Nov 262012

“We’re sending you home, because you’re not really in labor. You can come back when you’re having real contractions.” – L&D Nurse to mother after two days of prodromal labor.

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 November 26, 2012  contractions, L&D Nurse, labor  Add comments

  21 Responses to ““…You Can Come Back When You’re Having Real Contractions.””

  1. Over in the Non-Jerk Universe, the good twin of this L&D nurse said: “At this point, we’re thinking that this is prodromal labor. That’s the very early first stage, which is kind of a warm-up for the main event. The best treatment right now is whatever is most relaxing for you. Many women like to be at home, maybe in a bath or doing some hobby stuff or enjoying a movie. If the contractions become regular, then your labor cycle is moving forward and you should come back in. But be prepared for the possibility that the contractions will stop and start, maybe for days. I’m sorry; I know it can be frustrating. Hang in there!”

  2. This is a Thoughtful Thursday, otherwise the answer would be “let’s get that pitocin started”. Really, prodromal sucks but better then a c-section.

    • Nothing about this comment is thoughtful or helpful. Just because it is not as bad as it could be, doesn’t make it good.

      I went to L&D three times while I was in prodromal labor. The first time, it wasn’t too bad. They gave me an Ambient (I hadn’t slept in 3 days at that point) and sente home to rest. The 2nd time I had a nurse who was quite mean. Even though the monitors and I agreed that I was having strong, regular contractions, she fussed at me that I was acting like a first time mom, I should know better, I wasn’t really in laboram d iI was just being a drama queen. I cried and cried. It didn’t help that it had been over a week since that Ambient so I had not slept for more than 10 minutes at a time since. Almost a week later I was back in L&D. When the (different) nurse told me I still had not made progress, I dissolved into tears. She told me that prodromal labor is not effective labor, but it is still real labor and I still deserved to be treated with respect. She offered me comfort and a hug. She left it to me to make the decision about what to do next. THAT is a thoughtful way to speak to a mother in prodromal labor. Effective labor started 4 days later and my stubborn son arrived after only 7 hours- completely natural.

      No, I am not the OP, but this quote and your comment really struck a chord with me.

      • Amen. I had two weeks of prodromal labor with my second-born and while I did sleep most nights, it was aggravating. (And I was already a childbirth educator at that point, so I had a good handle on what my options were.)

    • how is telling a woman that her contractions arent real in any way thoughtful? its a horrible thing to say because they are in no way fake they are real contractions doing a real job shes just not in active labour yet!

  3. Oh Jesus. I was only in prodromal labor for about 24 hours and it was terrible – I can’t imagine two days. My midwife gave me a sleeping pill so that I could have the energy necessary for actual labor, which was a huge help.

    • I had this too. I started on a Thursday, convinced that I was going to have the baby that night (my work had even made me go home and start my maternity leave early). My midwife gave me some Tylenol PM so I could sleep and when I woke up on Friday my contractions were barely there. They picked up again that night and Saturday was my labor day with my son finally making his appearance Sunday morning.

  4. With my second child, I had prodromal labor for 3 weeks! Starting at 37 weeks and ending in his 10hr, super easy (not sarcasm) birth at home.

    • It sucks to be in prodromal labor that long! I was in it for 3 weeks as well starting at 36 weeks

    • 3 weeks starting at 38 weeks. Prodromal labor started on Christmas day and my son was born on January 17th.

    • Wow, you guys. Three weeks?! I feel like a major wimp for complaining about just a day! How did you function? My P.L. felt like honest-to-god labor – the contractions were regular and fairly intense. All I could do was lie in bed, try to hydrate and watch movies.

      • Been in PL for almost 3 weeks now with my third baby, basically I think we survive this long by ignoring all those people who keep bugging us to know what’s going on and focusing on trying not to be too irritable with our partner or older kids etc. Sucks though :(

    • I know, I had it for a little over four weeks with my youngest. It started at around 35 1/2 weeks and he was born at 39+7 after just a bit more than two hours of productive labor. (counted from when my water broke, contractions actually got bad only about a half hour before he was born)

    • I had it for two weeks and dilated to a stretchy 4cm a week prior to “real labor”. Baby was born in 2.5 hours.

    • Sometimes the cause of prodromal labor can be malposition of the baby, OP or something else. Your body is trying to go into labor but without the right pressure of the baby’s head on your cervix, it gets you nowhere. So if anyone is experiencing that, try hands and knees and some of the other positions that help an OP baby rotate. The good thing is that once they do move, labor is pretty short and sweet! :)
      I am an LD nurse- almost afraid to admit it on this site! I love what I do, I love educating and empowering women of all ages, shapes and circumstances. I found this site and like to read it to stay humble and committed to honest, safe patient care and to be an advocate for all my patients.

      • I don’t think many, if any of us on here have a special hatred for L&D nurses or any other medical personnel. Plus, if you read this site and actually use it to shape how you interact with your patients, you’re pretty awesome in my opinion. I have discovered the ones who truly love their jobs are the best, most caring nurses. I am planning on going back to school and becoming an L&D nurse.

  5. I can come back whenever I blinking please and I certainly hope YOU are not on duty when I do!

  6. Prodromal labor sucks. With my last baby I had it for two weeks. My midwives came out to my house the night before my baby was born and my contractions weren’t doing anything. I had a contraction that knocked me to the floor. When it was done I screamed in frustration and beat the floor with my fists. (it wasn’t one of my better moments) To their credit, my midwives took it in stride and were back on a few hours when my husband called and told them I was pushing.

  7. I’ve been having on and off BH since 17 weeks. I am 36 now with baby #4. For the last 1 solid week for sure I’ve been having really really tight BH with a little pain every 12-15 min. Could be two weeks at this point. Not sure. I had preterm prom at 35 with two and days and days of contractions at home with one when they induced me at 37 due to “fetal distress”. Also had pitocin with the two At 35, god forbid I should get contractions going on my own or even have a chance. Boy I’ve learned so much since then.

    Anyway about this post I have found 80% of l&d nurses to be down right rude and mean. It’s so uncalled for. I mean why did you want to be a nurse? What ever happened to caring for a patient.

    Let me know if anyone has advise on these darn never ending not dilating contractions. I am tired, and I feel defeated. And due to all the “necessary medical interventions” from my previous three, I’ve never actually gone Into labor if you can believe it. Always pitocin. So my fear of I will be pregnant forever is actually real should I refuse pitocin. Lol

    • Topical magnesium oil and perhaps also an oral supplement could help with the BH. I had the same problem with my first two and I have it with my current pregnancy (36 weeks now) if I slack on the magnesium. You also might be dehydrated but drinking more water is not necessarily the solution. I often have to supplement my diet with sea salt to prevent dehydration and am having to pay special attention to it at this point in my pregnancy.

  8. After weeks of contractions every 3 minutes (seriously, they never stopped) I finally gave up and went to the hospital. They tried breaking my water, still slow progress (after six hours I went from 2cm to 3cm I think) so they hooked up the pitocin. It still took the little booger another seven or eight hours, with the pit. No epidural, either.

    This time, (#4) I’m not going to the damned hospital unless I can’t talk through the contractions. I’ve had pitocin-augmented labors three times now and I am not a fan. This is my last baby and I’m doing it my way, dammit. (Starting with telling the ob my LMP was a week later, since the reason for the pitocin was ‘past dates’ in two cases). I have long cycles and they don’t take that into account.

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