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False Labor and the Countdown to Baby


The Ups, Downs and Sideways of Working Motherhood

False Labor and the Countdown to Baby

Alex Steinman

I was on pins and needles my entire first pregnancy. I assumed every inside movement after 20 weeks was labor and we packed a bag around 30 weeks. We went to the hospital around 36 weeks after an evening of what I now know were consistent Braxton Hicks contractions. After experiencing the real thing four weeks later, that bout of false labor could have just been some butt toots.

When the hospital sent us home, we sadly waddled across the parking lot, put the bag back in the closet and went to bed disappointed. I know this is something a lot of women experience, but I felt so embarrassed for not knowing that it was false labor. First-time people pushers, you are not alone. I read all the books and mastered all the classes, but I still had no idea that labor was literally supposed to feel like pushing a cannon ball out of a crazy straw.

Now I know the secrets.

I experienced something similar last Friday. I contracted 15 minutes apart for a good six hours, with pain ranging from laughable to cryable. My sweet husband was patient and by my side as I laugh-cried through all of the ball-bouncing, couch laying, hip swaying, involuntary stomach crunches. Even though it lasted forever, I knew it wasn't the real thing. You can't fool me this time! It was like the baby was telling me, "I'm just going to burrow right here for a while. See you in a few...weeks! Bahahaha!" In my head, she's a crazy person.

I had a massage and a mani/pedi planned for Saturday, so maybe the tiny diva knew mama needed a good rub down. Now that we've got that out of the way, she can come ANY day. I'm literally free to shoot you out of my lady bits whenever you're ready. Send me a sign preferably when I'm at home, in the shower, after I've eaten breakfast on a Friday morning.

OK, I'm ready now.

OK, I'm ready now.

Like most women, I have a fear of my water breaking in the most inconvenient places. In a meeting at work, in the checkout line at Target, on our new couch, on someone else's couch. I understand it's an irrational fear because I don't know anyone who's stood in a puddle in the middle of a crowd and my own water broke at the hospital with my first. It's also irrational to think people birth babies in toilets, yet every episode of I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant proves this theory wrong. 

Apparently these nuggets have minds of their own and make decisions that change the course of a mama's life. False labor today, maybe the real thing tomorrow. With two weeks left, we're in the home stretch, and I'm pretty stretched out.

P.S. You might also like Drop It Like It's Hot or Ginger Baby: An Origin Story.