Probably around 22-24 weeks into pregnancy, I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions. I’m not sure why they are called that, but they are essentially “fake” contractions where your stomach gets really hard, and it can be quite uncomfortable. They tend to last for a minute or more, sometimes even as long as 5-10 minutes, and then they stop, and your stomach relaxes and becomes softer. It’s a little unnerving in the beginning because they really come out of nowhere. They are tense and sometimes can make you short of breath, but they aren’t usually painful. The first few times I got them, I was running on the treadmill and had to slow down to catch my breath. They eventually go away once you change your sitting/standing/lying down position or if you just adjust your breathing. The idea behind them is that they are “practice” contractions, getting your body ready for the Big Day.
Since the third trimester started for me, these fake contractions have been hitting me regularly. I have them nearly every day, and today after dinner, I had my longest and most uncomfortable one yet; it felt like it lasted almost ten minutes. I felt uncomfortable walking, sitting, or lying down. Nothing was comfortable, and I felt a little short of breath. Eventually, it went away, but it still felt a little scary.
I’m trying to think through the birthing process and get through it by different types of meditation and affirmations. One of my favorite ones is “I can totally fucking do this” (I suppose that one is helpful with any challenge). Another one that is helpful is “I am stronger than this contraction.” Usually, pain is registered by your brain as danger, but pain with birth and labor is just telling you that your body is ready to birth your baby. So I need to re-frame the thought in my head to get through this.