Today I’m writing about something that I didn’t realize existed until this weekend: an irritable uterus. No, I didn’t make that up.
Update on Me (36ish Weeks Pregnant)
Brief backstory: I am on my third pregnancy. With each of my first two babies, my water broke at home 3ish weeks before my due date. I wasn’t having any contractions either time. But we called up my doctor and were told to head to the hospital, and both times I was admitted right away once rupture of membranes was confirmed. After waiting 2 hours for labor to start on its own (which it didn’t) I was put on Pitocin. Both times I opted for an epidural once I was dilated to about a 5. And both times, within a few hours, I was holding a healthy baby girl.
So here I am on my THIRD baby with zero idea what really going into labor is going to feel like. I’m TERRIFIED of not making it to the hospital in time and having my baby delivered in the passenger seat of my car.
Back at the end of August, when I was 34 weeks to the day, I started having regular tightening that I was pretty sure were contractions. I’d been having one or two of those a day for the past month or more, so I wasn’t too concerned. I went grocery shopping and started feeling more and more of them. None were excruciatingly painful by any means, but a few were uncomfortable to walk through (like really bad period cramps). I got myself home and got in bed with a big bottle of water, but even then, the contractions kept coming until they were about six minutes apart. So we decided we’d better get to the hospital.
We went up to L&D where I was hooked up to a monitor to see what my contractions were doing. Sure enough, I was having some, but they were little and fizzled in regularity as time went on. I was sent home (which was great—I didn’t want my baby to come at 34 weeks if I could help it). The phrase the nurse used was that my uterus was “irritated,” and I was told to stay hydrated and take it easy. As it happens, I was dilated to a 2, but the L&D nurse didn’t seem worried about that either, since apparently that’s not unusual for someone who has already had several babies.
So I’ve been chugging water diligently since that false-alarm visit and have scaled down my workouts. I’ve been attacking an adult coloring book and a biography of of Alexander Hamilton as projects that will keep me off my feet. I’m doing everything “right.” Yet I still have these mild contractions, sometimes as often as every 5 minutes, and sometimes for hours straight, regardless of what I’m doing.
What Is an Irritable Uterus?
I did a bunch of Googling (probably a bad idea, but what pregnant woman doesn’t?) and found that lots of other women out there are told they have an “irritable uterus” too. Blogs and message boards are FULL of women whose experiences sound similar to mine: frequent, uncomfortable but not usually painful contractions that just don’t let up, EVER. Here’s a more authoritative take on it, but really, I didn’t find much that looked like it was from a legit medical authority. I’m glad I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow so I can talk to my OB about it.
I’ve started just trying to ignore the contractions. At this point I know that I don’t need to run to the hospital for something that’s been going on for weeks and doing nothing. But I hate that I have the occasional ish-painful contraction that both gets my hopes up AND stresses me out. I’m 35 weeks 5 days today, which I know is earlier than ideal for my Scarlett to come. But still, I’m getting big and heartburn-y and tired of being pregnant, and getting SO excited to snuggle a little baby. And I know that though Scarlett really ought to stay put for another 2–3 weeks at least, she’d probably be fine if she came now . . . and that train of thinking gets me so impatient and bummed that I just have to pull out my coloring book and will myself to do anything but fantasize about cuddling a newborn (or envision a horrifying scene of Mark delivering my baby in the passenger seat of our Accord on the shoulder of the freeway).
Irritable. To heck with my uterus being irritable: I’M irritable! And uncomfortable. And confused. And paranoid. And cranky. Really, I just want Scarlett to be born healthy, when the time is right, and in the hospital. I’m sure all those things will happen, but it’s still hard not to worry.
Have any of you been told you have an irritable uterus? Was there anything you did that helped it calm down? Or at least, that helped YOU calm down?