Preterm Signs without Labor

Almost every day I have “signs” of¬†preterm labor even though I am still very much pregnant. It drives me nuts. For example, I have menstrual-like cramping, dull lower backache, and definitely more than four contractions an hour. Loose stool and even diarrhea. ūüė¶

After going to the doctor/midwife twice now¬†only to¬†find out¬†that none of it is¬†causing major changes to my cervix, I’ve decided not to worry too much about the whole preterm labor thing anymore. I was still at 1cm dilated on Monday (5/16, 34w1d) after another weekend of “signs.” And while I’m¬†truly not worried anymore (especially given that I’m almost 35 weeks), I was still feeling really¬†frustrated yesterday.

I went searching online, even though I had no idea for what. I was tired of feeling alone, I guess.¬†I’m not¬†in the preterm category but I’m also¬†not in the full term category. Is¬†anyone in the middle with me? Having to wonder when to call, when to go in to L&D, and is this going to turn into the real thing or just another false alarm?!

ANYONE?? Yes, it turns out that there are a lot of women who go through the same thing. I found this thread on BabyCenter and it really helped me feel better: http://community.babycenter.com/post/a26816559/my_story_preterm_contractions_without_labor_cervical_dilation_advice While I actually have a little more activity down there than most of these women (because I have begun to dilate and baby is dropping), I’m still in the same boat as them because the changes aren’t causing labor.

Anyway, it’s nice to know I’m not the ONLY ONE who’s¬†less than¬†typical¬†or straight forward.

Shopping and Scarlet Fever

Well, because Stephen had to be at work super early, I couldn’t sleep at all on¬†Tuesday night. I was up from 1-something to 5:15am. ūüė¶ When I¬†finally got back into bed, I slept soundly until nine, though.

I needed to go grocery shopping for the week and also stop by Publix to pick up a few of the sale items before the sale ended, but I had no plans to do anything else.

When Maggie reminded me about the welts on her leg (which had shown up the day before), I took a closer look at them. It was weird, they almost looked like mosquito bites, but not quite. :/ She said they reminded her of the welt that had¬†shown up when she had scarlet fever last year. O_O I decided we’d better get her to the doctor, even though I knew how tiring of a day it would be if we did.

So, I called and got her a 3:30 appointment. The kids¬†all wanted to go shopping with me so we got ready, had lunch, and left around 12:30. We didn’t have time to go to Publix so I just planned to do that after her appointment. Joshua wanted to stay home, and when I found out that Stephen was getting off from work, I was happy to tell our son he didn’t have to come. ūüėČ

Maggie, Samuel and I were five minutes late to the doctor, but it wasn’t a big deal. Samuel played in the little house in the waiting room and watched Peter Pan. ūüôā We got called back within about ten minutes and saw Rachel, the physician’s assistant (PA). We told her about the similarity between the presentation of the welts this time and last year (when she had scarlet fever), but after looking at the rash closely, she felt it was probably more likely to be a reaction to a bug bite. She asked if I still wanted a strep test and I said yes, that it would make me feel better to see a negative result, and she was totally fine with that. The nurse came in and swabbed her throat, and we waited for five minutes. Rachel came back in and said she wouldn’t have believed it, but Maggie was positive for strep – she has scarlet fever! She said her case was “one for the books.” Haha, it feels good to be right. ūüėÄ Not that I want my daughter to have an illness, of course, but to know what’s going on before the professionals feels good. She prescribed an antibiotic for her, as well as a steroid cream for the itching and inflammation, and we were out the door.

We drove down to the library and I used the wheelchair to transport the bags of books inside so I could sit if/when I needed to. My uterus was being its normal “irritable” self for late afternoon/evening, and I was having lots of contractions. Bleh I got a good number of movies for me and one pregnancy book, while Samuel and Maggie got several books for themselves.

We finally headed back in the direction of home to go to Publix, but it was 6pm by this time and Stephen called to find out what was going on with us. ūüėõ He told me just to pick up dinner from somewhere, which I really didn’t want to do because of the whole weight gain thing, but I just inwardly vowed to order something healthy or nothing at all.

We went into Publix, got her medications and a few other things, and then went through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and nothing else for me. Yay me. lol

Had dinner and then crashed once Samuel was in bed. ūüôā

Regular Braxton Hicks and My 34 Week Appointment

As I was getting ready for the day on Monday, and for¬†my appointment with my obstetrician, I started having lots of tightening contractions. They weren’t painful, but they were fairly uncomfortable…and then they got regular, about 5-6 minutes apart. If that weren’t enough to make me wonder what was going on, I then had clear mucousy discharge! At least I already had an appointment scheduled.

Turns out, we were only at the office for about¬†twenty minutes from the time I got checked in. I was stunned to find that I had gained three pounds in the last two weeks – HOW?!?! Good grief. Still under twenty pounds gained, but only barely (18). I haven’t been eating any more than I was.¬†Those three pounds¬†better ALL be going to baby, lol.

I had a Braxton-hicks¬†contraction while the nurse was taking my blood pressure and it was sort of high for me, 122/86. I asked the doctor about it a few minutes later and she said contractions can certainly have that effect so it’s nothing to worry about.

My uterus is still¬†measuring a week bigger than¬†normal and¬†baby’s heart rate was good. She did a cervical exam and found that I’m still at 1cm, but baby has dropped some because she’s now at -2 station when she was at -4 last week. I talked to her about the¬†“advanced maternal age”¬†induction possibility at 39 weeks because I was feeling uneasy about why they offer it…like, how much of a risk will I be taking if I decline? She assured me that the rate of still birth based solely on my age is very, very small.¬†If I do decline (which she said is what she’s choose if it were her) then they’ll just keep a little bit closer eye on the baby from 39 weeks on. A weekly ultrasound is all it would amount to.

My¬†next appointment will¬†hopefully¬†not be until the 31st, when I’ll be 36w2d. If we make it to that point, I can basically stop worrying about any¬†need for the NICU.¬†Of course, I also don’t want to be pregnant much longer than that – I am so tired of the discomforts of pregnancy – AND I can’t wait to meet her!!!

The contractions continued all day (though not every 5-6 minutes) but they didn’t pick up in intensity so it was nothing but practice, I guess. I figured out a way to get through them more comfortably! If I lean over a chair or sort of hang on a counter, I can allow the weight of my belly to completely “separate” from the rest of my abdomen. This somehow removes the tightening feeling even though it’s still going on (I can still feel it to the touch from outside, just not internally). I wonder if this will help during labor! How awesome would that be?!

Our Weekend and 34 Weeks

I took Joshua to the indoor skate(boarding) park on¬†Saturday morning. He got to have “lessons” from 10am-noon, which included lots of encouraging and teaching. He had a great time. While he was there, Maggie, Samuel and I went to a few stores nearby. I let Samuel play with the train at Toys R Us¬†while Maggie shopped at Hobby Lobby, and then¬†I found a tote bag/diaper bag at TJ Maxx that I love! We also swung by Aldi and¬†got some crackers and toilet paper. When we picked¬†Joshua up, we went to Goodwill and I found¬†the perfect hospital bag. Between the two bags, I¬†spent $33, which is nothing when you consider their actual worth¬†AND how much I had planned on spending!

Stephen worked on Saturday, but only until early afternoon, so we got to see him for¬†a good amount of time this weekend. ūüôā He offered to get Chinese for dinner but I declined – I wanted to be with him (not him going alone to pick it up) but I was super tired and didn’t feel up to going anywhere, so we had a simple¬†dinner at home.

Yesterday, I¬†made it to¬†34 weeks in the pregnancy! ‚ô•¬†TMI: Stephen and I had sex in the early morning and it was again uncomfortable. I’d really like to be done with intimacy until I’m no longer pregnant, but then we¬†won’t be able to¬†do anything until five or six weeks post partum, so I¬†haven’t said anything to him. I mean, he knows I’m wanting it less and¬†that¬†hormones¬†– and my overall discomfort – are¬†likely¬†to blame, but he doesn’t know¬†the extent¬†of things.¬†Who knows how long I’ll still be pregnant? I don’t want it to be months before I can enjoy it again, but that’s likely going to be the case. :/

We spent most of the day at home, not leaving until mid-afternoon when we drove out to a new park with walking trails around a lake. It was a beautiful day with mild temps and nothing but sunshine. I felt pretty good physically which actually surprised me! After the park, we went out for dinner; the pizza was so good. Mmm

Joshua’s Surprise Spending Money and Getting Stuff Done

Yesterday, I got everything I wanted to get done (thank you for cooperating, body and baby!) done,¬†and went everywhere I needed to go. ūüôā

While we were out in the afternoon, we even stopped by GameStop¬†for Joshua and Tutti Fruiti for all three of them (no froyo for me right now). At GameStop, we found out that there are more costs associated with having an X-Box 360 than he thought, so he’s decided to use that $75 for something else. He has asked to go to Target today, which we may do, but I’m not sure. Also, Samuel is definitely wanting to play in the pool again this afternoon.

And I’d really¬†like to get¬†some more school stuff done. I took a week off from working on¬†any of it¬†because of all that had been going on with me, but now I want to get back to it since I’m feeling better. It’d be great to finish autumn’s resource lists for next year,¬†as well as¬†start on Maggie and Joshua’s¬†evaluations for this year. We’ll see…

So, I slept well last night, only waking up once at 5-something to shift from my back to my side. Baby was moving, which is probably what woke me. ūüôā I fell back to sleep right away. Samuel came in at 7am, ready to start the day and Stephen called me approximately one minute later to say good morning. I love my life. ‚ô•

Thursday Plans and Feeling Better

I prefer writing about what’s already happened over what I’m planning to do, but sometimes it helps me to gather my thoughts about the day to come. Today is one of those sometimes, and so was yesterday¬†ūüôā

So, today I must:

  • go to Kroger to pick up vitamins, because we are OUT
  • drop off certificate at the govt. office
  • be home from 1-2pm to meet with the exterminator
  • pack the rest of Stephen’s lunch stuff for the week (walnuts, crackers, etc.)

and I might:

  • go to the car wash and do a thorough cleaning of the van
  • drop off recycling
  • stop by Publix for produce and chicken patties

I’m feeling a lot better physically (yay!), and I’ve also changed my thinking about how this pregnancy is going. Up until a few days ago, I was worried about preterm labor, focusing on pains and tightenings a lot, and sharing my concerns with Stephen as well¬†as¬†the (big) kids. Well, no more! It’s not that I don’t have contractions now, but at least I know that they aren’t likely to be¬†causing anything to happen, so I’m basically brushing them off when they happen.

I realized after Tuesday’s appointment that I¬†had really gotten myself emotionally tired¬†from waiting for labor. It¬†had been¬†looking like things were progressing and it was making me nervous so I focused on the positives of delivering early and how to cope with it all, but now – well, it looks far different.¬†Much more like I’m going to deliver full term, which means I have another month to go, at least. And so, I decided to let go and stop waiting.¬†To enjoy the summer with my family and to enjoy the last weeks of my pregnancy.

I also¬†resolved not to say ANYTHING more about discomforts, pains, contractions, etc. until I actually need help. Stephen doesn’t need¬†to worry¬†and the¬†only reason¬†I had been including him in every twitch was¬†because I needed support. But I feel so much better now.

Where’d My Routine Go?

I’ve gotten away from following the routine I made a few weeks ago and I’m disappointed with myself. It’s not like it’s hard to follow, and yet…. ?? I guess it’s just been all this pregnancy stuff. My thoughts have REALLY been focused on contractions and pelvic pressure and everything, but I want and need to get back to it so I can have the routine down by her birth date.

Today I need to go grocery shopping. I think I should do it just with Samuel so he and I can have some time together without his older siblings around. Unfortunately, I haven’t made the meal plan for the week or the grocery list so both have to be done before we can leave! That’s part of the routine I was talking about that I’ve been neglecting. ūüė¶

I’m also planning to cut Samuel’s hair. It’s going to be in the mid 80’s today so I told him we will probably get out the little pool this afternoon. I think I’ll probably cut his hair right before letting him play in the water so he has an incentive to go along with it instead of arguing. ūüėČ

What else? Hmm, Maggie and Joshua should probably cut the grass, but we’ll see.