Where to begin? It's been an eventful week, full of trials and triumphs, but mostly trials. Injuries, insomnia, aches, pains, contractions... We're definitely in the home stretch, now.
On Monday, I had my 33-week appointment. Due to the frequency of my contractions at just 33 weeks along, I was given a Fetal Fibronectin Test (fFN) before my internal exam. The exam revealed that my cervix was still closed, but barely, and only on the inside. Apparently, this is not an unusual state for the cervix of a woman who has given birth before to be in, but given that I've had two prior internal checks that have not inspired any description other than "long and closed," and given that this is how things looked when all of the craziness started with your brother, I'm thinking that in my case it's the first small sign of change. Change is a little scary, but the fact that it is so minor is comforting, at the same time.
Certainly, with the force and frequency of the contractions I've been having lately, it boggles my mind that my cervix hasn't taken more abuse just yet. The rest of my body? Well, that's another story. To say that I waddle now would be an understatement, and I'm lucky sometimes if I can stand up straight at all. Incredible tightness and pressure will strike suddenly at times (often because I'm having a contraction, but sometimes outside of one, as well), and I'll wonder if you've perhaps dropped in there. But later, the pressure will be relieved, and I'll be left to guess at what all of the earlier sensations were about.
I will say that I'm not feeling you up in my ribs much anymore. Only very rarely, and not for awhile now. When you first began to explore the space up there, I thought perhaps you'd go the way of your sister, who hung out as high up in my belly as she could until the moment she was born. In fact, I had a painfully bruised diaphragm to prove it- I swear that she was pushing her little feet up against it as she made her way down and out.
Thankfully, though you seem to prefer the lower regions of my abdomen, much like your brother, I haven't had sciatica pain from it, on top of everything else. I have had all kinds of other random things going on lately, though, like (thankfully) short-lived breakouts in various places on my face, generally itchy and super-sensitive skin, surface clots and cramping in my lower legs, and a return to a regular hair loss pattern at around the six-month mark (wahh, but at least it's nothing like post-partum hair loss, and I can hopefully avoid the annoying regrowth patterns this time as a result). Through all this, the ever-enjoyable weight gain has finally begun. Though it didn't really start piling on until I was 28 weeks or so, I'm now up to 30 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. A good number, but it would be amazing not to see it creep too terribly much higher. One thing that still has not appeared, and I am assuming simply won't this time, is the linea nigra that I sported through most of my first two pregnancies. It has actually continued to fade out, as the weeks and months pass, from where it used to be, and is nearly undetectable now.
The most noticeable happening, though? Big changes going on "up-top" (to put it delicately). It's interesting to observe how differently that timeline has gone with each of you. During my first pregnancy, I noticed a definite bust size change by the fourth month, and had begun to produce colostrum by week 24 or so. Though with your brother I never noticed a size change at all during the entire course of the pregnancy, colostrum appeared around week 26. This time, not having observed any size changes by 29 weeks along, I assumed it wasn't happening again, and began to wonder (not for the first time) if this meant that you are, indeed, a little boy (boys don't cause quite as much estrogen production, which could explain the difference between my first two pregnancies). Then, suddenly, at 30 weeks, I had a transformation overnight. Maybe you are a girl then, after all? Or maybe my body is just terribly confused all of the time, much like my mind.
Here's hoping that body and mind get it all figured out soon enough. Though I can't deny that I would be happy to put a quick end to the discomfort I've been experiencing, what I want most is for you to stay put for as long as possible, for your sake. I can rest pretty easy about that for at least the next few days, since the fFN test came out negative. Though it's not the greatest predictor of whether a woman will go into labor within two weeks of getting the test done (assuming a positive), a negative practically assures that it will not happen. Unfortunately, I had to wait until Friday to get the final results and find out for sure that I could breathe easier. Now, I have to wait until Wednesday to find out whether we're on a steady progression toward (possibly) early labor, and just how far we've come in that direction. After all, by the following Monday, that test won't be able to tell us much anymore.
There will just be you, me, my crazy uterus, and the future. Just what does it hold for us, I wonder?
But I'll make you a deal: if you do your best to hang tight until you're good and ready (it's a big, wide world out here, and there's no going back in once you come out), I'll do my best to help. It's all that I can do, in the end.