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Heather's Pregnancy Journal

Week 37 ~ January 26, 2006
~ Is it weeks, days, or hours away?

Well, I am officially 38 weeks and 4 days and I feel like labor is close. I am having what I consider to be 'pre-labor' symptoms. Now that they are here, I vaguely remember them from my past labors.

Starting about 2:00 PM yesterday, after I grocery shopped, I began to feel strange. What is strange, you ask? Well, it started with just a 'feeling' that things were changing. No significant drop by the baby and no labor contractions. I had lots of back pain with no real reason for any of it. I felt flushed. The most prominent symptom I had was menstrual-like cramping. The baby was moving enough to let me know she was fine, but her movements lessened. She could be 'reserving' energy for labor. And that 'nesting' thing most definitely came right back once again. But this time it came with a vengeance. I've even typed out what there was to eat in the house and where to find it. Don't ask. I'm not sure either, but apparently I 'felt' I had to do that.

By 11 PM and all the above symptoms were still there, but still nothing 'real' so I went to bed. I did sleep pretty well, but woke today about 5:30 AM to one of my dogs acting as if she needed to go to the bathroom. Much to my disgust, it was all about a drink of water. Couldn't she have waited? Once I was up I felt stronger menstrual-like cramping. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, so I'll try to describe mine. The pain to me was not unbearable, but if I wasn't pregnant and it was really menstrual cramps, I would opt to take a Tylenol and crawl back into bed. I would also expect my period to come within hours and expect it to be a really heavy flow. In addition, I've also had a few braxton hicks contractions which are much more intense. They don't stop me from doing things, but they are definitely making their presence known to me. Then to get really personal, when I went to the bathroom I wiped and found lots of very clear mucus. There was enough mucus that I wiped myself twice to feel clean. I keep expecting bloody show to appear, but it has not as of yet.

I did phone the nurse this morning to let her know about my menstrual-like cramping. After talking to her for a few minutes she figured I was in pre-labor. I happened to have had a doctor's appointment scheduled for today, so she said to come in as planned. When I got there I weighed in and lost 2 pounds. Losing weight is another sign that labor is close. I chitchatted with the nurses, told them my symptoms, and they all thought they would probably not see me again until my 6-week post-pardom check-up. BUT, after seeing the doctor, my internal exam revealed I am not ready yet. What? I thought I knew what was going on. But, I guess I was wrong. I even have had strange pre-labor symptoms coming from my kids and dogs. Have you heard of those? They say dogs and young children can sometimes pick up on labor before it happens. My dog, Lego, won't go 2 steps without me. And he keeps lying on my feet to know I don't sneak off when he takes a nap. My youngest can't get enough hugs. She even sat upside down and rubbed my belly while I put on my make-up this morning. She is extremely cuddly and will stop in the middle of playing to sit on my lap and rest her head on my shoulder. This is not her 'typical' behavior. She loves me, but she is a very busy little girl too. So, anyway with the menstrual cramps, the weight loss, the baby acting quieter, my kids and dogs, and the extreme nesting I thought for sure labor was close. But, my doctor said my cervix is not effaced enough. This would be the problem with having a different OB in a different city or state for every birth of my kids. No one truly 'knows' me. And internally, I don't know me either. I think I was about 1-2 cm dilated and about 80% at my last doctor's appointment when I had Maria. But, I could be wrong. With consecutive births, I could efface in a matter of hours and be in labor by midnight, or I could end up making it to the appointment my doctor scheduled for me to be re-checked on Monday.

So, like I said in the naming of this journal . . . it could be weeks, it could be days, it could be hours? It is truly a waiting game now, and an anxious mother's lesson in patience.

Take care!

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