Last week I wrote about having been in Prodromal Labor for basically the entire week. It hasn’t stopped. Each day and night, I have many, many contractions. The weird thing is I don’t know if they’ve gotten less intense or if my uterus is just stronger now, so I notice them less. I suspect the latter because when I poke my belly during one it is as hard as a ROCK. I have a feeling that strong uterus muscles will come in handy when it’s time to push our little girl out!

We’ve had two non-stress tests (NSTs) this week to make sure our daughter is safe and sound, and on Monday we also checked my amniotic fluid levels. Everything checked out fine. This coming Monday if she’s still not born, we have another NST and ultrasound for a fluid check.

People are starting to ask me all sorts of questions that really show me 1) how little faith most women have in our bodies to give birth to the baby we grow, and 2) that the estimated due date is really seen as a deadline, which it shouldn’t be at all!

  • When will they induce you?
    • “They” don’t make that decision. My husband and I do. They will induce me when I give permission, which will only be if baby and I are no longer both measuring healthy and wonderful at our non-stress tests. As is, my blood pressure, her heart rate, my amniotic fluid levels, etc… are all textbook perfect. There is NO reason to rush things by inducing. Some babies need to “cook” longer.
  • Won’t you have to have a C-section? Your baby’s going to be huge!
    • Basically, no. The only risk factor for a macrosomic (big) baby I have is “prolonged gestation.” I don’t have gestational diabetes, haven’t gained an excessive amount of weight, am not obese, etc. Also, no one has even ventured to guess the size of my baby which is fine with me because those guesses are often POUNDS off. “They” can tell you you have a 10 pound baby based on an ultrasound image, but when you deliver (probably via C-section if their scare tactics worked) you might have a perfectly “normal” 8 pound baby. I have faith that my body isn’t growing a child I can’t give birth to. Especially if I move around during labor, possibly taking advantage of the squatting position to push (which gives an extra centimeter of “room” amazingly!) The American Academy of Family Physicians does not recommend C-sections or induction (which results in more C-sections) for suspected macrosomia.
  • Why don’t you just let them break your water so you can get it over with? Aren’t you exhausted?
    • Yes, I’m tired. Yes, my husband is tired. We want to meet our daughter. BUT as I said, as long as our non-stress tests and fluid levels check out, there is no reason to believe that hurrying the labor will be better for our daughter than letting her stay warm, happy, well-fed, and protected in my uterus. Artificial Rupture of Membranes (AROM) doesn’t necessarily start active labor. Some people don’t have contractions for hours after the rupture. And once the membranes are ruptured, chance of infection is an issue, especially if the baby isn’t delivered within 24 hours. There is no turning back once the bag of waters is broken… so often, this will result in pitocin being given to “get things going” and if that doesn’t work (it doesn’t always), a C-section which could have been avoided may result. Yes, AROM “works” for MANY people… but it’s not a sure shot, and it’s not without risk.

Also, What to Expect says that 70% of “post-term” pregnancies really aren’t… that they’re based on miscalculated conception dates or something. Who knows? In any case, our baby WILL be here soon!

Plus, if you’ve heard things about “calcification of the placenta” at 42 weeks? They really mean at the END of week 42… not until you hit 43 weeks does it possibly become an issue (usually) — but non-stress tests should be able to detect if there is a problem anyway.


Dear baby,

I have still been having contractions every day and night, all week. We have been to the hospital twice for non-stress tests to make sure you are still doing well, and one time they did an ultrasound to make sure there is enough amniotic fluid for you. You are very healthy in there, and you have plenty of fluid. I’m doing well too, and my blood pressure is perfect. So we are not worried about anything! We just hope you come out and meet us soon because we want to kiss your little cheeks and smell your sweet head and cuddle you close.




PS. While I’m totally not down with “no turning back” induction measures like AROM, we have still been trying all the “wives tales” type things… I actually even did the castor oil thing yesterday. As per my midwife’s instructions, I mixed 2oz (that’s a quarter of a cup, y’all) of castor oil with 4oz of orange juice and chugged it. It was horrible and I almost threw up right after, but my husband reminded me to chase it with some regular orange juice and somehow I kept it all down…

My midwife was SURE it would throw me into active labor (after clearing my bowels) since the nurse who had checked my cervix that day said I was at 4cm dilated and 75% effaced. (Also, all the nurses were super-surprised I was “so comfortable” and walking around at 4cm… evidently that’s when “active labor” starts for a lot of women.) In my midwife’s experience, as long as a woman’s cervix is at least 2cm dilated and 70% effaced, the castor oil usually results in active labor within 2-4 hours.

Well… I felt a bit nauseated, tried to nap, but couldn’t nap because baby had hiccups. (This was at noon, right after chugging it.) 4 hours later, I had the “bowels clearing out” poo. All the stuff you hear about castor oil causing insanely painful crampy explosive diarrhea? Didn’t happen here… I just felt like pooing and it all came out… sure it was gross but there wasn’t anything “explosive” or painful about it.

I thought for sure after the poo things would start up. That’s usually what happens in the castor-oil-success stories you read. But no… nothing. Normal contractions like the ones I’ve been having for almost 2 weeks now. 4 hours later at 8pm I had to poo again, but not much was there. Had a bit of cramping but nothing bad.

And then? Nothing. Things were normal. No active labor. No baby. Oh well. Like everything else we’ve tried, it’s one of those things that only works if the baby’s ready to come out. And I guess ours really, really isn’t!

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  1. I can totally identify with this post as I am going through the exact same thing. I will be 42 weeks tomorrow and I have been having prodromal labor for about a week now. The past 3 days have been the worst and I REALLY thought that meant active labor was on its way… but the contractions, though sometimes excruciatingly painful, are still random. It’s frustrating enough as it is without all the friends and family members calling and texting and bugging me 6 times a day asking me what’s going on and why I am not getting induced yet. I am going to share this post so people understand my frustrations and hopefully shut up!!!

  2. […] two weeks of prodromal labor, with several episodes of hours and hours of really regular, strong, long contractions during that […]

  3. I do applaud you for sticking to your guns. However, it does worry me the amount of people who don’t realize the danger of being that far overdue. I, of course, have first hand experience. I too did the stress test and every other test known to man, nothing showed up. The due date was right, considering we were trying and I knew for sure. I had severe labor and trauma, plus my baby did too. I had placenta abruption at 42 weeks and this is extremely dangerous for both mom and baby. I almost didn’t survive, was unstable for 7 hours, almost had a full hysterectomy, and after weeks of hemeroging, a D&C, and about 4 months – I finally was somewhat “awake” and healed. My son had meconium and low blood sugar, both very common after waiting so long. I dare to say that if any of you had experienced this, you would not be as open-minded about waiting. Now, I have no option to wait with my 2nd. We are inducing at 39 weeks, this Wed., and I am far more prepared to have an induction or c-section rather than loose one or both of us. I understand you want the best for your baby, so do I, but I also do not want to jeopardize her safety. Please think wisely about waiting before you assume it is best.

  4. Hi. I am curious if you could update your experience… maybe you have and I just haven’t found that yet. I am approaching 42 weeks. I had a bloody show yesterday and only 10 or so contractions. Nothing really to get excited about yet. When did you finally deliver? Thanks for sharing– it really helps a first time mama wanting to stick to what I think is right.

  5. I check my email several times a day waiting for an update. Yes, I'm being selfish, yet SO excited for you!

  6. I am willing to bet that you probably had your little one and are enjoying your bonding time.

    (Its so selfish of me to want an update! 🙂 LOL! )

    The days go by so fast, soak up every minute of her life. I would give anything to go back to those first weeks. That sweet smell of their head, the sounds of them nursing, the funny facial expressions during their sleep, soft skin and tiny nails. Such a beautiful time.

    Sending love to all of you.

  7. Heavens…. I know I am biting MY nails now !!! No news is good news they say! With much love to you …your husband… and your little one!

  8. Two weeks befoe my due date I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced! My midwife was also shocked that I was not in active labor and feeling just fine. A day later I was 6 cm dilated and still not in active labor. A week later I was 7 cm dilated and still not in active labor. Finally, on June 14 several days before my due date, I went into active labor. By the time I got to the hospital and met with my midwife and doula I was 8 cm! This time I was staying until the baby was born. I got to the hospital at 6 a.m. and had a beautiful baby boy at 12:46 pm! You can do it! Your baby will know when to come.

    By the way, the ultrasound tech said I was to have a 9.5 lb baby. He was 7 lbs. 5 oz. A couple pounds off from the prediction!

    You are doing great and going to have a wonderful delivery!

  9. Well, she's bound to make an appearance soon! I do NOT envy you the contractions though, that is exactly what happened to me. I was induced the first time because it turned out that the combination, with my freakouts, were symptoms of eclampsia. The second ran out of amniotic fluid, he was hanging in there so long. I'm glad to hear your little one is healthy and strong!

  10. Is it sad to admit I check your blog around 5 times a day? (ok…maybe more….) Eh, whatever! I guess I am a stalker of some sort now! CANT WAIT to meet the baby tho 🙂 Suppose things will slow down after she arrives! (no offense of course 😉 lol!) *hugs*

  11. Have you read Ina May Gaskin's books? They gave me a lot of inspiration.

  12. As a longtime Bradley teacher and current student midwife — and new reader who got here via Mark's Daily Apple — I'm thrilled to hear that you're both educated about this and sticking to your guns! I wish you a wonderful, joyful birth in the baby's own time. 🙂

  13. Good for you for listening to your body! Over here in Norway they are much more natural-positive and will not induce unless its absolutely necessary, and they have wayyy lower rates of c-section etc. I had my daughter 9 days overdue, she was 10lbs and it went FINE- a few hours of labour and only 4 pushes. 🙂 I had also been 4cm dialated and having contractions forever, so i feel for you, it seems you wait forever! Hehe, good luck, hope it happens soon! 🙂

  14. I want to start with a disclaimer. I am a labor and delivery nurse with 9 years experience. I wanted to let you know how proud I am of you for knowing your own mind and body. I am so sad for so many women that are “talked into” procedures for the MD's convince and “liability issues”. I have seen women in tears because they wanted a natural experience, and once they entered the hospital things had to be “done by the book”. Even years later they are in tears again because they need a repeat c-section and are not allowed a trial of labor. I have seen wonderful outcomes > 99.5%, and not so wonderful outcomes from home births
    < 0.5%.

    You seem to have done your research, you have wisely interviewed your doula and midwife, and you seem to be reasonable to intervention if needed. I am happy you are strong enough to speak your own mind and not be pushed into unwanted and possibly unneeded procedures. Can't wait to hear about your experience. Best of Luck!

  15. awww, sorry she's not in your arms yet! But you are wise, and making wise choices! She WILL come out! You look amazing! And sorry the castor oil didn't work–maybe a 2nd dose? gag! the great thing is being at 4cm already–I was at 3.5 with my 1st, 4cm with my second for a few weeks before either was born. When I went into “labor” (seems like I already was?)–it was right into the 2nd phase. That was nice–somehow it made it seem to go faster. My cousin said she was like that, and so was our Grandmother–so it's neat that that runs in our family. Anyways, best wishes!!! can't wait to see her! 🙂

  16. I am very proud of you for addressing a lot of misconceptions that people get about being induced, C-sections and what-not. The book that my Doula gave me that was written by a really fabulous doula opened my eyes to the fact that our bodies are made to do this and do it well! We only really need the hospital's methods for extreme emergencies!

  17. Beautiful as usual. Just needed to say that first.

    Second, your body knows what its doing. Your baby will give the signal when she is ready. I was 4 cm dilated as well, walking around like it was nothing.

    I am almost 5'3″ and did not gain too much weight in either pregnancy. Both my boys were a good size. But I gave birth naturally both times. Not even an IV.

    I am convinced you will do well, and things will happen when they are meant to. *hugs your way*

  18. I've enjoyed reading your pregnancy progress and can't believe how thin you are other than that beautiful big belly! 🙂 Continue on your search for a natural birth when baby is ready – my first child (now 4) was induced at 40 and 5, big mistake that led to lots of unnecessary interventions. With my 2nd (now 19 mo) we had a different experience with midwife and he was born at 41 and 3 at home in 2 hours. I'm now pregnant with my 3rd, due in October, and hope it will be as fast as the 2nd! If you let your body do its thing it will do it with flying colors. I also had lots of braxton hicks throughout which are great for toning the uterus and getting it ready for the big day! You can do it, keep pushing off all the “advice” from other people and tough it out, it will definitely be worth it!

  19. You're such a beautiful pregnant woman! God is probably just giving your these extra days of pregnancy so he can admire what he has created.

    You've got an incredibly supportive husband and an amazingly positive attitude. I'm so proud of you, as a woman, for trusting your body. Hang on! 🙂

  20. Good for you for being such an informed mama! You aren't gonna let anyone railroad you into anything and that is so important when giving birth! Can't wait to see some pics with baby on the outside! <3

  21. Hi! I found your blog through baby center. I am 42 weeks and 1 day today, and hoping that maybe something will happen tonight. We are also planning for a natural birth.

  22. We had the opposite situation with our last baby. He started coming at “36 weeks”. They were a bit panicked, but my hubby and I knew he was just ready to come out. I knew the due date they gave me was wrong, so I wasn't worried at all when I went into labor. He was 6 lbs 7 oz, so I really don't think he was even close to being a preemie.

    I hope she comes soon, I can't wait to see her! Until then I hope you stay comfortable and happy!

  23. I'm so happy for you and your positive and natural attitude toward pregnancy and life. I can't wait to hear you've had your little one, but I'm so thrilled that she is getting all the time she needs to bake. Congratulations!

  24. My doctor told me on my first visit, your due date is just a guess, and I won't induce you just because you are at that date, when your body is ready it will tell you. So not all doctors push for inducing just because you are at your calculated due date. Good luck, hopefully it will happen soon!

  25. Yay! Thanks for the update; you look great. I'm thrilled that you're taking charge of your labor, and not letting “them” talk you into inductions and AROM. I wish more women were as confident.

    Hang in there. We're rooting for the three of you!

  26. Great article! Thanks for sharing such informed answers to common questions. In my opinion, big babies are typically only a problem when you have an epidural and you're lying flat on your back while someone tells you when to push. I gave birth to a 9lb, 4oz baby with a 14.5″ head last September. I was on all fours (in a hospital, with an OB) and pushed him out in a couple pushes with NO problem and NO tearing. It was a drug-free birth. 🙂 You can do it!

  27. wow! that is all i can say! i keep thinking about you everyday. wondering if you had the baby yet. you are an amazing women and so strong. i don't know if i could go 2 weeks in active labor! your daughter is lucky to have such a great mommy!

  28. I really admire you for taking such a thoughtful, responsible approach to your daughter's birth, regardless of the pressure to induce labor and 'get it over with'. If I'm blessed enough to have a child in the future, I'll be inspired by your dedication and love. I think that we need to change our thinking about what is a normal gestational period- a big study published last month shows that even when babies are born at 39 weeks, it puts them at a higher risk of having learning disabilities.
    Your little girl is lucky to have such a smart mama. 🙂

  29. Great post Emily! Thanks for clearing popular misconception. This person I know was told in her 7th or 8th month that she's going to have a really big baby and she had a planned c-section. And her baby turned out to be 6 lbs and a few ounces! Another friend delivered her 13 lb baby vaginally!! Guessing the size of the baby and planning a c-section sounds like a fear-tactic to me.

    I agree with all the previous commenters. We've done this for millions of years and our bodies are perfectly capable of doing this. You can and you will. All the very best to you.

  30. I don't know if this will make you feel better, since you've got a pretty calm manner anyway, but I gave birth at “43 weeks” after being induced. Anyway, my son was 9 1/2 pounds and I was able to push him out, and I'm itty bitty. So all of those naysayers…nyah!

  31. Hi! I've commented a couple times (about Bradley stuff, and I keep meaning to comment on your breastfeeding post…will do that in a minute), but have been reading for awhile via Live Journal. 🙂 Anyways, I wanted to commend you for doing what is absolutely best for your little one. My water broke on its own prematurely (35 weeks 5 days, no one has any idea why), and my girl was born at 4 lbs 14 oz. Even though my water broke, I had to have Pitocin to “encourage” the labor, because after being in labor for 3 hours, I was only 1/2 cm dilated. I can tell you, having a preemie is no fun at all, and Pitocin really does make labor intense and difficult. I firmly believe that babies need to “cook” until they are ready to come out. I don't have experience with being past due, of course, but I greatly admire you for doing what is right for your baby, and ignoring all the well-meaning people who will tell you exactly why you should do what most people think is “natural”, i.e. the C-section.

    For the record, even though my baby was premature & I had to have the Pitocin to avoid a C-section (when the waters break at my hospital, you have an 18 hour time limit to have the baby, hence the Pitocin), I was still able to have her with no epidural or pain medication. You can do this!! This is what your body is made for.

  32. Should say *SOME* modern women have no faith in their bodies ;)….. Lots of women do, as you said, give up on breastfeeding (or don't try at all!), and that breaks my heart. I remember very well being a first time mom struggling to have faith that my body CAN and WILL make enough milk to sustain my baby…I am so glad I didn't give in and reach for that can of powdered formula they gave me in my hospital discharge bag…I stuck with it far beyond the average mom…twice! And it's been an amazing and fulfilling experience I wish all moms could understand.

  33. I didn't have GD, gained a healthy amount of weight (in both pregnancies), was early w/ my first baby and only 1 week overdue w/ #2, am certainly not obese– and I had a 9lb3oz and 9lb4oz baby girls, both delivered vaginally. So, it can happen! Just wanted to share that as my experience. Drs tell me it's a combination of being tall and having a roomy torso and genetics (my husband's side of the fam has big babies) that allow me to grow bigger babies. That being said…I birthed both of them w/o c-section and was SO thankful for that. I agree that far too often c-section is performed when unneccessary but I have had so many friends who heartbreakingly, have needed a c-section for medical complications and while they are disappointed, are happy to have their baby here and healthy. I am happy for you that you are able to be in control of what YOU want. That is so important. And my greatest wish for you is that your body decides to have a healthy happy baby—SOON! Rest up!! 😉

  34. You look wonderful and have a great attitude. Stick to your guns. Baby will get here when she gets here. Way, way too many women punk out right at the start of motherhood by 'giving in' to a c-section that is not nessessary and not trying very hard to breastfeed.

    We are evolved to gestate, give birth to, and feed our babies just fine! Modern women have no faith in their own bodies.

    All that being said, things can go wrong and modern science is wonderful for when our bodies go *boink*, lol. As long as you are having contractions and doing fine on the NSTs, I wouldn't worry a bit.

  35. I'm so glad to hear you speak against the popular misconceptions about labour that (male) doctors force on us women nowadays. I was born 2 weeks late and just came when I was ready. My mother had one terrible experience with her eldest with a hospital birth and never went back. Even though it was illegal at the time, she found a midwife and had home births for the rest of us – and rised us all to know the importance of NOT inducing labour, pumping us full of drugs, or letting doctors talk us into c-sections. I find doctors nowadays scare women to get the birth over with, rather than allowing mother and baby to make the decision naturally. It's so sad (and dangerous).
    I wish you all the best for the birth!

  36. I wonder what reason they'd give me for having such a big baby. I'm 5'3″ on a good day and a size 4-6, lol.

  37. I wonder what reason they'd give me for having such a big baby. I'm 5'3″ on a good day and a size 4-6, lol.

  38. Hey there – the wives tales of eating spicy food or caster oil is not quite correct, it's eating something that cleans you out – for some people that is chilli or spicy food, for others it might be something high-fat or something like pineapple. My midwife explained that to me w/ baby #4 who went well passed his due date (as did 3 of my 4 kids) and sure enough he was born w/in 24 hours of me munching through some pineapple!

  39. its really great you have such a positive outlook on this, I agree, some babies just need to cook longer, babies never run to schedule anyway. I'm a big believer that babies will come when they are ready. My boy was 9 days post date and was 10 pound 3 ounces so even if scanning tells you you may have a big baby, there is no reason you cannot have that baby naturally. My friend gave birth to a healthy beautifull baby girl this morning, 1 day post date and 10 pounds 8 ounces. All natural.

    You are doing incredibly well hanging in there, just try to relax as much as you can but I'm sure you have hundreds of people telling you that! Enjoy this time because it's all part of your daughters journey.

    ALSO: You look amazing!!


  40. I am so thrilled to see how educated you are about birth. Often times I have to keep my mouth shut, literally, around first-time-mom's who have not a clue about the power of their own bodies. A friend of mine who just had her first baby said, before her daughter was born, how “lucky” people are who get c-sections. That was definitely one of those moments where I had to choose to stay quiet! Another friend of mine recently had her third baby, comfortably at home, and she weighed a whopping 11.2 pounds and was 42 weeks! She didn't tear or anything… our bodies ARE amazing! You look GREAT btw!!!

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