Archives for category: Early Labor

I started prenatal yoga at exactly 12 weeks, having been concerned about miscarriage before that point, and have attended almost every single Saturday since. It has been an integral part of my pregnancy, and I met the only mom friends I have (besides you all, who matter a lot!) in that class. Three of us in the class have July due dates and hired the same doula. She is amazingly positive, energetic and knowledgeable and inspires us to pursue natural, medication-free birth, connect with our partners during labor, and reduce medical interventions as much as is appropriate. Our natural birthing class took place in our yoga studio with our doula and involved dim lighting, breathing and physical support from our partners, essential oils and yoga poses to help with pain. J and I have discussed the slippery slope of medical induction many times since then, with my midwife mom, our doula, and these friends. J has read The Birth Partner and I’ve read Hypnobirthing. We’ve watched Birth Story with Ina May Gaskin and The Farm. I’ve practiced hypnobirthing on a daily basis, on my lunch break, in the bathtub, before bed. Our hypnobirthing affirmations are highlighted and written on post-it’s on the fridge for me to contemplate while filling my water glass. I have fantasies about early labor being much like a fun Saturday night at home – J setting out fruits, crackers and cheeses for us to enjoy while we watch a movie and I bake brownies for the hospital staff and paint my toenails.

Haha, joke’s on us, right? After hearing the long and difficult birth story of a friend I share my doula with, with many unexpected twists and turns, I threw my “birth plan” out the window. Many of my friends and WordPress buddies have endured such different circumstances and interventions than they were prepared for. The biggest lesson has been from both of my sisters, dedicated to natural births, who both ended up with c-births due to situations completely out of their control. And over a year later, all that matters is their gorgeous, funny little babies and their dedication to breastfeeding, whole foods and gentle, effective parenting.

I still have a vision of what we’d like for our birth experience if things go well – if I can stay at home as long as possible, not be induced, my posterior baby turns during labor, my water doesn’t break too soon, and I can use everything I’ve prepared to cope with the sensations. I’ll share this list of preferences with you, as requested by my close WordPress friend Mamaetmaman, but please take it with a grain of salt. As my friend’s husband recently pointed out to me, how can you plan for something you aren’t yet aware of? When you go into labor you have no idea what will happen from one moment to the next, therefore you can’t anticipate what decisions will need to be made and what circumstances you will base them on. I don’t want to feel disappointed if I get an epidural, or if I have to be wheeled into surgery at the last minute after hours or days of coping with labor. That being said, J and I are armed and dangerous with research, the wisdom of Ina May Gaskin, a feeling that birth is natural and generally does not require medical intervention, and the stories of many women, including my mother, who had uncomplicated natural births over and over. I think this is a lesson for becoming a parent and in the rest of life in general – to let go of expectation and control, stay positive and focused on what you want, but to stay open and flexible. I’m open to the birth I envision, and welcome it, and talk to Glitter about it every day in the shower, about working together to create a positive and healthy experience for both of us.

The first page is just for J and I to remember when things get going, but won’t be printed for the hospital obviously. The second page is for hospital staff.

Early and early active labor – for ourselves and our doula

  • We would like to labor at home as long as possible
  • We plan to be at home until contractions are 4:1:1 unless water breaks and it has been over six hours
  • Call/text parents, siblings and close friends. Turn phone off or keep in touch, depending on my mood and comfort level
  • Labor projects:
    • watch a movie
    • take a bath
    • bake blondies for hospital nursing staff
    • pedicure
    • Hydrate and snack as much as possible
      • Nausea and energy-friendly foods:
          • Cheese and crackers
          • almond butter on toast
          • apples, watermelon, peaches, any fruit
          • Vitamin water and regular water\
          • vegetable broth with tofu, spinach, spices and coconut milk
  • Listen to Glitter playlist, which includes everything from Eminem’s Lose It to Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb
  • Call doula when active labor begins


Hospital Phase: Active labor, transition, pushing and recovery

Birth Team:

Our midwife is ______and we would like a midwife for delivery if possible.

If a midwife is unavailable, we would like to request a female doctor.

Birth Team: ______, fiance, birth partner; ______, Doula

Allowed in the room: ______, C’s mother

Birth Preferences:

We would like a natural birth with as few interventions as possible.

We request NO HEP LOCK unless absolutely necessary.

In most circumstances (water does not break early, mother does not have fever), we will be declining antibiotics for GBS.

We plan to use hypnosis and relaxation techniques.

The only person who will offer or request pain medication for the birthing mother is J. She and C have a code word.


We request skin-to-skin as soon as possible with no immediate bath.

We will be delaying cord clamping.

We request infant testing to be done after Golden Hour unless medically indicated.

We plan to breastfeed only and request no formula, bottles or pacifiers be used.

In Case of Cesarean-Birth:

We request J and doula be present throughout the birth.

We request skin-to-skin and family time as soon as medically appropriate.


I’ve been reading a few articles on the last weeks of pregnancy and how difficult they can be, and turning them into a positive experience. Yes, my nursery is finished, the house is clean, freezer meals are stocked, hospital bag is packed, car is gassed up, we’re pre-registered at the hospital, BUT this last week had been hard. I wake up every morning wondering what’s going to happen. I have cramps on and off and feel the baby descending more and wonder if tomorrow will be the day. Despite how difficult labor may be, I’m ridiculously excited about it.

Nesting and preparations set aside though, there are so many things to do this week and I’m starting to see them not as a waiting game or distraction, but a gift before my life changes forever. My mother came and left already, but while she was here for a few days we cooked, shopped and took long walks. It was fun and soooo helpful. She spent two hours learning how to ear our Ergo Baby 360 and ring sling properly so she could teach me in five minutes. She carried the shopping bags and whipped up cookies and made dinner. She made the homemade diaper-changing spray and ordered us more cloth wipes. She watched The Bachelorette with us, analyzing the contestants and getting into it despite never having seen it before. She used her midwifery skills to assure me the baby was alive and head-down when I was freaked out. When we realized it was definitely false labor and nothing was happening, she hopped back in her car and returned to Albuquerque, but I’m so grateful that she came to have fun and do things only a mama can do! Thanks, Mom.

I’ve also enjoyed my own time this week. I’ve taken long naps every day, and yesterday I took two, one at 10am and one at 2pm. I’ve taken a few long baths with clary sage oil and hypnobirthing meditations. Yesterday I watched Chef on Netflix, one of my all-time favorite movies, while bouncing on my ball and trying to induce labor 🙂 Just sleeping until 7 every morning instead of getting ready for work at 6am has been a great blessing. Today I’m going to tea with my friend from prenatal yoga who had twins, then getting a prenatal massage. I also made a baking mix for oatmeal chocolate chip walnut blondies, which I plan on whipping up as a labor project. It sits on the counter in it’s disposable baking dish, ready to be baked and taken to the hospital for the nursing staff.

We had a midwife appointment on Tuesday and I did find out that Glitter is in a posterior or “sunny side up” position, with her chin up instead of tucked and her back to my back. This CAN cause longer labor and back labor, and I’ve been doing exercises to turn her such as cat-cow, inversions and lying in a supported position on my stomach, but I’m also not obsessing about it. Most babies turn when they’re ready or during labor, and what’s the point of worrying anyway?

I do treasure this time to keep preparing and relaxing, but I won’t lie, I get excited when I feel cervical pain and mild contractions every night. The midwife did a cervical check. I said I wasn’t going to do these, but after the false labor I was honestly dying to know. I was 1 centimeter dilated, 50% effaced, and my cervix is soft and anterior, which means it’s totally ready for labor, all I have to do is keep dilating! I wasn’t excited or disappointed, just glad the sensations I’d been having and losing the the mucous plug had led to some progress. It could be days or weeks. We saw a different midwife due to scheduling, and she was amazing. She told me to relax, feel open, let go of any expectations for when I’ll go into labor, take baths, have a glass of wine every day, have sex, go out to dinner, and enjoy life for awhile, and that is what I’m doing!

Well, we fell for it. I started having period-like cramping, lots of bloody discharge, lower back pain and Braxton-Hicks Friday night. I texted my mother, who told me I would go into labor any minute. After 30 years as a midwife, even she fell for it! It continued on and off for the next three days, and here I am, only a little cramping, not in labor at all. This could go on for weeks!

Friday J and I arrived at The Langham Huntington, a luxury hotel in Pasadena, for our mini Babymoon. I’m usually disappointed with hotels upon arrival, since the Internet makes them look so nice, but this was the opposite – we were impressed with the gorgeous lobby, service and grounds immediately. I’d left a note with our reservation that it was a last-minute Babymoon and I’d be 8.5 months along, and when we arrived we had a free upgrade and chocolate-covered strawberries in the room!


The king bed had the softest sheets I’d ever felt, probably a very high threadcount. We had fun reading the room service menu, luxuriating in the sheets and looking around the marble bathroom like little kids. Eventually we went to the pool, which thanks to the holiday weekend was crammed with upper-middle class children cannonballing into the deep end. Oh well, we embraced it. Being in the pool felt awesome and my belly felt really heavy when I got out. I had a perfect virgin piña colada – very creamy and not too sweet – and J had a sparkling rose, which she let me sip on. We decided not to leave the hotel for dinner and to just relax and enjoy, despite the restaurant prices. Entrees at the fine dining steakhouse went up to $65, so we opted for the more moderate restaurant and sat on the terrace overlooking the pool. We shared a salad with fresh figs and feta, then J had a dish of pasta and I had Jidori chicken (fairly humanely raised and local). We marveled that there we were, at a five-star hotel, expecting a baby, and could afford to enjoy ourselves, but only for one night! Haha. We put our phones away, so the only pics I have are from the Internet:


Somewhere in there I mentioned to J that I was losing my mucous plug and having period cramps and lower back pain. I didn’t know what the bloody show was supposed to look like, but we googled it and I was having it. The baby was also grinding her head on my cervix (I guess they call this “lightning crotch”) which was taking my breath away it was so painful. I’d been feeling this for weeks but not as intensely. That’s when my mom thought I’d be going into labor soon. It’s not that these symptoms always mean a woman is going into labor, just that based on my pregnancy and my mom’s own deliveries when we were babies, she just had a feeling it was happening. I was totally in denial and told her and J this could go on for weeks, but they both had “a feeling.” My first thought was if we had to go to the hospital, we’d have wasted money on this amazing hotel room!

In the morning we ate on that same terrace again – coffee, toast and a delicious omelet – and enjoyed the sunshine and the families camping out for their 4th of July by the pool. We had a late check-out, so we enjoyed our fancy room some more then had a long lunch by the pool. We had a truly amazing Babymoon, thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and each other, and now will always remember it as an exciting time.

By the time we left the hotel, I was feeling cramping, back pain and discharge again. We were starting to get nervous. I insisted on stopping at the grocery store to stock up for early labor. We went to a grocery store in Pasadena and started throwing random stuff in the cart. Two containers of hummus, bagels and cream cheese, Vitamin water for labor, a carton of Ben & Jerry’s (me), FOUR bags of potato chips, a pack of Pampers infant even though we plan to cloth diaper AND only use recycled disposables (J). It was hilarious. I the frozen food isle I started tearing up and J hugged me and told her I couldn’t have a baby today, I wasn’t ready.

When we got home I threw up everything I’d eating including breakfast, which meant it hadn’t digested well. I tried to do all the things I’d planned to do in the following week – despite cramping and fatigue, I cleaned the bathrooms, the kitchen, mopped the floors, did two loads of laundry, and made homemade cream of celery soup. I didn’t eat enough and totally exhausted myself, then threw up again (mostly water) and finally calmed down.

That night the baby moved so much, causing more symptoms, that we thought something would happen in the middle of the night, but I woke up with no more symptoms. The problem was, my mother had already jumped the gun and was halfway here from New Mexico, just in case I went into labor. We really want her here when that happens and afterwards to help with the baby, but by then we assumed it was a false alarm.

The guessing game has continued – the rest of the mucous plug fell out (sorry, that is so gross), I’ve had on-and-off cramping, lots of movement with irregular contractions, especially at night, and yesterday morning I woke up in the morning with cramps. Then last night, nothing at all. In fact, Glitter hasn’t been moving as much as usual. At 4am I freaked out, had some orange juice, she only moved a tiny bit, then almost woke my mom up but decided to just sleep. This morning my mom did some midwife tricks, moving my stomach around until Glitter moved a little, but she’s definitely not as active as usual.

My mother has been helping me with baby preparations but she’s considering going back to New Mexico until I actually go into labor. I love having her here because I need help! I didn’t have many newborn clothes and no complete outfits, so we bought some pants to go with the onesies I do have and two newborn pajamas with footies and hand holds. Then we got some essentials I hadn’t gotten around to yet like a nasal aspirator, baby thermometer and nail clippers. We also went to Whole Foods and made a great taco dinner for J, who’d had a rough day at work, complete with fresh margaritas (for them, not for me). We had fried Tilapia, pulled pork (which I don’t eat), spiced black beans, then the fixings – homemade cabbage slaw, homemade guacamole, crumbled cotija, fresh salsa, red onions in vinegar, and lime juice. And chips! Soooo good.


I did a hypnobirthing exercise in the tub and we watched The Bachelorette. My mom mixed up Break Your Water Cookies, which are supposed to jump start labor. They have ginger, cinnamon and cayenne, which we doubled, and they’re so spicy it’s hard to eat them without almond milk! Of course these are silly and don’t work, but it was a fun induction project!

I didn’t want to go into labor that early. In fact, when it was happening I felt like I was losing out on valuable time I’d been counting on to prepare and relax. When it stopped happening though, J and I were both disappointed. It was so exciting and overwhelming, then anticlimactic. These next few days/weeks are going to be a roller coaster! Now that things are fairly under control, with clean floors and a full fridge, I feel more relaxed. I have a midwife appointment this afternoon, a haircut tonight, and prenatal yoga with my doula tomorrow. We’ll see how things go but I have a feeling nothing is going to happen for awhile.

I can’t photograph the nursery now that my mom is staying there, but I’ll get around to it soon.