Dr. Braxton Hicks, I Presume
February 10, 2012
© Ashley Fraxedas
25w5d- Thank you, Dr. Hicks, for putting a name to what can only be described as my uterus being vacuum-sealed. I woke up in the middle of the night (a whole other blog-post-worthy topic), and in my groggy, half-dreaming state, felt like I could feel the entire outline of my baby. I left my hands on my stomach for a few seconds and eventually, everything loosened up to its normal state. Then I passed back out.
The next morning, I called my doctor and spoke to the nurse. I thought she was going to say, “Since you have a posterior placenta, you can feel the baby a lot. When you get in certain positions, she comes to the top more. “ But, she said it’s probably Braxton Hicks contractions. Huh? Aren’t those supposed to happen when you’re just a few days from giving birth? She seemed very unalarmed by my call and the description of my symptom, which is always reassuring. (Much better than the, “Have you been to the hospital yet?” greeting I got at 11 weeks with my eczema outbreak.)
Nurse: “It’s just the tightening of your uterus. They can be very painful and uncomfortable.”
Me: Yeah, yeah. It doesn’t hurt, but, I mean… Does the baby have enough room?! Is it squeezing her too much?!
Nurse: “You’d be surprised how they fit in there. She’s fine.”
Naturally, I got off the phone and started Googling. Turns out, Braxton Hicks are fairly common and you can have them your entire pregnancy. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I have had them since very early in my pregnancy. Every once in a while, my stomach gets super tight, something I romantically attributed to my baby getting to know the lay of the uterus land. My husband also did some research and found that they can actually be a good thing — as long as they are infrequent and don't cause too much pain. "Think of them as muscle memory. During childbirth, your body isn't as shocked because it has felt this (in very minor ways) before. Kind of like your uterus running a 5k before the marathon." I love Jason's anologies.
Anything that is preparing my body for childbirth is cool with me. Bring it on. But if you’re uncomfortably forcing my little girl into too small of quarters, we’re not friends, Dr. Hicks. Let her grow in peace! She’s working so hard!
Did you have (or are you currently having) Braxton Hicks contractions? What has your doctor told you about them?