This morning I was woken up by a strange sensation on my lower back, tummy and pelvic. Before that, I had gone to the toilet 3 times where else normally I take only one nightly trip to the toilet (I usually empty my bladder before going to bed).

After going to the toilet for the third time and feeling somewhat uncomfortable by the strange pressure on those areas (the lower back started to throb and ache constantly), I sat on the edge of the bed massaging my back and tummy.

To be honest, I've never felt this discomfort before. My first baby was delivered 3 weeks before her due date due to placenta praevia and via c-section. And my miscarriage incident that had me induced happened more than 3 years ago I forgot how it felt like.

The discomfort somewhat felt like menstrual cramp minus the pressure on my cervix during those heavy period flow. It felt so surreal that I could not decide whether the pain was real or I was just over-analysing the feelings.

I almost smiled when I remembered the hilarious conversation that took place in my head as I was internalising the whole situation:

Optimistic self: Oh come on, if it's real labour, you don't have to think too much about it. Just go with the flow! If a horse can do it without all these natural birth plan and hypnobirthing and whatnots, why can't you?
Desperate self: We don't know what the horse is thinking during labour! Probably it would ask for pain-reliever if it could talk!

Somehow even though I was just quietly sitting and massaging my tummy and lower back, Suami Terchenta woke up and asked, 'Why? What's wrong?' I hesitated before replying, 'Umm. I just feel somewhat uncomfortable around my tummy and back area.'

He immediately woke up and asked,

'Is it contraction?'
'I don't know. It doesn't feel like it.'
'Is it symptoms of labour?'
'I don't really know.' Which was an honest reply.

He got up, touched my tummy and then decided to find one of my pregnancy reference books to find out (time2 macam ni baru la dia nak baca buku2 tu!). After leafing through the pages, he concluded,'I think it could be it. Shall we go to the hospital now?' By then, I detected a hint of worry and concern bordering panic in his voice.

I crawled on the bed and lay down on my right where my lower back was not painful. 'Not yet. But can you massage my back? It hurts.'

He was on his feet and emptying the luggage from our last trip to the hospital on Saturday. He stopped and helped to massage the affected area, which brought relief to me. I started to fall back asleep when Khayla woke up and cried for milk. Then I had to turn to my left so she could snuggle against me.

By 7.30am, I started to notice the contractions. I was walking down the hallway and immediately felt a pulling sensation on my lower abdomen as it tightened. The pressure was so intense I held on to the wall and clutched my tummy. Suami Terchenta looked at me with a frown on his face.

'It's contraction right? Time to go to the hospital?'
'Um. I don't think so. It doesn't appear frequent.' I was still reluctant to rush to the hospital over a few tinges because I was scared that my doctor will ask me to be induced. Ouch!

I continued to the back area to get my work dress when I was stopped mid-way by the same intense pulling sensation. This time it made me moan.

'That's it. Let's go to the hospital.' Suami Terchenta made the decision.

In between the contractions (which started to appear at regular intervals), I managed to iron my cloth and tudung, laughed at the absurdity of the painless pressure yet so intense it made me pause while I was walking, and get ready. I texted my boss to inform that not to worry, but I need to get checked out because I'm having unexplainable discomfort which is getting persistent.

We dropped Khayla at her nursery and then drove to the hospital. I started the contraction timer. Everytime I suspected it was contraction, I pressed the button and then endured the uncomfortable sensation. Some of the contractions were mild, but some made me clutched Suami Terchenta's arm in agony. Each lasted between 30 - 50 seconds with 10 minutes apart:

My contraction timer apps
When we reached the emergency entrance, the hospital staff seeing me tottering in awkwardly, greeted me at the door.

'Are you feeling labour pains already?'
'I'm not sure...' I explained where the pains were and informed that this was my first experience of 'labour pains' (if it was what it was).

She immediately brought me to the labour ward at 6th floor using a wheelchair (because I started to groan and almost double over whenever the contractions hit me).

When we reached there, the labour ward staff took over and had me settled on the bed to strap on the CTG scan. Then Suami Terchenta appeared and sat next to me watching my every expressions. Occasionally he held my hands when the discomfort was so intense.

The CTG scan displayed the fetal heartbeats (which was steady between 130 - 170+) and the contractions (true enough, it appeared every 10 minutes, averaging at 68 which is already moderate and the more intense ones reached 104, which is already considered as strong contraction).

After half an hour, the lower back pain on my left transferred to my right. When the nurse staff took the CTG scan output, she asked me to remove my pants as she wanted to check whether I'm dilating. At that point, a very intense and stinging pain overcame me on my upper right tummy that I had trouble breathing. I gasped, grunted and stared incredulously at Suami Terchenta as I was suddenly reminded of the same pain I felt when I was induced during my miscarriage 3 years ago!

Mine was between 4 - 9, I think
Nurse asked me to take a few deep breaths (and boy, it was hard to breathe properly when the intense pain was overcoming me!) but I managed to control my breathing and finally sat up. Then I lay down again for the exam and although I read and heard many people said the exam was painful, it was not that painful to me.

Nurse then proceeded to give me injection to help the baby's lung mature in case I really go into labour. She cautioned me that the injection will STING. This time I agreed with her.

Then my gynae popped in and confirmed my worst fear - yes, I'm in real labour and those are regular contractions. If I continue to be having those contractions and already dilating by tomorrow, she will start the birthing process even though my baby is still 2 weeks shy from being considered as full-term! That certainly got me alarmed, thinking that I am not prepared at the prospect of looking after a preemie.

Suami Terchenta had to leave my side to register my admission and I paced the room and swayed my hips to relieve the contraction pains. I also decided to update my FB status just so I could distract my mind from the pain. After a while Suami Terchenta reappeared and we waited to be transferred to a normal ward to wait out the labour.

I even received a call from work,

'Hi. Are you on leave today?'
'Um. I'm in the hospital, having contractions.'
'I just need to check something. Blablabla...'
'The latest status is, blablabla... Urghhhh....' Contraction hit me and I grunted in pain.
'Err... Never mind. I'll just call your boss. Take care!' My colleague sensing my discomfort immediately ended the call.

After we were in the normal ward, I continued to pace the room and sitting on the sofa to ride out the pain. Lunch was delivered. I ate half-heartedly but finished my meal thinking that I might need the energy later should I ever required to be induced today (although I was still praying that it's not time yet and the whole thing will stop).

After lunch and exhausted from enduring the pain and endless pacing, I decided to try take a nap. I slept for 2 hours clutching my tummy.

Then my prayers were granted.

I woke up when a nurse came in to check my blood pressure. The first thing I noticed was I wasn't in pain anymore. Sure, it still throbbed where the pains were, but it was just a faint and mild sensation. Even the contractions were very mild it felt only like Braxton-Hicks!

The pain gradually went away and by night I wasn't feeling them anymore. This was confirmed when the nurse took my CTG scan again - I occasionally had tightening due to BH but the rest was normal. Alhamdulillah! :)

CTG scan showed that contractions have gone away for the moment!
So now I'm hoping to be discharged tomorrow after my gynae and specialist who is monitoring my GDM give the clearance.

Until now I'm wondering what could have triggered the early contractions - maybe because the night before I had pineapple soup for dinner, or because I let Khayla have the boobs to calm and settle her down (although she only suckled for maximum 20 minutes before she dozed off). Or work is driving me crazy. There are a lot of possible reasons but none really makes sense.

Hmm. Anyway, now that I know how labour pains feel like, I HAVE to make some changes to my routine and definitely need to catch up on exercise to prepare me physically for the labour when the time comes. And practice the whole breathing and positions to cope with labour pains. Lots of things caught us unprepared during this short experience, and I need to read and practice more. So does Suami Terchenta. Well, I hope he'll take it seriously as well! :p