Tonight I tried to go to the gym again. I decided that I would walk far less than I did last time. Instead of a half hour, I only did 15 minutes on the treadmill, then tried five minutes on the elliptical to see if the less jarring motion would feel better than walking. Alas, it didn't go very well. I mean, I got through it, but even those 15 minutes were a challenge. It's not that I get tired, it's just that I end up with a lot of pressure in my belly and sensations "down under" that make me worry that I'm already starting to dilate. I remember feeling these sensations around the eight month mark last time, after I had stopped my formal workouts and was trying to do neighborhood walks on lovely May and June evenings. I'm only at seven months right now, which is obviously far too early. I'm not going to lie--I'm nervous. I've been walking around gingerly (and even driving slower) all night, like doing that is going to make a difference.
I don't really have many of the traditional causes or symptoms of premature labor, but I suppose every pregnancy is different. Lately I have been having some lower back pain while sitting at work, which is a symptom, but that's common with pregnancy anyway, so it's hard to know if it means anything. The pressure I had today while walking was a little disconcerting, but I don't know if the hardness in my belly is just where the baby happens to be sitting, or if it's a contraction. I don't know what normal contractions really feel like because last time around I had to be induced and my contractions all showed up as back labor, which just felt like really bad cramps. When I went to the doctor the morning before I delivered, I was apparently having contractions, but I couldn't feel them. So, suffice it to say that I'm a little confused by the concept.
I always feel like I have to pee, and it doesn't help when the baby randomly kicks my bladder or seems to be pawing around in the general location of what feels like my cervix. Last night I woke up at 2am with intense pain on my left side under my belly. While I didn't think it felt like round ligament pain at the time, in retrospect I think it probably was. I had a few bouts of that last time, and it was pretty much the same process--wake up in pain, get up to go to the bathroom, hang out for a few minutes until the worst of the pain subsides, then find a new position with the belly supported and hope to get back to sleep. I don't think it indicates anything other than the fact that I'm growing, but if I'm mistaking premature labor for it, that's a problem.
I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday, and I'm actually going to try to convince them to do an internal exam to see if I happen to be dilating. I know tonight may just be one bad night, but the fact that I've been feeling a lot more uncomfortable so much earlier than last time really bothers me. I'd like some encouragement that things are really okay, or at worst, some confirmation that I need to get all my ducks in a row ASAP because things are happening.
If something is happening, there are about a million bad things about that. First and foremost would be the baby's health. The next thing that comes to mind is that we'd be dealing with yet another extended hospital stay, which was one of the things I really wanted to avoid this time. I still feel cheated that we didn't have a comfortable, quiet first week at home with Jacob. Instead, we spent those early days sharing duties with nurses, nursing in an uncomfortable chair behind a curtain, spending long hours at the hospital, and missing out on opportunities for catnaps. We missed out on peaceful photo ops and it felt like it took so much longer to get to know Jacob because we couldn't spend 24 hours with him in a comfortable environment. I really wanted a "normal" experience with this one.
Next on my mind is all that needs to be done before this baby comes--the complex things I need to train our assistant on at work, painting the baby's room and getting the crib back to the right height, bringing up all of the baby stuff and getting it washed and stored, and filling out my disability paperwork. Heck, my Christmas tree is still up and we still have that tiny detail of needing to pick out a name. I haven't even begun to think about packing a hospital bag, either. My nursing bras haven't been washed and we have all of a couple newborn size diapers (free samples) in the house.
Finally, I'd be sad to miss out on such a large chunk of pregnancy. Ten days was enough to miss out on last time. I really wanted to savor these last couple months, both since it's our last bit of time alone with Jacob as a family of three, and because I'll probably never have this experience of being pregnant again. Jacob really hasn't been that into my belly, and I was hoping to get pictures of my giant belly, including with him interacting with it, before this unique opportunity is over. There was so much I wanted to cram into these last couple months, and now I'm not so sure I'll have the chance. And given the fact that this is probably the last time I'll be pregnant, I don't want to leave anything on the table. I want no regrets to tempt me to do this again because a third kid seems like an extra bad idea after a rough-ish pregnancy and with the complications of going beyond the society-friendly family of four.
Of course, maybe it's just all in my head. Maybe it's just a bad night and a little bad luck that this pregnancy's been harder. I probably won't know anything until Thursday morning, and that can't come soon enough. I'll be praying and laying down a lot in the meantime...