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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the labor scare that almost stole Thanksgiving

We had an eventful Monday in the Tab home. 

On Sunday night, I started having some lengthy bouts of Braxton Hicks contractions. It seemed like every time I stood up or walked around the apartment, I would get a contraction. So over the course of the evening I tried to stay as still and relaxed as possible to keep them away, but then they started coming back to back. I wasn't too worried because they weren't painful and even though they were frequent, they weren't growing in intensity. Tim had been out of town and I was anxious to pick him up from the airport when he arrived at midnight and have him back home.

The next morning they started coming again--before I had even gotten out of bed. I decided to start timing them to see what the pattern was and I was surprised that the first one I timed lasted over 5 minutes, with only a 30 second break before another one came. Thankfully, I already had a regularly scheduled appointment for that afternoon, so I knew I could get some advice on how to handle all this false labor. I went about my morning, but got a little alarmed when one contraction started as I got in the shower and didn't end until after I had finished showering, gotten dressed, and blow-dried my hair. It had lasted at least 15 minutes. But still, they didn't hurt, so it still really seemed like those "practice" contractions I had read about that don't lead to real labor.

Tim and I went to the Starbucks next door to the midwive's office to kill some time before my appointment, and while I was sipping my chai, I got hit with a really painful contraction that slowly grew in intensity so much that I couldn't respond to what Tim was saying to me until it was over. Then right away another one came and again I couldn't talk through it and had to really focus on breathing through the pain. I got scared.

We had plans to fly down to Georgia and Alabama today to celebrate two separate Thanksgivings with my all of my extended family over the course of the week, and by the time we walked over to the midwive's office, I was nearly sure we couldn't go. The rest of the week was starting to look like bedrest and a Thanksgiving TV dinner for us...or something. I am 33 and a half weeks pregnant, so a pre-term labor at this point would be serious, fearful business. I tried not to think about it and just prayed prayers of thankfulness that I already had an appointment to get help before all of this happened. I was just worried that when we got to the office, I wouldn't be able to accurately explain all that was happening or I wouldn't be taken seriously. 

None of those fears materialized. As soon as I got to talk with one of my midwives, I was presented with options: she could do a cervix check, an ultrasound, a fetal fibronectin test, and a non-stress test on the baby that would also monitor the intensity of my contractions. "I'll take one of each, please!". It took over two and a half hours of testing, but we all learned for absolute certain that I wasn't in trouble, despite the painful contractions I had felt earlier. No other signs pointed to real labor. The baby's position was high up and breech, nowhere near ready to come out. By the time I sat back in the recliner to get hooked up to the fetal monitor to gage the contractions, I was so relaxed and relieved that I didn't have a single one for the thirty minute monitoring session. The baby's heart-rate was perfect.We were highly encouraged to go on with our travel plans.

As we were on our way out, one of the midwives asked me: "Have you been drinking at least 80 ounces of water every day?" No. Definitely not. Not even close. "Have you been under any additional stress?" Maybe that time earlier in the weekend when Tim had to fly to California to do a shoot and I disintegrated into the likes of a pitiful pup with separation anxiety over him being so far away? I was hoping to keep that whole incident private...but my body eventually told on me. So I went out and bought an adult sippy cup a Camelbak water bottle to keep full and nearby for the next 7 weeks, and I'm making big efforts to not stress about the next big thing that I could be stressing about: a breech baby.

I'm happy to report that we made it to Atlanta tonight to start the grand week of quality family time that I so look forward to every year. I'm still getting contractions, but they're painless (if not tiring) and I'm so glad to know they're harmless. My fetal fibronectin test came back negative this morning so I know for sure my body isn't remotely ready to have this baby yet, which is the greatest relief, because we both need at LEAST 4 more weeks of this pregnancy to have a healthy baby.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. That is scary - I am glad everything is ok!

  2. Hi Bethenny. I am Carly Mitchell's sister. I stumbled to your blog via Instagram. I wanted to mention a resource to you regarding breech babies. My last baby was breech at 37 weeks. I was quite anxious at the potential of a c-section delivery after three previous 'normal' and healthy deliveries. I learned of a chiropractic technique called 'the Webster Technique'. I found a local chiropractor who was very familiar with it. After three painless adjustments, my OB confirmed the baby was head down. The method does something to release uterine ligaments from any tension and allows your uterus more volume, allowing baby to turn. Hope this helps. Best to you as you welcome your baby...

  3. Annnd, I misspelled your name. So sorry... :)