After I published my 37 week post last Wednesday, things started to get interesting!
Let’s rewind to last week for a moment. Last Thursday, I woke up in the middle of the night with a very strong pain that wrapped around my entire lower back and front. I’ve read about real contractions feeling like a “ring of fire” (among other things) and this was exactly what it felt like. I also had this weird shooting nerve pain that made it difficult to walk. I thought this could be the start of early labour. I stayed in bed and monitored what was happening for a bit. The pain wasn’t cyclic, coming in intervals, or getting more intense with time, so ultimately I figured it was just another “test run”. I was probably awake for an hour or two (while Eric slept in blissful ignorance) and then I eventually fell back asleep. I woke up in the morning and the pain was gone, but I continued to have a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions and menstrual-like cramps for the next 3 days. Things settled down after that and I’ve had barely any prelabour symptoms at all, aside from just more frequent Braxtons. The body is a mysterious thing at times!
As it turned out, I had my weekly appointment with the OB the next morning, so I told him all about my experience on Thursday night. As usual, he didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary, but he seemed excited that things were getting ready. I also found out that my Strep B test came back negative so I won’t need to be hooked up to antibiotics. He ended up checking my cervix and found that I was 50% effaced with no dilation. At this week’s appointment, I was 60-70% effaced and still not dilated. Nothing surprising at this stage in the game, but interesting nonetheless. The doc says things can change in a matter of hours, so while baby girl might be cozy in here for another week or two, our guess is as good as any when she will come.
We had a lot of baby-related events over the past week and a half! The first was a meeting with our doula where she went over natural pain relief techniques with us. I’m skeptical as to how much these techniques will help when the pain is really severe, but we’ll see. I’ll try to keep an open mind about the whole experience. We were talking about contractions and I said something to the effect of “when the contractions get worse” and she encouraged me to re-frame the way I think about contractions. Rather than calling them something negative, why not use the word “stronger” rather than “worse”, or “expansions” rather than “contractions”. I like it. She also said to think about each contraction as one contraction closer to getting to meet our baby. Wise words!
Our car seat inspection was last Saturday and we also pre-registered at the hospital. I’m not a big hospital person (is anyone?) so when we were walking through the maternity ward I started to feel quite nervous! It felt much more real. I couldn’t believe that our big day would be here so soon and I would be occupying one of the L+D rooms. Total butterflies. Anyway, it was good to see it in person before the big day because I can mentally prepare myself a bit more. It’s the same hospital my sister delivered in too – although when I was there last it was under much difference circumstances!
We also met with our lactation consultant for a breastfeeding session this week. It was super informative, and also a bit overwhelming if I’m going to be perfectly honest. The package with our doula includes 2 visits from the lactation consultant after the baby comes too, so she stressed that I didn’t have to remember everything on the first go and she can come to the hospital if I need extra support. I’m so thankful that we have both of them. As my due date approaches, I’ve started to feel more anxious about taking care of a newborn, but I try to remind myself that we will take it one day (or one hour) at a time. People have been doing this for a LONG ass time. hah.
On the work front, I’m keeping myself very busy preparing blog posts and working on the new business. I’m also freezing soups and meals whenever I have a spare moment. The freezer is officially bursting at the seams! It feels good after 2 months of many lackluster, renovation “meals”. This weekend, we’re moving everything back into the kitchen (finally!!) and things are slowly but surely coming together after a long 2 months. I can’t wait to have the house back in order.
I’m still going on my daily hour-long walks and I hope to keep walking right up until labour! And hey, even during early labour if I can. =)
Food: Two words – Honeycrisp apples. Oh my gahhhh. Baby is a huge fan and gives little kicks of joy when I eat one. I’m also craving sweet, comfort-food baked goods like crazy this week. In case you couldn’t tell by my recent recipes! It must be fall, the end of pregnancy, and the joys of having an oven again. Other foods I can’t get enough of: pepita seeds, almond butter, cereal (2 bowls a day), homemade almond or hemp milk. No nausea to speak of right now and my appetite is very strong….whohoo.
Aside from the increase in BH contractions and menstrual-like cramps, I’m feeling great and have no other signs of impending labour right now. I’ve been a lot more emotional over the past couple weeks though – must be another shift in hormones. I’m reading birth stories every night (obsessed) and also a lot of “how labour started” stories. I find it so fascinating!! I seem to be retaining a bit more water than usual. Everything just looks a bit puffier. My nails continue to grow at a breakneck speed. I can’t believe how much I’m trimming my nails each week!
Well, that’s all to report this week. It’s crazy to think that baby could come before my next weekly update or that she might even be here by this time next weekend.
Speaking of labour starting, if you’d like to share your own “how labour started” story, feel free to do so below!