I decided I should work on taking it easy. As you remember, I have some difficulty just relaxing and letting myself stop and smell the roses. I was planning on working a couple of mornings this week just to keep busy, and I also had a lot of errands to do.
On Wednesday morning as I was getting ready to head off to work, my body decided to change my plans. I noticed a little discomfort in my abdomen, like a menstrual cramp and also like I might have a bowel movement. I felt hot and sweaty. The only way for me to get comfortable was to lie down. Everything happened so quickly that before I knew it, I realized I was having a contraction! Was this the big moment? What should I do?????
I tried not to panic. But I couldn't quite remember what I was supposed to do. The pain had only lasted a moment so I made my way to the phone and called work and told them that I wasn't going to be coming in today. Then I gave my husband a call. I was having the pains around every 20 minutes or so. After the first one, I made my way to the bathroom and had a loose bowel movement. Now, I know that seems like way too much information, but I knew that loose stools were a sign of labor. And since I hadn't had soft stools for a month, I paid attention. My husband was in a panic—his work is an hour away. Should he leave? Am I in labor? I told him to sit tight and I would call my OB-GYN.
I got out my bouncy yoga ball. If you don't have one, spend the $20 and get one. You will use it during your pregnancy and after, I guarantee it. I sat on the ball and did a little bouncing back and forth to keep my mind and body distracted and tried calling the doctor. Of course, all the lines were busy. I took some deep breaths and kept timing my pains. I was feeling a tightening in my abdomen every 20 minutes or so that definitely had a kick to it. It took 30 minutes before the lines were open at the doctor's office and I was able to speak to a nurse.
I made sure to pay attention to what was going on so that when I talked to the nurse, I had the right information. I told her how many weeks along I was, described the pains I was having, and told her about the bowel movement and what I was doing now. The nurse was so reassuring. She explained that these pains were most likely warm-up contractions and probably not labor. Keep timing them, she said, stay relaxed, but don't come running into the hospital. My water had not broken and I wasn't having regularly timed contractions. She made sure I was OK and gave me lots of positive support.
I called my husband back and let him know what was going on. He was a wreck and didn't know what to do. I was still in some pain, but feeling that I could work through this. I kept sitting on the ball and rocking a bit, watched a cheesy movie on TV, and then it started to hit me—I'm going to have a baby! Not today, but soon!
Later in the week I had my doctor's appointment. At this visit my OB-GYN did an internal exam, which is normal, to check the status of my uterus. She said it looked like I was all set to go! The baby had dropped, my uterus was effaced, and my cervix was starting to dilate. She was even able to feel the top of the baby's head! Usually you do a Group B strep test during or around this visit, but we got to talking and forgot. I'll return on Monday to have one done. This is just an internal swab test to check and make sure there isn't a bacterial buildup that could cause infection in the baby during delivery. Nothing to worry about!
This was a busy and exciting week. I'm ready to have this baby! I'm so excited! During most of my pregnancy I've tried to think of this journey as an experiment—I honestly haven't given as much thought to the end result. I'll admit that I've been concerned about putting too much emphasis on the baby, just in case something happened. But, at this point, let's celebrate! There's going to be a baby soon!
- Waist measurement: 44 inches
- Weekly weigh-in: 175 pounds
- Pregnancy symptoms: Contractions! Well, just a warm-up.
- My pregnancy advice for the week: Listen to your body. When your body starts doing things, like having contractions, try not to freak out.
- Pregnancy "first" of the week: A glimpse of what labor might be like ...
- Doctor's visit: Yes, an internal exam.
About the Photo: The above picture of the author was taken during her 37th week of pregnancy by Dean Lipoff.
Read the next installment: week 38