Sunday, August 16, 2009

Contractions and me

I wish I was one of those women who only got contractions when they are actually in labor - or just about to go into labor. Recently I was talking to a friend of mine about how things went down with her second son. She remembers having one contraction as they were watching something on TV, and it made her wonder. Then nothing for an hour or so, then she had another one. By contraction three, she knew it would be that night and they called me to come (I was going to watch their then-two-year-old). When I got there, she was having regular ones, they went to the hospital, and four or five hours later, her son was born.

I'm the polar opposite. I have daily contractions for the last several months of my pregnancies. And when you get to this point (I'm 37 1/2 weeks at the moment), I get nice, strong, uncomfortable ones some of the time. Not strong enough to make me head to the hospital, or even call my doctor's office. But strong enough to be a pain in the ass. Or more accurately, pain in the uterus.

Yesterday I had contractions about 10 minutes apart for 12 hours. TWELVE HOURS. The problem is, every time my husband and I get busy, I pay for it for the next half a day. And making it slightly more anxiety producing is the fact that my labor with G started in just that way. An afternoon quickie, followed by 12 hours of regular, but not too intense contractions, led up to my contrax picking up in intensity and a few hours later we were headed for the hospital. So you can imagine last night around 10pm, when my contrax had been going since noon, I was starting to wonder if I'd be getting any sleep last night.

Clearly, I wasn't ready to go into labor just yet. Part of me is glad for that. I'd like this baby to bake a little bit longer. Not that 37-ish weeks would be a bad thing, if things started naturally. But a little more time to put on some weight, make sure her lungs are completely ready, and a tiny less time in the extra fussy newborn zone would be great. I'm with Weissbluth on the theory that fussiness peaks at 6 weeks old, then gets better - except it can be 6 weeks from the due date, not necessarily 6 weeks from the date of birth. G was textbook in that department - he was 10 days early and right around 7 1/2 weeks his disposition improved a lot. So, to me, the earlier the baby is born, the longer you get in the extra fussy phase.

But I digress...

I've had a bunch of contractions today too, especially tonight. Nothing regular, nothing too intense. Just enough to make me uncomfortable and remind me of what I'm about to go up against.

Last night I was pretty stressed and upset (hormonally driven in large part, I'm sure). My husband was remarkably understanding. He said it reminds him of wrestling. You're at this tournament and you know you're about to go up against a guy who is really good. He's bigger than you and he's probably going to throw you around pretty good, although you know you can beat him if you work really hard. The time leading up to the match leaves you with butterflies in your stomach and you really don't want to be there. You almost want to quit and walk away, but you stay, and you face it. You wrestle the guy and its really hard, you're exhausted by the end, but you won and it was worth it. I told him its a pretty good analogy, especially from a guy's perspective. But you have to add one thing - in this case, you have to show up to this ongoing tournament day after day and you don't know when your match is going to come up until right before you have to wrestle. So you sit there on the bleachers, trying to be ready, but not too ready; trying not to think too hard about what you have to do or whether the guy is going to be hard to beat. You sit there day after day, until finally, the coach calls your name. But until then, you wait.

The waiting is tedious. Will it be tonight? Next week? September 1st? No real way to know, and in the meantime I have all these damn contractions to keep me company.

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