She Says… False Alarm

I was sure that yesterday was going to be THE DAY. I know I’ve been saying that for the last two weeks, but when I awoke yesterday at 4am with pretty strong contractions coming 7 minutes apart, I was beyond excited.

I kept an eye on the clock while we got up and did our normal morning routine. Benjamin had a conference call so I was hanging solo with Owen for some of the morning, and we decided to meet a friend at a nearby splash park/playground. The contractions continued while I was there (and the heat made me want to die) but I wasn’t really timing them and figured I would “just know” if they turned real while we were there. Benjamin met up with us after his call and took Owen home so I could get a pedicure. One last pre-baby pedicure! I asked her to go to town on that massage in a last ditch effort to get these contractions going. Alas, it didn’t have any effect.

By mid-afternoon the contractions were getting worse and were more like 5 minutes apart. I called the midwife on call and she said I sounded “too fantastic to be in labor” and to wait it out. I agreed — the contractions were NOT doubling me over in pain, but I’ve also heard many stories about women whose labors caught them off guard because they were not all that painful in the beginning.


I timed them while we made dinner and put Owen to bed. When he was asleep I did 30 minutes on our elliptical (very slow, no resistance… it was just too damn hot to walk outside!). Slowly but surely the contractions went from 5 minutes apart to more like 3 minutes apart. By 10pm the midwife and I agreed I should come in — 3 minutes is no joke!


Once we got there they hooked me up to a monitor to see how the little guy was doing. He was doing great; perfect heart rate levels and accelerations/decelerations.


My contractions, on the other hand, went back to about 5 minutes apart and felt less strong than they had at home. A check revealed that I was still 3cm dilated and 80% effaced (almost exactly what I was at my appointment last week). The midwife said I should rest for 30 minutes and then walk for 30 minutes and she’d check me again.

So we did a bit of this…


and a bit of this.


Thank you to everyone who tweeted, emailed and Facebooked me encouragement during that time. I needed it! And it definitely kept my spirits up while we were waiting to see what was going on.

Unfortunately the baby had other plans, as the 2nd check showed no labor progress. A little before 1am this morning, ON MY ACTUAL DUE DATE, we were sent home.

Now we’re home. I’m exhausted. My body feels like it was in a car accident — my muscles are achy and the contractions have not stopped. I’m emotional and frustrated. I can’t believe we came home without a baby.

I know I’m not the first woman in the world (or the last!) to go through a false alarm. Prior to last night I always thought “those women” were weenies who couldn’t handle pain, and who thought that Braxton Hicks contractions were “real”. Boy was I wrong. There is NOTHING false about false labor. Oh how different this labor is from my last one.

Here’s hoping we’re back at the hospital very soon and we don’t come home without the prize. Also? I apologize to anyone who has to come into contact with me today — I am not in the mood for you.


8 responses to “She Says… False Alarm

  1. My midwife friend calls those contractions “preparatory labor” rather than “false labor” because your body is getting primed for the big event. Put up your feet and rest today. You deserve it.

  2. Angie All The Way

    Oh Kate, how frustrating. It looks like the little guy is on his own timeline and if I were you, I’d rest as much as possible for the home stretch. I was thinking about you all morning! You always hear about 2nd deliveries being notoriously faster, so I’d wanna race to the hospital at any indication it might be time for sure. How far are you guys away?

    He still could be born today, don’t lose hope!

  3. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot, but take heart, your body is really getting ready! In my case, we were charting and knew exactly when I got pregnant, but I was 10 DAYS OVERDUE and there were NO signs of labor, no contractions at all, little effacement and barely dilated to 1 cm, so I had to get an induction. I was beyond sad about it, but it in the end all this pre-labor stuff you’re going through will be a blur when you get to focus on the new member of your family. Best wishes!

  4. My first came 2.5 weeks early and my second came on his due date. The waiting was not pleasant and I totally understand what you’re going through. When the first one comes early you EXPECT the second one to come AT LEAST at the same time as the first one. Sooooo frustrating. And I was huge and READY and DONE and so freaking tired. Anyway, just wanted to commiserate and offer a suggestion…I didn’t try this but my friend who was also “late” with her second baby hooked herself up to her breastpump and that got her labor started. I know you said previously that you had tried stimulation already but maybe this is a different approach than what you tried. Good luck!

  5. We learned in our childbirth class that every contraction gets you closer to your baby. So when things really get going, I bet they go fast! I know so many moms who were frustrated by their “false” labors and went on to have their babies very quickly. It will all pay off in the end!

  6. I had “preparatory” labor for over a week before the real thing started with #2! Just rest… I know it’s hard – my brain was so restless, it was hot and I was beyond DONE. Maybe spend some time in a cool bath? Rest and relax those muscles, eat good food, and know that it will get here. Enjoy this time with Owen while you can, but also enjoy some time to yourself!

  7. Good luck! My mom got sent home twice when in labor with my sister and said “if they try sending me home a third time, I will sit in the car in the parking lot!” My sis ended up being turned wrong.

  8. Well, how things have changed since you posted this! Congratulations!! 🙂

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