived!

Aubrey Anne | 7:59 AM

I don't have time to read everyone else's comments, so I might be repeating something here, but I had false labor for 3 months at the end of both my pregnancies. The only advice I can give you is to stay VERY WELL HYDRATED!! As long as you're drinking TONS of water (like to the point where you might puke), false labor will subside. If you're well hydrated and STILL having tons of contractions, it's probably not false, and you should hurry your butt to the hospital! (as much as a prego girl can hurry!) :)

chantalart | 8:27 AM

I was 10 days late and had to be induced; the baby didn't make an appearance until 36 hours after the induction began. The waiting (before and after induction) can drive you INSANE. Once labor really did kick in I was able to take 2 baths before my epidural. My husband and I discovered that when he pointed the shower nozzle (with warm water) at my stomach during a contraction the pain actually subsided! My sister in law is an ob-gyn and acted as my doula and convinced me to hold off on the epidural so I could sit in the bath as much as I could- best idea ever.

Good luck! By the way, I read your book this week, and I absolutely loved it. I'm cheering for you!

Anonymous | 8:57 AM

I was induced as well so I can't be of any help. Also, I had braxton-hicks contractions for the last 2 months and didn't realize what they were! Here's wishing you have distinctive, just-long-enough labor to get to the hospital with plenty of time, AND it's nice and easy. I bet your little girl will shoot out no problem!

Personally, I'm looking forward to my c-section if I get pregnant again.

P.S. I want Laura's doctor.

Anonymous | 8:59 AM

My First child was also induced and for the same reason Archer was and I had the same concerns you're having with my 2nd. I'd had a quick first labor with pit., but the quick labors run in my family so I was worried about the 2nd time around and how would I know when ir was REALLY time to go to the hospital.
But I knew. It wasn't anything dramatic, I just knew. It did wake me up with some dull back pain that was gradually increasing (on my due date no less), and I was so restless I could hardly sit still. So we timed contractions and I called my midwife and she helped me know when to come in (which turned out to be soon). My 2nd labor was just as fast as my 1st even without the pit. But it was still managable (they were both au natural ). Anyways, just thought I'd share since our experiences were similar. Hope it gives you some peace of mind even if the waiting still stinks.

Unknown | 2:24 PM

Have you tried putting a crib together while extremely pregnant?

That's what put me into labor . . .

Anonymous | 3:28 PM

I have two words of advice: Planned C-section.
I had NO real labor pains for any of my three bambini. A few Braxton-Hicks but they were no biggie.
There was no water breaking unexpectedly. No mucus plug plopping to the floor at the supermarket. No hours and hours of waiting.
For the women who say that I was deprived of the experience of childbirth I say I don't give a rodent's derriere.

Style Police | 4:32 PM

Hum. If you're worried about a precipitate (fast) labour... then you should be prepared in the far back corners of your mind.

I caught (delivered) a baby in an elevator on the way into work one night recently at the hospital. The only things you need to know if you give birth fast & alone are this:

1. call for help.
2. wrap the baby up warmly, even if you have to strip off yourself to provide wrappings.
3. do NOT touch the cord. Not one little bit, not AT ALL.
4. keep an eye on your bleeding.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy | 5:37 PM

I highly recommend having your water break on its own--that's what happened to me and after the first three hours of mind-numbingingly painful contractions, once I got the epidural, it was smooth sailing! I was only in labor for eight hours altogether and pushed for 12 minutes. I don't know if it had anything to do with going on my own with my water breaking, but I will send you some "easy labor" vibes!

Her Bad Mother | 6:10 PM

I had 'false' labor for nearly three weeks before jasper was born. TORTURE does not suffice as a descriptive term.

Am thinking about you. Am sending you my love.

Her Bad Mother | 6:15 PM

Oh, and? Having had a precipitous labor, finally - 90 minutes first contraction to baby exploding out moments after I exited vehicle - I have to say this: do anything you can to avoid precipitous circumstances. It is TERRIFYING, like going down in a crashing plane. Have a plan. Like, know how you're going to get to doc/midwife or doc/midwife to you FAST. Or how to deliver safely at home. DO NOT END UP ON HIGHWAY.

Been there, hated that.

Anonymous | 6:49 PM

Having had eclampsia (yeah it went to the actual thing!) during my first pregnancy and having an induced birth, I can tell you that it`s not guaranteed your second kid will come out fast. My first son was born after 9 hours of hard, induced labor. The second? A day of not so hard labor and then 12 hours of the real thing. So, since Archer was induced, don`t panic too much. :D

Emma | 4:43 AM

Just to add, I agree with her bad mother and style police: if you're really worried about a fast delivery, learn what to do. We were caught completely by surprise and were very lucky that there were no complications. I second too that home is a better option than the car!!

But the reason I am commenting again is to say I don't know that style police is right about the cord. A midwife told us before the birth of our first that you should tie a piece of string/shoelace/whatever tight around it to stop the blood flowing out of the baby and back into the placenta (which will probably still be inside you and lower than the baby). And indeed, when we called the hospital to say Lukan had arrived, this is exactly what they told us to do. And the ambulance officers left the shoelace there when they arrived - the cord was only properly cut once we got to the hospital. So I'm pretty sure it's the right thing to do.

But talk to your OB/GYN and find out the essentials.

Rhea | 7:48 AM

Waiting is tough. Get the fat lady to sing, wherever she may be. That always get it started. lol

Anonymous | 10:09 AM

You'll know when they really it - or so I've been told.

I had pitocin the first time around as well - and on that - they hit at a 10 instead of the normal, natural 1,2,3... yada, yada.

I'm guessing b/c this post is 2 days old that you're in labor! Are you?

SO exciting. SO happy for you!

caramama | 10:21 AM

Oh yeah, the waiting sucked! I was a week and a half overdue. And then, I had the lovely water breaking in public (movie theater--don't ask).

Also, I've been meaning to say that I'm so glad you didn't have pre-eclampsia this time! That's great!

Anonymous | 3:25 PM

I'd say you'll know when it is time to go to the hospital when you are mooooooo-ing.

I'm not kidding :) Vocalization. A great sign that you're in active labor.

Anonymous | 12:29 PM

My first 2 came right "on time." But not so for my third.

We (midwife and I) pushed my EDD ahead at least 2 times, to avoid the 42 week legal limit before being "forced" to be induced at the hospital. I was D-O-N-E being pregnant for weeks...

I tried everything (except the teas and oils, I was too afraid it wasn't good for baby).

What ended up working was acupressure. Hubby used maternal acupressure points to naturally induce labor at home. 48 hours later, we were holding our daughter in our arms.

This was the book that showed us how:

I look back now, and I ask myself "What was the hurry?"