Was That A Contraction?

(I drafted this post Saturday late afternoon with no idea that these pains were about to turn into full-force contractions! I’ll detail the experience more in my entries about the actual delivery of Eleanor Marie, but here’s how I was feeling as we went into the evening that would change our lives!)

Every clock in our house is set differently. How do I know this? I’ve been timing contractions. Our wall clock, my computer, the iTouch, my cell phone, and my watch all are displaying a different time at this second. Granted, they’re all close… but when counting the time between contractions, 6 minutes and 8 minutes makes a big difference!

So yes, I have been having contractions.

One of the strange things you hear over and over again while you’re pregnant is “When you have your first real contraction, you’ll know it.” The first time I heard this it stopped me in my tracks – I mean, why wouldn’t I know it? But then you start hearing about false labor (which really isn’t false), Braxton Hicks, and all these other things your body will go through in the final weeks and you realize that you might be likely to assume some random cramp is a contraction when really it’s… well, gas pain. (Let’s not talk about that, mkay?)

So I’ve been feeling tightening of my uterus for a while now… kinda like a bear hug. Now that I have more serious contractions to compare, I can be sure that sensation was only Braxton Hicks. In the past few days I’ve started having the real thing so I thought I’d keep track of the progress to be able to look back.

Thursday, Jan 13

Late Thursday night (around 11pm) I began having contractions. It was the first time I didn’t think “hmm, that’s uncomfortable” and I instead responded with “Woah. Yeah, that’s something more serious.” At the time I wasn’t sure if it was really a contraction, but in looking back I think they were. The timing ranged from 8-12 minutes between each. I was able to start trying to sleep around 12:30am and they had died down by 1am so I was able to sleep the rest of the night. As I got up each hour to pee (part of the fun of 3rd trimester!), I was uncomfortable and had some tension, but was fine.

Friday, Jan 14

I spent my last day at work feeling minor contractions most of the day but able to walk around and work through them with only a few stopping me in my tracks. Friday night was another story… I got home from my last day at work and within an hour I began noticing some more severe contractions occurring. Around 6pm I began tracking them (the den is littered with pieces of paper with my chicken scratch times written down in columns!) and they were consistently 8 minutes apart until I went to bed around midnight. I spent most of the night wandering around the house, walking up and down the stairs, swaying on an exercise ball, and moving my hips around to get more comfortable. I spoke with my doula around 10pm and she suggested I get some sleep in case we were headed to the hospital soon. I rested on the couch for a few hours then we went to bed and shortly after midnight I was able to start sleeping between the contractions. Eventually I just fell asleep for the night and was only interrupted for my usual breaks.

Saturday, Jan 15

This morning as I got out of bed Bronce commented “I bet you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus.” Yeah, that about nails it! My hip sockets are really sore after all the pressure and pain last night. I still felt a lot of the same pressure this morning for a while but around 11am I noticed the pains were no longer just dull and bothersome but were getting more rhythmic. I’ve been keeping track of the time off and on today and they’re fairly consistently coming in 6 minutes apart (lasting about 45-55 seconds each). The severity isn’t really increasing either, so I don’t think I’m making much progress or that something is going to happen tonight… just praying that these pains are serving a purpose and that my cervix is opening/softening to make the eventual labor easier!

(Little did I know it was real… and about to get much more intense! I think I finished this post around 4:30 or 5 pm and they got incredibly more powerful around 7:30. Amazing!)

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