Signs That Labor is Knocking On Your Front Door

There comes a time during pregnancy when I am just DONE. It usually hits me around 35 weeks and from that point on, the days seem to never end. I have arrived.

When I’m this far along, I really start looking for signs that labor is approaching. After being pregnant so many times, I know what is pretty normal/standard for me. During my first pregnancy, I didn’t have a clue what to look for. I mean really look for. If this is your first baby, some of this may be helpful.

Right now, I’m 35 weeks and one of the biggest signs that the baby is coming happened 4 weeks ago….waaaaaaaay early for me. At the beginning of my 31st week, my baby dropped, or became close to fully engaged, into the birth canal. This is also called Lightening, but I never use that term.

During pregnancy, a baby can move, flip, roll…etc…all over the place. Even when things get extremely cramped, the baby can do some pretty surprising stuff. A few weeks before labor begins, however, many babies will get into a head down position and actually drop into the pelvis…so, they are no longer “floating”, as you may hear your doctor say. When this occurs, they are fixed right there for the remainder of their stay. Their head presses on the cervix and causes it to thin out, or efface. Effacement has to occur some before dilation can begin, so this is all a very good thing!

Before a baby engages, the mother will experience a feeling of fullness. Her uterus has grown so much that it’s pushing everything up, crowding the rib cage. She may experience shortness of breath, not being able to finish a meal, intense heartburn/acid reflux, and even pain. Sitting down often hurts as it even lessens the amount of space needed to breathe comfortably.

BUT, when the baby drops, those feelings are instantly replaced with pressure down low. Heartburn may completely disappear, breathing becomes a thing of ease, meals become enjoyable, and sitting is, once again, comfortable for the most part. The down side is the pressure and feeling like the baby may fall out & the fact that you almost always feel like you need to pee.

This has happened quite early for me this time. The earliest a baby has dropped for me was 32 1/2 weeks & she came 5 weeks later. I’m not sure if this baby will hold out for 7 weeks fully engaged, but we’ll see. (I usually go into labor naturally at 38 weeks.)

So, dropping/baby becoming engaged is a big sign, but it may not happen until just before labor starts. Everyone is different.

Another sign has to do with the changing of your bowels. I know…nice. So let’s just say that if you’ve been constipated for a while, you won’t be anymore….and eventually you will be the exact opposite of constipated. Pregnancy hormones will start changing & cleaning out your system will be a top priority to make more room for the baby to pass through the birth canal. This is definitely a sign I pray for.

More intense Braxton Hick’s contractions is another sign. These practice contractions are sometimes even confused with real labor contractions. The difference is that true labor contraction pain usually starts in the back and moves around to the front. If you are just having a little cramping in the front, it’s probably not the real thing, although it could be. I will be bold in stating that if you are truly in labor, though, you will probably know it. And the pain of the contraction will start in your back because true labor contractions involve the whole uterus, not just parts of it. But everyone is different.

Nesting is another big sign, but so is extreme fatigue. For me, nesting starts early, not right before labor. I have lots of packing to do and we live an hour away from the hospital. I already have all the kids’ clothes packed & in the car, along with the baby’s clothes. I have a bag packed for me & Rooster in our bedroom specifically for the hospital just in case I go into labor earlier than I expect. I keep up with laundry like a crazy person & my house stays clean. Rooster loves it when I’m nesting.

Extreme fatigue comes as I get really close. I still have to work to keep it all ready, but it kills me. All I want to do is lay down. Taking breaks is important, but not something I get a whole lot of.

Another sign is losing your mucous plug. As you get close to going into labor, hormones will start to release the mucous plug. Sometimes it comes out in one big chunk (nice), but for me, it comes out gradually. I usually start seeing it around 36 weeks, but it started at 34 this rodeo. It can be yellowish, pinkish, brownish, or bloody (watch out, girl). Last week it was yellowish for me. Now it’s brown, which indicates old blood, or pinkish, which is usually the breakage of tiny blood vessels as you efface & dilate.

Effacement & dilation. Unless you’ve had preterm labor issues, you’ll probably not have your cervix checked until you’re 36 weeks. By this point, many women have started to thin out and some even start to dilate. I have always been 50% thinned or more and dilated 1 cm by my 36th week check up. It starts early for me, but some women don’t have any cervical change until labor begins.

I usually feel sick or just not “right” the day I go into labor. One time I threw up while I was taking my shower before church. One time I left a family function a bit early because of an overall “sick” feeling. Once I couldn’t do anything except for walk around constantly.

These “signs” or “symptoms” are different for every mother, but our bodies do naturally gear up for that big day, though the changes for some might be subtle & completely obvious for others. Paying close attention is important, no matter how many times you’ve been pregnant.

So, labor has already started knocking at my door, though a bit early. When expected company knocks early, or unexpected company suddenly appears, my blood pressure goes up, my face gets red, and steam comes out of my ears.

But labor…….when it’s a sweet baby, arriving a bit early is a welcomed thing of joy…..

……as long as there’s no loud banging. Or ringing the doorbell and then running off right before I get there..

So, expect company at some point, girls. And hopefully you will be able to recognize some of the signs that will tell you that labor is somewhere in the neighborhood.

Lisa

The Most Brilliant Way to Naturally Induce Your Labor

I have been pregnant for 1,786 days to date….one-thousand, seven-hundred and eighty-six days…

I’m not complaining. Just merely stating a fact.

However, many many many of those days, were spent wishing that I were not so pregnant anymore. This is a feeling that I’m pretty sure 99.999% of all expectant mothers eventually feel. There just comes a time when we are DONE.

I’m 25 weeks pregnant with my 7th baby right now, so I haven’t reached the point of no return just yet, but I’m getting there a lot quicker this go round. I’m already starting to waddle and swell when I sit for too long. I was walking/waddling up to our barn this afternoon and I couldn’t believe how tough the last few steps had become. It made me a bit nauseous.

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What To Expect After a Hospital Delivery…The Stuff No One Talks About

There is so much that I could say in this post. There is so much that no one talked about before I had my first baby–I mean, SOMEONE could have told me these things that I’m about to tell you. You can thank me later. (wink)

Ahhh….after delivery….the baby is here…everyone is elated! You’re so in love with this new bundle of joy and it’s smooth sailing until real life begins at home. Well, not quite, pretty mama.

Now don’t get me wrong, Rooster and I LOVE our post-delivery stay at the hospital. I mean, it’s like a vacation to us. Come on–no kids for 3 days…you get to order whatever you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…they bring it to you and pick it up when you’re finished. Family & friends bring you food, drinks, gifts, flowers…hospital staff take out your trash & replace the trash bag….they bring you your pain meds….give you diapers and a bunch of other baby stuff…they clean up your accidents, mamas (more on that soon)…nurses help you to the bathroom…I mean, what’s not to love?

Well….there are a few things that aren’t so pleasant. I think I’ll just make a list and see how many I can come up with.  All I know is what I know, though, so this list is just an idea of some things you can expect. (more…)

Epidurals…Should You Get One, or Try to Deliver Naturally?

Ahhhh…..the epidural. I’m going to start out by just letting you know from the get-go that I am PRO-epidural. I am absolutely not a fan of pain, especially labor pains, but I take my hat off to the women who push themselves through natural childbirth.

So, I’ve been through childbirth six times so far. I have experienced childbirth with and without an epidural, but not because I had a choice. Let’s talk about the difference of the 2…actually the 3 different birth experiences I’ve had. They are as different as night and day.

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