The past few days have been a little rough. Around a week ago I started noticing I was having a few more contractions than usual. I knew I’d been contracting for a few weeks because my nurses had always pointed it out during my nonstress tests, but I hadn’t been able to feel it, and they didn’t seem worried about it. When I asked my doctor about it he said to come in if I was having contractions too strong to talk through for over an hour, and otherwise not to worry about them. I was a little surprised by that, but I know how to follow straight forward directions, so I appreciated that. So I already knew not to worry about feeling a few more contractions than usual. But come on. It’s me. I couldn’t completely ignore it. Part of me started wondering if we’d have these babies for Father’s Day. But then I remembered how early they’d be and their risk of NICU time, and I thought it’d be alright if they didn’t come quite yet.
Monday was our next appointment. That morning I woke up at 6:30 am to go to the bathroom and lost what I thought might be part of my mucus plug. Afterwards I noticed walking was a little more difficult. Of course I couldn’t go back to sleep. The appointment started about two hours later, and I just lay in bed wondering if today would be the day. We started with an ultrasound and the tech asked how dilated I was. I said I didn’t know. I hadn’t been checked. She said, “Maybe they’ll check you today.” They didn’t. I told my doctor about the maybe mucus plug. He said it wasn’t an indicator of when labor would start and told me not to worry about it. At that point I was thinking I’d better get these babies scheduled because I’ll go mad if they fill up the schedule for July 13 before I’m on it! I asked the doctor about scheduling and he said he didn’t want to yet because we weren’t sure what was going to happen and whether they’d come on their own before then. So there was hope! Maybe it wouldn’t be too much longer! I hoped the NST would show some progress. It didn’t. I was still having minor contractions and “irritability,” but nothing the nurses were concerned about. I was sent home right on schedule. That evening I had a few more contractions, but no real ramp up. I fell asleep almost immediately. As I drifted off, I was only a little disappointed at the day’s outcome as I reminded myself how much better it would be to get these babies to at least 34 weeks.
Tuesday morning I rested up a bit and after no excitement headed into work around lunchtime. A couple hours later my contractions started to flare up again. My lower back would randomly radiate a wave of pain, maybe a few in a row, and then nothing for a good stretch. It was definitely still manageable, and not at all frequent, but it was something. I had gotten in late but still ended up leaving an hour early to ensure I’d be able to make it home okay. I even warned my boss I wasn’t sure I’d make it to my scheduled c-section. When I got home K convinced me to lie down and rest. After a couple hours I felt fine again and K and I went out to dinner. I had a few more contractions after that, but nothing too surprising. I had a hard time getting comfortable that night, but not too much more than usual.
The next morning I woke up feeling awful. I let my boss know I’d be coming in late. I started working from home and stayed in bed until 1 pm when I finally decided to start getting ready to go in to the office. Since I’d felt fine all morning, I figured I’d probably be free of the back cramps I’d been experiencing. As I pulled off the exit to work I was suddenly hit by a strong contraction in my back. Then, as I walked into the lobby I felt a wave through my belly. It stopped me in my tracks and made me reach for my belly. I thought about sitting down, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back up, and the receptionist was already lookeing at me funny, so I slowly walked away. When I got to my desk I felt awful. I wasn’t getting waves, but I had a constant ache in my back. Still, I could, and would, talk through it. I got up to get a glass of water and walking took more energy than usual. After an hour or two, a bathroom break, and a few more trips to get water my pain level was almost back down to normal. I warned my boss that coming into the office seemed to be causing contractions and that I may need to start working from home sometime soon. That evening the contractions never completely went away, but never got consistent or very much worse. Around 1 am I had one very strong contraction, but then nothing. It made me sore and grumpy, though, and I struggled to sleep. At 2:30 am I took a shower to help me get comfortable and finally fell asleep.
Thursday morning I felt fine again. No sign of the contractions I’d had the night before. We had another NST and K watched each contraction on the monitor. He told me they were all smaller than some he’d seen me have in the past. I hardly felt any of them. Again, the nurse was not concerned. When I told her about my back cramps she repeated the doctor’s instructioms. I was still not having contractions I couldn’t talk through for over an hour. Nothing to worry about. We ate lunch and shortly after that my cramps came back. I rested at home for a little while hoping the pains would subside before I had to leave for work. They calmed down for the most part, and I headed in. Sitting at my desk was still difficult and led to more cramps, but I had meetings to go to almost all afternoon, and that kept me busy. When I got home the contractions were worse. Resting helped relieve them, but they didn’t completely go away. That night I felt on edge about anything tight against my skin. I fell asleep in a pair of K’s underwear around 1:30 am.
This morning I woke up with a belly that felt like a bowling ball and a body that felt sore all over. I decided to work from home and didn’t wake up until 11. The mild aches and pains started off right away, especially any time I would move, but still weren’t strong, and this time weren’t coming in waves very often either. But as evening hit the contractions started to pick up. A wave began to strike around once an hour and the back pain was pretty constant, especially when sitting. Still, nothing I couldn’t talk through. I’ve been lying in bed as I’ve been writing this, trying to distract myself from googling how long pre labor lasts. And still, nothing is picking up and I know when I wake up in the morning the pains will be gone and come back around lunchtime. I keep getting the urge to go to the bathroom but I know it’s only in desperation to relieve my cramps. While I wouldn’t mind these babies getting more time to bake, I’m starting to wonder how much longer I can put up with these cramps and keep my sanity, especially as sleeping gets harder and harder to do.
So when people ask when the babies are coming I’ve been telling them any day. I’ve hesitated to share all this since I don’t want people getting too impatient or excited over nothing… I’m doing enough of that for all of us… But there’s part of me that knows it really could be any day now. Maybe it’s only wishful thinking… But we’ll find out in 19 days. Or less.