I’ve been five centimeters dilated for five days.
That sounds terrible. But I'm still smiling.
In fact, I’ve been here before. Two years ago, when my first daughter was born, I experienced something called Prodromal Labour. Even though I had read stacks of books, articles, and blog posts on giving birth, I had never heard of this phenomenon until I lived it. Prodromal labour can sometimes be confused with “false labour,” but there is nothing false about it. I was actively contracting, and dilating to more than three centimetres, for nineteen days. It was, essentially, a very long early labour phase.”
My labour has now decided to abide by the “rules are made to be broken” law of the universe, once again. Fast forward two years: I'm five days into the slowest, most stalled, labour of all time. It’s not that this is “false” labour. The work going on inside my body, and mind, is very real. In fact, when I arrived at the hospital and was deemed five centimeters dilated and fit to admit, the hospital staff thought I was there to stay. So did I. Baby and body had other plans.
After several hours of slowing contractions (despite my efforts to walk, squat, bounce, nap, and meditate) the labour machine shut down. Resisting the urge to take a birthing room and find myself facing an induction I simply said “Thanks! I’ll be back when I’m ready for a bed.” The hospital staff was supportive, and waved their goodbyes with the impression that they would be seeing me within the next twelve hours. Baby and body had other plans.
So, here I sit at five centimeters dilated more than five days later…and I’m still smiling. What are my secrets for surviving these five days of labour?:
Doing everything the textbooks advise will not result in a textbook labour. I’m the walking, talking, five-centimeter-dilated poster girl for that. Taking the good advice of those who have come before me didn’t hurt, though. A short list of the measures I took to prepare for the last leg of my pregnancy includes:
· A keen eye on nutrition and hydration.
· Practising Hypnobirthing, and using a Doula.
Expecting the unexpected is a part of life, and never more true then when you’re waiting to meet your child for the first time. Here are the real secrets that have sustained my spirits over the last five days:
Take comfort in inevitability. This is going to happen. Nature always wins. Just allow yourself to watch the world slow down for a while, because it soon will be spinning around you at a pace you cannot yet imagine.
Connect with your loves. Your family, friends, and partner will be all-eyes-on-you and your bump. Their impatience shouldn’t frustrate you, but surround you in the biggest supportive hug you will ever feel. Take the time to update them on how you’re doing. Enjoy their company, and their support. Your own personal pep squad has got your back, so bask in their cheers.
Keep moving (literally and figuratively). Stay active for your own sanity, as well as your physical wellbeing. Walk, stretch, and continue to plan your life, one activity at a time. Staring at your bump will not kick-start things. Trust me. It’s a boring view.
Stop moving (literally and figuratively). Rest! I’ve started taking a daily nap along with my toddler. It has been divine. I’m not only keeping my body well rested for the marathon ahead, but deposting some precious hours into my sleep bank. Take a moment to reflect on all that’s happened in your life in the last 40 weeks. To say you deserve a pat on the back is the world’s biggest understatement.
Laugh! Laugh at yourself (five centimeters dilated and wandering the city?! You’re a walking hallway!). Laugh with your loved ones, both about the situation and about random distractions. Cat videos are mandatory viewing.
Stay on target. Don’t lose perspective of the incredible, beautiful, profound limbo that your body and your baby are resting in: half way between womb and world. So much possibility. So much love to be shared between you and your precious egg. You’re about to meet someone who will forever be in your life. Anticipation is more than half the pleasure in life's authentic joys. These things are worth waiting for.
All the best of luck to you, and your baby. You’re ready for this. Keep smiling.
We all know someone whose wallet looks like this:
The coupons, the immunization records, the defunct grocery lists, the Blockbuster cards. Their entire life, stuffed into a bulging slip of leather that’s begging for a merciful death. If you want to see how well this wallet worked out for George Costanza, read to the bottom of this post.
Being behind the Costanza Wallet at Starbucks is an especially pleasant experience. You may eventually get to pay for your own Americano, only after its owner rummages in the sub-sub folders of the wallet for five minutes to find the right points card.
First rule of wallets is: this is an object of speed and utility. If you can’t find what you need quickly, then it’s time to rethink.
“I need everything in there!” -George Costanza, Seinfeld
No you don’t. At least not on a regular basis.
Take a moment to dump everything out of your wallet. Then, run through the 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Purge, which include:
1) How often do I use this?
2) Do I have more than one of these? and
3) Is there room to keep this?
Then, divide the surviving items into two “keep” piles:
Things I actually need in my wallet. This likely includes things like primary identification (i.e., driver's license), money, debit/credit cards, and oft-used points cards.
Things I need, but not necessarily in my wallet. This likely includes secondary identification (i.e., your Social Insurance card), coupons, and less-used points cards.
Is your physical wallet working for you? Too big, and you’re going to be tempted to use it as a time capsule. Too small, and you’ll find yourself shoving cards and money into other locations (like purse pockets). Think about whether your current wallet can accommodate the items you have labeled as things I actually need in my wallet?
One cool option for the uber minimalist is this combination phone case and wallet. There are loads of neat options, if this size works for your wallet contents. These three options are found on the Apple Accessory site
While not yet available in Canada, there are some products like Coin and Plastc, which seek to combine your cards (Visa, AMEX, Debit, etc.) into one slim card. This is something to watch for. Depending on the security of the option, this could be a great way to minimize your wallet card count.
So, what to do with the items you’ve labeled as things I need, but not necessarily in my wallet?
One low-tech option for items like coupons and points cards is the single binder ring (just punch a hold in the corner of your cards and coupons):
There are also some who like to use a separate change purse in their bags to house coins, cards, or coupons. This is a great way to house the things I need, but not necessarily in my wallet as long as your change purse doesn't become your Costanza Change Purse.
Part of having a slimmer wallet is maintaining a slimmer wallet. Don’t accumulate receipts, parking stubs, and other disposables as you go. Take some time while you’re waiting in line to pull out any garbage. Or, engage in Friday “Dump Day.”
The best way to get an organized wallet: never allow it to become Costanza Wallet in the first place.
Can a person be anti-hoarding and pro-stockpiling?
Absolutely. Stockpiling is strategic. When it comes to successful stockpiling, there are three rules:
1) Don’t stockpile more than you can easily store—out of sight.
2) Do it when the price is right.
3) Stockpile the items whose need may “take you by surprise.”
In the case of the third, I’m referring to cards and gifts. No organized mom should be without a card and gift cupboard at home. There is nothing worse than the embarrassing "OOPS" moment of a birthday that has crept up on you. We all live such hectic lives that it can be a challenge to plan for all of the birthdays we need to keep track of.
By giving yourself the gift of a card and gift cupbord, you're affording yourself some generous insurance for those days when you may not have your act together. Those days are few and far between, right?
Here's how you can create your own no-stress card and gift cupboard:
Set aside a cupboard, shelf, drawer, box, bag, or closet space to make room for this important stockpile. Keep the items out of sight, and only use the space you have available. If that means one small basket on top of a shelf, then great. Live within your “space means” to prevent clutter.
Buy a few gift cards to have on hand. Chapters, Shoppers, gas cards, etc. This is never a wasted expense, because gift cards no longer have an expiry date. In fact, if you’re not making use of a gift card that you have been given, put it in your gift box.
Head straight into your local dollar store for some excellent cards to keep in your gift cupboard. Buy generic birthday, sympathy, anniversary, thank you, and “just because” cards. Children’s birthday cards are another must—those parties keep coming fast and furious!
Another great card source is your kids’ art. Check out this post for inspiration.
Buying gift wrap at the last minute means buying it at a ridiculous mark-up. The Dollar Store is always my source for gift cupboard must-haves, like tissue paper and curling ribbon. I also keep the gently used bags that we receive as gifts.
Sarah Gunn has an amazing idea for using colourful duct tape as gift wrap, so throw some of that in your gift cupboard, too!
When it comes to strategic stockpiling, the rule of “plan for tomorrow and today takes care of itself" rings true. So embrace this strategic approach to emergency gift-giving, and you'll be sure that the real gift given will be your own peace of mind.
Fall means strategic stockpiling. Here are 10 things you need to stockpile from the Dollar Store. Plus, check out how to make some nifty cards using your kids’ art!