~ Let the Braxton-Hicks Begin!
Eight weeks to go!
The cold weather has settled in. By the time I get out of work, it is already dark, so I quickly grab Zoie (my German Shepherd) and head out the door for our nightly walk. She wears her cute pink jacket which has a reflective strip which helps to see her at night. We bought the jacket on a clearance sale at a pet store; I picked it out and I always thought it was cute but Mark, on the other hand, thinks that German Shepherds shouldn't wear dog clothes. But, for this occasion, it has really come in handy! I feel like our walks are limited because of the cold weather and with it being so dark, but then again I know it's better than nothing and we both enjoy them. And, we probably walk much faster because of this!
Creeping up on me this week was also the Braxton-Hicks contractions, which I first started to feel sometime over the weekend. I remember reading in my book that they can start any time now. So, at first, I was thinking "is that really them?" Each day got they progressively more noticeable. They feel like tightening in my stomach, sometimes feeling like the cramps you get while you run or like round-ligament pain, then sometimes a sharp stabbing pain. The obvious sign of the contractions is my whole uterus tightens up, like someone has blown it up like a balloon, and it's ready to pop. I wasn't too concerned with them because I knew they weren't the "real" contractions and I expected that these could happen at any time now. Mark, on the other hand, wanted me to make sure with the doctors that they were normal, so I told the high risk doctor and with his assurance made Mark feel a lot better. As the week went on, though, they became a lot more frequent and intense, sometimes every 15 minutes. I told my regular OB at my appointment later in the week about what was going on, just so I'd know when I should become alarmed. She told me that if I have more than 5 strong ones in an hour to call her. I know this sounds strange, but I am actually really excited to be feeling the contractions now. It reminds me of the first time I felt Adisyn's kicks; when I would first feel them, I wasn't sure if that's what I was feeling. Each time I feel her kick and now feeling the contractions, it makes me feel reassured and excited! It makes me realize everything is progressing like it should and I'm that much closer! It's amazing how our bodies work; my body knows that it is getting closer and it's slowly preparing it for childbirth. That is a miraculous thing!
This week started my twice a week doctor appointments. Now that I'm at the 32 week mark, I see the high risk doctor on Tuesdays, and my regular OB on Fridays from now on. My high risk doctor's appointment was very uplifting. The doctor said that if, by chance, we had to deliver Adisyn now, she would have the same long-term outcomes as a 40 week delivery. Do you know how good that makes me feel?
At the regular OB, they did my normal check-up and starting now they're going to do the routine Non-Stress Test (NST) every visit. Adisyn's heart rate wasn't registering high enough on the NST (they said she was sleepy) so they buzzed her a few times. It's such a funny feeling to feel her jump inside of me when they would buzz her and wake her up! When the doctor still didn't get the readings she wanted, she wanted me to have an ultrasound with a BPP, just to get a look at her. The doctor said that she wasn't concerned at all, because it was obvious that she was moving good and her heart rate was varying, like it should, but that she likes to do things "by the book". Adisyn passed her BPP (I think she's gotten to be a pro by now), so after being there almost 3 hours, we could finally leave.
My emotions have really gotten the best of me this week. Something that normally wouldn't seem like a big deal can just send me into an emotional roller-coaster. Mark is the most caring and understanding person that I've ever met (which is one of the reasons I married him) and he comforts my craziness along the way.
On Saturday, we went to a Birthing Basics and Infant CPR class with our friends. I've mentioned them before, but they're the ones that lost their little girl last year as well, and were the same weeks along as I was, and now they're due the same day as us with a boy. We all agreed to go to this class together because we weren't the "first time parents" but we really wanted to see how everything is "supposed" to happen. There was a sense of ease going there knowing we were with another couple who was feeling the same way we were. It was a different sense of anxiety watching and learning about the experience than the other new parents were having. Surprisingly, I got really emotional watching the birth. I've watched the shows on television where they show the delivery and I usually tear up over joy, but this was different. I was watching the birthing process and it was like an uncontrollable crying. Luckily, the lights were off when we were watching it, because I was so embarrassed that someone would see me. Mark could sense that something was wrong because of my body language and uneasiness. He also knows that I don't like to show my emotions in front of other people, so without making it obvious, he comforted me. I really didn't think I was going to react that way. I was watching the video and I felt like I was having flashbacks from when I delivered Ada including all the emotions and pain. At the same time, we were in a room full of new parents who are just na´ve to the whole experience. When the birthing story was finally over, I somehow felt composed, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It was like I needed to see that. I turned to look at Mark when my tears finally stopped flowing and he said to me "I can't wait to see Adisyn's face looking up at us", and at that moment I knew everything was going to be okay.
Pregnancy is such an emotional process for all women. We all have different experiences, which make each of our journeys unique. I feel so thankful to be feeling the normal pregnancy symptoms that show me that everything is moving along like it should. This week's birthing class reminded me that it is going to be different this time around, and now I am ready for it. I am so blessed to be sharing this experience with my husband who is there with me every step of the way!