The pressure is mounting, and I mean that literally. Boy am I feeling some pressure lately! The contractions continue to be frequent all day and all night. I feel like I've been in labor for four months now. Exhausting! Tomorrow, Wednesday, I get to stop taking the medications which have slowed down and weakened the contractions. And then we get to wait and see what happens. I am 35 weeks tomorrow and Dr. B would not go to any great lengths to stop labor at this point. I've fought this preterm labor jive long and hard, and I hope Charlotte holds on until at least 36 weeks but its now time to set the contractions free and see what progress occurs.
As of last week I was 50% effaced and not yet dilated. I would have to guess that things have changed this week. I have been taking my meds around the clock and it has been somewhat effective. But the contractions have not stopped over the past 3 weeks as they had about 4 weeks ago when I actually experienced a bit of relief. The contractions have noticeably picked up and are steady. Last night I had them every 10-12 minutes for 3 hours before they tapered off and I was then able to sleep...after 3 a.m. Like I said - exhausting!
Preterm labor is physically and mentally exhausting. As the word denotes, "labor" is just that. As the contractions get closer, like every 10 minutes, I begin getting hot and sometimes sweat as if I'm doing a workout even when I'm relaxing in bed. My body gets tired and some of my muscles get weak and sore. I notice my upper leg muscles begin to weaken and get shaky making it difficult to stand for a period of time. My back aches and my neck muscles get tense from the stress.
When I was first diagnosed with preterm labor around 22 weeks, each contraction was scary. I knew the baby's chance of survival would be slim. When I hit 30 weeks I was more at ease but still concerned about her being born too early. And now here I am at 35 weeks. I've been given permission to stop taking medication, but I've had a difficult time relaxing because I'm still trying to accept the fact that the contractions are now okay. Contractions like this, and being 50% effaced, are somewhat normal at 35 weeks. So now I'm trying to breath and relax through each one, remembering that it is good, important, and necessary. This week I've found myself trying to be more busy so that I'm not focused on each labor pain. Again, it is so mentally taxing. And then I wonder if I'll notice when it's time to head to the hospital. My biggest clue would be my water breaking. But as for these contractions, they have made themselves so much at home with me that I'm not sure I'll even notice when they pick up. Dr. B would have me call him when they get 5 minutes apart. I've learned to hate clocks! I've spent way too many hours the past four months checking the clock and wondering if today would be the day. Tonight and tomorrow, and possibly the next few weeks will be more of the same -- waiting, wondering, checking the clock.
Beautiful But Broken
4 days ago