You know I finished the last post saying how relaxed I was? It was obviously a stupid thing to say because I tempted fate.
As you know I've had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions going on for what seems like months (though I'm pretty sure it's just weeks) and there have been lots of signs that my body is gearing up. Clearly there has been no baby yet though....I maybe would have mentioned it. ;)
Anyway on Saturday I started to have much more intense BH which were stopping and starting and by Sunday they were happening regularly. They say that you know it's a BH contraction and not a real one because they aren't regular, they tend to fade if you move about or change position, and they are just in the front. Turns out, that can be a load of rubbish. Mine were regular, I had awful back pain with them, and they were very intense. They weren't really painful, more very uncomfortable, but again this wasn't much to go on because I didn't find labour really painful last time until I was near the end. It got to the point where I phoned the hospital and they said, especially considering the other symptoms I had had over the last couple days, that it sounded like labour and I should go in. So off we totter, get in there, get nice and calm and I go with the contractions, only to be examined a couple of hours later to be told that I'm hardly dilated and my cervix isn't even effaced so it's not labour after all. I was gutted...and confused. The midwife didn't think anything was imminent, but when I was pregnant with Lib I started with a false labour and then all of a sudden things switched, my cervix softened, I went from 1-10cm within a few hours and there she was! It felt so frustrating. They were lovely there though and supportive, and when sending us on our way said they would keep the bed for me in case things kicked off in the night which was good of them. I still had to stop myself feeling like a big pillock though, like I should have known it wasn't the real thing, and I felt the whole experience emotionally draining.
After the stress of the evening, the contractions inevitably stopped, so I tried really hard to put it past me, chill out and get my head straight again. After all, false labour had happened now, so surely I'll know the signs if it happens again, right?! Wrong.
It happened again two days later. Again they were on and off, then every 10 minutes and by the evening had increased to every 4 minutes or so (another thing BH aren't meant to do is get closer together). This time, the contractions were a lot stronger, in my pelvis and back a lot, and were starting to get painful. I started to have the horrible agitated feeling where I just couldn't get comfortable and we were convinced this was it. I thought I was going to go up to the hospital, and be 4-5 cms dilated or something...at least. Again....nothing. There had been some developments since being seen on Sunday (he was sitting much lower for example) but again I was only 1-2 cms dilated. Both times we'd ended up in hospital at night, and I was mentally and physically exhausted. I had basically had another 24 hours of early labour where I couldn't sleep or get comfortable (the contractions were bad enough to wake me up) and it was all for nothing (I know that that's not strictly true because apparently they are doing something, whether it's slowly bringing the cervix forward, or just 'practicing') but I did start to worry then. If this carried on, then I was really starting to think I wasn't going to be physically able to cope with labour when it actually kicked off because of the fatigue. The midwife was concerned too, so we established a bit of a plan to go back to the obstetrician to organise being induced to get the ball rolling if it continued. Of course, whether I got an appointment with the obs before the baby arrived anyway was another matter, but at least it made me feel better to know there was a back-up plan. It would mean not being able to give birth at Cossham, but by now I don't give a monkeys!
Luckily things have calmed down though for now, and I'm basically ignoring symptoms unless they become glaringly obvious. I thought I had been having my 'show' since Thursday, which again is something that indicates that labour is imminent. However, since nothing has happened, I'm going to assume that it was just because I was examined and had a sweep, and that there haven't actually been any developments. I'm trying really hard just to do nice things, not think about it, but above all...rest!
I wouldn't be as calm if it hadn't been for Si though. He has been completely amazing. He knows how anxious I get, and he has been brilliant at encouraging me and calming me down. It's equally as disappointing for him, when we think things are kicking off and then nothing happens, and he has been such a fantastic support. When I'm anxious all I really need is someone to try and bring me back to myself and get me out of the downward spiral, so just by him looking in my eyes and telling me I can do it and that I'm strong and everything will be ok, has meant more to me than anything. He's going to get me through this.