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Luke Maximilian: a birth story with naming rights (episode 1)

It’s been 16 days since Luke the duke arrived, and I know that’s not terribly long, and I know I’m entitled to more than a couple weeks of maternity leave, if you will… but after months of the almost (almost, key word) daily discipline of spilling e words onto a screen my brain is starting to feel cluttered and crazy and stuck in neutral. So a blogging we will go. A triple nap + legos are the official sponsor of today’s post.

Where shall we begin?

What about the wee hours of July 30th, which was, if memory serves correctly, the first night I woke up with “real” contractions which were time-able, increasingly intense, and caused me to pack my hospital bag?

Yes, we’ll start there.

After 2 hours of sitting on ye olde exercise ball and glaring at my contraction timer app, things started to space out a little. I reached back into my Bradley-method trained brain and recalled that real contractions cannot be stopped or slowed by a change in position, and as it was now 3 am, it couldn’t hurt to lie down for a few minutes before calling in grandma.

I woke up at 7:15 later that morning and the contractions were gone, and while I was a little bit deflated, I figured it would be within 24 hours or so, given my past history. CACKLE.

I would love to take you through the step by step of what the next 2 solid weeks entailed, but for everyone’s sake, let’s do Cliff’s notes:

August 1-13, schedule of events:

10:30 pm – go to bed with an aching back after scrubbing something fiercely.

1:00 am – wake up with contractions too painful to sleep through. Yay! Start timing. Eat cereal. Realize 2 hours have passed and they’re still 8 minutes apart. Lie down to get some rest and awaken to the harsh light of another day.

7:04 am – wake up for good. Still pregnant. Start sobbing into the pillow and hyperventilate at the thought of another day home alone with the kids on less than 5 hours of sleep.

Repeat x 10, plus 3 prenatal appointments and multiple occasions of stripped membranes and 2 or 3 centimeters of not enough progress to even crack my smile. Also, I’m now measuring 41 weeks, but only dating 38. I’m a glowing goddess, in other words, and prodromal labor is a nightmare from the netherworld.

It was bad, y’all. I’m not a patient pregnant lady to begin with, and my previous early birds had made me cocky. Sure, my second born came at 40 weeks and 3 days, but he was definitely the outlier. I had my heart set on another 37 week arrival or, at the very least, a 38 weeker.

So this birth was either intended to 1. teach me something or 2. help me grow in virtue or 3. break my spirit completely. The jury is still out, but I’m leaning towards 4. all of the above.

On August 13th I went to bed with painful contractions after fatting out on the couch with Dave, Christina, my visiting college-aged sister, and her friend, watching Leap Year and eating Chunky Monkey straight from the cardboard. Which I’d never had before, but which was well worth the 16 grams of fat per serving. I went to bed around 10 pm once the heartburn overcame my burning desire to see Amy Adams put on increasingly horrible outfits as the rom com progressed.

I joked to my sister and her friend that we’d be waking them up at 2 to go to the hospital and they got very excited, and then I got very excited, because hormones are contagious. Then I started crying. Bed.

11 pm. Is all the ice cream gone? The contractions are painful but irregular still. I get online and troll between Spinning Babies and Facebook, working that exercise ball and wondering how a 4th-time mom can still not for sure cry “labor.”

Midnight: Did my water break? Maybe I just have really, really limited storage capacity. I go to the bathroom 20 times or so and decide that probably it did break, but that it’s probably a high leak and baby is keeping it from cascading out in Hollywood proportions. I’m strep B positive yet again, so I do the math and realize if we don’t head to the hospital soonish, I’m going to be close on my antibiotics window/epidural administration time. The contractions are definitely real, but they’re crazy: 4 min, 17 min, 6 min, 3 min, 9 min…there was no rhyme or reason.

1 am: we’re leaving. Wake the college girls and muffle their squeals with the stern admonition to let the preschoolers sleep, for the love. Do you want a motherless 3 year old in bed with you at 2 am? No, no you do not. Shhh, go back to bed, we’ll call you when the fun starts.

We drag our cartel of luggage + laptops to the car and we’re on the road. It’s perfect from a traffic-flow perspective, but I’m nervous, because I only have 1 “real” contraction in the car on the 22 minute drive.

Crap, I’m going to get sent home, is all I can think as Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” blares on the radio. I fret to Dave, worrying that we jumped the gun.

What kind of a multiparous mother has a false alarm on baby #4?


To be continued…


  • Ashley

    Hooray! You’re posting Luke’s birth story!

    Aargh!!! It’s a “to-be-continued”. Seriously?!?!? Don’t you know how much we despise those? I want all the deets! I want them now!!

    Ok – calmed back down. Please, though – don’t leave us hanging for too long? Because, really, what else do you have going on right now other than writing for your loyal followers? 😉

  • April

    Three weeks of prodromal labor here, starting at 34 weeks. I didn’t even know that was a thing. And I had the same problem: I’ve had a baby before. Shouldn’t I know the difference between real timeable contractions and false timeable ones?

  • Hannah

    Oh man, leaving us hanging! Also — I highly recommend finishing Leap Year if you’re in need of more midnight nursing session hours to fill. Literally my favorite romantic comedy ever because Irish and Amy Adams and Matthew Goode (who I obsessed over when the movie came out because he looks exactly like my then-crush, now-husband David). 🙂

  • Lisa

    Same here… fourth baby… 4 weeks of prodromal labor… I was still in denial that I was in actual labor when I called the midwife at 9:45 p.m. Good thing she decided to come anyways. Lucy was born at 11:52. 🙂

    • Rosie

      Me too with the 4th pregnancy/weeks of prodromal labor – what is WITH that? But yeah, probably helped make the whole labor end up a lot shorter than the others, so I suppose I’m okay with it 😛

  • Amanda

    I totally got sent home on baby 4. Even the doula thought it was real! But it suuuuucked. I not only scheduled a home birth for baby 5 but had trouble sending for the midwife.

  • M. T.

    Oh sounds so familiar!! With every one of my first three I knew the moment labor started. With the fourth I was a mess of psyched out emotions and missed nights of sleep for a week. I’m trying not to despair that this is just the “tired uterus'” fate hereafter! I’ve heard many a tale of women with their fourth, fifth and up to tenth babies being less and less able to identify “real labor.”. Argh. Shoot me. Please! I couldn’t even deal.
    Can’t wait to hear the rest! I love birth stories!
    God bless you and your family!

  • Becky

    I HEAR YOU on the prodigal labor bit. I got as far as they were considering calling in the OB with number when I (for no known earthly reason) said, “No, I can’t have the baby tonight. He’s not coming for a couple more days.” Since I was a planned c-section, I only had to be *mostly* in labor for them to call time.

    I then woke up to pee 2 days later only to have Noah hit my pelvic floor, which set off 1 hard contraction Every Single Time only to realize that there was another one… and another one… right on top of one another to the extent that I seriously considered announcing that we had to call an ambulance. Until I remembered the two smalls that would wake up and then *then* what would we do. So, cue frantic call to OB and staty stat c-section and Hello, Noah!

  • Colleen

    “Wake the college girls and muffle their squeals with the stern admonition to let the preschoolers sleep, for the love. Do you want a motherless 3 year old in bed with you at 2 am? No, no you do not. Shhh, go back to bed, we’ll call you when the fun starts.”


  • Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    Man I missed your wit!

    And my own’s Luke’s entrance was equally terrible, so I suggest everyone else forgo that name unless you want to discover the madness of prodromal labor……..

  • Cami

    You look WAY TOO cute in your “heading-to-the-hospital” photo. Eating ice cream, sleep deprived, and full term? I don’t buy it for a minute. I was much more beastly at that stage. Much.

  • Mary Wilkerson

    So somehow I missed part one, and like a good reader came back before reading part two. And, I would just like to share, ‘ugh, me too’. I dilate 1 centimeter starting at week 36 (so I am probably 1.5 right now) with intensely false labor that keeps me thinking ‘maybe it’s time’. It was terrible for my previous 3, but i am understanding this time it is just to be expected. It makes the days a living hell though full of contractions- and I can totally relate to starting each day in tears over the fact that I get to spend ANOTHER day with three little ones and constant contractions. It’s amaze-ball what we do for our little ones. On to part 2 I go…

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