LeRoy asked an innocent question in the comments on my last post: When do women begin having Braxton-Hicks contractions and have I felt any?
That’s possibly the most loaded question one could have about pregnancy and me. I started to respond in the comments but it became really long.
A uterus contracts a lot. Pregnant or not pregnant. According to Dr. K, a smaller waisted pregnant woman feels them earlier and more often. She said she would expect me to feel a lot (and that she would expect it to scare me). Women often feel more and earlier in subsequent pregnancies. Same with another pregnancy symptom, round ligament pain. The books say to expect round ligament pain to be at its worst at 16-20 weeks, and B-H contractions to appear after 20-24.
In my last pregnancy, I began having what Dr. M decided was round ligament pain at 14 weeks. I began having what he called B-H contractions at 17, they became regular at 19 weeks. According to most doctors’ experience, both things, the contractions and the pain should be worse for me this time around.
And yet, so far, at 18 weeks, I feel what might be a B-H contraction at most three times a day but the whole uterus never tightens, just an area of it. Dr. K said that probably means the baby’s hanging out in that spot. At this point last time I was making terrified calls to the doctor’s office. At 19 weeks there were at least 3 an hour. And I have what I could call stiffness in my hip joints, but no pain that’s even close to what I had last time that was dismissed as round ligament pain.
So, was I having B-H contractions or real ones last time? Was my pain normal or abnormal? In retrospect it’s all clearly abnormal, but all I knew last time was that pregnancy wasn’t supposed to be comfortable and I wasn’t.
I don’t need to hear again, though, how Dr. M’s practice was negligent. I suppose in the larger scheme of things, it was more likely that I was just complaining than that I was in pre-term labor. It just happened not to be that way with me, at that time.