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Old 02-13-2011, 01:24 PM   #2
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Re: Contractions? And Q's for Preemie Moms..

Yes, definitely rest, rest, rest, as much as you possibly can, stay well hydrated and if you have the time, when you're experiencing these contractions grab a pen and paper and just keep a little record of them. You might start to see a pattern you never realized was there before.

I want to reassure you but I have to tell you, I am one of those preemie mom's who never knew she was in real labor until it was kinda too late.

I had my first one at 36 weeks, what they consider a later-term preemie. I had the same kind of contractions you describe, but no real pattern. Their only concern was my cervix had begun to prematurely shorten/efface, and by the time the contractions became regular I was 35 weeks and they sent me straight to bed. His lungs were not mature yet. They checked me at my 36 week appointment and I was already dilated to a little more than 3cm, 90% effaced, and his head was pressing into the cervix. Nine hours later, he was born.

My second one was the only one considered "term" - she arrived at 37 weeks.

And my third one came at 33 weeks. I had four weeks of constant contractions and back pain. They never took me seriously because the contractions were not consistent, such as every ten minutes or what have you. But they came hourly. This is what I always tell mom's who are worried about preterm labor now... The uterus doesn't have a stopwatch! Sometimes it doesn't have to undergo regular, timed contractions for labor to begin. The doctors kept insisting to me, in all their wisdom, that I was just "overreacting" and needed to "hydrate more" even though I drank juice and water every couple hours and a gallon of milk every other day in an attempt to stave off these contractions. It didn't work. All I heard was "those aren't regular so..." or "Well... see, we'd be concerned if they were coming every five or ten minutes but they're pretty erratic, so..." I couldn't believe they just kept brushing me off, just because the contractions were sporadic - they came night and day, I knew something was wrong! I had to check into the hospital because an illness I had been fighting (sinus infection) caused blood sugar issues (I'm Type 1 diabetic), and I begged the nurse to have someone check me. I didn't think I was actually about to deliver this child, but I knew something was happening kwim? She brushed me off too. When the night shift nurse came in to introduce herself, I stopped her short and just begged, begged, begged for a doctor to come in and just check me. She listened, thankfully. I was already 6cm dilated at that point and the contractions were finally "regular" after that. Labor lasted another two hours, fifty four minutes.

They gave me a shot to try to stop labor, didn't work. Gave me a steroid shot for her lungs once they realized oopsie, we waited too long and now the baby's coming no matter what, but she was born less than an hour later so it only got into my system, not hers. She had to have a lot of oxygen in the first couple of weeks.

I think the reason I didn't realize I was in labor was because I kept being fed this info that the contractions had to be regular to mean anything (false - if they're painful or constant or even just frequent, stay on top of it and get checked out!) and also being fed the myth that labor is so horribly, terribly painful (for some women, it's not - I experienced Pitocin contractions with my first two and yes, that was horrifically painful but natural labor pains compared to that, didn't seem so bad at all and I was about 9cm dilated yet completely coherent, didn't feel the need to get an epi, etc).

Just continue to be very aware of what your body is telling you, and like I said, keep a little record book of the contractions just in case. Be sure to seek help immediately if you just aren't sure about something - if you are concerned about these contractions or another symptom, but don't know if this is truly labor or not, for instance. Good luck to you, mama! Hang in there, I hope all goes well.
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