Baltimore woman struggles with long labor

When Jennifer Woods and her husband Joseph left their childbirth class, they were confident that they would manage labor and birth like champs.

Armed with the support of their doula from Doulas of Baltimore and their birth bag, they settled into the remaining weeks of pregnancy.

At 41 weeks along Jennifer began having mild contractions and woke Joseph. Next, they called their doula, Emily Pelton. Emily reminded the Woods to rest when they were tired, eat when they were hungry and drink when they were thirsty and made her self completely available to them.
What the Woods didn’t expect was that labor would start and stop repeatedly over the next 4 days. They were exhausted from lack of sleep and emotionally drained from the excitement and disappointment of thinking their baby was coming only to have it be a false alarm.
Joseph commented, “The only thing that seemed to make Jennifer happy was talking to our doula. She just understood what was happening and each time made Jennifer feel like everything was ok.”
Pelton, an experienced doula with over 400 births under her belt explained, “Jennifer was experiencing prodromal labor which is when a woman experiences the signs of early labor before labor actually begins”. Prodromal labor is often referred to as “false labor” but Emily Pelton insists that there is nothing false about it. “A woman having contractions is real and her body is preparing to birth her baby. It is true and calling it false is disempowering,” says Pelton.
On day 5 at 3:15am, Joseph Woods called Pelton and said, “This time, we mean it.” By the tone of his voice, she knew it was time to go. She slipped on her shoes, grabbed a granola bar and a bottle of water and jumped in her car.
“When a woman is ready for me to come, nothing is more important. I stop what I’m doing and I get to her as quickly as possible. She expects that and she should. It’s the birth of her baby we’re talking about,” said Pelton.
The Woods baby arrived 6 hours later and everyone did great. When asked about her experience, Jennifer said, “Emily was our rock. She knew what we needed and we took comfort in knowing her experience and training could get us through each step. She believed in us and encouraged us to believe in ourselves”.
Prodromal labor is not easy but with a loving partner, a great doula and as much rest as possible, it is manageable. When you’re holding that end result in your arms, you’re reminded just how worth it, the struggle actually is.