Monday, May 20, 2013

"Some of the Pregancy Stories" Part 2 (or: "Braxton Hicks. I had them.")

So, Pamela Ribon's story was funny and great, but yes, every woman is different. I'll attempt to explain my experience.

I had Braxton Hicks for quite a while without realizing it. For a long time I thought it felt like the baby was pushing outward. Like her little self was turning around in my womb and midway through her turn her head or feet would be sticking out my front and her feet or head would be at my spine.

"Contraction" makes you think of something getting smaller, that's part of the trouble. Unless you're talking a material that's very porous, like a piece of cloth, if you squeeze it one way it will expand another way. Muscles, particularly. Flex a muscle, and it sticks out. The uterus is like that, too. Huh. Sometimes, if I'd pull my shirt up a bit, you could actually see the uterus all flexed and "contracted," sticking out of my belly. So weird.

The other thing about Braxton Hicks is that it often won't be the whole uterus. They're little practice contractions, and they'll just flex one spot or another. Generally, for me, it did seem to be around where the baby was or at least where the baby was moving a lot -- for example, if she was doing a lot of rib kicking, the contraction would be up by my ribs. And push the ribs outward. And hurt.

They almost always flexed around my belly button, too, so when they didn't hurt, when unsure of whether or not I was actually having a contraction, I'd touch my belly button area to see if it was rock solid, and that helped me time the BH contractions when I needed to keep track.

Actually, I'd do that even when they did hurt, because sometimes my ribs would just hurt for like twenty minutes straight, and I was pretty sure I wasn't having a contraction for twenty minutes straight even if I was having one right after another after another, so checking to see if I'd turned into a rock helped me more or less sort out where one ended and the next began.

I mean, on the scale of pain that includes actual childbirth, Braxton Hicks contractions pushing your ribs out doesn't hurt. But we don't use that scale, because then nothing hurts, and it's just really not a helpful scale. Unless you want to talk about childbirth. If you want to talk about anything else (okay, except kidney stones, and quite possibly amputations or something), that scale is completely, one hundred per cent useless.

So. On the sane scale, little tiny contractions pushing your ribs out can hurt. Sometimes it's just a little uncomfortable, but sometimes it's like, as I posted before, your baby thinks it's a good idea to tunnel out through your ribs, and OW.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, Braxton Hicks. I had them.

Once I noticed that I had them, and confirmed with my OB/GYN that that's what they were, she asked if they were in a pattern. I didn't think so, but since I hadn't known what they were, that wasn't exactly something I'd paid a ton of attention to.

So I started paying attention. I started noticing they kind of happened pretty frequently, so I started writing down when I had them, to see if there was a pattern. At first there wasn't. And though I had them a lot, all day every day, I think I didn't have more than four in an hour, which was the most conservative warning sign I'd been told to watch for.

(Though knowing me, if I surpassed the most conservative sign I would then hem and haw and watch it and make sure I didn't reach the more extreme signs too, before contacting any medical help.)

(Also, for perspective, I seem to remember reading about some women talking about noticing Braxton Hicks, like a couple contractions every day. A couple a day? You have got to be kidding me.)

Then I went to a Brent Weeks signing in San Diego. Not only was that great fun, it's also more or less when the real "fun" began! Well, the next day, anyway. I think the signing might warrant a post of its own, in fact. Sure! Why not?

To be continued!

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