Slope: Wednesday, April 17th
I had the worst night last night. Not able to sleep at all. I almost just typed, "I was tossing and turning," but who am I kidding? At this size and shape, 'tossing and turning' is a terrible description of restless sleep. I'm more like a beached whale afraid to injure myself by flopping. And you never know, the next position might be more uncomfortable than the first. Also: grunting. I'm so uncomfortable. No contractions, but lying in bed last night I think I could feel the bones in my pelvis pulling apart from each other. Seriously. This is how I felt. Ligaments pulling bones out of joint and then shooting pains as the nerves going down my legs get crushed by the moving bones. My back hurt, too. Was everything okay? Trixie continued to move. She seemed fine. I crept to my computer and googled 'labor without contractions.' I discovered something called "silent labor." Was I having silent labor???
I'm wishing I'd taken off my rings last week when they still (barely) pulled off my fingers. Now they're swollen in place. They itch. But it's only annoying. My legs and feet are swelling, too. This swelling is more than annoying. All that additional fluid in my lower extremities HURTS. My skin is all tingly like little needle pokes. I'm drinking water. It's counter intuitive, but that's what they say to do. Drink. (And pee.) Drink. (And pee.) Drink. (And pee.) Surely there's a point of saturation here. Or how about a point when all those trips to the bathroom are a bigger pain than the swelling?
It's snowing, snowing, snowing. We got about 6 inches of snow on Monday - they say maybe 5 more today - guess what? My boots aren't fitting. My shoes are barely fitting. What do you think, some flip flops? I'm always impressed by the people who wear shorts in 50 degree weather. Maybe you'll be impressed by the pregnant woman in 10 inches of snow and flip flops?
When I pick Mattias up from his parent's day out program, the caregiver offers to watch him longer so I can go to the hospital. Wow. I must look pretty bad. I laugh (unconvincingly) and work harder to look less bad.
I think this will go on for about 24 hours, I tell myself. I should be halfway through it. And then I'll plateau again...
Onto the Plateau: Thursday, April 18th
Fritz and I have a long, long conversation about the probability and likelihood of so-called silent labor after the boys are in bed. One of my friends has a birth story for her fourth child that goes like this: "I had one big contraction and out he popped!" This story scares us.
We sit on the couch, watch Trixie kick, and watch my stomach tighten. Huh. Maybe it LOOKS like a contraction. But it doesn't FEEL like a contraction. We time it. IF it's a contraction, it lasts for almost 7 minutes. Then 2 minutes off. Then it returns. Doesn't hurt. As long as I sit there, nothing really hurts. When I stand up, there's lots of pressure on my pelvis. That particular pain is like a 5 on a 1-10 scale. (Scale provided by me, who has already had two unmedicated births.) Hmmm.
A normal person might have called their doctor long ago, but I refuse. Fritz is frustrated by my refusal to call. Why do I refuse? I don't know. I can't really hold my ground in a logical discussion of the facts. My reasons are blindingly intuitive at the time. Maybe these are just Braxton Hicks? I suggest.
"Just call your doctor!" Fritz pleads. Later, I have a rebuttal: I'm terrified if I call the doctor she'll send me to the hospital, they'll discover I'm 4 cm (what else could all that ligament pulling, bone-moving be?) and I'll end up on a pit drip. That's her responsibility as my caregiver. To do something. And a pit drip will just make everything more painful. Also it's like a domino game, I think:
pit drip –> epidural –> cesareanBut what's happening now? It's manageable. It's mine. I own it. Control. Confession: I'm a control freak, you see?
"I think I need to take a shower," I answer Fritz. I wander into the bathroom. I'm pretty shaky. I attribute the shakiness to skipping dinner. No appetite. I know that these are signs of early labor, which is why I opt for a shower. The words of my Munich obstetrician from 6 years ago are still fresh in my head: "If you are in labor, a shower will make it accelerate. If not, it will relax you."
I get out of the shower relaxed and more comfortable. I sleep relatively well, considering. Considering that I'm 38.8 weeks pregnant.
I wake up the next morning feeling well-rested. Still, I pace myself. Sit down. Feet up. Limit movement. I spend the day drinking pregnancy tea and eating fruit; I wash some bedding; I drive some kids around. I say several thank yous to whomever invented heated car seats, which melt the pressure on my back and pelvis. Heated car seats, I shall never buy a car without you again. Not that I plan on being pregnant again.
I end the day feeling uncomfortable, but good. Trixie kicks her agreement.
Plateau: Friday, April 19
Another night of decent sleep does wonders. I commit to taking a nightly shower before bed until this baby is born. I think of it this way: every good night of sleep is like banking energy for the birth. (Let us not speak of the sleepless nights awaiting on the other side of the birth.) Sleep is too precious to be taken lightly. I will do whatever I can to sleep.
Since I'm feeling significantly better, I focus on the boys. Every quiet moment that I have with them becomes precious. Who knows when we will have time like this again? We snuggle more, we read more books than usual. I tell Noah he's lucky because at 6 years of age, he's really going to remember a lot about the new baby and her arrival. I ask him to save all his memories and write a book for Trixie and me. With Mattias, who was My Baby for a solid two years (– I thought there would be no more babies –) I tell him about what an awesome helper he is and how lucky I am to have someone to help me and Trixie. And it's not all talk: at 3 years old, he really can do some helpful stuff. I think about Noah 6 years ago, nursing and nursing away and my glass of water sitting next to me, empty. All I wanted was some more water. Would Noah ever stop nursing so I could please get myself some more water? This time, it will not be a problem: I'll just send Mattias to get me some more water. "Big" kids: they're great.
I have a regularly scheduled appointment with my doctor. I learn that sometimes fetal movement can trigger something like the tightening/contractions I described. My blood pressure is up, but otherwise everything looks fine. More waiting. And I feel okay. A little disappointed to no longer have the anticipatory excitement from Wednesday. But that's okay: if I just stay on this nice little plateau until real labor, I'll be fine.