Lately I’m finding myself doing something I swore I wouldn’t do: wishing the pregnancy away.
Let me explain.
This pregnancy overall has been pretty smooth sailing. But sometime around 22 weeks we had our first scare when I began having more than 6 Braxton Hicks over a period of 2 hours. Not one to want to take chances we called the on call doc and went to be monitored at the hospital. Thankfully, everything turned out to be fine and they were explained away by the doc at the hospital as a result of some recent dancing activity. But they continued through the week and made me a nervous wreck.
Stupidly, I consulted Dr. Google.
Braxton Hicks are defined by most as “practice contractions” and some claim its actually good toning for the uterus when it comes to preparing for real labor. The problem to me was the frequency with which they were happening and the fact that a twin pregnancy in and of itself is more risky. The difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions are the fact that Braxton Hicks are irregular, inconsistent and do not cause any cervical changes. They can be brought on by just about anything, and for me that’s really the case: standing up, bending, a full bladder, gas, changing positions, etc. It isn’t consistent, though. Sometimes I can get up and down half a dozen times and not get any. Sometimes I can get up and down half a dozen times and get 3-4. On bad days I can still get 3-4 lying down. The problem, though, was not Googling Braxton Hicks but premature labor stories.
A week later we were in the hospital again when I started having moderate cramping on top of the Braxton Hicks. After hearing at least two stories of pre term labor starting with cramping I called the docs office after 15 minutes. We were monitored again, and, thankfully everything is fine. Dancing was blamed again and we’ve since been benched. I’ve had 4 cervical checks either manually or via ultrasound to confirm that we are not seeing any cervical change.
Its started leaving me on edge. I’m spending every day monitoring them and counting them. Because twin pregnancies are at a higher risk of preterm labor in general, I’m watching out for the symptoms that I have ingrained in my brain like a hawk. Analyzing every twinge and discomfort.
I realize, mind you, that there are plenty of pregnant women, whether after infertility or not, that have been through much worse. I also know a few people who shared their stories that they, too, had a ton of Braxton Hicks and still delivered full term. This complication makes me no less thankful to be pregnant. I’m wishing it away only because I’m worried about the babies making it to a “safe time” before coming into the world. My doctors seem to agree that as long as they aren’t causing any issues that I can continue about my activity to a point, which makes sense to me. Laying in bed would likely only cause more incessant Googling – at least at work I can keep my mind busy.
When we decided to transfer two embryos we were warned a twin pregnancy meant higher risks. I got that, to a point. But I felt that even though I am a small person, I have a strong body. I was in excellent shape and had no reason to believe I couldn’t carry a pregnancy – singleton or twin, to term or almost term.
People say you should trust your instincts. I am a skeptical person by nature but really believe this to be true. I give advice to trust your gut constantly. The problem is that I’m very hesitant to do so myself. Having this “waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality is afraid for my instinct to be wrong, because that would throw that whole theory out the window – at least in my brain. Even sharing my feeling on the whole thing makes me nervous that I’ll somehow curse it, which is really nothing but ridiculous. Whether or not these babies make it close to term before delivering has nothing to do with my decision to share my instinct.
I’ve not been pregnant before, but I do know my body. I’m not one to take chances particularly after all we’ve been through to get here, and I know this. I proved that I think after calling the doc following 15 minutes of cramping. I’ve limited my activity and am resting more. I’ve basically cut out exercise. If I continue to listen to my body, my instinct says we will be ok. Anxiety and stress can actually cause more BH, and that is something that I do not need. It’s time to change my mentality to one of worry to one where I simply focus on what my body is telling me and following its cues. I’ve done this through two marathons, I can do it through the rest of the pregnancy. I’ve not been through pre term labor before but I know when something doesn’t feel right. I know that its better to be safe than sorry and that if something red flags in my brain I’ll be on the phone with the doctors office.
I have control only over my response, reaction and activity level. The rest is out of my control. I’m gonna be going into motherhood with limited knowledge and limited experience. I have to trust myself then, I need to trust myself now. I need to take the rest of the pregnancy day by day and make the call to make some changes if something doesn’t feel right. All I can do is the best I can do with what I know.
My babies need a calm momma. And I need to give that to them.