Meet Braxton Hicks

aka why I was a curled up miserable sack of pregnant yesterday.

It started around 6 AM with a bout of nausea and shooting pains in my abdomen.  The kind of pain you associate with either excruciating gas or food poisoning.  So decidedly notthe kind of sensation I would describe as “painless practice contractions.”  The pain’s location was sporadic at best – feeling like it was coming from the very center of my belly and next a stabbing pain in my side.  This was not the sort of organized muscle spasm I’d read about.  And the best part – they liked to come on whenever I moved at all… as in “oh, she turned her head, let’s get her again” or “did her pinkie toe twitch, better freak out some more.”  Needless to say, yesterday pretty much sucked. 

And so I stayed home and tried to sleep it off as if being nearly nine months pregnant were some kind of hangover.  I finally dragged my sorry butt out of bed around 3 PM and attempted to force feed myself yogurt and water as not to exacerbate things by letting my blood sugar fall apart, but eating was torture.  Between the small one kicking me up under my ribs and managing to nail me in the stomach the exact second food landed in it and the waves of pain interpreting every time I lifted a glass as an excuse to attack, I was a puddle of pathetic.  At which point my dear husband walked in and pretty much saved the day. 

He brought me home some soup and sat next to me while I had my first, full fledged pregnant meltdown, sobbing “I… can’t… do… this… for… six… more… weeks” and generally turning into a blubbering, snotty mess.  He got me a blanket, he flipped through the pretty much useless pregnancy books to try and figure out what the hell was going on, he got my neighbor (our good friend who also happens to be our doula) and attempted to call the doctor (out for the night) and various doctor friends to see what was up.  He even broke into the pile of shower gifts to find a thermometer (99.1 – high for me, but nothing to panic about).  The man rallied and I couldn’t be more appreciative. 

And as the night wore on, the contractions became more “normal” in that they started from the top or side of my belly and worked their way across my abdomen, quickly peaking and slowly tapering off (unlike the previous pain that felt more like being stabbed from the inside).  They still seemed to come on when I moved or ate (especially watermelon – apparently if I want to bring on labor in a few weeks, I just need to eat this totally innocuous fruit, as my uterus took it as a personal affront everytime I swallowed a piece), but they stopped when I stayed still and there was no pattern to timing. 

Eventually, we did get in touch with the doctor and he said that sometimes when Braxton Hicks first come on, the contractions can be localized (hence the weird spots of pain instead of overall, tightening uterus), and that the pain should go away as my body gets better at them and they become more organized.  He also said it could be a GI thing happening at the same time, which would explain the severeness of my discomfort, but that either way, unless they got worse or I started bleeding, I should be okay.  Good to know.

And so I was able to sleep pretty soundly last night, and this morning was a vast improvement – granted, it did take me nearly 30 minutes to walk the mile to work and I am definitely still having Braxton Hicks, but they are no longer debilitating so I can manage.  Am I excited about having 6 more weeks to go?  No.  But I’m okay, and that’s all I can ask for at this point.  Well, that and a back massage.

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