It has been a frightening sort of week. Last week I began to feel 'stretching pains', as the midwife fondly calls them. They weren't excruciating, just very uncomfortable, little stabbing pains that moved from the top of my abdomen all the way down into my vagina and rectum. They made it hard to concentrate and work, and hard to stand up straight, but I knew they wouldn't be the end of me.

By early this week they had lightened up enough to only feel like a tummy ache, as though I had just eaten Thanksgiving dinner and my body was working to make room for all that food...except it isn't dinner, it's a baby, and the space needed isn't so temporary that I will find relief any time soon. So, I decided to accept this new stage, this new discomfort, just be thankful that it isn't serious, and try my best to cope with it.

Despite my hope that T2 would bring a burst of energy and the ability to function normally for the next few months, I have instead, reclaimed my post on the couch. Midweek however, I did have a good day and was bouncing a long, singing my song, so happy to be feeling so alive and full of energy. I had a hard day at work, that left me feeling pretty accomplished and when I made it home, I took Dexter for a nice walk around downtown where we live. I picked up the apartment some, did a little laundry, and read a good portion of a book I had been trying to finish.

Colin came home from an evening bike ride and made dinner. I normally don't eat in the evenings, but I was feeling so good that I had to sample the rice and veggies he was cooking up. We spent some time together before I retired to bed around 10:00, Colin saying he would stay up a bit longer to watch the news before joining me. I must have been asleep about 2 hours when I woke up with a jolt of pain.

Colin thought I was having a nightmare (as I am prone to do) because I was moaning in my sleep right before I woke up, and he was rubbing my shoulder, telling me everything was okay. I gasped with a sharp pain that took my breath away, and rolled myself up onto all fours. The first thing that came into my mind was that I was in labor and the thought scared me almost more than the pain. I felt as though my entire stomach was seizing up into a tight ball, radiating pain into my thighs and up into my chest.

I thought of the story my mom had told me about when she went into labor with me. How she woke up in the middle of the night and fell out of bed with a huge painful contraction and yelled to my Dad "I don't want to do this again!" She had skipped early labor and gone right into active/transition.

By this point Colin realized I wasn't dreaming and sat up next to me, bewildered as to what was going on or what he should do. I knew I was about to be sick and managed to tell him "bathroom" as I slid out of bed sideways and half walked, half crawled into the other room. For some reason I didn't want him following me in, so I shut the door, locked it and flipped on the light switch as I crawled to the toilet. I kept thinking, "Am I in labor? I can't be in labor! What is this PAIN?!" I started sweating and rocking back and forth with the pain of what I can only describe as a huge, excruciating contraction. Right after the peak of each pain, I would vomit and then have a second or two to breath before the next pain came. I was shaking so terribly that I could hardly sit up.

I guess Colin couldn't stand being locked out, so next thing I know he has tripped the lock on the bathroom door and is standing worriedly beside me. I am staring into the big white porcelain toilet boil and wonder if this is as bad as labor is. I mean, I can stand the thought of pain, I know natural birth will hurt, but I wonder if my body will be able to handle it without becoming so sick. I wonder if I will be weak and delirious and puking and light headed, or if this is something entirely separate. If I can't handle whatever 'this' is, how will I handle labor and delivery? Have I been naive to think I was so strong? Up until this point I have been determined that I will handle birth with no medicine, I kept telling myself that I will be strong enough, that my body was made to do this, that I will have everyone supporting me, I was even excited and looking forward to the chance to prove myself as thousands of other mothers have... but at this point I begin to cry, scared that this is a glimpse into my future, that I am somehow weaker, that my body is somehow defective, and that I alone cannot handle pain.

I am forced back to the present reality when a new set of clutching pains hit me, this time feeling that I need to scoot my booty onto the toilet and yelling for Colin to hurry and get a bowl for me to throw up in. I can't believe how quickly this is hitting me and I keep wondering if we should call someone. I keep wanting to ask Colin to call my parents, tell them to pray, but I am thinking that I also don't want to seem dramatic, and I don't want to scare them unnecessarily. I check myself with a little bit of toilet paper, to make sure I am not bleeding, and I am so relieved that I am not. I know if I were, then I would definitely need to head to the ER, but I think now that maybe it is food poisoning or the normal harmless abdominal stretching. If that is what this is, I wish desperately that someone had warned me.

I keep wondering if woman go into labor at 14 weeks, if I am miscarrying but I stop thinking about it as it scares me so.

The coping methods I have read about in the labor/delivery books come into my head, and I begin trying to breath deeply, try to visualize, try to hum or imagine 'riding the top of the wave'. But in the middle of the pain I just feel swallowed and I scream and grunt and cry. As much pain as I was in, I knew I couldn't call the midwife or the hospital, too afraid that I would end up in the ER, the pain would leave and they would all conclude that I am just psychotically dramatic and unusually wimpy.

A break in the vomiting and diarrhea comes and I try to clean up a little and Colin makes a pallet in our walk-in closet adjacent to the bathroom. I rock back and forth on all fours and he rubs my back, asking what I ate that day and telling me how sorry he is for me. I know if this doesn't stop in the next few hours, or if it gets any worse, I won't be able to keep from going to the hospital.

The pains with the vomiting, diarrhea, sweats and shakes seemed to be coming in intervals with no specific amount of time in between. Several times I thought the worst of it was over, and attempted to rest in bed, when another round would return. It was a few hours before I finally fell asleep and slept through most of the night. I didn't call the midwife, since I have an appt next week, but when I do go, I think I'll have them check to make sure I'm not dilated and ask them if this sounds like something pregnancy related, or just a case of food poisoning or the flu. I think about the possibility that this may happen again, or become a regular occurrence and I really don't think I can handle it. I have a whole new fear of birth that wasn't there before and I wonder how much more painful it is compared to what I went through the other night. I have had cramps since, but nothing as bad as all that.

This weekend I plan to rest plenty and that is about all. I was just regaining my appetite after months of morning sickness, but since the incident I haven't been hungry much, and I hope that is something that will subside soon.

Prayers for the midwife appointment next week, I am hoping they will have some answers or good news or something that makes all this discomfort seem worth while. I know there will be a little person who I love more than anything at the end of all this, but right now, that seems so very far


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