So, all throughout the third trimester I've been hearing about these Braxton-Hicks contractions, and feeling just the tiniest bit left out that I wasn't having them. I know, I know, it's totally normal to have them and it's totally normal not to have them (welcome to the beautifully contradictory world of pregnancy). When midwife Jenn was here on Wednesday, I commented that both Chris and I had a hunch that the baby was going to be a bit early, given her size - but on the other hand, I hadn't been having any uterine activity, even Braxton-Hicks, to back that theory up.
The next day as I was in the hospital for the non-stress test, I learned otherwise. A non-stress test involves being hooked up to two monitors: one to measure the baby's heartrate, and one to measure uterine activity (ie, contractions). As I lay there, midwife Lillian told me, "Oh, you're having a contraction."
"What?" I said. "I can't even feel anything!"
Lillian guided my hand to the top of my belly, which was hard and just a bit uncomfortable to touch. "Oh, that's a contraction?" I said. "I've been feeling that for weeks, but I thought it was just the baby's bum poking out at me."
"Nope, that's a little Braxton-Hicks contraction," Lillian said. I was surprised because I could only really feel the contraction in that one spot, the top of the uterus, and I thought I would feel it through the whole area. But I was also really happy, because this means my uterus is warming up for the big show. And best of all, it's doing so without even really bugging me about it! I've read of some women who have such uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions that they can't even sleep, so once again I am a lucky girl.