I'm really beginning to wonder if I am showing signs of approaching labor. I'm not saying I'm going into labor right at this moment. It's just that I've been noticing some differences in my body and behavior that are pointing towards the possibility that labor is on its way to pay me a visit. So in my curiosity, I started to look up signs and symptoms of approaching labor (again, not signs of labor but signs that its on its way in the coming week or so). I was surprised and a little scared at how many apply to me. Here's what I found:
•Increased vaginal discharge: Usually clear mucous, but sometimes streaked or tinged with brown or pink. This is sometimes referred to as "bloody show". This discharge may appear at the same time that contractions begin or a few days before. Your mucus plug, which has blocked the cervix throughout the pregnancy to protect your baby from infection, may loosen and be expelled. Any amount of vaginal bleeding should be reported to our doctors and nurses at once.
•Engagement: The baby's movement into your pelvis in preparation for birth (also called "lightening" or "the baby dropping"). It can happen anywhere from a few weeks to a few hours before labor begins. You will find that it will be easier to breathe and heartburn may be lessened. But the additional pressure of your baby's head on your bladder may make you need to urinate more frequently.
•Weight Loss: As a result of changes in your hormone levels, you may lose 1 to 3 pounds in the week before labor begins. This is mostly a loss of fluid that has been held in your tissues.
•Backache: Dull, lower backache that may come and go.
•Diarrhea, Indigestion, Nausea and Vomiting: You may experience one or more of these conditions before or at the beginning of labor, often accompanied by cramping. This is just your body's way of responding to the labor process.
•Rupture of the Amniotic Membranes: The breaking of your "bag of water." This may happen several hours before labor begins, but in most cases, the fluid-filled sac that surrounds your baby during pregnancy doesn't rupture until later in the labor process. Discharge may be a continuous trickle or a gush of watery fluid from your vagina. If you are not already in the hospital when you rupture your membranes, notify your provider immediately to describe the time of rupture, the color and amount of fluid.
•Contractions: The most obvious sign of labor, but often confusing because irregular cramps of false labor pains occur. You may have experienced these "Braxton Hicks" or "practice" contractions throughout your pregnancy, but you will notice an increase in frequency and intensity in these last weeks before delivery. Your abdomen may feel like it is tightening or hardening. Some women have compared it to strong menstrual or intestinal cramps.
So far I am having all of these symptoms except for my water breaking and having regular contractions. And I'm not entirely sure if the baby has dropped yet or not. I've had my sneaking suspicion the past week that he has dropped only because the way I'm carrying feels different. It's hard to describe. I don't feel a huge difference, but I'm not sure if I would feel a big difference since I've been carrying low to begin with. But lately I've been feeling more bladder and pelvic pressure, my heartburn has decreased a lot (although it still flares up when I lay down), and I feel like I can take a deep breath without any restriction (but again, I never had too much of a problem with that since I've been carrying low this whole time).
Anyway; as for the other symptoms, I have been feeling them for sure. I have had more discharge lately. I've already dropped a couple pounds in my last few doctor's appointments. I've been getting random backaches, especially when I try to walk around. TMI but I have been having more loose...ahem...movements in the past week. I've been having some more menstrual like cramping at random times, although they aren't terribly strong, just noticeable. And my braxton hicks contractions seem to be getting a bit stronger and happen more often when my husband and I go for our evening walk. In fact, it's come to a point where I will feel my whole stomach go hard as we're walking and I have to stop for a moment until it calms down. Again, any cramping or contractions I have felt have NOT been coming at regular intervals. They just happen randomly from time to time and some days, I don't get them at all. But all of this has me wondering if I'm getting closer to labor than I realize. Maybe there is a good chance I'll go into labor right after the cerclage is removed!
The only other thing that has me a little worried is that, out of nowhere, I was hit with a major nesting urge today! I had set out with the intent on just taking care of the dishes. But instead, I ended up scrubbing down the kitchen from top to bottom! I scrubbed down the counters, including everything on the counters. I cleaned the microwave inside and out. I washed down the stove and even lined the burners with tinfoil to make it look shinier and easier to clean out later. I wiped down the walls and cabinets. And I even got on my hands and knees and scrubbed down the floor! After all that, I moved to the next room, cleaning up the nursery and making sure everything was washed and ready. For some reason, I even felt the need to wash off the window blinds in the baby's room. And all the while I kept thinking "I can't put him into a room with dirty blinds! What kind of example would that set if his room was dirty in any way?"....I know. It's ridiculous! Not only will he not notice because HE'S A BABY, but he's gonna spit up and poop all over it anyway. But nevertheless, I still felt the urge to clean it all. After straightening up the living room and dining room, I finally had to call it quits. I still have a list of things I want to continue to clean, but my energy has been completely zapped from me so the rest will have to wait for another day. But still...nesting?....Isn't that supposed to happen a week or so before a woman goes into labor?! Maybe I'm just feeling it because I know I'm getting my cerclage out next week. So perhaps, in some way, knowing that I could potentially go into labor next week has kick started the nesting urge in me. For all I know, it could still be nearly a month before Andy is actually here. But for now, I keep planning on the earliest day possible. Maybe that's why I have this sense of urgency to get everything ready.
The hardest part is, all I can do is wait. I have no way of knowing when he'll actually be here. So in spite of all my excitement and all my nervousness, I have to wait and see what happens. Although, even if I did know the exact day he would come, I don't think it would help me feel any more or less prepared.