Yesterday I jinxed myself with a Facebook post.
I’ve often done this. With EC, for example, every time I posted something like “I think my daughter is finally a graduate,” she would immediately pee on the floor. Or if I posted something like, “I think we’ve recovered from the terrible threes,” she would immediately throw one of those tantrums that made me want to lock myself in the closet. Usually she would do this while I was posting, because really, why waste time? My point is that Facebook is dangerous. You think your kids aren’t reading your status, but I’m telling you, they are.
Even the kid who’s still in my belly is reading my Facebook status.
Yesterday I posted that my birth tub had arrived, so this baby could come whenever it pleased.
About an hour later, I started having contractions.
But hold on, family–don’t get excited. I’m pretty sure these aren’t real contractions. At first I thought it was, I really did. Sure, I was only 36 weeks and three days pregnant, but I’ve thought for a while that this baby might come a little early, and anyway, I’ve gained more than enough weight for one pregnancy, so I might as well go ahead and have the baby already. And these things were definitely not Braxton-Hicks. Braxton-Hicks contractions are when just your abdomen tightens, and you hardly notice it, and half the time you have to put your hand on your belly to figure out if it’s really contracting or not. These were completely different. They started in my butt and radiated all around my hips and up to my belly, and–sorry if this is too graphic–but I swear I could feel my cervix dilating. And all I could think was, damn. I totally jinxed myself with that Facebook post.
But hey, I’m calm. I’m a Hypnobabies mom (never mind the fact that I still can’t find my stupid Hypnobabies CDs and haven’t been able to practice at all this pregnancy, which is really annoying because they cost me about $200, and I know I’m going to find them when this baby is three days old. But whatever). I’m aware of my body. I’m in tune. And I don’t need to get excited about early labor. I’ve got plenty of time.
I also didn’t want to do anything that would make my daughter think anything was out of the ordinary, because she’s already asking me every day if the baby is coming yet, and the last thing I need is to have her all excited for nothing. It’s bad enough having my mom all excited for nothing.
But I did text my midwives. Just in case. Because when your midwife lives an hour away, you want don’t want to surprise her with that sort of thing. I told them it probably wasn’t the real thing but I was having semi-regular contractions.
Then I started cleaning, which made me even more suspicious than the contractions. I cleaned the bathroom and washed the bedspread. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did that. By the time my husband got home, it had been about four hours, and neither cleaning nor lying down was making the contractions go away, and I was seriously starting to think this was it. Thirty-six weeks or no.
But I was still cool. I was calm. I was collected. No big deal. No reason to focus on it. We had dinner, and I waited till Anastasia was in bed to say anything to Matt (I still didn’t want to indicate anything unusual to her). His response should be a model for every husband whose wife tells him she might be in labor. “What do you want me to do?” he asked.
“Clean the kitchen,” I said, which was silly since he does that every night. “And maybe fill the birth tub? I don’t know. Should we fill the birth tub?”
“Do we have the faucet adapter for the hose?” was his practical reply.
And then I realized. I really had jinxed myself. Yes, we have the birth tub. But the birth kit is still being shipped. My hose! My faucet adapter! My pump for inflating the tub, and the one for emptying it! None of those things have arrived yet!
Luckily, Matt’s been making lots of evening Home Depot runs lately (having a new house will start that habit). So while I went to bed, he went out for a hose and a faucet adapter. Just in case. Because I am not birthing this baby without a tub. He didn’t set up the tub, though–I was asleep when he got back, and he’s scared the thing is going to get a hole in it and leak all over our floor. Around 1 am I woke up (not surprising, since I’d gone to bed at 8:30), and even though I was still having contractions, I could tell that they weren’t going anywhere. It was weird. They felt exactly like early labor contractions, except–not. Each contraction, by itself, felt exactly the same as the contractions I’d had in early labor with Anastasia. But they weren’t changing. They weren’t going away, but they also weren’t getting any stronger or more regular. They weren’t progressing.
That’s when I remembered the phrase “prodromal labor.” I couldn’t remember exactly what it was, but I had a feeling that might be what was happening. Since I was awake anyway, I did a little googling.
Turns out that prodromal labor, also called pre-labor or–get this–false labor (awesome, right?–there’s a term to increase your confidence!), is pretty common in late pregnancy. And it’s definitely what I’m experiencing. It can be regular contractions that feel just like early labor, and they can even dilate your cervix. The only reason they’re not considered real labor is that they don’t progress continually until the baby is born. They can go on for days and then peter out. They can keep going for weeks–yes, weeks!–and then stop. And really the only way you can tell the difference between prodromal labor and real labor is that with real labor, it keeps going till you have a baby.
And I know I told my midwife that I wanted a long labor–I have this theory that long, slow, gentle labors are easier and less intense–but I meant a day or two, not a month.
Apparently I’m really good at jinxing myself.
So for all the friends and family who read this post: please don’t get excited. This doesn’t mean anything. It could still be six weeks or more before this baby comes.
But I really hope the contractions don’t continue that entire time. I might never post on Facebook again.