After discussing with the doctor and my husband, we decided to give this castor oil remedy a try. He brought it back from the pharmacy after our last appointment, and after dinner, I decided to work up the courage to give it a try. For the record, I don’t recommend doing this unless you speak to your doctor and he or she is okay with it. If the title of this post is any indication, it doesn’t always work, and it’s important to research any home remedy you decide to undertake.

I chased three tablespoons of the tasteless, but unfortunately unpleasantly-textured stuff with a taster of stout. In retrospect, I should have followed the information I had read on the web about mixing it with juice or soda, because the four-ounce taster was not enough, and I was left gagging over the sink trying to keep the last bit down. With the stuff now in my belly, I went to bed that night without any effects. I figured I’d get up in the night to use the bathroom, since it was a laxative, but no other contractions were happening at the time.

Around 11:00 p.m. I began to have pain in my lower abdomen. They passed slowly like previous Braxton-Hicks (or practice) contractions, so I didn’t think anything of it.  I ignored them and went back to sleep. However, they began to happen more frequently, and around 3:00 a.m., were happening every ten minutes or so. My husband was not sleeping very soundly, probably overhearing the increasingly heavy breathing I was producing.

I rolled over and told him I thought I might be having real labor contractions. We got the app we had downloaded out and began counting them. I had read that when they were five minutes apart, lasting for one minute in duration, for one hour, I should call the doctor. When we reached that point, at around 5:00 a.m., we did so. The call service had the doctor on call reach us about 10 minutes later, and she advised us to go to the hospital for monitoring.

A mixture of fear and excitement coursed through us as we gathered our things and piled into the car. There was a light snow beginning to fall, and at that hour, the morning commute was just starting to get underway. When we reached the hospital, I checked in while my husband parked the car. I went back to the waiting room and my husband arrived moments later with every packed bag (four in total) from the car. I laughed and joked to the nurse that we were moving in.

They took me back to a room and hooked me up to a monitor on my belly. The nurse found, through the same horribly uncomfortable procedure that I was about 2 centimeters dilated, and the monitor showed that the baby’s heartbeat was good and my contractions were happening with some frequency. After a while, she advised me that I wasn’t ready for admission yet, since I wasn’t in “active labor.” I supposed that meant that my water hadn’t broken, and I wasn’t having the appropriately heavy contractions that would get me where I needed to be.

I was advised to try to walk for about two hours and come back and see if we were making progress. I took this to be an encouraging sign, so we grabbed our stuff and walked the hospital. We also grabbed breakfast along the way, and ran into a bunch of people I knew, since I worked at the hospital where we would hopefully deliver.

Two hours of walking may not seem like much to someone who’s not 10 months pregnant. But to me, it was absolutely exhausting. After we’d made the rounds, I figured we’d walked at least a mile or more, all while experiencing the same lower contractions. When the nurse checked me again, she found I hadn’t dilated any more than I was when we began.

I was advised to go home and keep an eye out for “more severe” contractions, water breaking, or other indications that I was in labor like the baby actually dropping, which he hadn’t yet. I took this blow pretty hard. I had such high hopes of delivering that day, that the option to go home just wasn’t something I’d considered.

I cried hard after the nurse left the room. My sweet husband held me and rubbed my back. He said encouraging things, and was so supportive, but my heart was broken. I was hoping to meet my son that day, and to have that long-awaited dream denied was something my emotional state could barely stand.

We went home and I laid in bed for a few hours. The contractions eventually stopped altogether and I was left wondering if I had really had them at all. The rest of the day was a blur of frustration, moping and emotional breakdowns. When I finally checked my phone, I had a voicemail from the hospital. The nurse was calling to give me instructions for my scheduled induction.

I’m sure I imagined it, but she sounded irritated. It was as though she knew I tried to rush things with the castor oil, and that if I hadn’t been mucking around with that stuff, I’d have been available to take her call. Her tone sounded condescending, as if to say, “of course that stuff doesn’t work. I could have told you that, but no one ever listens to me.” But, by the time I got the message, their office was closed for the day and I’d have to call back on Monday. Hopefully she’ll go easy on me.