Posts Tagged ‘ braxton hicks ’

Tummywatch Tuesday: 38 Weeks

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Today at the dentist’s office, the hygienist asked when I was due. “The 29th,” I told her. “Of this month?” she asked.

Look at me, you guys. How sweet is she? I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear she regularly slips me extra floss.

Very happy to have made it this far. That crazy hour or two of contractions last Wednesday got me thinking that I’d go into labor much earlier than I’d like. They made me feel delicate, a state to which I am unaccustomed, pregnant or no. It was suddenly apparent that I need to rest and relax and maybe not carry my toddler, plus his diaper bag, plus a couple of shopping bags, across whole parking lots like a pack mule. A really pregnant pack mule.

So I let the pendulum swing in the opposite direction on Thursday and became Officially Serious About Taking It Easy. I cut out my morning walk. I picked Roy up as little as possible. Rested on the couch. Drank more water. Thursday proved uneventful, so I continued in this manner.

Then Friday, as I was getting ready for dinner with a bunch of girlfriends, the contractions came back. They were up high on my belly, just as they were on Wednesday, not low in the period-cramp region, where I remember my true contractions happening two years back. So I did not panic. I did, admittedly, feel a little sorry for myself for having to miss my big night out. I drowned my sorrows in a can or two of sparkling water, which I sipped on the couch while watching bad Friday night TV. Why is Friday prime time programming so godawful? Do not homebodies, antisocials and those who’ve fallen ill or pregnant deserve viable viewing options?

Anyway. The contractions stopped later that evening. I haven’t had once since. Knock wood.

What else was I going to report? Had a whirlwind organizing/nesting weekend, which only made me realize how much further behind I am this time than I was last. Two weeks out from baby #1, the nursery was ready, my bags were packed, the house was spotless, the back-up route to the hospital was mapped out. This time, the nursery is not even close to ready, the house is full of half-finished baby-related projects, and I’ve pulled my suitcase out, but not yet gotten around to packing it. Oh, what a difference one child makes.

Little girl is the size of a bunch of celery, according to’s week-by-week babytracker. She seems to have cut out some of her daily tai chi sessions, for which I’m appreciative. Her activity level last week was so high it was a little unsettling (as well as distracting). Maybe she was thirsty? At my appointment today, everything checked out well. The doctor said that her head felt lower, and I am dilated a little bit more, to an “almost one.” But there’s been no thinning of the cervix. Which means I’ve probably still got some time. Though Doc did make a point of saying, “No guarantees.” Noted.

My money says I’ll be around at week 39 to improve upon that tired-looking pregnant photo up top there.

We’ll see what Baby Girl has in mind.

Celery bunch image credit: iStockphoto

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Attempting Natural Childbirth: Hypnobirthing

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

As I mentioned earlier, I’m again hoping to have a natural birth. The main thing I want to change this time is the way I deal with my contractions. Last time, I fought each one to the bitter end, which was truly not fun—nor productive, I imagine. This time, I plan to get a breathing and meditation system in place ahead of time to see if the process can’t be a little less horrifically, excruciatingly, monumentally painful. Enter Hypnobirthing.

I went with this method (versus The Bradley Method, Lamaze and whatnot) simply because the doula we used (and loved) last time teaches it. We had our first class last night, in the comfort of our own home, and I’m feeling… good. A little overwhelmed. A little under pressure, remembering the pain and realizing I have to adopt an entirely new mindset to try and create the experience I want this time around. I’m committing to this. I’m just in the early stages of that commitment.

So from what I’m gathering, Hypnobirthing is all about re-framing the birth experience. My interpretation, via Doula Dawn‘s interpretation: When we go into the birth scared and expecting screaming and pain—and awfulness in general—that’s what we get. But if we educate ourselves on what, exactly, is going on with our bodies physically, then train our brains to re-interpret that experience positively, the resulting experience is gentler, quicker and a whole lot less traumatic. As a case in point, Dawn talked about those shows where people don’t realize they’re pregnant until they get a persistent stomach ache, then go to the bathroom and, whoa! Baby head! The pain leading up to the birth wasn’t as intense because the expectation of it didn’t exist.

As part of this re-framing, Hypnobirthing presents an entirely new birth vocabulary. A contraction is a “surge,” or a “wave,” for example. Those Braxton-Hicks I’ve apparently been getting are “pre-labor warm-ups.” The mucous plug and the bloody show are the “uterine seal” and the “birth show.” Both of those were past overdue for a rename, amIright?

So we learned the philosophy, the terminology and the physicality; stuff such as the different types of uterine muscles and what, exactly, they’re doing during a “surge,” and why. She ran us through a couple of meditation exercises, just to demonstrate the goal state, and she popped in a DVD featuring some Hypnobirths.

First was Mindy. The first shot showed her laying quietly on the hospital bed with her eyes closed. The second showed her laying quietly across the bed, face down, legs tucked under her. The third showed the baby quietly coming out, followed by quiet Mindy and her quiet partner sharing a quiet laugh while cuddling their newborn.

Next was Barbara. Barbara hung out in her hospital bed eating red Jell-o. When a “wave” hit her, she’d close her eyes for a few moments, not even bothering to put down the Jell-o. Again, silence. Rock on, Barbara.

This ain’t my first rodeo. I’m not expecting to breathe my way straight through a short, serene, pain-free birth. But I do want to try and do this without drugs. And I do believe in the power of meditation. And I do want to accept all available help to attain my goal.

One thing Dawn said last night that really resonated with me is that this is a new pregnancy, a new birth and a new baby. She deserves her own experience.

So for the next month, I will work on making it just that. Fresh. I’ll try and distance myself from my first birth and its many, many (many) hours of off-the-charts pain and screaming and pushing and acrobatics (all totally worth it, by the way, simply because it led to Roy). I’ll work on getting my mind on board so I can find out firsthand what that does for my body.

Yup. Here we go.



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Tummywatch Tuesday: 34 Weeks

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Another week down. Pow! So crazy to finally be nearing the end of this journey. Those first months took forever. Now, each week closer to forty seems to slip on by in record time. In a month, we’ll be at the “any day now” phase. One short month.

I think I’m experiencing Braxton Hicks? (For the uninitiated, these are, basically, unproductive contractions.) I’m not completely sure if that’s what I’m experiencing in part because I don’t understand online descriptions of Braxton Hicks, such as “labor pains without the pain.” Wha? So then, labor? Labor that’s technically not labor? Right. OK. That’s makes some sense, but without the sense. Exactly.

So what I am feeling is a sort of tightening of the stomach, towards the center. Other times, I feel pressure, really low and really deep, that takes my breath away just a little. Neither are uncomfortable. They’re just interesting sensations. But aren’t they all at this point? The kid is growing, so there’s not a lot of room in there, and she’s apparently taken up tai kwon do to pass the time because I often catch my stomach jerking in one direction or another with the force of her movements. Often, as in many times a day. Which might worry me if it weren’t so consistent. Which is why odd tightening and pressure didn’t strike me as anything but Sissy training for her blue belt. So, Braxton Hicks? Definitely maybe.’s week-by-week babytracker says she’s cantaloupe-sized. Closing in on 5 pounds. The bigger she gets, the bigger I get and the more excited Roy is. He still calls her Juni, and will often give her hugs goodnight and include her in conversations about who’s happy or whom he loves. Once, he made me sit still with my shirt pulled up as he held his construction trucks in front of my bellybutton, articulating their proper names: Dumper. Loader. Excavator. You know, giving her a little heads up about the important things in life.

Since we’re getting closer to the due date (January 29th), and since his birthday is in January (the 26th) we’ve started telling him that January is when she’ll arrive. Not that he has any concept of when January is, but whatever. It’s true. And it’s another talking point for all of us on the subject. “Juni come outta Mommy’s tummy in January,” he’ll say. Or, on impatient days, “Juni come outta Mommy’s tummy today.”

Hearing that possibility said out loud does cause a knee-jerk flutter of panic. But I read yesterday that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks generally do just fine, with no long-term health issues. There’s something reassuring about that. Like it’s another hurdle cleared. Like the finish line is truly, finally, in sight.

Cantaloupe image credit: Blaine Moats

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