This week I’ve been experiencing whole new phenomena in pregnancy weirdness. The Braxton-Hicks contractions. Totally normal in any pregnancy and especially with multiples. No pain or regularity and no cause for alarm. Bizarre and novel and interesting, but I’m seriously not worried about it.
They started last Sunday. I was carrying a small box of dishes into our new house when I felt the first one. (And after about thirty different people warned me not to overdo it while moving! Shame on me! [Sarcasm.]) It does seem like most of them are linked to physical activity – but it doesn’t have to be strenuous activity. I had one yesterday when I heaved myself over in the bed to hit snooze on the alarm clock. Mostly it will happen when standing up suddenly, or walking for several minutes, or cleaning. That sort of thing. Which isn’t to suggest that every time I engage in one of these activities I have a contraction, because honestly I think the ‘worst’ day so far I might have noticed a total of six of them. I was planning to keep a log today, but I haven’t felt a single one yet this morning… Anyway I don’t think it’s time to sound the bed rest alarm just yet.
The only slightly worrisome thing to me is how suddenly they started. What’s up with that? Hadn’t felt a single one and then WHAM!, several times a day. But maybe that’s normal? I haven’t found any information on that specifically. Other than the slight physical strain of moving, which is basically over now, the only thing I can think of to explain it is a possible uterine growth spurt. The scale says I’ve already gained my 3 lbs for the week, and I still have two more days to go. Yikes.
I know the big question is, what do Braxton-Hicks contractions feel like? Well, I’ll tell you. Like I said before, they are not painful. The muscles of my uterus seize up, just like during an orgasm, except my uterus is huge now so it’s magnified. They typically last about a minute or so. The sensation has been slightly different at different times: usually either the cliche, a tight band across my stomach, or a sensation of heaviness like “Ugh, I ate way too many pancakes.” I can feel how hard it is from the outside if I put my hand to my stomach. It feels completely unnatural, sometimes the entire thing and sometimes just one smaller area. (By the way, yes, I can feel an orgasm’s tightness from the outside now, too.) So, I feel a little twinge of pressure start up, I push on my belly, and I go yep, that’s a contraction. If Hubs is around, I’ll announce it to him, and I made him feel a couple of them. Because they are weird.
A few times, in the last several days, I’ve felt a little twinge and thought there was one starting, but then my stomach didn’t feel all rigid and the sensation stopped within seconds. I am starting to think this might be babies moving? But I don’t know. It’s different than I expected fetal movement to feel.
I do not want to post about the BH contractions on my for-family blog, because I anticipate it will cause a stir of nagging comments and emails that I am not prepared to deal with. It won’t matter how much I emphasize that these are normal. Every one of my aunts will demand I talk to a doctor immediately. I will mention it to my doctor, but I don’t really see any reason to do so before my already scheduled appointment in a week and a half. Therefore I think I will censor this development from the other blog until after I have the official reassurance from her to back me up. Ugh. Keeping a blog explicitly for family is a pain. It can be much more stressful than some silly little uterus practice exercises.