David & Julie
We were on the Parent Profile site for 2 years and met numerous (30+) potential birth parents and grandparents and finally matched with the right one through contact made on Parent Profiles. My suggestion to other parents, be patient, be cautious, and sign up for a few instant messenger accounts (we had a lot of contact this way). We talked with our birth mother for about a month, met in person on a Sunday, she more ...
It's the moment you've been waiting for-the birth of your baby. You are excited and scared, overjoyed and sick to your stomach all at the same time. Labor is when all your preparations and care will soon bring you your baby.
Talk to other mothers and you will soon discover that no two labors and deliveries are alike, even for one woman with many children. Some labors last days while others last hours. Some might seem difficult to the mother while others seem like a breeze.
However different each woman's experience of labor might be, there are definite signs of labor and a definite progress labor follows. During your last weeks of pregnancy you may notice small contractions. These serve to soften and thin the cervix so that it will be ready to let your baby into the world. At doctor's appointments, they will probably examine your cervix and tell you the progress of dilation and effacement, two measurements that tell you labor will be coming soon.
A common early sign of labor is called a "show." This is a blood colored mucous plug that has been sealing off the uterus. When it is released, that means your cervix is definitely ready to go, but your mucous plug can appear weeks before labor starts after you've been having contractions for quite a while. So while you will want to pay attention when it comes out, it is not a certain indicator that you will be delivering today.
Contractions are what most of us associate with the beginning of labor. Some women experience intense, frequent contractions right from the start, while other experience mild, intermittent contractions that gradually increase in intensity and frequency. Most childbirth classes will teach you to time your contractions, noting the time from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next as well as how long each contraction lasts. Until the contractions are lasting around a minute or more and occurring with increasing frequency less than five minutes apart, you can most likely labor comfortably at home. There is no need to panic or rush to the hospital. Many hospitals will not admit you if you come too early in labor, so be patient.
Your "water breaking" is usually a sure sign that your labor is underway, but again, some women don't experience their water breaking until the baby is almost here. Actually, the water breaking is the membrane "bag" around the baby popping, and the amniotic fluid inside it is the "water." It can feel like an explosion of water or like you wet your pants. Or it might be a slow trickle you don't even notice. Most doctors will want to make sure the baby is delivered within 24 hours of the water breaking, because the baby is susceptible to infection without the protective membranes.
Early labor is the time to relax, eat a light snack to bolster your energy, get your things ready for the hospital, and keep busy with your normal activities as much as possible. Walk around or do activities on your feet, because that will keep labor progressing steadily. Lying down or sitting may slow down your labor. You will soon be ready to deliver your baby.