Sometimes going into labor is unambiguous: contractions start, then get stronger and closer together, then you have a baby.
But more often, it goes a different way. I spent five hours yesterday having fairly regular contractions, five minutes apart. We got excited and cleaned up the house, finished packing the hospital bag. I called the midwife, too. “It sounds like it’s very, very early,” she said. “Drink a lot of water, rest, and don’t be surprised if they kind of fade away.”
Which they did. I was a little disappointed, but not surprised. I’ve heard of this kind of thing before.
Today, I’ve had them off and on, not nearly as regularly. I’m uncomfortable, but I’m not in labor.
They used to call this “false labor,” but that’s going out of fashion because it’s way too dismissive. In fact, all those practice contractions are helping move things along. The baby is wiggling into position, my cervix is dilating a little more, my uterus is practicing.
A few days ago I was positive I had a urinary tract infection because of the intense pressure Perquackey is putting on my bladder and cervix as he pushes even further down. I called the midwives, who reassured me it was a normal part of early labor. Now I try to remind myself, as I squirm with another randomly timed contraction.
Meanwhile, I continue to get up the middle of the night to pee, repeatedly, yet being unable to because of the baby’s position on my bladder. I’m forced to get down on all fours, on the bathroom floor, doing Cat Tilts until he shifts, giving me a quick window of relief in which to pee.
It’s exciting. But it could still be another three weeks.