My due date is officially August 17th. Today it is July 31, which makes me 37.5 weeks along now. I had to make it to 36 weeks for my midwife to feel comfortable delivering my baby at home (with a natural birth). Well, that milestone has come and gone, and I’m thinking, “Where is this baby and when is he coming?!”. I have been having preterm labor contractions for 2 months now. I was on bedrest for a few weeks which seemed to hold them off until the baby was bigger and more developed.
However, it seemed like after I went off bedrest, things mostly stalled. Don’t get me wrong, I have TONS of contractions and cervical needling (sharp pains in the cervix – ouch). Some days, I have contractions all day 5 minutes apart and lasting for a minute and then they just go away once I sleep at night. Sometimes I have 1 contraction every hour, but every day I have them. I never really feel like I’m in “active labor” and like the contractions are strong enough to call the birth team to come to my home. I secretly hope my water will break so I will really know it’s time for labor. Realistically, since things go very fast for me, I could be in active labor and not really know it and not have time for my midwife to arrive. I have been dilating a centimeter every 2 weeks, so I am slowly making forward progress. Sometimes I wonder if I’d rather have a long labor and not have to deal with this for so many months a little at a time. I don’t know the difference, because it’s just the way my body does things. I think I am fortunate to have it happen a little at a time, and then a really speedy active labor (about an hour). When I actually go into active labor, I speed through dilation and don’t even have to push, the baby just comes out without causing me too much pain and distress. It seems backward to me, but it’s the way my body rolls!
Has anyone else experienced so much preterm labor contractions? Do you get used to them? I get them so much, sometimes I don’t even realize they are happening and I get used to them.
The last time my midwife checked me, I was dilated to a 4 and 50-80% effaced. She said she didn’t think I would last more than 2 weeks. I’ve made it 1 and a half so far and I think I have dilated and progressed more. I feel like my body and my baby are wise and that in the end there is a reason to all of this waiting (and sometimes suffering through painful and exhausting days of contractions). I feel the baby really low in my pelvis and he has felt like she was literally falling out for a months now. Now that’s a bizarre feeling!
Now I have been trying to get myself to go that extra little bit and go into labor. I have been walking a ton, doing yard work, doing leg squats, bouncing on my birth ball, and nothing has pushed me over that hump yet, darn it.
I have compiled a few resources to help you with your preterm labor contractions naturally. I hope they help!
#1 Cramp Bark Tincture
If it’s too early for you to go into labor, my midwife suggested taking 1 dropper full of a cramp bark tincture every 20 minutes (or longer as needed). She also suggested taking magnesium which will soften the muscles and keep them from contracting. Please ask your doctor of midwife if these things are right for you and your situation. They worked really well for me when used in combination with laying down.
#2 Using Relaxation Techniques
I can’t say enough good things about The Birth Year site and the guided relaxation birth tracks helping me calm down and get centered again. I am sure I saved at least one trip to the emergency room to get labor stopped by learning the techniques of Hypnobirthing. It is a lifesaver and so worth it! I downloaded the tracks onto my ipad so I could listen to them in bed when I am contracting, or even just having a hard time getting to sleep. Highly recommended!
#3 Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom Salt baths were a lifesaver for me and so easy to do. They are relaxing too. I took one every day. Epsom salt will release tension in your body. Soak for about 45 minutes and then try to go to sleep. I didn’t use the kind with lavendar, beacuase I can be allergic to the scent sometimes, but if you are not allergic, lavendar will help your mind and body relax.
#4 Staying Hydrated with Clean Water
Medical studies have been inconclusive in most cases when it comes to whether hydration helps or not to stave off preterm labor, but I believe staying hydrated makes all systems in the body work better and more efficiently. Make sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day to stay as hydrated as possible.
I hope this information helps someone out there! Please share your stories with us, we would love to hear from you!