So, for the curious, here's what's happening.
Thursday night, I noticed a trickle...which I suspected was amniotic fluid. I had some cramping low down, and some irregular but fairly strong "squeezing" contractions. I've been having good braxton-hicks for weeks, now, so the only difference was the pain in the low-abdominal cramping. We thought it would be a good idea to bring our midwife up to have her nearby (she lives out of town) just in case. Remembering Violet's birth, we got to the hospital at 9.5 cm, and there wouldn't have been time for a 3+ hour drive in there, had Grace decided to go ahead and come that night, following her older sister's patterns.
Instead, what happened was, I went to bed to rest, thinking I'd wake up in the middle of the night and deliver her. I slept restlessly....awakening the next morning completely normal, labor stopped, belly soft. Basically, that pattern has repeated itself for the past 4 nights, the only difference being that the "labor" that starts up in the afternoon has been getting more and more intense.
We suspect Grace may have her hands up by her head, perching herself a little too far away from my cervix to engage her head, and begin the cascade of events that is Labor-->Delivery. So what we have now is my body and her body in a kind of distant relationship. I seem ready to do my part, based on the fact that I have dilated to 4 cm, and can have some pretty hard contractions sustained for several hours. She, on the other hand (possibly) has gone ahead and punched a hole in my bag of waters with her little flying fists....but with her hands where they are, and no "engagement" between her and me, we are reaching a point of no return every evening. With the aid of some herbs and tinctures and yes, even castor oil, I begin laboring, but with no head to really push things through to the next stage, my body just gives up after 6 hours or so.
Anyhow....today I had a chiropractic adjustment and we're going to start the tinctures and herbs and enemas again today, hoping to close the gap between Gracie and me, and get the 2 of us working together on getting her out.
The stats are:
I'm 4 cm dilated
her head is at station -1
contractions are sporadic, not timeable (weren't with Violet) and become pretty strong and painful in the evenings.
From my emotional perspective, I am struggling right now. My mind is weary with this "trick" my body (and hers) keeps playing on it, and though I've been getting decent sleep each night (interrupted, not great, but decent), I awoke this morning feeling pretty bushed. I think the contractions went on during sleep last night. I see the grace in this situation, but it is hard for me to embrace it whole-heartedly. It's a "Bearing GIft", as my mom wrote in a song--a gift that is hard to bear, but Good, ultimately. Had I been at the hospital when my water "broke", within 24 hours I would've been forced into labor with pitocin or other means....possibly even ended with a C-section...and my risk for infection with broken waters would've been faaaar higher than it is staying at home with my own germs. However, Grace definitely would've been born by now. So.....I struggle with accepting this gift from God right now.
My husband is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. When he touches me, I feel his strength transfuse into me, and I am making it through this with his support. My family nearby (all THREE sisters in attendance, praise God), and the incredible treat of being able to see my daughter fall in love with her daddy again.....not to mention our midwife, who is gentle and wise, and a total comfort to me.....I am surrounded by Blessings. I just need to draw strength from the Holy Spirit and fully turn my body over to Him and His perfect plan for our family.
My thoughts and my heart turn frequently to my dear friend who just lost her infant daughter, Gwen, last week. Her birthday is today, and my heart wants Grace to be born for her on her birthday. But, God is God, and it is His timing that will take place, not mine. The pastor who spoke at Gwen's funeral last week said something I've been drawing on since I heard it. It was something like, When things are happening that hurt, confuse, and disturb us, causing us to cry out and question God...answers usually don't flow from God's throne, but we ask Him to draw near to us, to let us see His face, and take comfort in His nearness, with or without understanding His will. I am praying for nearness in this situation. I just want to see His face, and dwell in peace in His plan for Grace and me.