I am learning so much about pregnancy while I’m in the throws of it. I’d mentioned that I had a false alarm last week and I wanted to give more of a back story to that, because maybe you’ll learn something, too.
Last Monday, Max dropped. It was 50% amazing and 50% awful. Being able to breathe again felt like a miracle, but the new pressure on my pelvis alerted me that I’d reached a new level of the game, and there was a new boss to beat. Here is my week 33 photo vs. my week 34 for comparison.
My husband was travelling for the week, and I kept myself extremely busy. Monday was my birthday – dinner with my mom and sister. Tuesday I spent walking around the mall and getting dinner with friends. Wednesday I had an OB appointment where Max and I got the healthy thumbs up once again.
On Thursday, I started to get what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions around 4 p.m. I kept busy with work and didn’t pay too much attention to them – this was the third time I’d had them, and they always went away after about an hour. When my husband got home around 6:30 p.m., we headed out to dinner, during which I was complaining about a lot of pelvic pressure. He agreed that the baby had dropped, and I figured that was where the pressure was coming from.
We went home, watched some TV, and got into bed. Only I never fell asleep. My contractions were getting stronger, and it seemed like they were getting closer together. I tried to relax but around 1:30 a.m., I started to throw up from… I wasn’t sure. The contractions didn’t feel THAT strong, but I felt miserable. I woke Mike up and he called the OB, who told us that it was up to us whether we wanted to come in, but she thought it was a good idea to stop in if the contractions were closer than 8 minutes apart.
We spent the next hour and a half tracking my contractions, which were averaging 1.5 minutes, 5 minutes apart. I called my mom to see if she could feed the dog if we needed her to in the morning, and we grabbed the bags I’ve had packed for weeks.
We got to the hospital around 3:30 a.m. I joked that it was a nice trial run if this wasn’t “real” labor. I was calmly taken from the ER to a triage room on the labor and delivery floor of West Penn hospital. They hooked baby and I up to monitors and took my blood pressure, which was normal. A resident checked me for dilation and found… nada. No progression whatsoever. They said they would check me again in a few hours.
It was incredibly uncomfortable to lie on my back, but every time I leaned to the side, I threw the baby off the monitor. My nurse came in to check it once and challenged me to stay on my back for just 20 minutes so that they could get readings for him. She had trouble getting his heartbeat on the monitor again, and I told her that I thought he was lower than she thought. She moved the monitor down and found him right away.
And so we waited. I took Snapchat selfies and Mike fell asleep on my arm. I was incredibly uncomfortable, and incredibly tired. I had no idea what was going on and the staff kept using words like, “IF you get admitted,” or, “IF you need antibiotics.” At one point, my OB came in to check on me. She let me know that she didn’t think I was in pre-term labor, but noted that “if I delivered him” that he would be ok. Apparently once you hit 35 weeks (I was 34, 4), they don’t keep you from going into labor because typically the baby will be fine.
She told me that once my bladder infection test came back negative, and her replacement checked that I wasn’t dilating, I would be discharged. After the second check, I was still at 0. I asked one of the nurses if what I was having was Braxton Hicks and she said, “We can’t tell the intensity, we just know you aren’t progressing.”
I was confused, because my contractions weren’t textbook Braxton Hicks. They pulled at both the top and bottom of my abdomen and were consistent.
“You’re definitely having contractions,” my OB said, “But you’re not dilating at all.”
And so, we got my instructions to rest and drink plenty of water, and to come back if my contractions got more intense and close together, my water broke, or I saw blood. We got home at 8 a.m. to my mom and the dog waiting on the couch for us. I immediately went to sleep – I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Mike ate breakfast and went into work. I have no idea HOW, but he did.
And so, the day passed and the night passed, and it was finally the weekend. Someone shared a resource with me on prodromal labor (thanks, Marissa!)- “real” labor that doesn’t lead to active labor. I started doing some research and it seemed to be exactly what I had experienced. Strong contractions, no dilation, consistent timing. I also read that the contractions can come at the same time each day… so it made sense when I couldn’t sleep AGAIN because of 1:30 a.m. contractions. I woke Mike up to rub my back and was verbally uncomfortable. I was feeling contractions in my thighs. But… they didn’t grow in intensity or number. I think I fell asleep around 4 a.m.
Today has been a rough one. Contractions all day, off and on. Sometimes painful, sometimes barely noticeable. I am definitely feeling exhausted and worried that I could still have 5 weeks of pregnancy ahead of me… filled with contractions. Max could come anywhere from tonight to two weeks after his due date, and I’m feeling completely out of control of the situation.
But there was a slice of sunshine to today: We got our maternity photos back! My friend Andria is an amazing photographer and shot our wedding for us. It only made sense to have her do maternity photos, and I can’t wait to have her do family photos for the decades to come! I wanted to give you a sneak peek of them here. She did an amazing job, as always, even if the dog was more interested in rolling in mud than taking family photos!