Friday, May 28, 2010

Still Waiting...

So we've now had 4-5 days of early labor. It happens often enough, but its a little unusual. At my weekly appointment with my midwife last night (the appointment I really hoped would be cancelled due to a birth), we discovered the probably reason why I haven't gone into active labor yet: Malachi is engaged with his hand on his head. My body is trying to gently move him into a better position before going into active labor. Sometimes it works and sometimes the body will just kind of give up and decide that we need to get the show on the road, even with a less than ideal position. Either way, this can sometimes go on for days and days and really wear a mama out before the hard work starts.

The problem with a malpositioned baby is that it will often result in a longer, more painful labor. Frequently, it causes back labor, which is definitely to be avoided if at all possible.

I'm actually patting myself on the back with the hand on the head things because I called it several weeks ago. We had an ultrasound and his hands were up near his head the whole time. He may have even been sucking his thumb. It was so cute. The photo is from that ultrasound, and you can see his hand up there. And it made sense because I always feel little tiny movements like fingers and fists down there near the his head. It caused me to wonder if he was engaged that way, because I seriously felt it all. the. time. I looked it up online and saw that indeed, it does happen, and indeed, it can cause some seriously "fun" long and painful back labor. Nice. Just what I need when I am planning my first natural birth.

So then at an appointment when one of the midwives was feeling externally for the position of his head, to see if it was engaged. Indeed it was. And THEN, what do you know, as she was gently but firmly manipulating his head, she felt a little "something" pull away very quickly. A hand. She was squeezing his poor little hand, and he didn't like it! How cute is that?! What's kind of cool (not as cool as him moving his hand) is that babies born like that will often sleep and just hang out with their hand(s) up by their head. It's just comfy for them.

All that to say...I've got a little work to do today. My birth team gave me several exercises to do to urge Malachi to get that little hand out of the birth canal. These include getting on my hands and knees, the polar bear position, and some funny techniques where someone lifts my pelvis off the ground with a piece of fabric and shakes me so that Malachi will move out of the birth canal and have the chance to move his hand. It sounds strange because it is. But when you see it, it makes sense that it would be effective to get him to move.

Also, I had my membranes swept. Not fun. Several women online who have both given birth and had their membranes swept said that giving birth is preferable any day. Sweeping the membranes is physically separating the bag of waters from the cervix. It is a somewhat gentle (thought it doesn't feel like it) method of inducing active labor. I was somewhat reluctant to induce in any way when I wasn't even past my due date. But I opted to go for it because after several days of early labor, my midwives suggested that this could bring about active labor, which could help Malachi move into a better position. In addition, early labor is tiring and going through it for days upon days does not set you up to do well once things really get moving. If my body isn't really quite ready, this procedure will not be effective. But if it is, and I keep stalling out because of position issues, this could be what I need to jump start things. If it works, it will work within three days.

Either way, if Malachi doesn't move his hand, I'm in for it. Please pray that he moves his sweet little hand.

So I should stop writing and get back to scrubbing floors.


  1. FYI, a friend of mine had a posterior positioned baby for one of her home births. After hours of hard, but unproductive labor, the asst midwife suggested she stand on her head, in the bed of course, so it would be safe, and that helped the baby reposition and within a VERY short time, productive labor kicked in and baby was born with no problems.

    Don't know if that would be helpful at all. Am hesitant to add any advice to what is, I am sure, a VERY huge list of things to try.

    But should the labor turn into posterior, that really helped my friend.

    Praying for you!

  2. Hmmm, it makes sense. And I wonder if that might have contributed to Lakota's labor/birth being the way it was. She does love to sleep with her hands near her face. But she wasn't born with a nuchal hand, and I made it through my homebirth unscathed! So you can do it too!! Hang in there!

  3. Jackson was posterior. I didn't know it (or wasn't told) at the time, but was able to have a natural, drug-free labor with him. Yes, it was difficult, and I had lots of back labor as he was descending, but with changing positions was able to cope. Let me know if you have any more in depth questions about how it all went, and I will be praying for him to move his hand and come on out to meet everyone!