I'm feeling really really grateful to be past 28 weeks and into the third trimester. I never really got that "second trimester boost" that some moms talk about with pregnancy where the second trimester just gives them energy and they don't feel sick and they feel like they're glowing. For me it was filled with lots of painful and intense contractions, a bladder infection, severe back pain (the combination of both, I think), and residual sporadic nausea and vomiting. The third trimester has already felt a little better for me because I FINALLY got a doctor to listen to me about the contractions (the fact that they aren't normal, I mean) so they tested me for infections and once I took antibiotics, they became significantly less painful, which has been such a relief.
I still contract every day sometimes up to 10 times in an hour and I have to stop and breathe through them or do my relaxation techniques to manage the pressure and discomfort, and they're getting more intense as the weeks go on, but at least now I know what's going on so there's less emotional anxiety around it. I have what they call an irritable uterus, haha. Yes, you read that right--an irritable uterus. Our birth class instructor thinks I should reframe it in my mind to "ambitious" or "eager" uterus just so I can enjoy them instead of dreading them, but I don't know, "irritable" seems to capture the sensation best. It just feels like my uterus is mad at me so it's going to put me through labor pains for 7 months instead of just 1. During the second trimester I was anxious all the time about going into premature labor because everything online said that if I was contracting more than 4 times in an hour (please...more like, when have I NOT contracted 4 times in an hour), if it was causing back pain, and if it was regular and didn't go away with lying down it was probably changing my cervix. So that's the difference between an irritable uterus and normal Braxton-Hicks, apparently. The irritable uterus contractions feel a LOT like active labor, and you can't do anything to slow them down really, but they don't affect your cervix (thank goodness), whereas Braxton-Hicks are usually a different, slightly more comfortable sensation than active labor contractions, and they'll generally calm down if you change positions, while still not affecting your cervix.
We still check my cervix and everything at every appt. just to be sure it's closed and not headed for labor and we've done the test to be sure my membranes are still in-tact a few times, which has helped my anxiety disappear almost completely, but every once in a while when I have a night where I'm waking up every hour or so with strong contractions I get nervous again that I could be going into labor. But I never do, I just contract and contract and contract, so at this point, I guess we'll just wait until I feel the urge to push or my water breaks before we head to the hospital! Apparently a lot of women with irritable uterus' accidentally don't make it to the hospital just because they can't tell the difference between their contractions and it's not until they're basically pushing that they realize they've been actively laboring in the last day or so. I'm hoping that's not the case for me, but I could see how that could happen really easily...luckily our hospital is literally 5 minutes away if something like that were to happen. And also luckily, anyone who knows me knows I'm incredibly hyperaware of any and all new symptoms (understatement of the century) so I really doubt I'll miss the signs of active labor with my first baby...
I have been really grateful for the hypnobirthing prep we've been doing, though, because, I've needed to use the meditations and relaxations to get through these contractions (sorry..."expansion waves"...) already and it's helped me understand physiologically what's going on inside of me a lot better, which always lowers my anxiety. We finished our last class last night and Dave and I are both feeling really excited to try an unmedicated birth at the hospital. I've loved how much the class involved the birth partners and worked on what you can do as a couple to cope with the long labor process together and the inevitable bumps in the road. We found an amazing instructor who is very Type A personality, very pro modern medicine, and all about empowerment in the birth process rather than having to birth a certain way or avoiding certain interventions. So we've left feeling that it would be awesome if we could do it totally unmedicated, and if we decide that that's not the right thing for me in the moment, then that's awesome I have other pain relief options I can choose to use, but I do know that unmedicated birthers tend to recover significantly faster and that's important to me as school starts about a week after this little guy is supposed to make his arrival...so wish us luck please!
I think the only other thing of note about the pregnancy is that I failed my first gestational diabetes test so I had to do the 3-hour fasting one at the office yesterday and should get my results tomorrow. I'm praying I don't have it and the first test was just messed up because I had eaten something sugary beforehand (my bad...won't do that next time). But honestly, if I do have it, that would probably be the best thing to ever happen to this baby because I'd be forced to cut back on indulging my candy cravings and start eating mostly vegetables, protein, and some fruit. That would only do good things for both of us I'm sure, I just would rather not feel forced into that diet if I didn't have to be.
Sorry this was just all details on the pregnancy--most of this is just for me so I remember what's happening right now, but if you got to the end, congratulations, thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll write another post soon about our actual lives outside of pregnancy since there's been a lot going on there too! But for now...here's a bump picture to enjoy :)