The posterior baby and the prodromal labor.
November 07, 2012

Around breakfast this morning, my labor stalled.  The contractions became less intense and moved into my back.

So I took a shower.  When I was laboring to deliver Charlotte, my contractions were coming along at ten minutes apart when I decided to hop in the tub to relieve some of the pressure.  The opposite happened.  I was in the tub for approximately fifteen minutes.  When I came out, my contractions were two minutes apart.  They never slowed down.  Donald helped me put on some clothing, we drove to the hospital, and a couple hours later my daughter was in my arms.

I hoped that the shower would have the same effect this morning, but it did not.  My contractions continued to come at fifteen minutes apart, each less powerful than the last, and I continued to experience the bulk of the labor sensations in my back.

Finally, I was so exhausted from laboring all night that I fell asleep.  An hour later, a contraction woke me up with a bang.  My labor progressed for several hours, with increasingly frequent and intense contractions.  But I was tired still and soon the sensations moved into my back and the labor stalled.  Then I took another nap, which was interrupted by a contraction, and the pattern repeated itself.

Over.  And over.  And over.

All.  Day.  Long.

“What is wrong?” I asked my husband.  “Why aren’t I progressing?”

The answer turns out to be that this baby is poorly positioned.  The baby is posterior, which means that although they are head-down and engaged, they are currently rotated 180 degrees off the ideal position.  I am three or four centimeters dilated and fully effaced but my labor is not progressing well because of the baby’s position.

I can maintain this state of prodromal labor – of contractions between twelve and twenty minutes apart, ebbing and flowing in intensity – for hours or days or weeks.  Eventually, either my body will push forward despite the inconvenient position of the baby or the baby will move into a better position which will allow my body to progress into active labor.

I am fatigued.  Even when I do nothing, my body contracts over and over again in fruitless attempts to deliver this child and I feel exhausted by the effort.  Every time I fall asleep, my labor intensifies and I am awoken before I am ready by undeniable contractions which slowly fade.

We are doing everything we can to help ease the baby into a better position so that I can progress away from this purgatory and into the next stage of labor.  One of the women who will be supporting me at this baby’s birth made an appointment for me with a local chiropractor who specializes in repositioning babies so that labors can progress peacefully and with less back pain.

If our repositioning efforts or my body pushes forward between now and that appointment, hurrah.  If not, I figure it can’t hurt to try.

In the meantime, as one contraction follows another, sometimes intensifying and other times fading, I find myself repeating the same words that I did all last night when my labor began.  I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

** Charlotte is three years and three months old.  I am ready to pop!


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  1. By on November 07, 2012

    You CAN do this! Your body was designed to!

    Fingers crossed for baby to turn, and quickly. Does changing positions help at all? Becca was sunny side up too (posterior) but little enough that she was basically rolling around while I labored. If I bent over at the waist, she flipped up. If I laid in bed on my back, she turned properly. Even on my side the nurse had a hard time finding her heartbeat because she was rotated funny - she wanted to be with her nose pointed at the ground despite my position. :)

    Happy pushing!!

  2. By on November 07, 2012

    Ouch - I’ve done the posterior baby - back labor thing - it is tough! But you are strong, a self-proclaimed super hero, and it will be over soon enough, and the reward will be so so sweet! Until then, I am telepathicly sending your baby the words of bonnie tyler… Turn around, bright eyes…

  3. By on November 07, 2012

    Sending you all my love and strength! Only 6 weeks since I went through the exact same thing so the memory is still very fresh in my mind! The exhaustion is the hardest part (I remember crying with each contraction because I just wanted the pain to stop long enough that I could SLEEP!) but when the time comes, your body will draw the energy from the depths of your being to push this baby out in to the world :)

    BTW, the position my midwife suggested was either kneeling and leaning forwards but with your butt on your heels and knees apart, or else squatting and leaning forwards. These positions help to open the pelvis and encourage bub to rotate.

  4. By on November 07, 2012

    I was in prodromal labor for three days with my first, and just under three weeks with my second. Prodromal labor is maddening, exhausting and difficult to work through. You can do it. It gets better and at the end you get a beautiful baby. Relax as much as you possibly can, as hard as that can be.

  5. By elizabeth Mackey on November 07, 2012

    My second was posterior, but she must have been positioned in good way, since I had a brief albeit painful labor. Water broke, then four hours later boom! I do hope things move along for you much better. Back labor sucks big time!!!!

  6. By Jennifer on November 07, 2012

    You can do this Sarah!  My first baby is coming in about two months and I am practicing telling myself the very same thing!

  7. By beyond on November 07, 2012

    you can do it!
    i’m very excited for you. for all three of you. i’m sending good thoughts…

  8. By Lynda M O on November 07, 2012

    Sending love and hugs. Turn over, little one, we’re waiting to see your little self.

  9. By Karen on November 07, 2012

    I’m sorry it is so difficult and you are so tired. May this baby turn over and soon! You can do this… and in the end it will all be SO worth it! Wishing you some rest, rejuvenation and a quick progression to your labor.

  10. By on November 07, 2012

    I’ve heard that acupuncture can work wonders at turning babies. Have had a few friends it worked for.

    Hope all is well.

  11. By Megan R. on November 08, 2012

    Sorry for the difficult and drawn out labor…but, you CAN do this!  Good luck!

  12. By on November 08, 2012

    You can do it, you can do it, you can do it!!!!

  13. By on November 08, 2012

    Hang in there, you CAN do it!

  14. By on November 08, 2012

    YOU ARE DOING IT!!!  YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

  15. By Amelia Sprout on November 08, 2012

    Ugh. Back labor is evil.  My nurse managed to position me so that she flipped around, then she spent the rest of the labor pushing off on my ribs.  Hehe.  I had bruised ribs to show for it.  Fortunately not broken.

    You can do this.  You’re strong.

  16. By Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas on November 08, 2012

    I had a two or three days of prodromal labor with my last babe. It is so exhausting! Bless you as you do this hard work of labor. I hope that when the time comes, transition and delivery go super fast for you like it did for me last time. My husband almost caught the baby because the midwife had stepped out of the room for a minute and everything happened all at once. Very strange, but exciting. Prayers for strength for you and a healthy delivery!

  17. By on November 08, 2012

    Sending baby spinning vibes!  Back labor sucks!

  18. By Valerie on November 08, 2012

    Both of my babies were sunny side up and took 2 day of labor to be delivered.  Neither turned themselves over either but I was able to deliver both just fine in the end.  It just took longer, lol!  Although with my second, even though she was face up like her sister, shot right out. 5 pushes.  :)

    I wish you a speedy labor and a smooth birth.

  19. By on November 08, 2012

    Good luck! Mine lasted two weeks and it was exhausting. I did spinning babies, acupuncture, the chiropractor, and pleading with God and/or the universe. She also ended up being 11 lbs so I’m hoping yours is much shorter and easier

  20. By on November 08, 2012

    You can do it!  Sending happy thoughts and well wishes your way!

  21. By on November 08, 2012

    I’m hoping you already have babe in arms as I type this, but my midwife gave me pulsatilla for my posterior guy. Within minutes he turned and gave me great relief. I just wish I had that 40 hours before.

    All the same, good luck, and remember that the only way to is through!! You can do it!!

  22. By on November 08, 2012

    Yes, you can. Don’t give up! This sounds just like the labor of my daughter (about eight months ago). Contractions slowly intensifying to the point that we thought SURELY delivery is imminent. Then it would all but stop. Twenty minutes, if not more, would go by, no contraction.

    After 27 hours of labor, my midwife finally checked me (homebirth with midwives who prefer to not check unless necessary). Eight centimeters, posterior baby. Ugh. I spent about an hour on my hands and knees, chest on the ground. Then half an hour or so doing a technique called the roboza. Finally we called in the big guns: my AMAZING chiropractor. She worked on my back for a few minutes and the baby turned. Two hours of pushing later (for a total of 31 hours of labor), and my sweet girl Anna Louise came into the world. She was only 6 lbs 10 oz!

    Don’t give up. See the chiropractor as soon as you possibly can. Your baby will come. Good luck! I can’t wait to hear of his or her arrival!

  23. By on November 08, 2012

    I feel your pain.  Not of my kids were posterior.  I was in labor for 5 1/2 days with my oldest.  I had contractions every 10 minutes for the five days straight.  They would slow down to every 20 minutes for a couple hours during the day.  At night they would pick up to every 5 minutes.  I went to the hospital twice only to be sent home.  It was miserable.  By Saturday morning contractions picked up to every two minutes.  I paced for several hours before finally waking up my husband.  When I got to the hospital I was dilated to 9 cm.  As soon as they checked me, my water broke so I got to stay.  It was another 12 hours before he was born.  I ended up having a natural birth even though I never did dilate behind 9 cm. 

    Best of luck to you!!

  24. By on November 08, 2012

    So you are having this Sarah. My first was posterior presentation and the back labor was agonizing. Contractions would stop then start up again as soon as I fell asleep.  Very difficult time. Good luck with the chiropractor, they can do great things.  Sending speedy, safe labor thoughts towards you and the baby.

  25. By on November 09, 2012

    Hopefully you have already had the baby but if not, you can do it! Sending lots of good vibes. I don’t often comment on here, but I do love your blog. Just to let you know, I had a similar thing, thought not as intense, for 3 weeks with my son because he wouldn’t engage. Finally I went to the chiropractor who seemed to press gently on a few muscles, then I went into labour properly a few hours later and had my baby the next day. Hoping it works well for you too.

  26. By occhiale oakley radar lenses on October 03, 2016

    Very energetic post, I liked that a lot. Will there be a part 2?


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