My pregnant brain couldn't access the far back files from nursing school's OB class to recall that term.
By the time we walked into our 38 week appointment, I'd gone through 4 days of irregular contractions. After telling my doctor all about them and him doing his check of my cervix, his diagnosis of prodromal labor didn't sound like something I was going to like the definition to. And I didn't. For the 99% of us who don't know what that is, it's false labor, or if you want to be naively optimistic, pre-labor. Some people sweetly call it practice labor, but it isn't. In fact, it's no indication that you'll start real labor anytime soon.
So, David, Mom, and I left the office with his words echoing in our ears, "You might go into labor in a couple hours, in a couple days, or I'll see you Monday at your appointment."
Two days later, the practice contractions got really strong and more frequent. It was a full moon that day, so everyone had their fingers crossed that I'd get to experience the phenomenon of full moons bringing on labor. By the time dinner was over, I was only a few contractions short of my doctor's standard for when to head into the hospital, and they were only getting more intense and closer together.
We made the decision to go into the hospital to be checked out. After a few hours on the fetal monitor and walking the halls of L&D, the diagnosis came, "You might be in early labor. We're going to send you home, but we might see you back in a couple hours. Or it could be in a couple days or a couple weeks." The nurse unstrapped me from the monitor, and David went to get the car while Mom and I walked down to the front doors of the hospital.
On the drive home, I was grateful we had made the decision to go in. At least we knew Avery was ok and where we stood, even if it was exactly in the same place that we had a few days prior at our 38 week appointment. But, even with that grateful perspective, my spirit wondered why we were going through prodromal labor at all.
What are you trying to teach me, Lord? I trust that you make good out of our suffering. Right now, I don't see what good could possibly come from us having to endure false labor for so long? I'm ready to learn whatever it is.
And like taking the lid off of a water container, I felt myself open up to receive whatever it was the Lord was wanting to teach me.
The next morning I woke up feeling great. I had slept all the way through the night not waking up once. (It's been months since that happened!) I came downstairs to find my sweet husband enjoying a cup of coffee with the dogs at his feet.
"Want to go out for waffles?" I asked him with a big smile.
"Maybe. But, I think you need to check on your mom. I don't think she feels well."
I went back upstairs, and sure enough, Mom was experiencing the worst migraine of her life. After a couple hours, I made the call to take her into the emergency department as she only appeared to be getting worse.
While texts flooded in from my dad and siblings, all concerned that I might go into labor right there in the ER from the stress of the situation, I knew exactly why Avery hadn't come yet.
The day before I had voiced the words, "I'm just over it," to my mom. Incredibly uncomfortable contractions that do nothing are not only unpleasant, but they wear you out too. At least with real labor you know they're getting you closer to meeting your baby. It's a fact, these do nothing but hurt. In that moment of honesty, the Lord's voice spoke quietly and steadily to my spirit.
"I know when she is going to be born. And the day I choose for her to be born is the day I want for her to be born. It is better than the day you want. Her birthday will be significant for purposes in her future that you cannot foresee, but I already have."
As I stood there in the little ER room, clamping my mom's bag of IV fluids to save her IV access, the reality of the Lord's sovereignty poured over me like a warm bath. Of course He knows the best day for my daughter to be born. And part of that timeline includes when it's best not for her to be born! If she had been born the night before while David and I walked the halls of L&D, I wouldn't have been able to help take care of my mom the following day. Would He have provided someone else to take care of her? Of course. But, on August 30th, 2015, being able to focus 100% on my mother's care and well-being was something I was meant to do, without a newborn.
This morning my contractions picked back up again and off we went to our scheduled 39 week appointment. The doctor checked me, and I hadn't progressed at all since Saturday night, so we scheduled our next appointment and headed home. Unlike the last two trips we'd made home from that medical campus, David and I both felt an incredible abundance of peace wash over us. What the Lord has for us and our daughter is far better than anything we want for ourselves, including my pregnancy symptoms, no matter what, or how uncomfortable, they may be.
While women are in these last few weeks of pregnancy, often you'll hear things like, "The baby still has some cooking to do!" or "She's just not ready to come out yet." I agree with those statements, but I also think that sometimes the parents still have some cooking to do before it's time for them to hold their little one. And, in our case, David and I did a good bit of our cooking over the weekend while poor Mom had to serve as the sacrifice. I can't help but wonder if His point would have hit home so clearly if it had been anyone but her who I was covering in blankets in that tiny ER room.
Now as I sit here with swollen feet propped up and Braxton-Hicks contractions wrapping around my abdomen, I thank the Lord for not only His sovereignty, but His grace and strength, and that Mom was 100% back to normal when she woke up this morning. : )
Until the real contractions come, or my water breaks, we'll just keep on cooking... all three of us until the Lord says we're ready.